[REVIEW] People’s Republic – Robert Muchamore

Robert Muchamore
People’s Republic (CHERUB: Aramov Clan, Book 1)
Hachette Hodder Children’s (UK: 5th April 2012; AU: April 2012)
Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

I haven’t bothered with the author’s Henderson’s Boys series, as the excerpt of Book 1 just didn’t appeal. As for the CHERUB series proper, I really enjoyed it until it moved to hardcover. I properly read the first 100 pages each of Brigands M. C. and Shadow Wave, and then “sped-read” the rest (reading only the dialogue). These hardcover books are longer, and I was more interested in campus life than the missions.

I have trouble believing/relating to most teen characters in fiction, but Robert Muchamore’s Cherubs are the ones I like most. They stuff up but own their mistakes, they think and behave age-appropriately, and they’re funny. Admittedly, most books I read are American, so maybe these Brit kids are just a breath of fresh air. In speculative fiction (these teens are spies), the non-spec elements must be as realistic as possible so the spec bits don’t require as much suspension of disbelief. Robert Muchamore has mastered the balance.

After the original CHERUB series comes People’s Republic, Book 1 in this special CHERUB: Aramov Clan trilogy, with new characters as well as cameos from old favourites. Ryan Sharma travels to California, to befriend Ethan Aramov, the descendant of a Kyrgyz crime matriarch.

Meanwhile, rebellious girl Fu Ning needs to leave China fast. Escaping through Kyrgyzstan to England, Ning is captured and tortured by an Aramov Clan member, but later tests to become a CHERUB agent.

Fu Ning is an awesome teen heroine – finally, someone whose story revolves around her and not a romance/stalk. She’s a boxer who becomes a stronger person mentally, and CHERUB can only improve her life.

Ryan and Ethan’s story is far from over, so we have to wait until August for Book 2, Guardian Angel. People’s Republic is a return to form from this great author, and this Aramov Clan instalment is a real page-turner.

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