Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Mutation (K. A. Applegate)

The Mutation
(The Animorphs series, Book 36)
K. A. Applegate
Fiction, YA Sci-Fi
**** (Good))

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

DESCRIPTION: Ever since losing the Pemalite ship to the "Andalite bandits" (and the interference of Crayak's pet, the devious Drode), Visser Three has become obsessed with recovering it... and, not incidentally, restoring his damaged reputation with the Yeerk High Council. Just how far will he go? Late at night, Jake receives a phone call from a shaken Cassie. The free Hork-Bajir have brought one of their own to her in hopes that she can heal him... and fix the horrible, bungled aquatic mutations the Visser grafted onto his body.
The Chee confirm that Visser Three is planning a deep-sea expedition to locate the Pemalite ship, using a brand-new craft known as the Sea Blade. Jake and the Animorphs race to stop him... only to find themselves facing an even greater danger. For down beneath the ocean lurks a secret nearly as old as human civilization, a lost world scavenging the detritus of humanity's oceanic explorations. The Animorphs would just as soon abandon the Yeerk craft and its crew to these strangers... until they're caught, too.

REVIEW: A marked improvement from the last book, it still has a touch of "gimmick" spray-painted across the plot. (Does everyone need an Atlantis storyline?) The undersea civilization may be a bit of a stretch, but Applegate manages to put an original stamp on a threadbare plot device. The idea of being forced to cooperate with one's enemy to escape a more imminent threat is also old, but the alliance doesn't dominate nearly as much of the book as the cover blurb implies. Not their greatest adventure ever, but a fun and action-packed outing nevertheless... and a hopeful sign that the series hadn't yet jumped the shark.
On another unrelated note, the next phase of the Animorphs Transformers line of toys is advertised in the back of my copy. The action figure of Visser Three looks especially sad...

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