Robert Muchamore - Shastrix Books

Robert Muchamore

Recently reviewed

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
The Sleepwalker

The Sleepwalker

27th June 2015

A surprisingly graphic and violence-filled entry in this series which is definitely not aimed at children of parents who want to wrap them in cotton wool and not let them know that there's a real world outside their windows. Muchamore doesn't do anything to get away from realism - if real life would see a fight, there's a fight, and similarly with death, disaster and sex.

This book is a slight departure from earlier ones, in that we focus on Lauren rather than James, as she goes on an undercover mission. Meanwhile James gets caught up in the more domestic aspects of being at the older end of childhood.

It's a good adventure story filled with typical teenage drama, as well as the typical fodder of a spy novel. The plot is fast paced as usual and moves through scenarios that keep the reader utterly gripped.

The character development is surprisingly good quality - some series try to keep things static to retain their audience who want more of the same, but it's clear that Muchamore's characters are aging and maturing and changing through the series.

A really really good entry in a really really good series which is just the thing for young readers - just not precious snowflakes who might mind some guts and destruction.

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Buy book: UK
Mad Dogs

Mad Dogs

31st December 2014

The eighth book in the Cherub series hows some old character development as each of the main characters grow older and more or less wise. The setting of a gang war introduces the reader to a wider range of agents than in some of the earlier books, and gives more chance for the author's style of realistic, almost too authentic, portrayals of teenagers.

This book, along with the rest of the series, very clearly states on the cover that it's aimed at an older young audience, and this one in particular features a number of more adult themes, both romantic and violent, than earlier ones and so some parents may decide they want to vet this before giving it to their children.

One of the things that stood out here is the borders between black and white, and how easy it is to fall in between. Several characters have difficult choices to make and that's really interesting in a young adult book that it really engages the reader in a way that a lot of books don't.

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The Fall

The Fall

29th May 2014

Cherub book seven is an interesting departure from the formulaic nature of some of the previous books in the series. While teenager siblings James and Lauren remain secret agents working undercover for the British government, the story sees them spend a lot of time at their base and deals with their wider lives rather than focusing on a specific mission.

The book reflects the ageing of the characters, and with James now fifteen, continues the series’ tradition for realism by depicting the sort of thing a real fifteen year old is likely to get up to - parents would probably not consider this appropriate reading for younger children (though I’m not really in favour of censorship). There’s also slightly more violence than before, and it’s a tad more graphic.

Overall though I think this is a fantastic series for teenage readers, and this another good entry. The realism of the characters lives fits well with the action-oriented adventure plots that make for a thrilling yet relatable read.

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Buy book: UK

Other reviewed books

Man vs Beast
Divine Madness
The Killing
Maximum Security
Class A
The Recruit

Unreviewed books

Black Friday
Brigands M.C.
Grey Wolves
Guardian Angel
New Guard
People's Republic
Rock War
Secret Army
Shadow Wave
The Prisoner

Top books

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