Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Vintage Reads Review: The Recruit

The Recruit (CHERUB, 1) by Robert Muchamore, 2005 (originally published in 2004). 352 pages. Published by Simon Pulse. Source: Own/Bought.
CHERUB agents are highly trained, extremely talented—and all under the age of seventeen. For official purposes, these agents do not exist. They are sent out on missions to spy on terrorists, hack into crucial documents, and gather intel on global threats—all without gadgets or weapons. It is an exceptionally dangerous job, but these agents have one crucial advantage: adults never suspect that teens are spying on them.
James is the latest CHERUB recruit. He’s a bit of a troublemaker, but he’s also brilliant. And CHERUB needs him. James has no idea what to expect, but he’s out of options. Before he can start in the field he must first survive one hundred grueling days of basic training, where even the toughest recruits don’t make it to the end...
First Sentence:
James Choke hated Combined Science.
A big thanks to all you lovelies who voted for The Recruit for Vintages Reads. I definitely enjoyed being able to re-read this one for the fourth time (makes me really want to get on re-reading the other five I have).

Ya'll know I love a good YA book about spies, so it should be no surprise that I loved reading The Recruit. But the shocker is that I sometimes like it more than the Alex Rider books, which I absolutely adore. The reason The Recruit stands out a little more from most spy books is that the CHERUB agents are not accessorized with those oh so handy gadgets that other spies seem to depend upon, and that they have to rely more upon brains and luck to accomplish the job.

I really liked the progression of the plot in The Recruit and how the story was built up throughout the entire book. I felt that Mr. Muchamore did an excellent job of balancing out James's story before and after his arrival and initiation into the CHERUB ranks. I also loved the fact that each of the characters were flawed and in no way perfect, it definitely made them seem...well human and not like they had been preparing for this their whole lives. *coughalexridercough* 

One of the most intense parts of The Recruit would have to be when James goes through basic training. 100 days of grueling training with three of the meanest instructors that CHERUB has to offer. I liked how
basic training wasn't sugar coated and made to seem like the whole spy thing would be just a stroll through the park with no chance of true danger.  It was definitely (dare I say it) nice to see a YA book were ones mess-ups could potentially have dire consequences and if you ask me the book was better for that minor detail.

I found James to be a pretty interesting character, from how trouble seemed to both be attracted to him and that he sometimes sought it out. While James is the most likable character at the beginning of the book, I think that he probably undergoes one of the biggest changes personality wise in that he goes from having entirely too much freedom with no consequences to finally realizing that his actions can (and most of the time) will have adverse consequences to him and others.
Oh gosh, my favorite thing about The Recruit, well that would have to be that the missions that the CHERUB agents undertake are a little more realistic then what you see in some of the other spy books out there. Oh, and how at the beginning of the book there's a little back story on when/how CHERUB came into being, along with the nifty epilogue at the end of the book that tells you what happened to the baddies (and other people).
     I have two things that I didn't like about this book. 1.) I not sure how things are across the pond, but I feel that there was entirely too much snogging going on, especially since James (the main character) was only twelve years old in this installment. 2.) I'm sure it’s been fixed when the series was re-printed, but my edition of The Recruit has a ton of errors in it. From misspelled words, to sentences missing a key word, and even sometimes the wrong word used (like, two instead of to).

Final Verdict: The Recruit perfect for the reluctant boy reader.

The Recruit earns 5 out of 5 pineapples.

Other CHERUB books:
The Recruit
The Dealer
Maximum Security
The Killing
Divine Madness
Man Vs Beast
The Fall 
Mad Dogs
The Sleepwalker
Dark Sun (novella)
The General
Brigands MC
Shadow Wave 

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