Friday, October 14, 2011

The Attack (K. A. Applegate)

The Attack
(The Animorphs series, Book 26)
K. A. Applegate
Fiction, YA Sci-Fi
****+ (Good/Great)

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

DESCRIPTION: Jake and his friends thought they had enough on their plates, fighting the Yeerk invasions and the devious Visser Three. Then, the Ellimist returned. Capable of folding space and time on a whim, his seemingly omnipotent powers bound by rules no human mind can comprehend, he has helped in the past... but never as expected. Now, they learn that the Ellimist has an enemy, the entity known as the Crayak. The entire war with the Yeerks, it seems, is but a small skirmish in the eons-long, galaxy-wide conflict between two forces so powerful that open conflict would tear the space-time continuum itself apart. Thus, their habit of fighting through proxies: whole species, like the Yeerks, or even individuals, like the Animorphs. The Ellimist needs seven champions to fight against soldiers of the Crayak, to determine the fate of an entire alien species light-centuries removed from Earth. On his side will stand the five human Animorphs, Aximili the Andalite, and Erek the Chee. The Crayak sends seven members of a species whose names the Animorphs already know, the species that slaughtered the Chee's creators: the Howlers. Winning will hurt the Crayak, and (it is implied) the Yeerks. Lose, and the Animorphs will never have existed...

REVIEW: This brings the series back up to (nearly) its top level. Jake finds himself risking his life and the lives of his friends for aliens who utterly repulse him, fighting an enemy that has never lost a battle in thousands upon thousands of years, and all on the vague promise of the Ellimist that a victory will, somehow, help weaken, if not defeat, the Yeerks. He also must deal with Erek, whose programming prevents him from harming even the murderous Howlers, and Ax, whose momentary breakdown in bravery leads to reckless behavior. Jake resents being treated like a piece on the Ellimist's and Crayak's gameboard, but all he can hope to do is avoid becoming a sacrificial pawn. A small yet glaring error - confusing falcon talons for fingers during a morph - hints that this might be a ghostwriter's work, but it's far closer to Applegate's standard than the last two installments. Still, it's nice to see the series back in fighting shape, so to speak... and I've had a run of bad luck with my other reading, as you can tell from the ratings here.
On an unrelated note, my first-run version of this book features a large cover sticker proclaiming the "new" timeslot of the Animorphs TV series. I remember it airing all of two times at the advertised time; I gave up chasing it around Nickelodeon's schedule after that.

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