(The Animorphs series, Book 32)
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: Rachel knows she shouldn't use morphing for personal reasons, especially not on a field trip. But the earring that fell into the tide pool was a special gift from her father. Besides, nobody would see her, and it's not like the starfish has a brain that's going to give her trouble. In and out in a couple of minutes, then back to the rest of the class.
Then came the little kid. The one with the sharp little shovel... a shovel just the right size to slice a small starfish in two.
Most animals would've died, but starfish have amazing regenerative powers. When it's time to demorph, suddenly there are two Rachels. But they are hardly identical. One is the soul of compassion, full of fear, while the other embodies the terrible, bloodthirsty rage that lurks deep within her mind. It turns out two aren't always better than one - especially when one of those two wants to kill first and think later and the other is too paralyzed by her own fears to stop her darker half.
REVIEW: I came close to lopping another half-star off the rating, here. One of the weakest books in the series, it takes the "evil twin" chestnut and does precisely nothing original with it... except have the Rachels act so entirely out of character that they danged near blow the Animorphs' cover more times than a starfish has legs. The concept grew stale quickly, the narrated thoughts of both Rachels being too extreme to engender much interest. The solution comes more or less out of nowhere, for the purpose of setting everything right before the next book. About the only mytharc progression is the introduction of the experimental Anti-Morphing Ray, which comes into play in the next installment. Not a stellar book, but at least it reads quickly... a virtue I've come to admire, having struggled through some very tiresome and densely-written tales of late.