The Recruit – CHERUB #1 – Book 10

SAM_8579The Recruit

CHERUB #1

By Robert Muchamore

From Goodreads-

CHERUB agents are all seventeen and under, and look like regular kids. But they’re not. They are trained professionals who are sent out on missions to spy on terrorists and international drug dealers. CHERUB agents hack into computers, bug entire houses, and download crucial documents. It is a highly dangerous job. For their safety, these agents DO NOT EXIST.

James is the latest CHERUB recruit. He and his sister were recently orphaned, and James has been in a lot of trouble. But he is brilliant in math. And CHERUB needs him. After one hundred days, the grueling training period is over. But the adventure has just begun.

From Mrs Salter

The CHERUB series is very popular in the library with intermediate students and it’s a gateway for those who do not enjoy reading.  For many it is their first positive reading experience.  I took the first one home, The Recruit, after a couple of years to see what it was all about, I was back the next day to get some more and finished the first nine books in just over a week.  Before that I only recommended to boys, not realizing all the really strong girls in the stories, now it is just as popular with the girls.  I have four copies of the first and multiple copies of the rest because once a student starts enjoying it they want their friends to as well.  What more could a school librarian say to endorse a book?

A few years ago I read that some libraries were concerned with the subject matter, the violence and that the rape made it unsuitable for students – there is no rape in any of the books.  Yes, the kids do go undercover and do witness and become involved in the seedy side of life, but that is part of the appeal to my readers, to see sides of life they will never experience (I do hope so anyway).  What makes these books better than others is they are well researched and inform the reader of topics in the headlines i.e. using animals in science, being lead into a powerful cult, becoming a victim of human trafficking, all real life dramas with life lessons thrown in.  

Personally I think Mr Muchamore has created a realistic, believable fantasy for my readers to enjoy, learn from and share with their friends.  Parents could also enjoy the series, I did.

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The Henderson Boys – not like CHERUB but good

I hadn’t given The Henderson Boys series by Robert Muchamore  a try because the boys who loved CHERUB couldn’t get into.  After finishing People’s Republic I decided it was time to read one.  I found them unsettling but good.  The detailed image of the characters in  France as Germany is taking control  WWII was very well described, maybe too graphic and complex for my young CHERUB readers.  They want action and had gotten used to the CHERUB characters having it pretty good in between acts of heroism.  The Henderson kids have it rough, very rough, and the set up of the story takes a long time (s0 it should because Muchamore hasn’t  assumed his readers understand what it’s like to live through a war).I have just finished the third installment,  Secret Army, I like the books and I think I get why my young readers don’t.  I think this series is for a different type of reader and could hook an older boy or dad, but because it was promoted as the prequel to CHERUB in my library it has missed it’s audience.  The style of writing that suited CHERUB doesn’t equate with Henderson Boys,  short chapters and convient quick conclusions don’t work as well with an older reader.I will try moving to the Senior Section of my high school library and promote to older kids, who haven’t hooked into CHERUB.  I will definitely recommend to the boys who want to read war books, this way I think there will be a life for Henderson Boys in my Library.

Robert Muchamore does it again

My customers were feeling quite sad last year as they returned Shadow Wave, from the CHERUB series by Robert Muchamore,  because it was the last and they were going to miss everyone at the academy.  I also felt disappointed  because I enjoyed it as much as the 12-year-old boys it was aimed at and a series that grips boys enough to fight over the next reserved copy are few and far between.  Sadly none of my readers hooked into The Henderson Boys, which they were supposed to I guess.  Anyway, luckily for us CHERUB has been reborn, with a new group of 11 year olds, which hopefully will keep the series going for some time. 

A new hero a new mission...

I started People’s Republic, which I had brought home for my son, on Friday evening because the two books I was trying to read weren’t holding my interest.  Well, it was like stepping into a warm bath- a familiar gripping style, plenty of action, good research, a moral and revealing lesson in child/women trafficking.   Part of the charm of these books is the easy style, large print, big margins and short chapters, it seems a sure method for holding his readers attention.   I had lots to do over the weekend and the book is 407 pages but I was finished by Sunday 9.00pm.

So thank you Mr Muchamore for picking up the series again.  The only problem I have now is waiting for the next book,

while some parts of the story resolved themselves, there is much more to come and I can’t wait.