The International Writers Magazine: Children's Reviews

Man V Beast by Robert Muchamore
Hodder Children’s Books, 2006
ISBN 0 340 91169 7

Rebecca Denmark review

The story starts with a vicious attack on a defenseless mother of two Christine Pierce, which leaves her blind. Christine worked at the animal testing company Malarek research. The attacker leaves a threatening message

This quote is a brilliant summary for the rest of the story in which we see our heroes Kyle, James and Lauren go under cover to seek out the terrorist animal rights campaigners.

The young heroes belong to a government run force called CHERUBS whose students all have to under go 100 days of grueling training. The training includes harsh army exercise where the teenagers are taught karate, how to survive out in the wild and to kill someone in five different ways! The children are called on missions much like the mission in the story. This mission sees the main characters propelled into the dark and horrifying world of terrorism and dealing with issues such as arson attacks, kidnap and human torture. The story portrays the character of Viv a 19 year old vegan who seeks to find a more action motivated protest group. When he joins the terrorist action group the AFA (Animal Freedom Army) we see a grotesque change in a young man who suddenly finds comedy in human torture. He seeks to get revenge on those who allow cruelty to animals.

At the beginning of Man vs. Beast the reader is informed in detail about the background of the CHERUB society and their aims. The way Robert Muchamore writes about the near death experiences accounted by the children really entices the reader and makes them wish they could also become a CHERUB, go on under cover missions and live on the campus. The main characters are also written in a way that would attract readers to the book. Lauren’s cool character and quick wit will leave many younger and even older teen girls wanting to be her. James cheeky, slightly arrogant character creates a good amount tension because of his tendency to become aggressive when provoked. Also Kyle’s more serious and mature character is a good contrast to the other younger CHERUBS.

Not only does Man vs. Beast discuss the issues surrounding animal testing in the modern world it also deals with teenage emotions, sibling rivalry and blackmail. Example of this includes James being uncomfortable with Kyle being gay and Lauren blackmailing James about cheating on his girlfriend.
All in all Man vs. Beast is a very well written book that has the potential to capture the attention of young teenagers and adults alike. For me it was an extremely exciting read and shed some light and information to what really goes on behind closed doors in the "hush hush" business that is animal testing.
© Rebecca Denmark Oct 22nd 2006

See alt Review of this book here

Rebecca studies Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth
Children Reviews


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