Monday, October 3, 2011

In the Time of the Dinosaurs (K. A. Applegate)

In the Time of the Dinosaurs
(The Animorphs series, Megamorphs 2)
K. A. Applegate
Fiction, YA Sci-Fi
**** (Good)

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

DESCRIPTION: The Animorphs never should've been there. It was a human crisis - a downed nuclear submarine - with no ties to the Yeerk invasion. But it's hard to have a power like morphing and not use it to help when needed. How were they supposed to know that one of the warheads had been damaged? How could they have anticipated it exploding... and how could they have predicted what would happen when they were hit by the shockwave?
They couldn't have known. Never in a million years... or, to be more precise, sixty-five million years.
Some combination of the nuclear blast and being in morph opened what the Andalites call a Sario Rip: a hole in time. The Animorphs find themselves stranded in the late Cretaceous Age, facing some of the most dangerous predators ever to walk the Earth. But they aren't the only strangers to this prehistoric land... and Tyrannosaurus Rex may be the least of their worries.

REVIEW: It's a little hard to read this without thinking about how much has changed about dinosaur theory since this book was written. Everything from the appearance of dinosaurs to the ultimate cause of extinction has been turned on its head in the past few years. It's also notably unlikely that, given the spotty nature of fossil records and the fact that we know next to nothing about the external appearances of most dinosaurs, the Animorphs consistently encounter creatures they can readily identify on sight from childhood toys, library books, and movies. Those troubles aside, this volume feels slightly less contrived than the first Megamorphs, even if dinos are a blatant marketing tactic. It maintains the character dynamics, conflicts, and action level that the series is known for. And, marketing tactic or not, dinosaurs are cool... cool enough to rate a solid Good, despite some plausibility issues.

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