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on 22 October 2009
I have been reading a lot of older children's fiction lately, much of it excellent, but this series is in a class of it's own. I would have given it 10 stars if it was an option. I read the first book and then immediately ordered the other nine in the series and read them back to back and my husband, who is not such a voracious reader, did the same - they are that good. It is worth starting with The Recruit as the characters and the back stories do develop through the series, although the plots stand alone in each book. Any child over the age of 10 ought to love them - I bought them for all my nieces and nephews and even the ones who don't normally read, were totally engrossed by them. I also read some Alex Rider to compare and have to say they are not a patch on Cherub - possibly a good start for the younger readers but Alex Rider felt very one dimensional after reading Robert Muchamore.

The basic premise of the books is that children who are orphaned or abandoned are recruited to a secret service (Cherub)that uses children as spies (because no-one suspects children). They have to be clever with potential but the main characters, James and Lauren, definitely comes from the wrong side of the tracks so not quite so snobby as some novels in a similar vein. However, unlike most orphans in fiction, these children are not to be pitied; they are an elite force and get the best education, the best computers, great bedrooms with en-suite facilities and stuff that all kids aspire to. The plots are gripping and deal with contemporary issues such as drugs, child prostitution, animal rights, religious cults and terrorism in a way that younger readers can understand without ever patronising them. The plots are interwoven with the challenges of day to day teenage life, relationships, exams, homework and bullying teachers and the main characters develop throughout the series. As with all the best fiction, the author manages to weave a strong vein of humour through the books, they made me laugh out loud at times.

If you are worried about teenage girls fictional and media influences, you will love these books. Lauren, the little sister, takes a lead role in later books and is a great role model for young girls in terms of being fit and strong (rather than slim), studying hard to achieve results and beating the boys. I am the wrong side of 40 and well aware of all the healthy eating messages etc but still felt inspired to get to the gym after reading these books! None of this is done in a preachy way - the strongest message about healthy eating came in the novel about religious cults, Divine Madness, showing how you can control people with blood sugar rushes to create hysteria and to keep them physically and mentally weak with poor nutrition (this was probably my favourite in the whole series). The moral ambiguities are not skimmed here, Muchamore does not offer any trite right/wrong solutions and I think the books are better for it. All the main characters are fully rounded, both James and Lauren behave in ways which are morally suspect on occasions because they are human and insecure, but they have to address the consequences of their behaviour and the impact on their friends and on each other. This is adult fiction for young readers which all adults and older children will enjoy. Just buy the whole series now because you will really will wish it was true!!
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on 1 August 2011
I've read every book in the series and although some are better than others I'd highly recommend CHERUB to anyone. This is supposedly a teenage boys series but I am a teenage girl and did really enjoy them. Robert Muchamore's new book (People's Republic) is coming out in four days time I am so excited and I will definitely be buying.

The Recruit is the first in the cherub series and in this book the protagonist, James Adams live changes drastically. At the beginning James Adams is a bored teenager, with excellent capabilities but is far to lazy to reach them, he is rich but living in a council estate because his mum earns her money running a huge shoplifting organization from their living room whilst stuffing herself full of chocolates and alcohol-needless to say she is grossly overweight. Then one day after school after getting tipsy with his half-sister Lauren Onions' father Ron Onions, she dies, leaving James living in a children's home and Lauren at Ron's. James then turns bad, joining a gang, and stealing, this results in James and eventually Lauren being recruited by Cherub, a branch off the secret service that only recruits children. And that's where the adventure begins...

Just in case of any confusion here is the order of the Cherub Series

1. The Recruit
2. Class A
3. Maximum Security
4. The Killing
5. Divine Madness
6. Man Vs Beast
7. The Fall
8. Mad Dogs
9. The Sleepwalker
10. The General
11. Brigands Mc
12. Shadow Wave
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on 3 June 2004
Cherub: The Recruit is an excellent book based on a secret organization that uses children as spies. The plot is not a James Bond fiction. There are no super-villains, no high-tech gadgets, and no impossible missions that are miraculously completed. It is this realism that is the main attraction of this fantastic book.
In Cherub: The Recruit, a normal boy called James is enrolled in the secret organisation Cherub. In the book he is put through basic training and sent on his first mission. You'll find many interesting characters, including instructors, friends, and terrorists. Every character has a personality that is shown to the highest degree which could not be done by some of the best authors I know.
The plot is a superb. It doesn't just show James going there, taking part in a mission, and returning home. It includes the ethics and emotions of James, the friendships he has with other characters, all with their own personalities being excellently shown. There are different twists that happen every time you think you know what is coming next. This book is the most unique spy story I have ever read, and shows nothing other than truly pure talent from the author. I recommend it to everyone. Even those who don't enjoy spy genres will take pleasure in reading this book. I cannot wait for a sequel! And I'm sure that those that have read it will know what I mean. Peter(13)
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on 8 February 2011
The Recruit starts with a normal couch potato kind of person called James Adams and his little sister Lauren Adams. James is always in trouble at school and his mum employs people to shoplift for her while she eats and sleeps all day. Then one day James comes home to find his mother dead and he and his sister are taken to an orphanage. Lauren goes with her stepdad but James stays and gets involved with a gang and they make him try to steal beer from an off- licence but gets caught and ends up at the police station. James is questioned and then let off of all charges, but he gets a general anaesthetic and taken somewhere deep in the English countryside. James wakes up to find himself in a room with a bed and as he looks out of the window he sees a running track: The Cherub Training facility.

This book is an exciting and thrilling book and captures you from the first page. In every book in the Cherub series there is a mission that is always exciting and cool. But to find out what Cherub is you'll have to read this book. Before this book I hardly read at all but once I read The Recruit I can't stop reading them and I'm already on the 7th book. There are 13 books in the series so far, some of these being The Recruit, Class A, Maximum Security, The Killing, Divine Madness, The Fall (the one I'm on now) and many more. I would rate this book 10/10 because of the thrill and excitement on every page. I would definitely recommend this book.
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on 9 April 2009
I bought this book for my 11 year old son to encourage him to read more.It did the trick!!He couldn't put it down.The content is quite gritty and more current than the usual reading matter for boys his age but I think that's why he enjoyed it so much .He could identify with the characters and conected with this series of books in a way he has never done with others before.He has already read several of the follow on titles and enjoyed the Henderson Boy's book as well.If spy adventures are your thing this is a deffinate must read.
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on 9 March 2007
Now before i start, i have to admit that i am 22 yers old, but i like kids fiction and half the time its far more intresting than adult fiction, i have to say that along with harry potter, the cherub series is my favorite series of books and has been since this "The Recruit" first came out.

The story starts with James (the main character) and his life. He is one of those bright kids who could do well, but doesnt want to and consequently begins to get into trouble with the police.

After his mum dies, James eneds up in a childrens home and from there is recruited into cherub where james has to conquer in greatest fear (swimming) and make his self ready for basic training. And that is where the fun starts.

I have to say that this series should be commended. It is streetwise for children of today and aswell as dealing with some - with what could be called - very contrevercial issues to be placed in childrens books: ie, this books explores the relms of bio-terrorism, and in the following books, class a drugs, the arizona penal system, murder, brain washing religious cults, animal rights, but to name some of it.

The books explores James as a person shows how he grows and develops and as the book says "These kids may be CHERUB's, but they're still kids" and is written and as well as being an undercover spy, james has to deal with school, girls and other issues that you face as you grow up.

THIS IS A MUST!!!!!!!!!!!
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on 29 March 2005
This book is sooo cool. The characters are believable and totally original and the plots are realistic, witty and carismatic.
James Choke is about as normal as an 11 yr old boy can be with no father and a deceased mother. He's taken into care while his sister Lauren goes to live with her hated father. James is recruited by CHERUB, a school where children learn survival skills, combat and weaponary. This school is the child version of the British intelligence.
For the first time in his life James enjoys school and fits in. He makes new friends who each have a tragic story to tell. At CHERUB they are a family and they'll look after their own because they have nobody else.
This book is funny yet full of tension, after reading everyone wants to be a part of CHERUB and I don't blame them. Everyone should read this book.
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on 10 November 2006
This is more realistic and grittier than the Alex Rider books, with as much danger and adventure. It is surprising at every turn and you will not want to put it down.

The mission comes towards the end of the book and it is not as interesting as all that has come before it but that doesn't matter as the characters are so interesting and appealing. It will make you want to read the rest of the series straight away.

Out of all of the new books about young boys as spies, this and the Jimmy Coates series are the best, better than SIlverfin or Alex Rider. So buy this and all the other Cherub books and also buy Jimmy Coates: Killer by Joe Craig.

They are AMAZING BOOKS!
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James mum is a thief. He wants for nothing and has everything. He is very smart but doesn't bother using it. He accidentally hurts a girl and gets in trouble when his mum suddenly dies. His sister is placed with her father and James is placed in a childrens home. He gets involved with some bad kids in the home and is heading for more trouble when he gets sent to see a doctor. Next thing he knows he wakes up in a strange place. He is told that it is a training center for CHERUBs, young spies. He is offered a place because he is smart and the kind of person they want but is told it will be tough and he has to stick to the rules or else. He accepts and from that moment his life changes!
I've heard of this series before but haven't read it. The premise sounded awesome. Kid spies!!! While I did enjoy it, there were a few things that annoyed me. I'm going to get the bad stuff out of the way first.
What I didn't like:
I found it hard to connect to James. At the start he is like a spoiled child, he losses his temper with a girl in school and slams her against the wall. Then he shoves his teacher and causes her to fall!! He gets into trouble alot and is just all round a thug in the making. He is ashamed to be seen with his mother because she is fat. He wasn't easy to like but saying that he did grow on me. I still didn't like him but I didn't hate him either.
The first half of the book was so slow. He didn't get to the CHERUB faculty till then and he was so dislikable in the first part that I wasn't going to keep reading.
Jamess' mission. It wasn't as action packed or as good as I would of liked.
Now what I liked!!
The concept of the CHERUB facility was awesome. Kids trained as spies because adults wouldn't suspect them. They get to use cool gadgets, travel the world and become something special, so what child would turn it down. They have an intensive 100 day training course that pushes them to their limits. Each stage of training has a different colour shirt with Black being the highest.
The book really takes off in the second half, mostly. From the training till James first mission it was action packed, fast paced and intense. The missions they do are dangerous so they have to be prepared in every way. They still go to school and have to learn different languages, self defense etc. I really enjoyed that part of the book.
Overall its a solid start to what I imagine is a good series. I'm not sure if its for me because the MC was so unlikable but I do think that it would appeal to teenagers.
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on 27 March 2009
INTRODUCTION

The Recruit is a thrilling book full of spies, terrorists and pretty girls and it is also very amusing.

AGE RANGE

There are a few fights and swear words so I would say only people above the age of ten should read this (but I recommend it to everyone!)

RATING

Five stars. It's a fantastic book.

SUMMARY

The Recruit is the first book in the hilarious, action-packed CHERUB series. James Adams' life starts to go downhill when he attacks a girl in his science class and his mother dies. He is sent to a grotty children's home, where he makes friends with his roommate Kyle Blueman. The next day he finds himself in a huge complex - CHERUB Campus. There an old man, known by the kids at CHERUB as Mac, who tells him what the people at CHERUB do. CHERUB is a top secret organization hidden away in the English countryside which recruits children to become spies for MI5. Why children, you ask? Because criminals never suspect that kids are spying on them. After being told the aims of CHERUB, James is asked to complete a variety of tests, from an assault course to killing a chicken with a Biro. James manages to pass and soon finds himself on the tough, 100 day training course which all new CHERUB recruits have to complete before they are allowed to go on missions. With the help of Hong Kong born Kerry Chang, James manages to get through the extreme 2400 hours of exercise, education and survival training, and soon finds himself on his first mission, which involves a bunch of hippies, a huge terrorist organization called Help Earth and a pretty girl named Joanna Ribble.
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