Robert Muchamore’s eagerly anticipated new series takes him away from the world of Cherub and young espionage entirely and into the heady environs of music and fame. Rock War tells the story of three groups of young people: Jay who lives above a chip shop with his very large family, Summer whose life is plagued by asthma and who lives in a council flat, and Dylan who goes to boarding school and has little musical talent but technical ability and understanding. The story explores the backgrounds and lives of each young person, eventually bringing them together in a cacophonous crescendo when their bands are pitted against one another.
As with the Cherub books, Muchamore’s great skill is in painting young characters that feel real with a broad brushstroke so that readers are able to transpose their lives and concerns onto them. The music background is well selected, joining a band is almost a metaphor for the rites of passage between childhood and adulthood and Muchamore explores this hinterland with fluid ease and skill and considers the religion-like infatuation with fame and gain. A strong start for a promising new series.