Book Review: The Recruit (Cherub 1) by Robert Muchamore

A ter­ror­ist doesn’t let strangers into her flat because they might be under­cover police or intel­li­gence agents, but her chil­dren bring their mates home and they run all over the place.

The ter­ror­ist doesn’t know that one of these kids has bugged every room in her house, made copies of all her com­puter files and stolen her address book. The kid works for CHERUB.

CHERUB agents are aged between ten and sev­en­teen. They live in the real world, slip­ping under adult radar and get­ting infor­ma­tion that sends crim­i­nals and ter­ror­ists to jail.

For offi­cial pur­poses, these chil­dren do not exist.

With a syn­op­sis like that I was instantly hooked. In a mar­ket some­what over­flow­ing with teenage para­nor­mal romance, The Recruit is like a breath of fresh air. You guys – it’s a book about these kick ass kids who are spies. Spies!! They go on cool secret mis­sions and hard-core train­ing exer­cises and help stop the bad guys and there’s not one brood­ing, tor­tured, ridicu­lously attrac­tive male pro­tag­o­nist (*vampire/angel/werewolf/fairy*) in sight!

Of course I am well aware that these are books aimed at young ado­les­cent boys.

I don’t care.

James is the kind of cocky, cheeky, trou­ble­maker that I can’t help but love. He has some anger issues, com­ing from a pretty bro­ken home and crappy child­hood, the kind of kid a lot of peo­ple write off imme­di­ately, (he steals, van­dalises prop­erty and some­times can’t con­trol his tem­per); but he is a good kid at heart who needs some direc­tion, is intel­li­gent and very pro­tec­tive of his lit­tle sis­ter. We sadly only get to a glimpse of their close bond here – but I’m hop­ing their rela­tion­ship will be build on in later books.

What I loved about this book was that the story felt real­is­tic (aside from the whole mini-spy thing). Yes, these kids are spies on secret mis­sions for the gov­ern­ment, but they still act like kids. James hates school, just wants to spend his time on his Playsta­tion, eats way too many Mars bars and gets dis­tracted by a cute girl on his first mis­sion (bless him.) The teas­ing com­pan­ion­ship, com­pe­ti­tion and close­ness between the recruits was one of my favourite aspects of the book. I def­i­nitely felt I was read­ing about real kids, and Muchamore got the bal­ance between trained spies and nor­mal 12-year-old behav­iour just right.

There were too many char­ac­ters that I really liked to men­tion, but I have to talk about Kerry, James’s best friend, a feisty girl who con­stantly kicks James’ back­side, all the while bick­er­ing and mak­ing sure he sur­vives basic train­ing. I can’t wait to see how these char­ac­ters will develop as they grow up in the later books.

The Recruit is a story that won’t set your heart rac­ing, and is a fairly light­weight read due to it’s tar­get audi­ence, but it is a fun, well-written and unique sto­ry­line that is cer­tainly refresh­ing and one that has plenty of room to grow as the series fol­lows James’s time at CHERUB. The feel and style of nar­ra­tion reminded me a lot of Percy Jack­son by Rick Rior­dan (a series I adore). I’m already quite attached to James and you can bet I’ll be com­ing back to find out what hap­pens to him next. I have a feel­ing the sto­ries are only going to get darker and older as they go on.

7 thoughts on “Book Review: The Recruit (Cherub 1) by Robert Muchamore

  1. that was an awe­some report!! i love that book so much. I am cur­rently on the 9th book in the cherub series.

    Reply

    1. Amy Post author

      9th! Do they hold up as the series goes on? I’ve only got to the fourth so far! So many books, so lit­tle time…

      Reply

  2. Izzy

    I think it doesn’t give the book enough credit Robert muchamore is pure genius but their are some good descriptions!

    Reply

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