Monday, November 21, 2011

The Diversion (K. A. Applegate)

The Diversion
(The Animorphs series, Book 49)
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 becoming Animorphs, joining the fight against the unseen Yeerk enemy, Tobias and his friends fought not only for the Earth, but for the safety of their families. Even Jake, whose older brother Tom is a high-ranked human-Controller, would do anything to protect them. For a long time, it was merely a hypothetical threat; Visser One remained convinced that the "bandits" harrying the invasion were trained Andalite warriors.
Now, he's figured out the truth.
As the Animorphs scramble to figure out how much the Yeerks know, and how to save their families (if it's not already too late), Tobias makes a startling discovery: his mother, who abandoned him when he was little more than a baby, is still alive. She lives just a few blocks from where the human boy Tobias cried himself to sleep at night in his uncaring uncle's house, inventing story after story about why she'd left, and when she'd come back for him.
How much will Tobias risk to meet her? How much is her life - the life of a woman who was barely a mother to him, who never even bothered walking down the block to see him - worth? And why can't Tobias seem to leave her behind as easily as she left him?

REVIEW: After Marco revealed his secret to his father in The Revelation (Book 45), this story - the endangerment of the Animorphs' families, the decision whether or not to sacrifice their own flesh and blood to the Yeerks - was inevitable. Tobias would normally be an outsider in such a decision; even when he was human, his "family" was little more than a roof over his head and (sometimes) a meal on the table at night. Bringing his long-lost mother Loren, last seen as a kid in The Andalite Chronicles, felt a bit like a stretch in the logic department, but it gave Tobias (and the readers) a sense of closure on her story. The reunion is bittersweet, as Tobias finally learns just why she walked out on him, but if he thought he'd have a TV-movie reconciliation that erased all the scars of his past, he's sadly mistaken... especially when the Yeerks are still gunning for him and his friends, and are no longer afraid of the consequences of public displays of force. The tension continues to ratchet up on the way to the finale.
On a side note, the original cover's morph shows a serious misunderstanding of how a hawk would morph into a dog... a further sign that the series is nearing the end of its active shelf life.

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