Monday, September 12, 2011

The Message (K. A. Applegate)

The Message
(The Animorphs series, Book 4)
K. A. Applegate
Fiction, YA Sci-Fi
**** (Good)

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

DESCRIPTION: Cassie never asked for the power to morph, any more than she asked to fight against parasitic alien slugs intent on taking over the human race. As an animal lover, she can't deny that the ability to become any animal - to see the world through their senses, to peer into their inhuman minds - holds a certain fascination. It's the rest of the job - the whole fight against ruthless enemies who would kill or enslave her given half a chance - that scares her. She's no leader, like Jake, nor a warrior at heart, like her friend Rachel. But she knows she wasn't given this gift simply to commune with the beasts; it would be an insult to the memory of Prince Elfangor, who died after giving her and her friends the Andalite technology to morph, to not use it as he'd intended, to defend Earth until more Andalite forces arrive. Unfortunately, nobody knows when that will be...
Lately, Cassie's been having some very strange dreams. A voice seems to be calling to her... a voice that, she realizes, isn't human. When Tobias admits to having had similar dreams, she starts to wonder if it's more than it seems. Then Jake mentions the segment on the news the night before, about a strange piece of metal that washed up on the shore: a piece of the lost Andalite warship. Maybe Cassie and her friends don't have to wait for more Andalites to come; maybe some of them survived, as Elfangor did, only to be trapped in the wreckage under the sea. If so, their time may be running out, for the Animorphs aren't the only ones who watch the news. Certainly some Controllers, Yeerk-infested humans, saw it, too. And if Cassie and Tobias are hearing the dream-messages calling for help, then Visser Three - the only Andalite-Controller in the galaxy - has no doubt heard them as well.

REVIEW: Another action-filled adventure in the life of the Animorphs. Alongside the superficial action, the characters continue to deal with the stresses of fighting an invisible enemy, not to mention the morality shifts required when one is forced into the life of a guerilla warrior. With each book rotating through a different character's point of view, Applegate establishes each member of the team as an individual, with different thoughts and feelings and motivations. Cassie's love of nature and respect for animals causes her to question the ethics of morphing; she doesn't find any easy answers, but she does find acceptance, after a fashion. Fairly fun, and it reads fast, even if it wandered a little close to New Age territory while exploring the minds of dolphins and whales.

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