Dec 27, 2020

The Sacrifice

Animorphs #52 
by K.A. Applegate

     It's been so long. Maybe that's why this book didn't really impact or impress me much, even though a lot of significant things happen. I feel like I was reading it too quickly, being so eager to finally finish the series. 

Well- in this book it turns out that Ax has secretly been communicating with the other Andalites who are circling off-world. The Andalite commanders want to basically let the Yeerks have their way, and then they will destroy Earth, getting rid of the problem (and wiping out mankind in the bargain). Ax is appalled by this. However later on he starts to feel very bitter towards the humans himself. He finds out how Cassie had betrayed their entire mission, he witnesses more friction and division within the group, and their basic inability to make decisions based on logic and tactics instead of emotional pull. With the newer recruits and adults along (who strangely still don't have much say or leadership at all in things), they bust security to steal some trucks loaded with tons of explosives (laughably easy), acquire some backup from the National Guard, and plan to load a train full of bombs, then run it straight into the main Yeerk pool- possible because the Yeerks have built subway lines going straight to their source of nourishment. They're able to morph into indestructible forms (cockroaches) and escape right as the bomb blasts, getting out just in time (had to be on the train to trigger the bomb at just the right moment, and prevent Yeerks from stopping them of course). Thousands of innocents don't- humans who were trapped while their Yeerks were in the pool, Yeerks themselves who were actually part of the underground resistance. Even though exploding the pool was a huge success for the Animorphs team, they feel heavily the loss of innocent life they caused. 

This feels like things are very rapidly moving towards the end (they are!) but still, I was annoyed that a good twenty percent of the book seemed taken up by Ax (the narrator) explaining things to the reader. Gah, how unnecessary. It all felt like an action film with hasty argumentative planning under pressure, poorly carried out ideas (that worked in spite of what these kids did), adults coerced or easily convinced into helping them, and some very sobering moments that were glossed over too quickly. Like scenes where they witnessed train cars packed with people who had been taken from their homes and forced aboard by the Yeerks, headed to their alien enslavement in the pool- which was very reminiscent of things from WWII, some of the characters even mentioned that in an aside. As always I missed the sense of what-it's-like-to-be-an-animal, barely present in this book- they switch forms to get somewhere, or to fight and survive, none of the wonder is there. Early on in the book Ax morphs a raccoon (hence the cover) and comments on how nimble and useful its hands are, that's about it.

I did really like one idea presented in here that could annul the main conflict, if it were used properly. That is: if the Yeerks have the morphing capability, they could morph human forms (or other animal bodies) and no longer have the need to actually take over human brains. This isn't explored very much, which is rather disappointing. Seems like it would solve a lot of problems!

This copy was on my e-reader.

Rating: 3/5                   176 pages, 2001

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