Thistle (thistle_chaser) wrote,

Books 58, 59, 60 of 2019: The Absolute, The Sacrifice, The Answer (Animorphs, #51-53)

The Absolute (Animorphs #51) by "K.A. Applegate" (Lisa Harkrader)
Traditional or self-published: Traditional
Rating: Hated(Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)

This series is 54 books long. This is book #51. So why was it so so so bad? Okay, in this case I can answer that: Because I'm not the target audience. Young readers probably liked this one a lot, for reasons adult readers likely did not.

This book was like the worst, most nonsense action movie ever made. The Animorphs decide to go to the government to tell them what's happening, so Jake sends Marco, Tobias, and Ax to visit the local governor.

This mission somehow ends up involving a train heist.
Marco (in gorella morph), Tobias (Hork-Bajir), and Ax in his real body end up kidnapping the governor and racing away in a limo with her.
Somehow they blow up a yacht.
There are multiple battles with the US military.

I'm so annoyed, there are so few books left, and this one seemed a complete and utter waste (other than one paragraph at the very end).

The Sacrifice (Animorphs, #52) by "K. A. Applegate" (Kim Morris)
Traditional or self-published: Traditional
Rating: Loved (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)

This review is different than all the other Animorphs ones. I wrote it as I was reading it, instead of once I was finished. This was such a book, it's jarring how much things changed between the beginning and the end of it.

On to the review!

A grizzly, a tiger, a wolf, and an Andalite appeared as if from nowhere and quietly knocked the ten men unconscious.

For a series about war, about an alien invasion of the entire planet, there is oddly little death. I can think of only two deaths in the 52 books so far, and both were implied and off camera. I guess that's part of this being a YA series. [Now, near the end of the book, I have to laugh at that observation. Boy how things changed...]

While the writing and story in this book were good, I still had lots of issues with the characters' actions. Remember, there are five (now maybe twenty) kids trying to defend the whole Earth from an alien invasion.

Immediately, the human-Controllers began to morph.
"Jake!" Rachel's voice was shrill. "Let's get them before they're in battle morphs!"
"No! We give them a fair fight. We fight the Yeerks. We don't become them."

When you're a few people fighting a whole army, to try to fight "fair" is insane.

Okay, but I'm getting ahead of myself. This is an Ax POV-story, and such a good one. Ax finally completely grows up, he sees humans how we really are, and he hates us for it. How very cool is that? That after 50-something books, Ax changes enough to hate us (and it's completely believable, doesn't feel like the character did a 180 just for Plot Drama).

But for all Ax matured, the rest of the Animorphs seemed to go in the opposite direction. The group comes up with a plan to win the war, to drive the Yeeks off the planet, but they don't want to do it because some innocent people might get hurt. What in the world do they think will happen to ALL people people if this battle is lost? It was so frustrating. Understandable, but frustrating as hell.

But they end up doing the plan anyway, and some innocent people do get killed. The reactions and conversations about it seemed so realistic.

"Well, [the surprisingly successful win] is something," Marco pointed out. "But you know what the saddest thing about this whole situation is?"
"l wouldn't even know where to begin," Cassie answered.
"The saddest thing is that this is our greatest victory. And I've never felt more depressed in my entire life."

The end of the book was so sudden, I actually blinked in surprise and tried to scroll more. "Wait, that's it?". A really, really good note to end on. This was one of the best books in the series.

Just two more to go. *sob!*

Animorphs #53: The Answer by K.A. Applegate and Michael Grant*
Traditional or self-published: Traditional
Rating: Liked**(Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)

I've fought them for more than three years. I was just thirteen when I started.

Can you imagine a group of five children spending three years not just taking part in guerrilla warfare, but commanding it all, no support from any adults at all? And having to keep their efforts secret from everyone, their parents included?

Two or three books ago, there was a great line. I wish I had saved it. Jake, the leader of the Animorphs, was ordered by his mother to clean the basement. The battles were getting worse, the Animorphs were losing. He hadn't slept in days. He was in pain from wounds. And his mother still had the power to make him do chores.

What strikes me most about this book is how old their voices have become. This is a Jake POV book, and he sounds like a man. An old, old soldier with scores of battles under his belt.

We were just kids. But in some ways we were the ideal guerrilla fighters. The morphing power let us fly and dig and crawl, sense, hide, and fight with far more than human power. Our youth made us the least likely of suspects.

So different than the last couple books, in this one they start finally, finally making the hard calls. How hard? How about using a bunch of disabled children as cannon fodder? Knowingly let them die? Watching them get killed?

And not just disabled children:

Seventeen thousand. Living creatures. Thinking creatures. How could I give this order? Even
for victory. Even to save Rachel. How could I give this kind of order?

Aliens. Parasites. Subhuman.

"Kill them," I said.

That's what war is about, isn't it? Making the other side subhuman?

This book, the second to last one, ended on a cliffhanger, but a completely unexpected one.

* Michael Grant himself said "I’m Michael Grant author or co-author of Animorphs", he stated he wrote more than half (up to 90%) of the books credited to K.A. Applegate. I know his writing, and this book feels like his work, not hers at all.

** If comparing to only Animorphs books, I'd rate this one a loved. It was one of the top 10 in the series. Compared to other books though, it doesn't quite reach a loved rating.
Tags: 2019 books, book review, book: the absolute, book: the answer, book: the sacrifice

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