Rock War by Robert Muchamore

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Rock War by Robert Muchamore

Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: New series from the CHERUB author. It leaves behind the thriller genre in favour of the world of entertainment. But it's just as much as of an action-packed page-turner.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: February 2014
Publisher: Hodder
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1444914537

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Jay comes from a large family - he's one of eight kids squashed into a flat above the chip shop that his mother runs. Jay isn't really like his brothers, who are tough and always in trouble. Jay is skinny and weedy and consumed with musical ambition. But his band, Brontobyte, just doesn't have what it takes, largely thanks to its spoiled brat, hopeless drummer, Tristan. If he wants a future in music, some major changes are in order.

Summer's home life is equally problematic. She lives in a grotty council flat with her grandmother who is on disability benefits for severe asthma. Like Jay, Summer is a good kid. She tries not to break any rules and to do well at school but life is a stressful treadmill of taking care of Nan, dealing with the incompetence of social services and trying to make a tiny budget stretch too far. But Summer has a voice that could move the hardest of hearts and when she's co-opted into Michelle's sister's band, she finally starts to feel as though life isn't all bad.

Dylan is stuck at a very sporty boarding school. He's a lazy, dreamy type and his worst nightmare is rugby. He loves to create music but he despises the discipline of formal instrument lessons. As someone who understands the technicalities of making sound that's good to hear, he is the perfect recruit for Max and Eve's band. Plus, he has access to the studio they need.

These groups are all eventually headed towards Rock War, a TV reality show that is nothing like X Factor...

Rock War is a brand new series from CHERUB author Robert Muchamore. It leaves behind the thriller genre in favour of the world of entertainment. But it's just as much as of an action-packed page-turner. I liked all of the main protagonists. None of them are perfect but they're all absolutely relatable and decent kids at heart. There's a huge cast of supporting characters who take in personalities every kid will recognise from school - the brat, the bully, the emo misery, the geek, and all the rest. Some you can read from the start but others are slightly mysterious. I'm curious about the new drummer Jay meets, Babatunde. And there are plenty of scrapes and adventures and misdeeds and narrow escapes from figures of authority. It's a (rock and) rollercoaster ride for all our bands.

In short, Rock War is quite different to the CHERUB series as it's a drama, not an action thriller. But it has all the ingredients that made CHERUB a success - kids you'll recognise and understand, kids doing things that would send their parents to insanity and beyond, brilliant observation and a great ear for current lingo, a wide enough cast of characters so that there is someone for everyone, and a no-nonsense, getting-on-with-it style that doesn't waste a moment of your reading time.

Will it be a hit? Undoubtedly. Will I read book two? Undoubtedly. Which band did I like best? Jay's band. Of course! Which character did I like best? The enigmatic Babatunde. I bet that drummer has a mad secret or two that we haven't found out about yet!

Muchamore fans - and I know there are many of you! - should get over to the author's website, which has loads of information about this new series. You can even read a sample chapter. You should also know that there is a companion story, Rock War: The Audition, which costs just £1 as it's a part of World Book Day. According to my press sheet, Muchamore is the only YA author to be asked to write a story for World Book Day twice. How cool is that?

Pop! by Catherine Bruton is a funny story about TV reality shows for Muchamore's younger readers. And then there's the story of punk in Naked by Kevin Brooks, which older readers (even those as old as me!) will love.

Buy Rock War by Robert Muchamore at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Rock War by Robert Muchamore at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Rock War by Robert Muchamore at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Rock War by Robert Muchamore at Amazon.com.


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