Monday, May 31, 2010

DOUBLE REVIEW: " Cherub - The Recruit " by Robert Muchamore and " The Gardener " by S.A. Bodeen


ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE.
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 critical documents, and gather intel on global threats- all without gadgets or weapons. It is an extremely 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 some of the toughest recruits don't make it to the end...

My Review:

I must say that I really enjoyed CHERUB. FIrst of all, it was really easy reading and it left me most hungry for the rest of the series. Problem is that it was released over-seas in it's entirety but have only begun here in the U.S. which means we have to wait for the release of future installments that are technically already released. I know you can obtain books from other countries, but these are impossible to find. Now that is out of the way, let's move on to the story.

James and his sister are orphaned by their mother and Jame's step dad, who is also his sister's real dad takes her into custody and wants nothing to do with James. He ends up in a few homes until finally he is brought to CHERUB HQ and given the opportunity to join this elite group of "kid" spys. He decides to give it a shot and then goes through the most dreadful 100 days of his life through basic training. Once he makes it out, he is sent on his first mission.

In this mission, there is a sort of hippie crowd I would relate to the Woodstock type but only 1/1000th of the scale. They have lived in this area for quite some time and some of the tribes members are suspected of terrorism. His job- to infiltrate their circle and find out what he can in order to prevent a massive attack.

I will not go into detail about the mission but will tell you that it was really cool to read. It has everything you would want out of a tween espionage story. I like the twist of having kids a lot as it makes the book quite enjoyable. At the end, Jame's little sister joins him at Cherub after his first successful mission. Again, a bit upset that future adventures are sort of released and it has been difficult for me to get my hands on. Besides that minor complaint, I am ready to continue on the CHERUB missions for sure. I will continue the series either as it comes out or as quick as I can get my hands on them. Definitely a light read that you will not regret.


Mason isn't supposed to know
about the Greenhouse. He isn't supposed to meet the beautiful girl who is part of the experiment, and who doesn't need food or water to survive.

Now, Mason is on the run with the girl. And the Gardener, who is the mysterious mastermind of an institution that grows humans, wants them both, dead or alive.

My Review:

Since "The Compound," I have been a fan of S.A. Bodeen and continue to be after "The Gardener." I will be the first to say that her work from the 2 that I have read so far reminds me of a twilight zone sort of short story collection. Her mind is definitely working in areas that most of ours does not. Overly creative and imaginative is the best way to describe how her mind works.

I think for this one giving you the basic plot will be plenty enough to convince you that you must read more. That, with my thumbs up that you will want to continue and read on should make this an addition to your TBR pile. I'm not saying to go out and buy it today, but definitely add it for some time when you have a solid 3 hours and want to get a whole book in during that time. I guess that's the best way to describe it.

So, the plot...Well, as I am thinking about what to write, I am realizing that it is even harder to explain than I thought. I will just spill it and hope you guys can put the pieces together. Mason lives with his mom who works in some sort of nursing home. Their town is controlled by this giant corporation that has a strange aura to it. Weird, and I mean weird stuff goes on with them. Mason meets this girl (where and how he meets her are cool and are what really get you engaged in the story) who is supposed to have had a severe accident and is basically a moving vegetable. He somehow (and you have to read how because it is important to the story) gets her to snap out of it, kind of, and act somewhat like a human. Only thing is she wants to get away and fast. Get away from "The Gardener." 

Well, Mason make a life changing decision to take the girl on the run from this "Gardener" and soon realizes she doesn't eat much or drink much, though he can not figure out why or how. It turns out that this an a huge web that gets untangled at the end of the book. What you find out is- (and NO spoilers here!) Who is Mason's dad that he has only seen in a video tape that only shows his body from the neck down? Who is this girl and what the heck is up with her? What experiment is going on and who is behind it- an experiment that messes with mother nature and seems like something that is just plain WrOnG! How does Mason tie together in all of this mess? 

The book moves quick and you will definitely read it straight through in a sitting or 2 tops. Bodeen does a great job of taking a bunch of different situations and tying them together very well in what happened to be an all out mega ending where everything came together and human morals were seriously questioned. Another great one, I will definitely continue to read Bodeen's new work and will even venture back to the beginning and see what she is really all about. She get's an A for Gardener.

DAVE

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