Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Reunion (K. A. Applegate)

The Reunion
(The Animorphs series, Book 30)
K. A. Applegate
Fiction, YA Sci-Fi

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

DESCRIPTION: Marco meant to go to school that morning. He really did. But, plagued by persistent nightmares of his mother - last seen in a flooding underwater Yeerk facility, with the alien slug Visser One still wrapped tightly around her brain - he just couldn't face another mindless morning of classes, so he took the bus into town. That's when he saw her: his mother, Visser One, back on Earth but in disguise. The disaster off Royan Island cost her her rank, and made her a marked Yeerk - but if she's returned to the territory of her rival, Visser Three, she must have a plan for redemption. Infighting Vissers make a perfect opportunity for the Animorphs to disrupt the Yeerk invasion... and maybe, just maybe, give Marco a chance to save his mom in the chaos.
If they play their cards right, the Animorphs could end them both: Visser Three and Visser One, the leaders of the invasion. It's an opportunity they can't afford to pass up, but one fraught with dangers... and with no room to spare for sentimentality or impossible dreams of rescue. What will Marco sacrifice in the name of victory - and can he be trusted to make that sacrifice, with so much at stake?

REVIEW: On the heels of the war- and death-heavy Megamorphs 3 comes one of the darkest stories the Animorphs have yet told. Marco is torn between heart and head, between his own growing ruthlessness and the frantic dreams of a loving son forced to watch his mother's ongoing captivity in wretched silence. He keeps telling himself that he knows exactly what he's doing, that his sentimentality won't interfere with his judgement, but even immersing himself in an ice-cold mindset can't stop the white-hot pain of his predicament from burning him up inside. His family tragedy at the hands of the Yeerks always made the war more personal for him than the other Animorphs, even more personal than it is for Jake (whose brother, Tom, was the first blood-relative Controller the fledgling Animorphs discovered.) It only lost half a star because the opening feels weak and forced.

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