Kids love hi-octane thrills, especially if they can see themselves as the heroes of the tale. Jason Rohan’s S.T.E.A.L.T.H series sees schoolchildren battle it out with evil geniuses, using hi-tech equipment to overcome the odds. There are thrills and spills aplenty, along with some giggle-inducing quips and tight-plotting that make the S.T.E.A.L.T.H books perfect for children aged from around age 9 upwards.
What is S.T.E.A.L.T.H?
It starts to go wrong first thing on a school morning. Arun learns the police have turned up at his house, and then almost immediately a plainclothes officer tries to arrest him too. Only this man most certainly isn’t a real policeman. The quick actions of his friends, Donna and Sam, see them running out of school away from a man who clearly means Arun harm.
The game is afoot.
Arun, Donna, and Sam double back to Arun’s house, where they learn that Arun’s dad has gone missing; kidnapped after a car crash on the way to work. From here commences the shenanigans. Arun’s dad is not everything he seems and the fruits of his top-secret research project are in danger. He has created the ultimate robot, designed for search and rescue. Only it could also be used for terrorism. With the police flummoxed only Arun and his friends can save the day.
There are currently two S.T.E.A.L.T.H books. Access Denied follows Arun, Donna, and Sam as they try to rescue Arun’s dad and recover the robot. In Ice Breaker, the trio becomes involved in a search and rescue in the Austrian alps. Both are tremendous fun.
Why Read the S.T.E.A.L.T.H books?
The stories in both books are told over a very short space of time. Less than 24 hours. The chapter headings are timestamps, giving the books a great sense of urgency. The plotting is tight and the action sequences, breathtaking.
Being aimed at tween-age readers, the pacing of the books is fast, yet there is still time for some introspection and, of course, humor. The trio of Donna, Sam, and Arun work very well together. Each of the three has assumptions about the other, and author Jason Rohan gently shows how preconceptions and assumptions can be wrong and hurtful.
There is quite a bit of “tech” in the book, which enables all sorts of Alex Rider style hi-jinks. The books are definitely comparable to the Stormbreaker novels, albeit for younger children. There are explosions aplenty.
I was a little unsure of what to expect from the books. I thought they might be a little cheesy or hackneyed, but they aren’t at all. They’re fast-paced, intelligent thrillers that also resonate on an emotional level. They’re an excellent series of books with a diverse cast that will appeal to confident readers. Even older kids like me can enjoy them. Full-on teenagers will probably be too cool for S.T.E.A.L.T.H. but I found both novels refreshingly free of pretension. Pure escapism and great storytelling. Buy these for your kids then have a sneaky read when you’re feeling a little down. They’ll bring a smile to your face and keep you hooked from first page to last.
If you’d like to pick up a copy of the S.T.E.A.L.T.H novels, you can do so here in the US, and here, in the UK.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to write this review.