Fun and exciting, Alex and the Ironic Gentleman is an impressive first novel aimed at young readers. Kress writes in a light-hearted tone that's easy to get into but amidst the cheerful optimism of the narrator are tragic moments as well. The author's characterization is appropriate for the target market as there's a mix of simple, caricature personalities as well as complex, conflicting heroes and heroines. What particularly impressed me was how Kress experiments with the text in the novel. For example, there's a fencing duel between the main character and her teacher early on and it is rendered quite uniquely. A song and dance number was even sneaked into Alex and the Ironic Gentleman while still being believable. The book made me genuinely laugh and remained compelling all throughout. As long as you understand who the target audience of Alex and the Ironic Gentleman is geared towards, you'll do fine with this book.
1 - There are better ways to spend your time.
2 - Ho hum books, usually typical of its genre. Probably only recommendable to die-hard fans.
3 - A cut above the rest, usually with one or more elements that sets it apart from the norm.
4 - Highly recommended and is easily a pioneer of the genre.
5 - A classic or it will be.