Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Weakness (K. A. Applegate)

The Weakness
(The Animorphs series, Book 37)
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: With Jake out of town, the Animorphs figured they'd lay low for a few days. But Tobias has stumbled onto Visser Three's new feeding grounds - the place where he's most vulnerable. Ever since the Animorphs' last strike, the Visser has been very careful to change meadows every few days, so they don't have time to wait for their leader. In cheetah morph, under Rachel's leadership, they go in - and find themselves stymied by a new enemy.
The Councilor has come to monitor Visser Three's progress, and his host body, a Garatron, functions at such a speed he makes cheetahs look like tree sloths. Thwarted, Rachel comes up with a new plan: hammer the Yeerks now, while the Visser's under the microscope, and maybe throw the entire Earth invasion into chaos. After all, Yeerk politics have helped the Animorphs before. But last time, they were under Jake's leadership. Rachel's more direct style could be a change for the better - or the worse. And, considering how many close calls they've had, worse could all too easily be deadly.

REVIEW: Rising back toward their old form like a bald eagle riding a thermal, The Weakness brings back some of the internal struggles - both within the group and within the narrator - that are a trademark of the series. Rachel tries to be as strong a leader as Jake, but her personality doesn't cope as well with the planning and the pressure. Through poor luck and hubris, she nearly dooms them all... but no leader gets to walk away from their own messes, no matter how impossible they look. This one doesn't push the credulity envelope quite as bad as the previous few books, though parts of the story feel like arguments Rachel had with herself (literally, sometimes) in The Separation. Still, a fairly satisfying installment on the whole.

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