Newest Review: ... some sexual situations, there is profanity, and of course violence. There is also some mention of drugs. I understand these books have b... more
Cherub book 4
Cherub: The Killing - Robert Muchamore
Member Name: broxi3781
Cherub: The Killing - Robert Muchamore
Advantages: Good story, realistic characters.
Disadvantages: You still have to get past the idea of children being employed as undercover agents.
I have been working my way through Robert Muchamore's CHERUB series since being roped in with an offer from Amazon on the first book at only 74 pence delivered. The subsequent books have cost me more, but only one has gone over £3, so all in all it isn't too dear. There are at least 11 titles in the series though so it does add up. I had originally started reading Muchamore with his Henderson's Boy's series, which I do prefer to this line, but that is more a matter of personal taste than any problem with this series. I will point out, that both series are meant to be about children acting as spies, but I find the CHERUB series has children acting more as undercover police agents than spies per say. Henderson's Boys on the other hand, takes us back to the formation of the CHERUB unit, during the second world war, in which children are involved in espionage behind enemy lines.
Henderson's books are all billed as "Young Adult". They have developed a wide following among adult readers as well, and I honestly do enjoy the books. I had originally thought to share them with my son, but he is only 7, and I do not feel these books are suitable for such a young child. The publisher agrees and each book is clearly labeled "Not suitable for younger readers". I would place the ideal age range for these books as at least age 10 - and more likely age 12+. There are some sexual situations, there is profanity, and of course violence. There is also some mention of drugs. I understand these books have been pulled from some American school libraries due to language, but I really don't think this is an issue for older children. I wouldn't have a problem with my son reading this from about age 10 - I'm pretty sure most children are quite aware of sex by this age and swear words have never bothered me. My son knows I don't consider this language appropriate for our family, but what other people do is their own business. Daddy - however gets an exemption from the family ban on curse words. I honestly can not see a teenager coming across anything new in these books, but if buying for a younger child - I very strongly recommend reading this book yourself first.
This series has two main themes running through it. The first is James' relationship with his friends at CHERUB - which is on Rocky ground after James loses his temper and hurts a younger child. He ends up a social pariah for awhile, and the feelings of depression and loneliness come through very strongly. I think many teens and preteens will relate to this. Everyone feels like a mistake is the end of the world at some point when they are young - but we do get through difficult situations, and hopefully learn from our mistakes, and I feel the book sets a good example in this.
The second, and dominate plot theme is of course the mission. This book sees James reunited with Dave on an undercover to investigate a petty crook who has suddenly become very wealthy. They accidentally stumble on information that opens the proverbial can of worms - leading to a murder investigation and uncovering major police corruption. There is a very clear cut bad guy in this, and the villains are far less likable than most of the ones in this series, but they do still have a few redeeming qualities - such as being reasonably caring parents.
Their cover story is of two brothers living alone with 17 year old Dave being given temporary guardianship of his 13 year old brother. This plays into a very common child hood fantasy of life without adults - but the boys handle it quite responsibly. They face the trials and tribulations of any teenager and I do feel this will make young readers relate to the book. There are sexual situations, and a limited amount of description I really could have done without, but nothing overly graphic. The young people in this series behave very much the way real teens do, rather than how adults think their own child behaves, and I think this is the cause of conflict for some parents. But I also feel the realism of the interactions between the characters is what makes young readers enjoy this books so much, and this is certainly a series to keep young readers into books. Not every child enjoys Harry Potter or Twilight and there is a real need for books to suit children with different tastes in reading material.
If rating this book as reading material for adults, I would give this 4 stars. I enjoyed, I expect to read it again someday, and I have gone out of my way to purchase further books in the series. I should have the whole collection soon and will be keeping the set. I did enjoy the author's Henderson's Boys series much more though, and would recommend starting with that series if these interest you.
This is intended as a book for teenagers and I am certain I would have given this 5 stars and absolutely loved this at a younger age. Of course it is hard for an adult to judge a child's likes and dislikes, but I honestly feel this book is perfect for teenage readers. One of the reasons I have been happy enough spending the money on this set is the fact I am certain these books will see plenty of use when my sons are older. They may sit on the shelf for awhile, but collections like this mean there will always be something good to read in our house, even as the boys grow older. While there are plenty of good series out their for children - truly exceptional books for young boys can be hard to find and I feel that this one fits the bill perfectly.
This is the 4th book in the Cherub series, and while this could be read as a stand alone title - I would not recommend it. You would just lose so much of the background information on the main characters, and I feel they would come across a bit flat without the development of the previous books.
Summary: Well written story for young adults and old adults as well..