Thistle (thistle_chaser) wrote,

Book #61 & 62 of 2019: The Beginning (Animorphs, #54 -- Final!) / Ice Wolves

The Beginning (Animorphs, #54) by K.A. Applegate
Traditional or self-published: Traditional
Rating: Okay -- it's complicated (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)

The first half of this last book was great. It looked at the impact of the war on all these kids. What happens to the "bad guys" (Yeerks). What happens to the other aliens. I loved it and believed it, especially how Jake changed once the war was over. Or how he didn't change, as the case may be. Some kids were able to leave what happened and what they did behind, and some could not.

Though this was a YA book, it pulled no punches on the morality of acts done during war. Cassie, the pacifist, speaking to a Yeerk, about Jake's act of genocide.

"Jake did what he had to do."
"Did he? Someone flushed the Yeerk pool into space. Did he have to do that, too? They were unhosted Yeerks. They were harmless."
"We needed a div —" I stopped myself.
"A what? A what did you need? A diversion? You're going to tell me you needed a diversion so Jake massacred seventeen thousand sentient creatures? A diversion?"

But unfortunately, and somewhat bogglingly, the book didn't end there. The whole second half of the book started a new adventure. An unfortunately not very believable one. *announcer voiceover* Animorphs In SPACE!

Worse than the ending being pointless and unbelievable, it ended on a cliffhanger. The whole series, ended in the middle of an action scene.

I suppose young readers wouldn't have been satisfied with the ending at the halfway point of the book. There was no action, it was too thoughtful. Perhaps young readers don't want "realistic impacts of war".

But man, for an older reader? The latter half of the book ending SUCKED.

Eight hours or so later: I've had time to think on the end of the book, as well as to read others' reviews. While I still dislike the latter half of the book, I understand the point of it. As unbelievable as it is, it sort of gives a happy ending for Jake, since he's a man unable to leave war behind. I just wish the author had been able to do it in some other way.

The first half of the book was so great though. The author said she wanted a realistic look at a war, and she completely succeeded at that in this series.

Rating for first half of the book: Loved
Rating for second half: Disliked (or "hated" if I'm being honest, but that pains me to write)
I averaged it to: Okay


I went back to check my ratings for the whole series.

Loved: 12
Liked: 17
Okay: 7
Disliked: 14
Hated: 7

I read three of those extra Chronicles/Megamorphs books, and of them 1 I hated and 2 I disliked (included in the count above). That's why I'm kind of unenthusiastic about reading the ones I skipped.

I kind of thought my overall ratings would be higher. 29 books were liked/loved, 21 were disliked/hated.

Was the series worth reading? Yeah. Even with issues, it was. Even with the sometimes silliness, it was nicely dark and often realistic. It was also interesting (and somewhat boggling) to see what could be gotten away with in YA books. I actually want to reread the whole series right now.

Elementals: Ice Wolves by Amie Kaufman
Traditional or self-published: Traditional
Rating: Okay (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)

This was an odd book. I loved the setting and the worldbuilding. I loved the characters. But the story didn't hold my interest at all. More than any book before, every page or so I had to go back and reread, because my mind had wandered from the story.

Set in a fantasy world, a few humans have the power to shapeshift into animals. Each land has two animals that can be shapeshifted into. In the country this story is set in, people can transform into wolves or dragons. In his case, the two groups are at war.

There was so much interesting about this story. I loved how different the wolf and dragon cultures were. I think the issue was that the main character (a child) made really stupid mistakes and assumptions. His decisions and actions were believable for a young kid to make, but for adult reader me it was so frustrating. However, this book is for ages 8-12, so I can't fault it for having kid characters making realistic kid decisions.

Sadly I won't be continuing with this series.
Tags: 2019 books, book review, book: ice wolves, book: the beginning

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