Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Deception (K. A. Applegate)

The Deception
(The Animorphs series, Book 46)
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: Since coming to Earth on board the doomed Andalite Dome ship with his war-hero brother, Aximili has changed in many ways. Once an untested aristh, a warrior-cadet, he has now fought more Yeerks than many Andalite adults. Once convinced of the moral and technological superiority of his species, he has been humbled - and disappointed - many times. But, still, he clung to the hope that the Andalites would come to liberate Earth from the Yeerk threat, that he and his friends were merely fighting to delay Visser Three's forces.
Now he knows better.
Almost overnight, the tone of the invasion has shifted. What once was a stealth mission moves toward all-out war, now that Visser Three has been officially promoted to the rank of Visser One. His first act is brilliant, ruthless, and bold: trigger a third World War, and let humans exhaust their weapons and resources exterminating each other until no possible resistance can be mounted.
The Animorphs, of course, hurry to thwart the Visser's plans... but they're used to guerrilla warfare and infiltration, quick strikes against the enemy, melting into the shadows before the violence and death toll rises too high. Ax and his companions thought they were blooded warriors already - but, now, they're about to get their first taste of real, open, no-holds-barred war. And they'll learn that, when it comes to war, they have a lot to learn: about the enemy, and about themselves.

REVIEW: This book, which picks up literally where the last one left off, danged near lost itself a half-star. The change in tone, the higher body count and blood cost, has been so abrupt that it almost reads like an entirely different series. It didn't help that a fair chunk of this book relied on in-depth knowledge of the armaments and infrastructure of a modern Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, which Jake and his friends spew out in long strings of technobabble. If nothing else, the character evolution is thrown into sharp relief at the Animorphs' first taste of all-out war - at least, their first taste on Earth, in their own timeline, in a battle that they cannot sidestep or back away from because it's not their fight. Ax especially learns just how far he's willing to go to save humans and defeat the Yeerk scheme; like Elfangor before him, Ax has been seduced by the primitive, contradictory natives of Earth (though not in so literal a sense as his big brother,) but even he is surprised at just what he'll sacrifice in the name of victory. Bloody, violent, fast-paced, and dark, The Deception continues what Book 45 started, a mad race to the ultimate confrontation between Animorph and Yeerk.

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