Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Underground (K. A. Applegate)

The Underground
(The Animorphs series, Book 17)
K. A. Applegate
Fiction, YA Sci-Fi
****+ (Good/Great)

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

DESCRIPTION: When the Animorphs saw the man leaping from the high-rise, they thought he was just depressed, or insane. Nevertheless, they managed to help save his life. But when Rachel's lawyer mother gets hired by his family to formalize his commitment to an asylum, she hears that his delusions involve an alien that lives in his brain... a Yeerk.
It turns out that their enemies have a new weakness - they can become addicted to instant maple-and-ginger oatmeal. Only the addiction drives them insane, even as it eliminates their need to leave their host to feed on Kandrona rays at the Yeerk pool every three days. If someone were to sneak some oatmeal into the food supplies at the pool, it would seriously cripple the invasion... but at a high cost to the hosts, who would be left with a gibbering slug wrapped around their brains for the rest of their lives. It would also mean another trip to the underground Yeerk pool, a place so terrifying that Rachel still has nightmares about it. But what kind of warrior would she be if she gave in to her own fear?

REVIEW: Once again, the Animorphs find themselves entangled in the thorny, shifting moralities of war, a foe every bit as devious and daunting as the fight against the Yeerks themselves. Rachel's ruthlessness clashes with her friends' reservations about exploiting their enemy's weakness, a ruthlessness fueled in part by her own attempts to overcome fear by pretending she doesn't feel it. How far will she really go to ensure victory, or to save her friends? Rachel has to find out the hard way here, in her equivalent of Jake's crisis in the previous book.

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