Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Cherub: Divine Madness

Cherub: Divine Madness

Robert Muchamore
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Simon and Schuster, 2013   ISBN: 978-1442413641

In 2005 an electronic surveillance systems intercepts a message between “two unknown parties,” in which mention is made of a possible attack being launched by Help Earth, an ecoterrorism organization. It is decided that agents will be sent to spy on an environmental activist in Hong Kong whose name is linked to the operation. Since the activist, Clyde Xu, is sixteen, it is decided that the best people to watch him would be other teenagers. Three CHERUB agents, all of whom are under the age of seventeen, are sent to Hong Kong to get close to Clyde Xu. The young people do indeed find out about Clyde’s next mission and manage to prevent a plane full of oil executives and senior staff members from being blown up. They also discover that Help Earth has a connection to a religious cult called the Survivors. The investments the cult has been making appear to be tied to Help Earth terrorist attacks.

   Since it is vital to shut down Help Earth, or at least to make it harder for them to conduct terrorist attacks, James, his sister Lauren, and Dana (who are all CHERUB agents) are given the job of infiltrating the Survivors so that they can find out more about the cult and its financial affairs. James, Lauren, Dana and Abigail, an adult Australian secret service agent, pose as a family who move into a new house in Brisbane. They are not there long before Survivor children in the local school invite James and his ‘family’ to attend a meeting at the local Survivor commune.

   It isn’t long before James and the other agents are invited to join the Survivors, and slowly but surely they become members of the cult. All four of them have been trained to deal with the brainwashing that the cult members practice, but they still find it hard to play the parts they are supposed to play without being sucked in by the Survivors.

   As per their plan, James and Lauren end up in the Survivor boarding school which in a complex called The Ark. The facility is the heart of the cult and it is where the kids will hopefully be able to gather intel on the cult and its connection to Help Earth. The problem is that the schedule at the school is grueling, the kids are always watched, and the Survivors are a very suspicious lot. James and Lauren are not sure how they are going to be able to get into the cult leader’s quarters, but they know that the clock is ticking and they have to find something before Help Earth launches another attack.

   In this fifth CHERUB title, James, Lauren, and their allies face some of the biggest challenges of their careers. Trying to understand how the cult works is dangerous, and the young people have to cope with being bullied, brainwashed, deprived of sleep and decent food, and grueling work schedules. Readers will quickly get caught up in the exciting and unpredictable narrative, and they will enjoy seeing how the teenagers change and adapt as the story unfolds.