Animorphs 54

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels by clicking the links below:

Animorphs: 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-19 | 20-22 | 23-27 | 28-32 | 33-37 | 38-41 | 42-45 | 46-49 | 50-53

Megamorphs: The Andalite’s Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs | Elfangor’s Secret | Back to Before

Animorphs Chronicles: The Andalite Chronicles | The Hork-Bajir Chronicles | Visser | The Ellimist Chronicles

Wow. It feels weird to say this after two years but I am finally at the end of my retrospective look at K.A. Applegate’s Animorphs series. The series in question ran from 1996 to 2001 and consisted of fifty-four main novels and eight specials. It was also a massive part of my childhood and a source of huge nostalgia for me. For the purpose of this review, I’m only going to be looking at the final novel – The Beginning (2001). Please note that this post will contain massive spoilers for the entire series. You have been warned.

The end has finally come. Visser One has been defeated and the Animorphs have control of the Pool Ship. However, the battle is not over yet. Tom’s rebel band of Yeerks has taken the Blade Ship. The Animorphs have no chance of out-manoeuvring them and their weapons have been drained. Their only hope lies in the Rachel, who has stowed away as a flea on Tom’s head. With the future of the human race hanging the balance, Jake gives the one command he has always feared. He orders Rachel to stop his brother by whatever means necessary.

Rachel’s actions are enough to end the war, allowing the Animorphs to create a hasty agreement with the Andalites and save the Earth. However, it all comes at a terrible price. Not all of them came away from the Pool Ship unharmed. While some of Animorphs use their skills and fame to thrive in the years following the war, others sink further into despair. Jake, in particular, is unable to come to terms with the decisions that he was forced to make in the heat of battle. In some ways, he worries that he was as bad as Visser One.

Yet, even though the Yeerks have been defeated, danger still lurks at the edge of space. An entity that calls itself the One has begun to move, capturing any ship that it encounters and assimilating its crew into a greater whole. When Ax becomes a victim of the creature, the Andalite’s turn to the remaining Animorphs for assistance. However, are the Animorphs prepared relinquish their safety and head into battle once again?

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Animorphs 50-53

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels by clicking the links below:

Animorphs: 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-19 | 20-22 | 23-27 | 28-32 | 33-37 | 38-41 | 42-45 | 46-49

Megamorphs: The Andalite’s Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs | Elfangor’s Secret | Back to Before

Animorphs Chronicles: The Andalite Chronicles | The Hork-Bajir Chronicles | Visser | The Ellimist Chronicles

If this is the first of my retrospective posts that you have seen; welcome. This is where I’ve been gradually taking a look back at one of my childhood obsessions – K.A. Applegate’s epic Animorphs series. This science fiction series ran for fifty-four books (as well as a bunch of specials) and was published between 1996 and 2001. For the purpose of this review, I’m going to be looking at books fifty through fifty-three only – The Ultimate, The Absolute, The Sacrifice and The Answer. Oh, and there will be spoilers

The end that the Animorphs feared has finally come. The Yeerks have discovered their identities and forced them into hiding. Although most of the Animorphs managed to at least save their parents, Jake was not so lucky. Now he struggles with his depression, knowing that his mum and dad could well be Controllers. To make matters worse, Visser One has declared open warfare. There is no hiding now. The Yeerks seem to have won.

Yet the Animorphs will not accept defeat so easily. There is now no time to play fair. Jake and the others know that the only way that they can win is to take risks and do things that they previously would never have dreamed of. They share the morphing technology with others to bolster their ranks, make contact with politicians and members of the military, and even launch a final attempt to destroy the Yeerk Pool beneath the city.

Finally, they find themselves in a unique position to mount an attack on the most valuable ship in the Yeerk armada – the Pool Ship. With the help of unexpected allies, they launch a full-scale assault on the vessel. Their victory could very well save the human race. However, Jake knows that there is a good chance that, this time, they may not all make it out alive…

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The Extinction Trials: Exile

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for The Extinction Trials. You can read my review of this novel [here].

The Extinction Trials: Exile was written by S.M. Wilson and first published in 2018. It forms the second part of The Extinction Trials series, following the continuing adventures of Stormchaser and Lincoln as they are forced to return to the dinosaur-infested wilderness of Piloria. The story carries on shortly after The Extinction Trials (2018) left off, so you really need to read the novels in sequence to fully appreciate them.

Stormchaser managed to survive her mission to Piloria and win vital medical care for Lincoln, Kronar and Rune’s families. She knows that she should be happy about that, but something still eats at her. Although the dinosaurs were terrifying, she feels guilty for the role that she played in developing a virus to wipe them out. Much to her surprise, she also finds that she misses Piloria. Returning to the drab and overpopulated Ambulus City is stifling and she yearns for the leafy forests of the dinosaur continent.

Lincoln also has reasons for wanting to return to Piloria. He brought a small pot of Blaine’s ointment back with him which seems to hold the key to curing the blistering plague and saving his sister. Unfortunately, the plants needed to create it do not grow in Earthasia. If only there was some way that he could get back to Piloria to get the samples that he needs to mass produce it.

The chance comes sooner than he could have imagined. The virus has been engineered in record time and the Stipulators decide that the best people to plant it are the survivors of the first trial. Stormchaser, Lincoln and Leif are forced to put their differences aside as they once again face off against the world’s deadliest predators. However, this time they are not alone. The Council have learned that Reban Don is Storm’s father and have exiled him to Piloria. If Storm fails, she knows that the Stipulators will not let her return and she will be forced to live out her days with the man who once tried to kill her…

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The Ellimist Chronicles

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels by clicking the links below:

Animorphs: 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-19 | 20-22 | 23-27 | 28-32 | 33-37 | 38-41 | 42-45 | 46-49

Megamorphs: The Andalite’s Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs | Elfangor’s Secret | Back to Before

Animorphs Chronicles: The Andalite Chronicles | The Hork-Bajir Chronicles | Visser

Well, it’s been an age and for that I can only apologise, but I think it’s about time I pushed through the remaining Animorphs books and finished up this long-running series of retrospective reviews.

In case this the first of these that you’ve read one of these, this is my look back over my childhood favourite series – Animorphs by K.A. Applegate. The main series ran for fifty-four novels and focused on five teenagers who were given the power to become any animal they could touch in order to battle invading parasitic aliens. The series was also complimented by a number of specials and spin-off novels and it is the last of these that I am going to look at today. The Ellimist Chronicles was first published in 2000 and focuses on one of the series’ most mysterious characters. While the book can really be read at any point in the series after The Attack (book twenty-six), it is intended to fall after The Resistance, which is the forty-seventh instalment of the main series.

You should probably be aware that this review contains spoilers. You have been warned.

Before he was known as the Ellimist, he was Azure Level, Seven Spar, Extension Two, Down-Messenger, Forty-one. Or Toomin to his friends. Toomin was a Ketran – a peaceful species that lived in symbiosis with the floating crystals of his home world, but he was not a very accomplished one. While successful Ketrans became scientists or engineers, Toomin and his friends wasted time by playing immersive simulation games. However, he wasn’t even very good at that. Toomin was determined to win games through compassion but aggression almost always seems to be the winning strategy.

When Toomin is awarded a position on an experimental spacecraft, he is overjoyed. Perhaps it is finally time to stop playing games and make something of himself. Yet things quickly go wrong. A different tribe of Ketran have developed a way of sending communications beyond their planet and foolishly tested it by broadcasting a game without explanation. Thinking that the Ketrans pose a threat, a rival alien race arrives and wipes them out without warning. With no hope but to flee, Toomin and small group of others escape in their ship. They know that they are now the last of the Ketrans and – removed from their home crystal – they are shadow of their former selves.

This unthinkable tragedy sets in motion a string of events that causes a transformation in Toomin. He finds himself facing horrors that he could never have imagined but emerges from them changed – with knowledge and powers that far exceed anything else. He decides to put these to use by playing the ultimate game – one that helps him to preserve and advance other species. However, its not long before a rival player emerges and the Crayak’s motivations are far less altruistic than his own…

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Cell 7

Cell 7 was written by Kerry Drewery and first published in 2016. It is a dystopian thriller set in the not too distant future, where the court system has been abolished at all crimes are judged by the general public in the form of a reality TV show. The novel forms the first part of the Cell 7 Trilogy and is followed by Day 7 (2017) and Final 7 (2018).

Almost everyone agreed that the court system didn’t work. How else could you explain why so many high-profile killers seemed to get off scot-free? Everyone could see that the new system was an improvement. Each convict was placed into the Cells, moving each day until they were placed in Cell 7 – the execution chamber. Over this time, their story was broadcasted to the public on Death is Justice – a reality TV show that allowed them to vote on whether they thought that the accused was innocent or guilty. It’s clear that the new system works much better than the old. In over two thousand cases, only fifty have ever been found innocent.

When Jackson Paige is murdered, the whole country is shocked. Jackson is one of the most beloved celebrities, known for his charity work and the fact that he even adopted his son from the High Rises, England’s poorest area. His killer – Martha Honeydew – was born in the Rises and was found holding the gun, declaring her guilt. There is no need to review any evidence. As Martha is placed in Cell 1 the polls start out at 97% guilty and there’s no reason why they would ever shift.

However, Eve Stanton has her doubts. As Martha’s councillor, she is the only person who is allowed to speak with the accused and she has reason to believe that Martha is lying to protect someone. As Eve investigates Martha’s past, she learns that there is more to the case than meets the eye. Jackson Paige is not who he seemed and has some surprising ties to Martha. The only trouble is proving it. How can Eve save Martha from the wrath of the public, when Martha insists that she is guilty?

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Beetle Boy

Beetle Boy was written by M.G. Leonard and first published in 2016. It is a science-fiction / fantasy novel aimed at middle grade readers which tells the story of a boy’s adventures with a super intelligent rhinoceros beetle. The novel forms the first part of The Battle of the Beetles series and is followed by Beetle Queen (2017) and Battle of the Beetles (2018).

Darkus Cuttle is pretty content with his life until the day that his father vanishes. No one is sure exactly how he came to disappear from inside a locked room in London’s Natural History Museum, but everyone seems to have a theory. Some believe that he was murdered, others believe that he ran away. Darkus refuses to believe any of this. He knows that his father wouldn’t abandon him. The only trouble is that he has no idea what could have happened to him.

Darkus is sent to live with his closest relative, an archaeologist that he knows as Uncle Max, and it is there that he makes a discovery that will change his life. He sees a giant beetle fall out of the trouser leg of his disgusting new neighbour and quickly takes it home as a pet. The beetle – Baxter – turns out to be a species of rhinoceros beetle that is not native to England. Stranger still, it seems to be trying to communicate with him.

With the help of Uncle Max, Baxter and his two new school friends, Virginia and Bertolt, Darkus begins to investigate his father’s disappearance. The clues all point to the famous fashionista Lucretia Cutter – a woman renowned for making creepy clothing out of insects. However, Lucretia also seems to have an odd interest in Darkus’s neighbours. Can Darkus uncover her secret plan, save his father and protect the rare beetles that call his street a home?

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The Beneath

The Beneath was written by S.C. Ransom and first published in 2015. It is an urban fantasy story with horror elements that focuses on a teenage girl who discovers the existence of a dystopian community living beneath the streets of London. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to have read any of the author’s other work to fully appreciate it.

Lily has been having a rough time of it at school. She used to be rich and popular but the her parents lost everything. Now she lives with her Nan and everyone that she used to call a friend has turned against her. However, everything changes for Lily when she saves Aria from being hit by a train.

Aria is more than a little strange. She can’t read and seems confused by everything, from televisions to dogs. Lily soon learns that this is because she is seeing them for the first time. Aria has escaped from the Community – a group of people who have lived beneath London for centuries. In their culture, everything is dictated to them by the Farmer, who is the one person with control of the Crop – a deadly entity that keeps them all safe so long as they obey the Farmer’s strict rules to the letter.

Aria knows that she will be killed if she returns to the Community yet is torn by her sense of duty. She only came to the surface in the first place because she had been sent on a mission by Dane, the boy that she loves. Dane believes that the only person who can overthrow the Farmer lives on the surface but now Aria isn’t sure that she can go through with his plan. What would Lily say if she learned that Aria had only come to the surface to kidnap her?

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How I Live Now

How I Live Now was written by Meg Rosoff and first published in 2004. It is a work of speculative fiction, focusing on the experiences of a teenage girl in rural England as World War III breaks out. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to have read any of the author’s other work to fully appreciate it. It also won a number of literary awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Michael L Printz Award.

Daisy is fifteen-years-old and feels as though she has been utterly abandoned. Her father cares more about his pregnant wife than he does for her and has sent her away to live with her Aunt for the summer. Daisy finds this to be a bit of a culture shock at first. Not only has she been forced to trade Manhattan for the English countryside, but she has also got to get to know her four decidedly odd cousins – Osbert, Edmond, Isaac and Piper.

Luckily Daisy is quick to hit it off with her distant family, especially Edmond with whom she develops a mutual attraction. The summer seems to be perfect but everything changes when Aunt Penn leaves to attend a lecture in Oslo for a few days. It is over this time that the first bombs hit London and everything descends into chaos. The teenagers find themselves cut off from everything. Although the war has not reached them, they slowly begin to feel its impact through rationing and power failure to the village.

For a while, Daisy and her family are still happy and continue life as normal. However, that is before the army decide that they need to commandeer their house for a base. The girls and boys are split up and sent to different villages and everything suddenly becomes very real. Daisy and Piper know that they need to escape and find the boys, however how can they hope to do so when supplies are scarce and The Enemy could be anywhere?

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The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: 2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World. You can read my review of this novel [here].

2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious was written in 2018 by Shannon and Dean Hale. The young adult novel is a prequel to Marvel’s popular The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series, though you don’t really need to have read any of the comics to fully appreciate it. However, this book does carry on directly where Squirrel Meets World left off, so you may want to read the novels in sequence in order to fully appreciate what’s going on.

Doreen Green has found that having a superhero alter ego is a lot more complicated than she thought. In the town of Shady Oaks, Squirrel Girl is now a household name and she’s finding it hard to live up to people’s expectations of her. The Squirrel Scouts are always disappointed if they don’t get to see her beat up the bad guys, yet she’s sure that most problems could be solved if she just talks to them.

Yet being Doreen seems to be more complicated still. A teacher at school seems to detest her, and Doreen doesn’t understand why. To make matters worse, something is wrong with Ana Sofía. Her BHFF has been strangely distant with her lately, and Doreen is worried that she is about to lose the only person who knows her secret. Yet having friends is new to Doreen and she has no idea how to put things right.

To make matters worse, there seems to be a sinister plot at work. A contest to choose the mascot for a new mall is causing people to fight like cats and dogs. When mutant animals also begin to terrorise Shady Oaks, Doreen starts to suspect that HYDRA might be the ones behind it. Unable to enlist the help of the Avengers, its up to Squirrel Girl and her squirrel army to discover the truth and save the day.

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Threadwalkers

This review is brought to you as part of the Virtual Book Tour for Threadwalkers hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.

Threadwalkers was first published in 2017 and is Joanna Volavka’s debut novel. It is a science fiction story which focuses on a teenager whose life is literally unravelling before her very eyes. The book reads as though it is the first part of a series, though at the time of writing no further instalments have been announced.

When Miranda Woodward was a child, she found that she could hear voices that no one else could. When she tried to tell others about this, she found that only her father believed her and eventually seemed to lose this ability altogether. However, following her father’s death, Miranda found that she started to hear the voices again. At the same time, her life suddenly took a turn for the strange.

The changes were small at first. Her cat vanished and was replaced by another, and the date of her father’s death became ten years prior rather than a few months. Nobody else noticed these inconsistencies and Miranda started to feel as though she was losing her mind. However, things quickly became more serious. People that she knew for her entire life began to forget her name and her mother disappeared without a trace.

With nowhere else to turn, Miranda follows a clue left by her father to a man who calls himself the Tailor. Only he can explain what is happening to her and give her the training that she needs to put everything right. However, even he cannot answer the great mystery that plagues her. Why is it that her father entrusted her with a spool of golden thread that only she can see?

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© Kim Dyer and Arkham Reviews, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kim Dyer and Arkham Reviews with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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