**spoiler alert** Not gonna lie, the protagonist's crack addiction is what drew me to enter the giveaway for this book. I've read quite a few paranorm...more**spoiler alert** Not gonna lie, the protagonist's crack addiction is what drew me to enter the giveaway for this book. I've read quite a few paranormal mysteries and urban fantasies in which the protagonist suddenly discovers the supernatural realm after some catalysing event. These books usually feature whiny young girls with wannabe chips on their shoulders. I can safely say that this is my first time reading an urban fantasy/paranormal text that centres on a character's drug addiction!
I'll warn you though: if you're expecting something gritty and disturbing a la Law & Order or a life on the streets doco, look elsewhere. Despite how utterly rubbish his situation is, Wilkin is an incredibly jolly, smart and funny character. He may be homeless, he may have a drug addiction, and he may smell downright rank, but he's still able to laugh and poke fun at Landline and his atrocious yellow sweatshirt.
If you liked Alison DuBois in Medium or Miles Straume in LOST, you'll like Wilkin. In fact, one of the first scenes we see of Wilkin is of him using his supernatural abilities to find money hidden in a house, much like Miles' first scene in LOST! You can't blame the guy for succumbing to a crack cocaine addiction - after watching how little sleep Alison DuBois gets on Medium, I figure I'd either turn to drugs or wind up in an insane asylum.
If you like to see inside your villain's twisted psyche, you've come to the right place. This book affords a view from each character's perspective, and Buddy-buddy murderer man's isn't pretty. We have hints of animal cruelty (which I had to skip past as even the slightest hints can make me nauseous or reduce me to tears), and a killer who doesn't even get off on what he does. He killed a child almost in the same way you'd make a sandwich. He enjoyed it, but it didn't leave a long-lasting impact on him. He recounts the event with the same kind of enthusiasm as you'd tell someone 'I had a tuna sandwich for lunch'.
But not only that, we see that our villain has standards when it comes to his behaviour. He sees his child-murdering ways as acceptable, normal, just something he did once upon a time. But when Humphrey's ghost starts taunting him with pedophile jibes, Buddy-buddy can't handle that at all. He's cool with the fact that he took a young child's life, but don't you dare insinuate that he has sexual feelings for young boys! Basically if you can handle or like the despicable villains seen in Stephen King novels, you'll enjoy Buddy-buddy's fucked up brain.
But I'm getting ahead of myself, and I should probably discuss the story! It really wasn't what I expected, and it turned out for the best! A large portion of the story centres on Wilkin and his murdered childhood best friend, Humphrey. After 20-odd years laying low, Humphrey suddenly reveals himself to Wilkin, spurring him on to find his remains, discarded so many years ago at a dingey motel. Wilkin learns who murdered Humphrey, and unfortunately for Wilkin, said murderer finds out that Wilkin has taken some of Humphrey's remains. Worried that Wilkin will turn him in, he embarks on a deadly game of cat and mouse with Wilkin.
Based on the first two thirds of the book, I thought the story was going to lead up to a showdown between Wilkin and Buddy-buddy. I thought that Buddy-buddy would attempt to kill Wilkin, but in the process the cops would show up and arrest Buddy-buddy for his crimes. Buddy-buddy would end up on death row, Wilkin would somehow end up with a roof over his head and money in his pocket, and Humphrey would finally be at peace.
That's not how it happens at all. Two thirds into the book, the author makes the startling revelation that Wilkin is not alone. The elderly man that he helps at the convenience store, Mr Christmas, is not an ordinary elderly man at all. He possesses the same supernatural abilities as Wilkin, using them to watch over the local cemetery and keep the spirits in check. We learn that there's an entire network of people out there, keeping spirits in check!
And this network of people know aaaaaall about Humphrey. They know his intentions aren't good: he doesn't want to bring Buddy-buddy to justice, he wants to enslave him. He wants to rid Buddy-buddy of his mortal body, then rip his ghostly body to shreds. He's been stewing for 20-odd years in hate and misery, and now that he's learned a new trick or two, he's going to unleash that pain at full force.
I've always been fascinated by ghosts in film and TV. They seem to portrayed in much the same way no matter where I look: the dead can barely touch us, and it takes a great deal of energy just to make the lights flicker or a chill run down our spines. That's not the case in this book. Making the lights flicker is nothing to these ghosts - they can implant thoughts in your head, infiltrate your dreams, sing 'whisper songs' to lure you off the edge of a cliff, and rip apart a soul like a school of hungry piranhas.
It's a shame this appears to be a standalone book, because I want to know more about the yardwalkers! I was absolutely taken by the concept of 'whisper songs', and the kind of hallucinations and feelings they can incite in the living. I'd also love to know how ghosts and yardwalkers 'execute' vengeful spirits - I'm assuming it's something a little more violent than salting and burning remains a la Supernatural! I'd also love to know where they go afterward, if the 'executed' spirits go to Hell or move on and finally find peace.
I'd also like to know what happened to Humphrey. I was hoping that we'd get to see him 'put down' like a rabid animal, but his shock and horror over losing Wilkin was a beautiful, poetic and satisfying ending nonetheless. I'd like to think that Virgil and Clemont executed Buddy-buddy for being a repulsive excuse for a human being, and that Humphrey willingly moved on after realising that his actions had cost him his only friend.
There wasn't a whole lot I didn't like about this book. Nothing overly shitted me about the story, though Buddy-buddy's sheer evil did make me want to lob my book across a crowded train at peak hour once or twice! My only real beef is with how the story looks on the page. There was a lot of white space above and below the text, with unnecessary indenting and hard returns/spacing. With smaller margins and tighter spacing (the Adobe InDesign nerd in me is screaming 'no more than 3mm space after!'), the book could have been half the size - and surely that's not a bad thing for keeping printing costs down? I also wasn't a fan of the giant chapter numbering and the headers at the top of each page.
Overall:Death Ain't But A Word wasn't what I expected, and I like that! I was expecting a depressing, gritty urban fantasy that turned my stomach and made me want to cry. Instead I got a happy, humourous protagonist that had a bright outlook on life, despite being weighed down by a drug addiction and cumbersome supernatural abilities. The book initially began as a tale of exposing the truth and exacting justice, but then the author weaved a complex mythology that had me wanting more. If I had to sum up my experience reading this book in two words, it'd be 'pleasant surprise!'
FTC Disclaimer: This book was provided for review by the author. All opinions are my own, and if I hate a book I'll tell you as much. :) (less)
**spoiler alert** The Andalite Chronicles tells the tale of how Elfangor came to be in the construction site that night, bequeathing a magical gift to...more**spoiler alert** The Andalite Chronicles tells the tale of how Elfangor came to be in the construction site that night, bequeathing a magical gift to five complete strangers.
The tale begins with Elfangor and another young Andalite, Arbron, in training as young “arisths”. While boarding a Skrit Na ship they discover that the Skrit Na have abducted two humans and a number of Earthly artifacts. A second Skrit Na ship escapes with the “Time Matrix”, a device invented by the Ellemists that allows the user the control space and time. The Skrit Na have no idea how powerful the object is, planning simply to sell it off at the Yeerk-infested Taxxon homeworld.
Elfangor, Arbron and disgraced Prince Alloran take the two humans to the Taxxon homeworld in an attempt to recover the Time Matrix. One of the humans is a female named Loren, while the other would later grow up to be the Superintendent Chapman we know today. In a series of unfortunate events Arbron becomes a nothlit, stuck in a Taxxon body and living amongst the “hive mind” of rebel Taxxons. Even sadder still, Alloran is captured and infected by the Yeerk we now know as Visser Three.
Elfangor, Visser Three and Loren fight for the Time Matrix and are transported to a world of their own creation: equal parts Yeerk, human and Andalite. Fortunately Loren and Elfangor regain control of the Time Matrix and are sent to Earth, where Elfangor becomes a human nothlit and starts a family with Loren. Unfortunately it’s too good to be true and the Ellimists intervene, telling Elfangor that should he continue to live his life as a human, the universe as we know it will begin to unravel.
Elfangor concedes defeat and is returned to his Andalite body, leaving Loren and his unborn child behind. We learn that this son would later grow up to be Tobias. The Ellimists leave us with a little Easter Egg: they aren’t all powerful and are also fighting their own enemies.
Seeing the Taxxon homeworld was equal parts intriguing and disgusting. The descriptions of the neverending Taxxon hunger were so real - I could practically feel Arbron’s despair, feeling that death would be preferable to the insatiable Taxxon hunger. I’m curious as to whether he survived very long on Taxxon, both in terms of his work with the rebels and his ability to live as a vicious, cannibalistic worm.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the seemingly omnipotent and omnipresent Ellimists, so I was stoked to see that they played such a large role in the Andalite timeline. Even though my heart broke when I discovered that Elfangor was Tobias’ long lost father, it was wonderful to see that he had never landed in that construction site by chance. That while Tobias didn’t know it, his crappy homelife had been the work of the Ellimists and not the cruelty and neglect of humans. That him becoming a hawk nothlit wasn’t just bad luck, it was likely course correction by the Ellimists. I’m super keen to find out more about the Ellimists, as they hinted that while they’re capable of massive feats like the Time Matrix, they may be fighting a losing battle against their own enemies.
Now that we have the backstory of how Visser Three came to inhabit an Andalite body, I’m curious about the Yeerks’ first days on Earth. Chapman’s memory was supposedly erased before he returned to Earth, so how did he become so instrumental in the Yeerk invasion? I assume he was targeted by the Yeerks to become a Controller, but did they use technology to restore his memories or did they naturally return once he was infected? How did the first few Yeerks manage to get down here and get a foothold on the planet?
I’m also curious to read more about the “quantum virus” released on the Hork Bajir homeworld, which is eerily reminiscent of a Sigma Force book I read recently - though obviously the Animorphs series predates that! I'm also super keen to read more about the Skrit Na, now that we know they're the source of the Roswell "little grey men" stories! (less)
**spoiler alert** This is the final book in the story arc of David. In this book, the Animorphs not only have to prevent the Yeerks from infesting the...more**spoiler alert** This is the final book in the story arc of David. In this book, the Animorphs not only have to prevent the Yeerks from infesting the President, they have to worry about David killing them off in the process! David has gone from zero to psychopath in 10 seconds, making it clear he has no qualms about killing off fellow children.
The Animorphs manage to sabotage the Yeerk operation with a few rhinoceros and elephant morphs, but the fight against David doesn't go as smoothly. He's intent on killing off the Animorphs one by one, but doesn't leave it at the Animorphs – he kills Jake's injured cousin and takes his place! The Animorphs are terrified of David, having made it clear that he will stop at nothing to get to them – even morphing into a flea and riding around on one of them!
Thankfully after a genius plan and some good acting, the Animorphs trap David in rat morph at the infamous construction site. They force him to become a nothlit and ensure that he will never hurt anybody ever again. The Animorphs drop his sorry rat ass onto an isolated island in the middle of the ocean, where his disembodied distressed thought-screams soon spawn an urban legend amongst passing sailors.
The Animorphs live to die another day.
THANK FRAKKING GOD. David was an utterly evil douche, and I would have thrown my copy of the book across the room if he hadn't met a nasty end. I was personally hoping to see him slowly tortured in a basement somewhere, but dropping his nothlit ass on a deserted island was the next best option! Though this book series is obviously aimed at older children, David was so loathesome and evil that he wouldn't be out of place in a Stephen King novel.
As much as David made me want to hurl my Kindle across the room, I really did enjoy this three-part story arc. It was a nice departure from the monster-of-the-week self-contained stories, which were starting to stagnate. I'd become so accustomed to having everything wrapped up in 100 pages that I was getting antsy toward the end of The Discovery, wondering how on earth the author would resolve the David and world leader situations. It was a nice, albeit frustrating, surprise to see 'to be continued...' at the bottom of the last page!
I also really enjoyed the character progression we got to see with Rachel here. Tobias, Marco, Cassie and Jake have had their own books devoted to 'finding themselves' and The Solution was Rachel's. I was getting worried that she was turning into a cold-blooded murderer, and in this book she realised that she was changing too. She realised that the other Animorphs turned to her when they needed people hacked up into little pieces, and Rachel decided she didn't like that at all. She enjoyed the little Xena taunts, but she didn't want to be known as the bloodthirsty psycho of the group. It was great to see Rachel conducting an inward analysis of herself, and stepping back before she went past the point of no return. (less)
**spoiler alert** The Park Service centres around Aubrey van Houten, a 15 year old living in a subterranean society called Holocene II. Civilisation w...more**spoiler alert** The Park Service centres around Aubrey van Houten, a 15 year old living in a subterranean society called Holocene II. Civilisation was driven underground 1000 years ago after a nuclear holocaust, and the people in Holocene II are split into castes according to ability. Aubrey aces the test that determines where he’ll be placed and becomes the first ever citizen to ascend from Level 3 to Level 1. While being transported to Level 1 the train crashes on the surface. But far from being the desolate wasteland he’s been led to believe, the surface is pristine, flourishing and perfectly habitable!
Aubrey joins a local tribe and befriends a boy called Jimmy, who teaches him that the nomadic tribes of the surface live in fear of “The Park Service”: an unseen army of controllers who routinely exterminate the population using drones. After witnessing said extermination Jimmy and Aubrey embark on a trek to find the people behind it. Jimmy and Aubrey stumble across the man responsible for both the Park Service and Holocene II: Dr Radcliffe, a 900 year old scientist who wants his daughter and Aubrey to take over from him and his wife as custodians of the planet.
Aubrey learns that the world was all but destroyed 1000 years ago from overpopulation, nuclear war and pillaging of the Earth’s natural resources. North America was consequently designated as a national park and the Earth slowly recovered over the millennium thanks to minimal human interference. While Dr Radcliffe’s work started out nobly, Aubrey quickly realises that he’s gone batshit crazy. He’s killing the people of Holocene II and continuing to torture them after death, and he believes that humanity should be wiped out in order to let the planet flourish.
Aubrey and Hannah Radcliffe sabotage his plans, which ultimately culminates in the death of Mr and Mrs Radcliffe and the destruction of the Park Service control room. Aubrey, Hannah, Jimmy and their baby fox Junior narrowly escape death themselves, and are left to discover how far reaching Dr Radcliffe’s evil was.
If you were a fan of James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, you’ll enjoy The Park Service. While Dashner’s protagonist is plonked in a maze with no memory and left to speculate as to its origins and creators, Aubrey is thrust into the outside world and left to speculate about the origins and creators of Holocene II and why he’s been lied to all his life. He may not have amnesia, but he knows as little about his surroundings as Thomas did about the maze! I’m a fan of narratives where you only know as much as the protagonist does. Even after Aubrey learns the story behind the war and creation of Holocene II, it’s not until the end of the book that you truly grasp the extent of Dr Radcliffe’s madness and what he really intends to do to the planet.
I loved the idea of Holocene II and being allocated to a level/caste that you’d be confined to for the remaining 20 years of your life. It was much more restrictive than Beth Revis’ Across the Universe where people might be confined to the same level, but it’s still a damn big level with a township and fields. The bottom level also had a touch of Brave New World, with its less intelligent citizens being sterilised to ensure they don’t procreate!
I also really loved the idea of Eden and was bummed when I found out it wasn’t the real deal. I’ve always been fascinated by the Apotheosis program/V-World in Caprica, where a person’s avatar could be uploaded to live on in the program after death. But while Eden claimed to truly allow Holocene’s citizens to progress to the afterlife, in Caprica the avatars were simply that: eerily realistic copies of the person and their personality, but not an actual upload of their soul. The timeline also provided great food for thought - while I look back on my 23 years and think “Crap, 23 years is a long time”, I imagine that the retirement age of 35 in Holocene II would creep up very quickly!
But though I was disappointed that the owners of the brains floating around in the Eden pool weren’t actually frolicking through open virtual fields with their loved ones, the alternative explanation was actually pretty cool. It was both intriguing and depressing to think that in this simulation humanity had been presented with multiple political systems, environments and even physiological differences, but the outcome was always the same: destruction.
While Radcliffe had obviously gone a bit nuts over the past 900 years, I can understand his perception that humanity was a virus plaguing the planet. I just wonder what “something greater” he was envisioning for Earth when humanity was wiped out. Was he just referring to nature taking over after humans were bumped from the food chain? Or was he expecting that some greater civilisation would inherit the planet and coexist peacefully with nature in the millennia to come?
I can’t wait to see what Aubrey and co. find as they traverse the globe in the next book! I’m super keen to see how the people of China are fighting back against the Park Service, and if Mother Nature has reclaimed China like she has North America. I’m really hoping that Dr Radcliffe’s population estimates were inaccurate and that China boasts a hundred thousand people living happily beyond the reach of the Park Service!
While I really enjoyed the premise and concepts presented in this book, I did have a few issues with the story and use of language...
Aubrey fell for Hannah far too quickly. Sure, he was this scrawny boy in Holocene II who had never had friends, let alone attention from girls, but he was practically ready to run off and marry Hannah the day after they met. It would’ve been nice to see more character development from them both, for Aubrey to fumble around Hannah and struggle to forget that he’s not the skinny gangly boy he was a few months ago. And given that Hannah has never interacted with anyone but her parents and the maintenance staff, surely she would’ve had a few awkward moments as she tried to interact with someone her own age? It would’ve been nice for Aubrey and Hannah to enjoy some real conversation to discover their mutual likes and dislikes, rather than “Oh you’re super smart and like reading? So am I.”
And we can’t forget Jimmy, who should’ve been really upset that Aubrey doesn’t practice “Bros before Hoes”. Aubrey should’ve been more repentant that he ditched his friend as soon as a girl came into the picture; a friend who he’d brought back from the brink of death and nearly died traversing a mountain with. Aubrey should’ve also shown more compassion for Jimmy, helping him to adjust to modern life rather than cringing and rolling his eyes when Jimmy ate with his hands at the dinner table.
The overuse of similes also gave me the shits. Winfield uses a simile in nearly every sentence, and some of them are so long-winded that you have paragraphs consisting of one simile run-on sentence! You can describe the way someone walks or talks or poops without needing to constantly compare them to a water dancer/goddess/rainbow/panda/whatever. It’s so flowery and convoluted, and Winfield would do well to realise that sometimes a cigar is just a bloody cigar.
I also wasn’t a fan of the way dialogue was written between characters. Winfield doesn’t use any dialogue tags to describe how a character responds, not even “he said” or “she said”! Consequently the dialogue has a very snappy staccato feel to it, like Aubrey is constantly challenging whoever he’s speaking to and that every conversation is actually a fight. If Winfield would add a simple dialogue tag such as “he admitted”, “she blurted” or “he sighed”, we’d get a sense of how each character is feeling, opposed to Aubrey sounding like a petulant child interrogating everyone.
Overall: I absolutely loved the post-apocalyptic world presented in The Park Service and can’t wait to see where Ryan Winfield takes it next. If you enjoyed the sense of mystery in James Dashner’s The Maze Runner you’ll enjoy following Aubrey van Houten as he blindly navigates a world thought to be destroyed. I did take issue with some of Aubrey’s character development and the language used throughout the book, but I’m curious enough about the state of the rest of the world to keep reading. (less)
**spoiler alert** This book begins where The Discovery left off, with the Animorphs narrowly escaping the Visser and co. on a top secret mission to in...more**spoiler alert** This book begins where The Discovery left off, with the Animorphs narrowly escaping the Visser and co. on a top secret mission to infest the President. Fortunately for the Animorphs, they learn that the Visser did not in fact acquire the President's DNA – he'd actually acquired the head of security for the upcoming security leaders banquet.
The Animorphs penetrate the hologram at the banquet, only to find that it's all been a trap – there was no banquet, and they're inside a hologram within a hologram! Hologramception! David reveals his true colours to the Animorphs by attempting to defect to the Yeerks' side as soon as the Animorphs appear to be cornered.
Unfortunately David ends up returning to the Animorphs, and things only get worse from there. David openly engages in warfare against the Animorphs, killing Tobias and feeling zero remorse about it! The book ends with a 'to be continued...' as Jake and David go head to head in the local mall in their lion and tiger morphs.
OH GOD DAVID, FUCKING DIE ALREADY! Stephen King novels are the benchmark against which I measure all loathesome fictional characters, and David is right up there with the best of them. In the last book I was willing to cut him a little bit of slack, convinced that he was just lashing out over the loss of his family and his fucked up upbringing. But in The Threat we find out that he's just straight up frakking EVIL. He has no qualms killing the Animorphs while they're in morph, because as he describes it, 'we don't say that killing a bird is murder'. I am incredibly sensitive to animal cruelty, so this was way more upsetting to me than killing the Animorphs in their human forms.
In my review of the last book I didn't believe the author would show the violence of the Animorphs killing a fellow human, but good God I wish they would! I'm thinking that they'll go the way of forcing David to be a bug nothlit or something, but I wish I could see Rachel string David up and slowly torture him! He's even worse than Starkey in Neal Shusterman's UnWholly, who made me want to throw my Kindle across the room and then burn all the pieces. DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE!
I actually hate David more than Visser Three. David's sort of evil is much more tangible and disturbing than that of the Visser. The Visser is this abstract sort of evil, an entity that you know is supposed to be the embodiment of darkness, but it doesn't truly hit you because none of us are ever likely to encounter a destroyer of worlds. Though none of us are ever likely to encounter tween sociopaths with delusions of grandeur and narcissistic tendencies either, those kinds of personalities do exist. So they're much more tangible and that much more disturbing than a slug with a superiority complex. (less)
**spoiler alert** In this book the Animorphs become 7! After the new kid at school discovers Elfangor's morphing tech-cube in the construction site ne...more**spoiler alert** In this book the Animorphs become 7! After the new kid at school discovers Elfangor's morphing tech-cube in the construction site near his house, the Animorphs embark on a mission to get it in safe hands. Unfortunately this results in a battle between Visser Three's forces and the Animorphs, which exposes the Yeerk battle and destroys the new kid's house in the process. The Animorphs manage to escape with the cube, but are thrust into an awkward situation as the new kid now knows too much. The Animorphs are then forced to make new kid (David) into one of them.
The Animorphs bring David on a crucial mission, where failure could see the President of the United States being made into a Controller. Marco immediately realises something wrong with David as he freaks out before the mission, and also kills a crow in cold blood whilst in eagle morph. The Animorphs narrowly escape being squashed in cockroach morph whilst on the mission, only to end up flung out the air hatch several thousand feet above the ground! The book ends with a 'to be continued...' cliffhanger, and Visser Three having acquired the President's DNA.
Oooh, this is the first two-part storyline we've had! All the other books were 'monster of the week' self-contained stories, but this one stretches over multiple books!
I'm really interested to see how this David guy plays out. It was one thing for him to fall apart or be a giant asshole, but it was another to kill the crow in cold blood. I'm wondering whether he's some kind of awful sociopath serial-killer-in-the-making, or if he was unhealthily expressing his angst at having no control over his life. He'd previously whined about how he constantly had to pack up and leave because of his dad's job, and how he therefore never really had any friends. So it'd kind of make sense if his killing the crow was because he finally felt strength and control in that eagle morph.
That being said, get the fuck out of the Animorphs club already! I'm not sure how the author could permanently get rid of him without a gory or violent end. I don't think the Visser is going to lop his head off, because that would probably be too violent for a series aimed at kids so young. It's one thing for the Animorphs to rip the throats out of Hork-Bajir, or for the Visser to make general decapitation threats, but it feels different here because they now know David. I'm personally hoping that he either killed in cockroach morph or becomes a nothlit. But knowing the author, the Ellemist will interfere or there will be some other random means by which the Animorphs can strip David of his morphing capabilities and his memories.
I'm also incredibly interested to see how this mission with the world leaders turns out. It was bad enough when the Animorphs only had to worry about preventing a world leader from becoming infested, but now they have to worry about the Visser having acquired the President's DNA! The scales have tipped considerably in the Yeerks' favour, and unless the Animorphs can manage to kill Visser Three in this next book (which I doubt as I get the feeling he'll be there till the very end), the Animorphs are screwed! Fingers crossed the Ellemist or even Erek intervene. (less)
**spoiler alert** In this book, Cassie turns her back on the Animorphs. Sickened by the violence they're forced to commit, Cassie gives up her role in...more**spoiler alert** In this book, Cassie turns her back on the Animorphs. Sickened by the violence they're forced to commit, Cassie gives up her role in the fight against the Yeerks, vowing never to morph again. But her promise is quickly broken, as she unintentionally embarks on a wilderness adventure with a young girl-Controller.
Said girl-Controller had been stalking Cassie on suspicion of being an Andalite. Both girls became lost in the forest after being chased by a bear, and Cassie quickly gives up her secret. She comes to realise that not all Yeerks are evil, and that some simply want to be able to witness the visual delights that Earth has to offer. Some just want more than a life spent swimming in the sludge of the Yeerk pool.
Cassie makes a deal with the girl-Controller to free the host. The Yeerk agrees to relinquish her control on the girl's mind if Cassie deliberately becomes a nothlit: trapping herself in a caterpillar's body forever. Fortunately the caterpillar morph provides a loophole, what with the caterpillar's natural ability to morph into a butterfly. Once Cassie becomes a butterfly, she's able to morph back into a human again! The Yeerk continues to hold up her end of the deal though, and Cassie is provided with a new outlook on life.
I wanted to throw my Kindle across the room sooooo many times whilst reading this book. At the beginning I wanted to punch the other Animorphs as they failed to empathise with Cassie, calling her selfish and stupid. It might be cowardly to give up when you're one of the few people that can stop the Yeerks, but at the same time there's no shame in not wanting to take a life. I was frustrated as hell that the Animorphs couldn't see that. If they should be judging anybody, it's Rachel - she's well on her way to becoming a psychopath! Girl enjoys the killing too much if you ask me.
While I sympathised with Cassie in the beginning, I wanted to throw my Kindle across the room as I followed her antics in the forest. If the Animorphs thought she was dumb before, they had a helluva lot of ammunition against her after that! She gave up her Animorph status within the first few pages, and then actually let the Yeerk infest her, allowing it to rifle through all her memories and secrets? And then willingly gave up her human body forever, just to save this Yeerk and little girl? WHAT THE HELL CASSIE.
It all worked out in the end, but I just couldn't like this book. I enjoyed learning that not all Yeerks are evil, but surely there was a less dumb and rage-inducing way to write such a story. Cassie was previously one of my favourite characters for her humanity and convictions, but now she's lost all credibility in my eyes. So, so dumb. (less)
**spoiler alert** In this book the Sario Rip makes a comeback, as our Animorphs are thrown 65 million years into the past! While investigating the fai...more**spoiler alert** In this book the Sario Rip makes a comeback, as our Animorphs are thrown 65 million years into the past! While investigating the failure of a nuclear submarine offshore, the Animorphs are caught in a massive explosion that sends them hurtling into the Cretaceous Period. The Animorphs spend their days dodging Tyrannosaurus Rexes and trying to figure out how to get back to their own time.
But the Animorphs aren't the only intelligent species on Earth. The Earth also plays host to the Nesk: a race of ant-like creatures that can bond together to form larger shapes. The Nesk are scavengers and immigrants, having come to Earth after invading a number of other civilisations. Earth is also home to the Mercora, a peaceful race of crab-like creatures that narrowly escaped the destruction of their home planet. While they wish to live in peace, the Nesk don't believe in cohabitation.
The Mercora want to assist the Animorphs in creating an explosion to reverse the effects of the Sario Rip, but the only explosives on Earth are in the Nesk settlement. So the Animorphs infiltrate the Nesk settlement in dinosaur form, which results in many casualties on both Mercora and Nesk sides. The Nesk retreat from Earth in what seems to be a peaceful escape, only for them to later tamper with an incoming comet and set its trajectory to collide with Earth. The Mercora believe they can use the newly acquired nuke to destroy the comet before it enters the atmosphere, but Ax and Tobias come to a startling conclusion.
This is the comet that was responsible for the destruction of the dinosaurs. If the Animorphs tamper with it, they'll be rewriting history. Even though it will mean betraying the Mercora and leading them to their deaths, the Animorphs have to let the comet destroy Earth. So Ax tampers with the nuke to render it useless and sends the Mercora into space. The comet collides with Earth, sending the Animorphs back through the Sario Rip. But instead of being instantly whipped back to their own time, the Animorphs get to witness the evolution of Earth over the next 65 million years.
I LOVED this book. I harp on about loving X and Y books in the series for various reasons, but I can safely say that this has been my favourite thus far. It's exciting, terrifying, fascinating, and packed with DINOSAURS! I was a massive geek for dinosaurs as a kid, just like Tobias, so I'm bummed that I never owned this book! My younger self would have just devoured this book, marvelling at the different species and rattling off dinosaur names alongside Tobias.
This book was a muuuuch more satisfying view of the Sario Rip than in The Forgotten. I was incredibly fascinated by the idea that the Animorphs might have always been there. That those 5 kids made that fateful trip through the construction site that evening because future versions of themselves had gone on an accidental-time-travel-holiday. That the Yeerk invasion is only happening because 5 kids and an Andalite blew up the planet and spawned the human race. Talk about a mindfuck!
The way in which the Mercora played into the story was also fascinating. It was so tragic that the Mercora had to be sacrificed in order for the human race to be born. I felt awful for the Animorphs as they accepted help from the Mercora, knowing that this peaceful race had no place in Earth's future. I wonder how the future might have been altered if the Mercora had somehow survived, if they had been able to elude the Nesk and live in Earth's orbit until the environment settled down. Would they have just died out eventually anyway? Or would they have eventually developed the technology and resources to venture off-Earth and find another home? Or would humans be banding together with the Mercora to fight off the Yeerks in the distant future?
I'm also interested as to what happened to the Nesk, as despicable as they are. Since it appears they got away unscathed, are they still pillaging galactic villages 65 million years into the future? Did they evolve into any of the alien races we're familiar with today? Or did they reclaim Earth and eventually devolve into the ants we know today? Or did they all die out in some awesome display of karma? I'd have never thought the Animorphs books could spawn so many questions! :) (less)