The blurb reads
“Cluck The Undercover Chicken” is a love story.
Wait, that isn’t it.
It’s an action adventure filled with thrills, intrigue and danger.
Well, it does have that.
It has an action hero that kids can look up to.
That definitely isn’t true, despite what that “hero” thinks.
Sigh…here’s the truth.
It’s a story about a rooster who can’t stand being called a rooster, who also spends his time arguing with the writer of the book, while trying to save his planet (made of a mutated egg shell) from a crazed hen who wants equal rights…as long as she is absolute ruler.
And you think you have problems.
“Cluck” is a book that middle aged-kids (and perhaps some adults) will enjoy. An agent with “The Eggency”, Cluck is the best at what he does. Sadly, his ego is as massive as his skills.
Besides being blinded by his arrogance, Cluck is helped along by “ST”, the writer of his adventures and a voice only he can hear. While this causes some to question his sanity, together they make an uneasy, but successful partnership.
When a hen named “The Fan” (named because she has a deadly hand fan with her at all times) forms a worldwide cult in order to take over the planet, it’s up to Cluck to toss a feather in her plans…if his ego doesn’t trip him up first.
This book caught my attention because of its catchy title. An Undercover Chicken? What the hoot?
The book starts off explaining the rather unlikely scenario of how eggs and indeed chicken came to inhabit a planet far off from Earth. The book is a narration and dialogue between ST, the only human left on the planet and Cluck.
Cluck is a Bond-like Agent who the ‘Eggency’ depends upon for to get them and indeed the entire planet out of trouble. Cluck has a tough task ahead of him when the Eggency finds their old agent fried to crisp. Cluck is sent in to counter the “FAN”. How he counters the hen-trouble and saves the planet forms the crux of the book.
There were quite a few issues in this book, according to me.
Firstly, the book is positioned as a Kids book. But some of the interaction between Cluck and ST didn’t feel like it was something a kid would understand. Why did ST keep riling Cluck? How will a 10 year old suppose, understand a basic sarcastic dialogue? Everything is so black and white at that stage. You’re either the good guy or the bad guy.
Secondly, I had a problem with Cluck, the main character itself. Every Bond movie survives on all the hype around the central character. Cluck seemed through the whole narrative, to be so so egoistic and so cocky that it was difficult to connect to him. Once I cannot connect to the central character, I find it difficult to read the book.
One of the reviewers mentioned this point (=I read it just as I was hunting for the blurb right now!), that the book, almost three-fourths of it was simply an interaction between Cluck and ST. I have to agree so much.
The book had so little in terms of action. Even the dialogue between Cluck and ST wasn’t inspiring. In no way could the dialogue or even the action be categorised as a children’s book. The whole concept of Fan and her taking over the world had so little description. And since when does evil music signify something bad? Children surely need something more than “evil music” to feel that a character is evil.
The end was quite disappointing. The way Cluck defeats the Fan made NO sense to me! And why does ST have to prompt Cluck to do things and get out of sticky situations? This from a Super Undercover Agent with a lot of brains! A lot of ego and a whole lot of jibber-jabber is what came across to me.
I’ve grown up on childrens’ books which treated the audience as such. This book, unfortunately, didn’t respect the audience and for that I really slam it hard. A good beta reader would have pointed out many of my grouses.
My Rating: 2/5
I’d recommend better children’s series and books! This one is a bit of a NO-NO for me!