Saturday, November 17, 2012

Guardian angel by Robert Muchamore

Guardian angel is the sequel to People's Republic so there are ***SPOILERS*** in this review for people who haven't read People's Republic yet.  CHERUB is a fantastic series that is best enjoyed when read in the right order, and this is especially true in the case of this series. 

Ryan is back on campus after he was kicked off his last mission for pushing a senior member of the team - not a shining star on his record.  He has settled back into the routine of the campus, hanging with his mates and (almost) doing his coursework.  Ning is on her basic training, closer to becoming a fully fledged CHERUB agent, only a few more days to go.  Neither of them knows that they are about to be thrust into a new mission, one that involves Ethan Aramov and his family.  Ethan's grandmother is dying of terminal cancer and her son Leonid is plotting to take over the clan business, and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants and he sees his nephew Ethan as nothing more than a pawn in his dangerous game.

Ethan is in need of his guardian angel more than ever, and somehow Ryan has to find a way to slot back into Ethan's life without causing him to be suspicious about what is happening.  As events start to roll faster and faster Ethan finds himself making choices that are a matter of life and death - for him and those around him.  Ethan is not part of clan business because he was raised in America and is too American for some of the family, but he is an Aramov and his grandmother will do what she can to protect him from the other members of the clan - as long as he stays loyal to the family.  This is not a mission for the faint hearted and Ryan has a lot riding on it - hoping that he can prove himself to the others, and himself.

Guardian angel is the second book in the new CHERUB trilogy, and while it is a good book, it feels as though there are pieces missing from the story, as though Muchamore wrote it in a bit of a hurry, or as if the printers forgot to include a few chapters.  It has the same high octane pace, and the characters are still relateable or hateable, but there are times (especially at the beginning) when the flow of the story is lost and you feel like you are missing something (there is a specific example but it would be a spoiler to share it here).  The characters are well developed and it is nice to read about characters that have character flaws, like a really wicked temper, or where the characters make mistakes like everyone else does.  Although the idea of CHERUB is made up (at least that is the official story), the books are so well written and the characters are so genuine that you can imagine some students involved with something like CHERUB in the real world going "yup, that's how it really happens".

Muchamore is one of the best teen writers of this generation.  His writing is real, he doesn't talk down to his readers, and he uses real teen language - or at least it sounds authentic for someone who isn't from the UK and up on all the UK slang.  This series, and later books in the first CHERUB series are best suited to older teen readers as there is mature content including violence, swearing, and criminal activities, but that is a refreshing change from books for teens that fumble with fitting into any category - either pitching too high or too low.  Guardian angel was an exciting and addictive read devoured in an afternoon and I can't wait to read Black Friday to see how the story arc across the novels is brought to a close.

If you like this book then try:
  • People's republic by Robert Muchamore
  • The recruit by Robert Muchamore
  • Subject seven by James A. Moore
  • The Industry by Rose Foster
  • Agent 21 by Chris Ryan
  • XVI by Julia Karr
  • The arrival by Chris Morphew
  • Virals by Kathy Reichs
  • Variant by Robison Wells
  • Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
  • Trafficked by Kim Purcell

Reviewed by Brilla

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