Tuesday, July 27, 2010
C.H.E.R.U.B.: The Recruit by Robert Muchamore
CHERUB is an unknown adjunct to M15 - founded during WWII it has successfully ended wars, stopped terrorists, and saved lives. The organization sends its undercover operatives where others cannot go, they have the ability to gain trust and get away when no one else can: CHERUB's operatives are children. Ages ten to seventeen all CHERUB operatives are fluent in several languages, black belts in multiple fighting styles, and have the knowledge to survive in the wildest of environments. The newest recruit is twelve year old James, he has anger management issues and a fear of water. Growing up with no one to trust except for his nine year old sister, James has some troubles trusting his fellow recruits and being molded into a CHERUB spy. Though after one hundred days of brutal basic training, James learns to take his punches and use his talents effectively. It's a good thing too, as James is being sent off to spy on a possible terrorist group with plans to unleash a deadly poison on the public.
I really enjoyed this book. The plot is fast-paced, the characters intriguing, and the conflict plausible. James is engaging, which sounds like faint praise, but actually I was rather surprised that I liked him as much as I did. At first he is just a spoiled, self-centered, angry young man; and then slowly he develops into a person who thinks outside of himself. It might have helped that you see James become totally broken down during basic training, which essentially sounds like hell. For a debut fast-paced spy book it was kind of awesome. Well done. I applaud your efforts Robert Muchamore. Clap. Clap.
So here are the things that didn't work for me, which weren't huge issues (obviously since I liked the book) but rather persnickety details I would like fixed: romantic subplot and editing. The book did not need any romance, I get why Mr. Muchamore did it, as it plays kind of into the mission and James' development, but really? Little spoiler alert: James hooks up with some village girl while on his mission, they make out a bit and generally get all googly eyed about each other, but it's over rather quickly which is good since it doesn't really move the story along at all. James supposedly also has a little crush on a fellow recruit who he is paired with during basic training. Obviously this is going to be further developed throughout the series. I get that he's twelve, but is it really necessary for him to develop a crush on everyone? End mini-spoiler Oh! And then the editing thing, there were just a couple of rather obvious spelling errors. I feel like if anyone had bothered to spell check they would have picked them up. It made me sad.
Fun side note, so no one knows what CHERUB stands for in the book. Supposedly the founder died unexpectedly and didn't tell anyone (lame) but I like to make some guesses.
- Children Have Excellent Responsive Unexplainable 'Bilities
- Children Hired for Espionage, Reconnoitering, and Underwear Bureau
- Could Hire Essentially Rubes Untrainable But....
- Citation Has Expansive Researching Utilities Brilliant