I was just trading emails about the Alex Rider series with a librarian friend yesterday and this article about Anthony Horwitz and the series shows up in The Telegraph today.
"Where my earlier heroes had belonged in the world of children's literature, Alex doesn't. He's stumbled into the wrong world. If there's a single reason why the books have done so well I think it's down to his unwillingness to deal with these adventures, the fact that he is so manipulated, lied to, cheated."
Basically what this means is that Alex has teenage angst. Writ very large. He's a spy and he doesn't want to be. MI6 provides him with fabulous gadgets - exploding chewing gum, a missile- launching bike, an iPod that listens through walls - but it is always his courage and ingenuity that save the day. And does anyone thank him? You bet they don't. "He's saved the world five times in a few months and all he's got for it is a bad school report," jokes Horowitz.