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The Extraordinary adventures of Alfred Kropp

by Rick Yancy


Book Review

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Publishers Weekly :

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Starred Review. After his single mother dies, the oversized, underachieving, totally endearing narrator, Alfred Kropp, is sent to Tennessee to live with his uncle, a night watchman for a business titan. Uncle Farrell, chronically poor, can't refuse a $1 million offer to retrieve a sword from the executive suite. His 15-year-old nephew, however, has reservations—"I'm not too quick on the uptake... but this whole thing smells fishy to me"—until Uncle Farrell threatens to return Alfred to foster care if he refuses to help. The attempt ends disastrously: saber-wielding monks demand the sword, motorcycle thugs fire shotguns as Alfred races across the Interstate, and in Europe, he winds up in battles where heads fly—literally. Everyone and everything has a secret identity—the monks, the sword, the hero, just to name a few. The high-speed car chases, spectacularly gory deaths and Arthurian echoes seem tailor-made for a Hollywood action flick, but it's Alfred's naiveté and basic good nature that make this pageturner stand out in the crowded fantasy adventure genre. Like J.K. Rowling, first-time YA novelist Yancey (Confessions of a Tax Collector, for adults) deftly leavens the heavier plot elements with humor; this story of a "big-headed loser" is as funny as it is scary. Alfred's adventures are not the only element of this tale that is extraordinary—the reluctant hero is, too. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)

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Book Review

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School Library Journal :

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Gr 6-8–Astonishingly tall 15-year-old Alfred is plunged into a world of adventure, assassination, and Arthurian legend when he agrees to help his uncle filch an ancient sword from the office of a CEO who just happens to be a descendent of the Knights of the Round Table. Of course the sword turns out to be none other than Excalibur, and the guy Alfred swiped it for is Mogart, a knight-gone-bad who hopes to use its magical powers to take over the world. Enter Bennacio, another descendant of the Round Table, who then takes Alfred under his wing on a quest across the Atlantic to rescue the sword from Mogart. The descriptions of minor bits of blood and gore leave much to the imagination and will make Kropp especially appealing to fans of Anthony Horowitz's â??Alex Riderâ?? books (Philomel), Geoffrey Huntington's Sorcerers of the Nightwing (ReganBooks, 2002), and even Darren Shan's â??The Saga of Darren Shanâ?? series (Little, Brown). True to its action-adventure genre, the story is lighthearted, entertaining, occasionally half-witted, but by and large fun.–Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library

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