Traditional or self-published: Traditional
Rating: Loved (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)
Spoilers for the series thus far, if you haven't read it yet!
In previous reviews, I mentioned a new character. Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill ("Ax"), an alien. A member of the race that gave the kids the powers to morph into animals.
In the last couple books he was in, I didn't like the character much, but he was the POV character in this one, and that completely changed my opinion of him. (It helped that we got so so so much background info in this book, all about the war, the mindslug enemies, everything.)
As with all the books thus far, there were some plot holes. The aliens, on their spaceship and not yet arriving on Earth, give commands in "earth minutes" -- they use that exact phrase. And somehow, even though there are four or five alien races on Earth at this point in the series, all of them can breathe the air, eat the food, drink our water... They're even impacted by poisons the same way that humans are. (#YAbookIssues)
As short as these books are, it's hard to tweese out the book's plot from the whole series. These first eight books are approaching a normal book in length/plot-ness, and this one book was just a sliver. The human kids + Ax are fighting the evil brain slugs from space. The only difference in this book from the previous seven is that the kids stopped trusting Ax (rightfully so), and they resolved that in this sliver of the overall story.
All in all, I'm enjoying this series a lot. Totally worth reading, assuming you are not buying the books one by one. Like all YA books from K. A. Applegate and her husband Michael Grant, they seem to write one story, break it into TINY parts, and sell them for the price of other YA books. Seriously, these are short. They're 1-2 hours of reading, when a YA book usually takes me about 4 hours.