Robert Muchamore - Shastrix Books

Robert Muchamore

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Scorched Earth

Scorched Earth

Robert Muchamore

9th December 2023

The final novel in the Henderson’s Boys series, a prequel to the Cherub series, depicts the brutal end period of the nazi occupation of France, from the points of view of a group of child secret agents working for the British.

As always, Muchamore feels like he does not shy away from graphic realism. That means that the sorts of things that happen in mid-20th Century wartime are going to be depicted in detail, so be prepared for that.

As a specific entry in the series, this one felt bitty to me. It’s clear from the timeline that these books are set that this needed to be the wrap up, but it achieves that by being made up of distinct episodes which don’t really ever feel like they flow together into a narrative. It’s more just a set of steps to get to the end. If this had all been one book, then maybe this would work as the climax, but it doesn’t feel like it strongly stands alone as a story.

Overall though I’ve found the series interesting to read. I think I enjoyed the original series more with its contemporary setting, but this one feels more educational, and assuming the realism extends to at least some historical accuracy, I feel I’ve learnt things.

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One Shot Kill

One Shot Kill

Robert Muchamore

9th September 2023

World War Two is continuing in anger in this entry of the Henderson’s Boys series, as the core characters return to France under cover.

I really like how Muchamore feels like he’s trying to stick to historical realism with these novels, but that does mean that there is real brutality, real violence, and real repercussions. In places shockingly so, and probably something for adults to be aware of when their children are reading.

This is a solid adventure story though, with real risk, real peril, and a solid pace that keeps the reader’s attention throughout.

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Guardian Angel

Guardian Angel

Robert Muchamore

4th July 2021

The second book in the Aramov series (the second spin-off series from Muchamore’s CHERUB series) sees Ryan and Ning take part in a complex series of missions to obtain further information from Ethan, the grandson of the leader of the Aramov Clan of smugglers and general global baddies based in Kyrgyzstan.

As always with these novels, Muchamore does not pull punches in depicting a detailedly realistic world, with violence being an everyday occurrence, and events and decisions having repercussions which other children’s novels would choose to avoid or brush over. To me this makes it a far more compelling read, but some parents of younger readers might choose to believe this is inappropriate.

I enjoyed this story, and raced through it in just two days.

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The Prisoner

The Prisoner

Robert Muchamore

19th December 2020

The fifth Henderson's Boys (a spin-off of the author's CHERUB series) novel focusses on Marc, one of the young protagonsits of the series, who is being held prisoner in Germany during World War Two.

As with all Muchamore's novels that I've read, the focus is on presenting a realistic character - one with all the usual human urges and foibles - and a realistic setting - with all the dangers and where necessary graphic depictions.

The WW2 setting really lends itself to the style of these novels, and the author does not hold back with trying to paint as real as possible a picture of what life was like - unlike other authors who in comparisson are clearly holding back and brushing over some of the harsh realities. This is to me what makes these novels great, but some readers might find the level of detail in a novel aimed at a younger audience too much.

This is a good novel with a solid plot which develops at a good pace. I'm really glad to have found this series.

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People's Republic

People's Republic

Robert Muchamore

3rd May 2020

Having written 12 novels in the original Cherub series, Robert Muchamore found himself with a main character who had now outgrown his role, and so we return in 'Series Two' with an all new main cast (suplemented by returning supporting characters) as Ryan heads out on his first mission.

I was slightly concerned after finding the original series to be a fantastic set of stories for real worl teenagers, that Muchamore might not be able to catch lightning again - but he does, and his new characters are as rich, compelling, and totally believable.

The author doesn't shy away from telling things as they are - and as the cover clearly indicates these novels aren't intended for younger audiences. The adventures the characters encounter are presented with realistic levels of risk, and not everything is going to be okay for everyone at the end of the day.

In an interesting take, it seems that this set of novels are going to form a multi-book plot arc (as well as continuing the trend of character arcs spanning multiple novels), which hopefully will allow the author to continue to explore deeper situations and provide more thrilling, realistic adventures.

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Grey Wolves

Grey Wolves

Robert Muchamore

1st September 2019

Grey Wolves is the fourth novel in the Cherus prequel series ‘Henderson’s Boys’, set in the early days of the youthful secret agent service during World War Two. This time, Henderson has taken a group of his young operatives to occupied France.

As usual, Muchamore’s sense of realism prevails - his are some of the most authentic books aimed at teens that I’ve read, and the historical setting provides an opportunity to describe the realities of day to day living under the Nazis that is brutal and honest.

While the main plot is pretty solid, it lacks some of the finesse of Muchamore’s earlier modern-day works, and seems a little more straightforward. The constant presence of Henderson as a main character doesn’t help, as it makes the story feel less focussed on the children. The secondary plots are far more interesting, dealing with the character interactions and the setting - although some remain fairly adult in focus.

A good book, but not one that particularly stands out within the series.

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Shadow Wave

Shadow Wave

Robert Muchamore

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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