Robert Muchamore - Shastrix Books

Robert Muchamore

Recently reviewed

Shadow Wave

Shadow Wave

23rd January 2019

The final novel in Robert Muchamore’s original Cherub series is a bit different (this seems to be a trend in this sort of young adult series actually). James, now 17, has a little more agency and decides to refuse a mission on moral grounds - and creates a mission of his own instead.

It’s a great twist actually, and wraps James’ story up quite nicely in a way that concludes the long arc that we’ve followed as readers since he was much younger. The book retains some of the key elements from earlier stories, revisits a lot of the important characters, and is full of the usual action, and realism, that I’ve come to expect.

I really enjoyed this adventure and am quite disappointed that this main series has come to an end - despite the knowledge that there are already two spin-off series, one of which I’ve already begun reading.

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Secret Army

Secret Army

29th July 2018

The third book in the Henderson’s Boys series (which itself served as a prequel to the author’s modern-day Cherub series), and the one where the story catches up to where I had expected it to start two books earlier. Having successfully escaped France with the aid of a group of children, Charles Henderson has set up a training camp to bring the children up to the level of full spies so that they can join the country’s efforts to win WW2.

The book starts brutally. I was actually shocked by the levels of violence depicted in the opening chapters - and I’ve read all the author’s previous novels so was aware he didn’t shy away from realism. I think this was particularly bad though because of the historical setting and the attitudes of the time, as well as because it was directed at children. I suspect that this may be tough reading for more than just me.

Once that’s over and done with however, the plot becomes much more what I’d expected. A group of plucky youngsters fighting to prove their worthiness against the odds and against the expectations of adults. It’s a fun, tense and exciting adventure with a healthy dose of real emotion and fully believable characters from a range of backgrounds. The 1940s setting is well used, and while using the real attitudes of the time manages to show them in a disparaging light and twist some more ‘enlightened’ viewpoints into the narrative to put it into perspective.

Possibly the best action series for teenage readers I’ve ever come across. I’m totally on course to read all the rest.

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Buy book: UK
Brigands M.C.

Brigands M.C.

28th January 2018

Book 11 in the Cherub series kicks off with an introduction to a new character, Dante Scott, who we meet as a young child when his family are murdered by a gang of bikers. This sentence should be sufficient to make it clear this book is intended to be read by an audience who are capable of processing this sort of scene.

I was very pleased by how Muchamore structured this novel - the introduction giving little away as to where the book would go later on, and I was very impressed by one particular narrative device which occurred surprisingly far into the story.

It’s another good adventure for the Cherubs, painting a fairly realistic picture of the world and inserting teenage secret agents into the mix. There are strong indications that the series is preparing to wrap up, and one thing I did find disappointing about this story was its conclusion, which didn’t quite satisfy what I wanted from the end of the plot.

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Buy book: UK
Dark Sun

Dark Sun

17th June 2017

A novella in the Cherub series, with two small, simple plots following two of the secondary characters from the main series. Rat is on a mission, and Lauren back at headquarters getting in trouble.

It's straightforward but covers two of the most interesting and exciting aspects of the Cherub books - the training that the child agents go through, and their missions in progress.

It's a great quick read and could serve as an easy introduction to the series if someone was considering diving in to the whole thing.

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Eagle Day

Eagle Day

20th December 2016

The second book in the Henderson's Boys series, which is itself a spinoff from Muchamore's Cherub series, follows immediately on from the first, with a group of characters (adults and children) stranded in France during WW2 and falling into roles as British spies.

While it's a thrilling adventure with a lot of colour, I didn't feel it engaged as strongly as the first book, which painted a shockingly realistic picture of what the invasion would have been like for a group of children. This novel felt like it switched focus more to the adult character and that weakened it - one of the hallmarks of the series is the realistic scenarios that the young protagonists are thrust into, and I didn't feel any of them had sufficient page-time to be explored properly.

The plot is a good one, and the historical setting means that the characters can be cast into real events, which does add an element of authenticity. There are a lot of small moments that add detail, including some that go further than the usual young-adult novel would (as Muchamore often does). I don't know the history as well as perhaps I should, so can't say whether it is accurate, but I suspect that enough research has been done to make it so.

A bit of a mixed bag I suppose then - not as good as the previous book, but a good story nonetheless. I'm looking forward to continuing the series.

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Buy book: UK
The Escape

The Escape

20th May 2016

I was slightly nervous about reading this book. I’ve really enjoyed reading Muchamore’s original Cherub series (to which this serves as a prequel), and have reached the point in the publication order where this book was published - and was not sure whether I would like this novel, set during the 1940s, as much.

This book is excellent. It continues Muchamore’s style of depicting life for teenagers as it really is, and I found myself engaging with all the characters and their situations despite the temporal and physical settings being less familiar to me. The plot is thrilling and action packed, and the plot moves at a rapid pace that kept me hooked throughout.

Like the other books, the realism needs to come with a parental warning - this is not sugar coated at all, and is pretty horrific in places, so care may be needed for more sensitive readers. I felt that this is the most authentic depiction of World War Two that I’ve ever experienced - and it gives a solid impression of what it might have been like to be a young person at the time.

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Buy book: UK
The General

The General

31st December 2015

The tenth book in the best young adult series I've read sees its characters continuing to age realistically - James Adams is now a 17-year-old secret agent and on his way to retirement, while his younger sister is at her peak. This is an interesting twist on the series as it doesn't follow the traditional spy novel formula, instead mixing together a couple of plots to produce a meta-adventure.

The thing I enjoy most about this series is that it deals with real issues that are appropriate to the age of the characters and intended readers, without being patronising or trying to hide aspects of reality, and it manages to combine that with the fantastic world of secret agents and thrilling adventures. The characters are far from perfect and their actions aren't presented with any preachy moralising - the reader is left to come to their own conclusions.

There's also a balance in this novel of content which will appeal to different audiences - both in the simple male/female main character split but also in the balance of action and more cerebral content, with some elements particularly appealing to the more analytical part of the audience. It's funny, tense, and a fascinating look at some characters within this fictional world.

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Buy book: UK

Other reviewed books

The Sleepwalker
Mad Dogs
The Fall
Man vs Beast
Divine Madness
The Killing
Maximum Security
Class A
The Recruit

Unreviewed books

Black Friday
Crash Landing
Gone Wild
Grey Wolves
Guardian Angel
Lone Wolf
New Guard
One Shot Kill
People's Republic
Rock War
Scorched Earth
The Prisoner

Top books

  1. Divine Madness
  2. Class A
  3. The Escape
  4. The Sleepwalker
  5. Maximum Security
  6. The Killing
  7. Dark Sun