Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Forgotten (K. A. Applegate)

The Forgotten
(The Animorphs series, Book 11)
K. A. Applegate
Fiction, YA Sci-Fi
****+ (Good/Great)

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

DESCRIPTION: Since that first night, back in the abandoned construction site, Jake has been the unofficial leader of the Animorphs team. It wasn't something he ever asked for, or even wanted, but somehow everyone looked to him for answers, for decisions, for battle plans. So now he's the head of the only morph-capable humans on Earth, the only ones who know of the Yeerk invasion. Even the young Andalite warrior-cadet Ax looks to him for decisions. Why can't they see that he's not a leader, that he's just as scared and insecure as any middle-school-aged boy faced with impossible choices? It's enough to drive a boy crazy... and maybe it has.
All day, Jake has been having hallucinations. Strange, hyper-realistic hallucinations of a green world full of danger and death. Then Tobias relays a message: something's happened downtown that has the high-level Controllers in a frenzy to cover it up. Guards, machine guns... whatever's gone wrong, it's something big. Something that could really hurt the Yeerks. Do the Animorphs go in to investigate, or do they stay back? Everyone's waiting on Jake's word - but how is Jake supposed to be a leader when he can't even keep hold of his sanity?

REVIEW: Applegate flirts with trouble by bringing in the sci-fi chestnut of time travel, but manages to skirt the line... admittedly by using high-level action and the dangerous wonders of the Amazon as distractions. But I was willing to let myself be distracted. Though the serial format of the series (mostly) ensures major characters passage through a given adventure, they do so by the skins of their teeth, with enough problems and setbacks and doubts along the way to still make for an exciting read. While not quite the triumph that The Android was, The Forgotten's still a strong chapter in a remarkable series.

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