(The Animorphs series, Book 45)
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: From the first, the Animorphs have struggled to keep their families - most of them probably innocent, at least one a human-Controller - from learning of their abilities, let alone the fight against the Yeerks. To do so would put all of them in danger. If need be, they know they'll probably have to sacrifice loved ones for the sake of the cause. Marco, of all the Animorphs, should know this: his mother, long thought drowned, lives as the enslaved host of Visser One. Even when his father fell in love again and remarried, he kept his mouth shut, kept living the lie that his real mother was dead. The greater good prevailed.
But then his father came home from work one evening, babbling about a revolutionary breakthrough at the engineering firm where he works: the discovery of a brand-new layer of existence. Zero-space.
The nondimension where extruded mass goes during small morphs... and where alien spaceships travel interstellar distances in days rather than centuries. Marco and his friends know more about Zero-space than any other free humans... until now.
So far, the Yeerks have maintained their cloak of secrecy, lacking the strength and firepower to take on human military forces in the open. But if a human blundered onto their Zero-space transmissions, the hiding would be over. The only way to stop Earth from learning of their invasion is to infiltrate the project. Make Controllers out of the engineers involved.
Including Marco's father.
He's already lost his mother to Visser One. Can he stand by, like a good soldier, and let Dad be taken by the enemy? Or will he do something very brave, very stupid, and very, very dangerous, for him and the rest of his friends... like finally reveal his secret identity to the only family he has left?
REVIEW: After maintaining a holding pattern for longer than was strictly necessary, the series kicks into gear again in the countdown to the finale, a mere nine books out. Compressing events that could've unfolded more naturally over two or three books into one makes for a bit of a rushed story, unfortunately. There isn't time for the full emotional impact of the mytharc-changing events to be properly established or explored. As the title implies (and the preview blurbs explicitly reveal), Marco's father becomes the first of the Animorphs' relatives to learn of their secret identities - a revelation he takes remarkably well, all things considered. That alone could've made up the core of a good book, but Applegate shoehorns in three or four more major alterations. By the end, the final ultimatum has been sounded, the final deadline placed before the Yeerks take the invasion out of the shadows. It should've been a far more profound moment, but instead it was lost in the general rush. A little disappointing, but not enough to put me off reading on - then or now.