Sunday, June 16, 2013

Book Review: The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp
Rick Yancey

Young Adult

October 7th 2005 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens


borrowed from library

My Rating:

Alfred Kropp was just trying to survive high school when his guardian uncle gets him roped into a suspicious get-rich-quick scheme that changes his life forever: stealing Excalibur—the legendary sword of King Arthur. But after Alfred unwittingly delivers the sword into the hands of a man with enormously evil intentions, he sets off on an unlikely quest to try to right his wrong and save the world from imminent destruction. This gripping, fast-paced, hilarious novel is both a thrilling adventure story and an engaging account of one boy’s coming of age.

Alfred Kropp is unusually big. His awkward size makes it hard for him to make friends. His dad ran out on him as a baby and his mom dies, leaving him with his Uncle Farrell, the only family he has left. It's better than foster care but nothing seems to work out in Alfred's favor. Especially when his uncle asks him to help steal something from his employer.

I flew through this book because the chapters were so small. I'd hardly started and before I knew it I was half-way done with it. While I enjoy Arthurian fiction, I've never read any modern spins on it before this so it was new and exciting. It was also very fun and adventurous with car chases and rides in helicopters, etc that I would definitely recommend to young boys (or anyone else who enjoys those things).
I did have some problems with the main character. He asked TONS of questions. I felt that the majority of the book was a repeated game of 21 questions and perhaps that is the only way the author thought he could get the back story and excess information into the plot. I also just couldn't connect with him on very many levels at all. He seemed pretty flat and emotionless at times. I think even a kid with nothing to lose would be a little weary of running off with a stranger who claims to be a knight and kills people.
This book was also a bit graphic. I'd definitely recommend it to young middle-grade kids but only if they (or their parents) are okay with decaptitations and murder.

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