Thistle (thistle_chaser) wrote,

Books #44 and #45 of 2019: The Other (Animorphs 40), The Familiar (41), 2019 book: A Larger Universe

The Other (Animorphs 40) by "K.A. Applegate" (Gina Gascone)
Traditional or self-published: Traditional
Rating: Liked (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)

I'm really, really liking this stretch of books written by ghost writers. It's like an anthology -- a bunch of different authors writing stories in some book's canon. So many different voices, so many new ideas.

On the surface, nothing much happened in this book. Two new Andalites (the main alien species) just happen to be on earth. One is viewed as disabled by the Andalite culture, and the other is slowly dying of a genetic disease. They're both male, and they're both clearly (to adult reader eyes) a couple. That's not slash goggles, it's pretty clear in the story.

For silly plot reasons, the disabled one is captured by the bad guy aliens, and the dying one fights with the Animorphs to free him. Much of the book was fighting and action, but there was enough other stuff to hold my attention.

The Andalite culture basically thinks all disabled people should be left to die in the streets, so there was lots of conflict between that and the human/North American view towards them. I'm really enjoying how the Andalites, who are the "good guy" aliens in the book series, keep looking worse and worse and worse.

This was a Marco POV story. In the beginning of the series I hated his books, because they were just "funny" (fart jokes level funny). But now, later in the series, he's become so cold and calculating that he's probably my favorite character.

The Familiar (Animorphs 41) by "K.A. Applegate" (Ellen Geroux)
Traditional or self-published: Traditional
Rating: Disliked (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)

This book completely didn't work for me. It opened with a big battle, then Jake went to sleep... and suddenly we're 10 years in the future and the war has been lost. It's strange, because I'd think that story should work for me (Earth lost, the bad guy aliens completely took over), but it didn't at all. Maybe because there was no explanation for it to happen until the final page of the book. The whole story seemed like it was a dream, which means it was pretty much meaningless in the long run, which means I didn't care.

Then in the last couple pages we got the "answer" as to what it was, and it was even worse than "it was all a dream".

The whole thing was so disjointed and made so little sense. Seeing the Animorphs far in the future, after the war had been lost should have been cool as hell, but somehow it all fell flat for me.

This ghostwriter wrote about half of the remaining books, which would make me worry a bit, but she also wrote one earlier in the series (The Illusion) which I LOVED, so hopefully this one was just a misstep.

A Larger Universe by James Gillaspy
Traditional or self-published: Self-published
Rating: Disliked (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)

This book has been on my Kindle for years. Nowadays, I never would have given it a chance; in the age of self-publishing, you can tell a book by the cover. That cover is clearly self-made, and poorly at that.

Almost from the start of this book, I kept saying I should stop reading it and move on to something else. But the reviews of it mentioned a number of plot points that sounded interesting, so I kept going and going and going.

The plot is about a teenage boy, who on Earth is a computer prodigy. An alien species is having trouble with the computers that ran their spaceships, and since no one in the entire space-going species could fix them, they kidnapped the kid from Earth to repair them... As if that wasn't bad enough, this kid is way, way smarter than all of these space-going people. The whole story was about how he knew more than them, was using that knowledge to undermine them (an intent to take over, I think), was better than them, etc.

At each turn, the way the author handled those plot points completed disappointed me. His writing was just so... basic. Flat. Unimaginative. I kept thinking "It would be such a cool plot twist if the character did (this)!" but instead the author took the most simple, basic, expected route.

Add onto that that the author kept adding braindumps of tech-talk. Pages of explaining how computer networks work. How programs work. How computer OSes work. The author said he added them on purpose, but he really needed an editor to tell him to cut them out -- they did nothing but bog down the story.

Somehow I made it to the 79% point, but I really should have quit a lot sooner.

Partial book credits:
Point reached in this books: 79%
Previous abandoned book total: 438%
New total: 517% (5 books!)
Tags: 2019 books, book review, book: a larger universe, book: the familiar, book: the other
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