Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Capture (K. A. Applegate)

The Capture
(The Animorphs series, Book 6)
K. A. Applegate
Fiction, YA Sci-Fi
***** (Great)

NOTE: In honor of the recent re-release, I'm finally posting individual reviews of the entire Animorphs series.

DESCRIPTION: It seems like years ago, when the lives of Jake and his friends changed so drastically - and so literally. Before then, they had no idea that aliens were real, let alone visiting Earth. They'd never heard of the Andalites and their enemies, the parasitic Yeerks who, even now, were invading the planet in their endless quest for new host species. And they certainly never thought that, thanks to the technological gift of a dying Andalite warrior, they'd be able to transform into animals, their one weapon against the Yeerk invasion. But now, life as an Animorph almost seems normal.
Jake's brother, Tom, has been rising swiftly through the ranks as a Controller (as Yeerk-infested lifeforms are known.) Now, Tom's part of a new scheme to use hospitals as "recruitment" centers. As an Animorph, Jake knows he has to stop them by any means possible. As a boy, he can't reconcile himself to the cost: if Tom's plan fails, the invasion leader Visser Three won't spare the innocent host body when punishing the Yeerk. Then a scouting mission goes horribly wrong. Suddenly, it's no longer just Tom's life on the line. It's Jake's... because, now, Jake isn't just an Animorph.
He's a Controller.

REVIEW: The whole Animorphs series has the feel of episodic TV. (There was, actually, a short-lived Animorphs TV series on Nickelodeon, but the less said about that, the better...) In that context, The Capture would've been the sweeps-week special. Like the best of the books, Applegate delivers an action-packed story that's not afraid of introspection or emotional growth. Jake's experience as a Controller gives him some surprising insights into the mind of his enemy, not to mention the invasion as a whole. As the Yeerk learns, it's not just the Animorphs the invaders have to worry about on this planet - a theme that's picked up in several later installments. A great installment in a fun thrill-ride of a series.
And I know I'm getting ahead of the re-release schedule... dang it, I just can't stop myself!

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