CHERUB is an spy agency where the agents are children. Nobody would suspect a child to be dangerous because many adults think children don’t know anything and aren’t able of doing anything. So they are ideal spies. They can enter places and find out things adults wouldn’t be allowed to.
The Recruit is the first book in the CHERUB series, so the first chapters are an introduction to the whole series. We learn who James, the main character, is.
The next few chapters deal with James’ hard training and the last part of the book is his first mission. He has to find out if some people of a community are related to a terrorist group.
James is a young boy who doesn’t pay attention in school and gets frequently in trouble. Shortly after the death of his mother he is contacted by CHERUB with the offer to be trained to become a spy.
When reading all the things the young spies have to do and learn it is easy to forget that the characters are just teenagers if not for their behaviour. Other than his new job, James is a more or less normal boy. He gets in trouble, worries about his little sister and doesn’t know what to do with his life.
After finishing his training we still see that James is a teenage boy. During his first mission he notices he likes a girl and starts to be careless and needs to be reminded of what he should be doing.
I liked this book. Not only because the characters are not perfect, but because they are believable (if you believe that teenagers can be spies). The spies show great maturity for some things, but we can still see how young they really are.
It is interesting to see that the bad people are not all bad. They have families they love and are rather polite and not a danger to those they don’t consider their enemies. This creates an inner conflict for James, as he realizes there are not just good and bad people in the world, but many in-betweens.
The book is aimed at teenagers so some parts are predictable. We know that James will somehow pass the training, because he is the main character and is going to become a spy. We also know that he is not going to be killed and that his mission will have a happy ending. Although happy, like good and bad, depends on the point of view, as we see in the end.
But this doesn’t make this novel less enjoyable. Even though we know that James will pass his training and finish his mission it is nice to see how. And who is guilty of being a terrorist is a mystery until the end.
It was a very entertaining book and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.