Friday, November 25, 2011

The Sacrifice (K. A. Applegate)

The Sacrifice
(The Animorphs series, Book 52)
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: Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill, younger brother of the hero Prince Elfangor, has lived and fought with the Animorphs since they rescued him from the wreckage of the Andalite Dome ship. He has come to respect humans, even - occasionally - admire them. He has stood beside "Prince Jake," against every law and custom of the Andalite people, who hold themselves above and apart from even their allies. Like Elfangor before him, Ax thought he might live and die for Earth, his human comrades-in-arms at his side.
But, as the face of the war has changed, his friends have changed with it... in ways that confuse and frighten him.
Once a unified group, now the pressures of the Yeerk war turn them against each other. Even Jake can't seem to hold the Earth resistance together. In desperation, Ax has taken to covertly contacting his Andalite superiors. They have a strong leadership, and a firm plan for Earth... a plan that essentially uses humans as bait to lure Yeerks to their doom, when the fleet annihilates every living thing from the planet's surface. The sacrifice of one backwards, divided, antagonistic species to save the galaxy from the Yeerk threat.
Now, Jake and his friends have learned that the Yeerks have tapped into the city's subway system, mass-infesting hordes of new hosts every day. They mean to destroy the new tunnels... and the Yeerk pool. A devastating attack that could break Visser One's stranglehold on the planet - and doom the Andalite High Command's plans.
Stand with his prince, or obey his people? Help the Animorphs destroy untold numbers of Yeerks, or sabotage their efforts and doom Earth? Wherever he looks, Ax finds only bad choices, and no answers.

REVIEW: Once more, Aximili must look himself in the eye and decide where he stands... only this time, the stakes are higher and the choices nowhere near as clear-cut as they used to be. His friends are not the same people he once swore to stand beside, and the war is no longer a covert cat-and-mouse game in the shadows. Learning of Cassie's terrible choice in The Ultimate (Book 50), the choice that gave Andalite morphing technology to the Yeerks, only makes things that much harder... especially when he hears her reasons, reasons that are either childishly naive or bravely forward-thinking. The Animorphs begin pulling themselves back together for the final two books, with a fatalistic sense of impending resolution. One way or another, this war will end soon, and in these final books the Animorphs are, in their own ways, making peace with who they are and what they've become.
On an unrelated note, the editing on some of these later books is downright sloppy, with thought-speech brackets and spoken-speech quotation marks terribly intermixed. I hope they take the time to clear that up when they finally get around to "updating" them... which, at the rate Scholastic is going, should coincide with the completion of the first manned trip to Mars.

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