Animorphs 33-37

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

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

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

Welcome again to my retrospective of K.A. Applegate’s Animorphs. In case you haven’t seen any of my previous posts, this is my gradual look back over a popular-science fiction series that ran between 1996 and 2001. The series consisted of fifty-four main books and ten spin-offs, though for the purpose of this review I’m only going to be looking at volumes thirty-three to thirty-seven – The Illusion, The Prophecy, The Proposal, The Mutation and The Weakness. Be warned, there will be spoilers below the cut…

Due to Rachel’s struggle against herself, the Animorphs failed to stop the development of the Anti-Morphing Ray. Now that it’s ready to be tested, the team know that it could reveal that they’re really human and put all of their lives in danger. Their only hope is to fool Visser Three into believing that it’s broken and the only way to do this is to use Tobias. The hawk is his true form and so if the ray is turned upon him, nothing would happen. However, tricking the Yeerks requires for him to first become their prisoner.

Following this, the Animorphs are contacted by the last of the Arn. He wishes to breed a new strain of Hork-Bajir to free his plant for the Yeerks, but to do so he needs to find a cask of armaments that was once hidden by Aldrea. To locate this, he needs to transfer Aldrea’s consciousness into a willing host. However, there is no way of knowing if Aldrea will be prepared to give the person their body back.

Yet some of the Animorph’s biggest challenges occur close to home. Marco struggles to control his morphing power when put under stress by the possibility of his father remarrying, and Jake is forced to make difficult decisions when the team are taken captive by a race of aquatic humanoids. Yet the biggest challenge comes when Rachel is left in charge while Jake takes a vacation. Her reckless plan to show up Visser Three puts the lives of her friends in danger. Just how far will she go before she realises that she is in over her head?
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Young Adult Comics

graphic-novels

I haven’t had time to prepare a proper review for today as I’m currently studying for an exam. Don’t worry though – so long as I pass, everything should be back to normal for next week!

Anyhow, instead I thought I’d use today’s post to talk about something a little different. If you follow me on Goodreads, you’ll already know that I’m also an avid comic book reader. While comics are a bit more mainstream now than they once were, they’re still often looked down upon as being of lesser value than other forms of art and literature. This is quite frankly crazy – as with the novels that I’ve reviewed, the quality of comics can vary quite wildly between titles, writers and artists.

Therefore, I thought I’d use this post to talk about my favourite comics for middle grade and young adult readers. Everything on this list (apart from Nimona) is an ongoing series so you should be able to find them at your local book store, library or comic book shop. I also should note that all of these series are all Western comics. While I do also read manga, these days I’m more of a Western comic book reader and so I’m not up on the most recent Japanese titles to recommend.

Anyhow, let’s start with some Marvel comics!

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Animorphs 28-32

animorphs-28-32

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

Megamorphs: The Andalite’s Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs

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

Sorry it’s taken so long for me to post this – life is busy. Anyhow, let’s return to my retrospective look at K.A. Applegate’s Animorphs books. As with previous reviews, please note that there will be spoilers. In case you’ve never heard of it before, Animorphs was a science fiction series for young teens that ran from 1996 to 2001. It consisted of fifty-four main novels, as well as ten spin-off stories. For the purpose of this review, I’m going to be looking at books twenty-eight to thirty-two only – The Experiment, The Sickness, The Reunion, The Conspiracy and The Separation. That’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get started!

The Battle for Earth is drawing on and the Yeerks are being forced to grow craftier in their approach. When the Chee come to learn that the Yeerks have taken control of a research lab and meat processing plant, the Animorphs know that they have to infiltrate both to discover why. What they find is a complex plot to change the food supply in order to remove human free will. However, can they destroy the Yeerks’s research without winding up as hamburgers?

Following on from this, the Animorphs are forced to embark on a number of sensitive personal missions. Cassie’s trust is put to the test when she is contacted by a Yeerk who claims to be part of a peace movement. His ally, Aftran, has been captured and will inevitably reveal everything about the Animorphs once Visser Three tortures her. Yet, with all the other Animorphs sick, it’s up to Cassie alone to rescue her and, to do that, she must morph into her worst enemy…

Jake and Marco face crises of a different source when their families are targeted by the Yeerks. Jake must pull out all the stops to protect his unknowing father as Tom tries to either infest or destroy him, while Marco learns that his mother is still alive and is forced to make the impossible choice whether to risk his friends to save her or let her die. Meanwhile, Rachel is forced to face the danger within when she finds herself split in half. With the threat of the Yeerks developing an Anti-Morphing Ray, the team needs to be more focused than ever. But how can they stop it while Rachel is at war against herself?

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Scythe

scythe

Scythe was written by Neal Shusterman and first published in 2016. It’s a science fiction novel with horror elements that is set in a world where humans have conquered death and old age. The book forms the first part of a planned series, though at the time of writing no future instalments have been announced.

There is no one alive who remembers the Age of Mortality – the time when the world was dangerous and the tiniest slip could result in death. People now have the power to live forever, resetting back as far as their early twenties whenever they felt the touch of old age. However, death is required in order to keep down the population. The service is performed by the Scythes – an order of men and women who are permitted to “glean” the chosen – taking their life for the good of all.

When there becomes a need for more Scythes to be ordained, Honourable Scythe Faraday takes it upon himself to train two apprentices – Citra and Rowan. Both of the teenagers are taken from different walks of life and neither is keen to don the cloak and ring of Scythe. Yet this is for the best. Faraday believes that a good Scythe is one that does not want to burden. A Scythe that enjoys killing is nothing more than a murder.

Yet taking on two apprentices is unheard of and not all of Faraday’s colleagues are impressed. It is decided that only one of his students is to become a Scythe and their first task will be to glean the loser. Citra and Rowan began their apprenticeship as allies but soon find themselves as rivals, torn between their friendship and desire to survive…

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Animorphs 23-27

animorphs-23-27

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

Megamorphs: The Andalite’s Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs

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

Apologies in the delay in writing this review – it’s been a busy few weeks. This time, I’m going to be looking at books twenty-three to twenty-seven – The Pretender, The Suspicion, The Extreme, The Attack and The Exposed. In case this is the first of these reviews you’ve looked at, the Animorphs series was written by K.A. Applegate and ran from 1996 to 2001. It consists of fifty-four books and a further ten spin-off stories and specials. As always, this a retrospective rather than a true review, so there may be spoilers.

Tobias is left shocked when he is contacted out of the blue by his father’s lawyer. The man tells him that the person he thought was father was not really, and that his birth-father’s last will and testament is to be read to him on his next birthday. He also tells him that his long-lost cousin Aria has offered to become his legal guardian. There is just one problem. Tobias has never heard of Aria and so the Animorphs grow concerned that it may all be a Yeerk trap.

Following on from this, the Animorphs are forced to embark on a couple of high-risk missions when they’re faced by new alien threats. The minuscule Helmacrons don’t seem to be very dangerous at first, however when they shrink Cassie, Marco and Tobias down to their size, the Animorphs realise that the insane aliens are far more threatening on their own turf. Things grow more dangerous still when the Animorphs travel to the Arctic to destroy a new Yeerk facility. It soon becomes clear that the cold is not the only issue they face. The Yeerks have revived a long-extinct race – one perfectly adapted to fighting in sub-zero temperatures.

Yet their biggest challenge comes in the form of the Crayak – the Ellimist’s evil counterpart. Although not able to harm them directly, the Crayak is still able to send his deadly allies to destroy entire species. The Animorphs face their most dangerous foes as they protect the Iskoort home world from the monstrous Howlers, but the fight is brought much closer to home as the Drode – the Crayak’s twisted sidekick – sets his sights on the Chee…

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Timekeeper

timekeeper

Timekeeper was first published in 2016 and is Tara Sim’s debut novel. It is a steampunk fantasy which focus on the relationship between a young mechanic and the spirit possessing a clock tower. The book is the first part of a planned series, though at the time of writing no other instalments have been announced.

For as long as anyone can remember, the clock towers have regulated the flow of time. People live in fear of them ever becoming damaged as if a clock tower ever stops, the surrounding area also becomes frozen in time and completely cut off from the outside world. To prevent this from happening, the towers are maintained by a guild of mechanics, each blessed with the ability to sense and manipulate the threads of time.

Danny Hart is a prodigy. At the age of seventeen, he is the youngest person to ever graduate as a mechanic. That is, until his accident. Although Danny manages to survive an explosion at a clock tower that he has been sent to repair, he’s left traumatised and unable to perform even the most basic of duties. This is a problem. The guild has commenced work on the first brand-new clock tower in centuries and he needs to be part of the construction team. His father’s life could depend on it.

To prove that he is fit to work, Danny accepts an assignment to repair a damaged tower. Yet the apprentice who is assigned to help him quickly proves to know next to nothing about mechanics. It’s not long before Danny realises why. Colton isn’t an apprentice at all, but the guardian spirit of the clock tower. It’s not long before Danny and Colton start to fall in love. Yet it’s expressly forbidden for a mechanic to develop feelings for a clock spirit. Danny knows that their bond can only end in disaster. At best, it could cost him his job. At worst, it could endanger the lives of everyone living in the town…

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Nature’s Confession

natures-confession

Nature’s Confession was written by J.L. Morin and first published in 2015. It is a science fiction novel (falling into the sub-genre of “cli-fi”), set in a futuristic and heavily-polluted Earth. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to have read any of Morin’s earlier work to fully appreciate it.

Planet Earth is dying. For years, the people who lived there have ignored renewable energy sources and instead plundered resources of fossil fuels. The Emperor of Earth and Ocean is keen that no one argues against him, and thus has turned schools into places were children are encouraged not to think for themselves, rewarding only those that conform to his capitalist philosophy and keep their mouths shut.

However, Boy finds that he is immune to their brainwashing mist and starts to question why his teachers refuse to answer his questions. Boy is a code writing genius and is soon contacted by a mysterious benefactor who wishes for him to design a programme that allows all who use it to upload ideas. The seas are poisoned and it’s not going to be long before the air becomes unbreathable. The stranger wants to give the people a platform that they can use to voice their ideas regarding how the environment can be saved.

Boy creates his program but quickly learns that his benefactor was not being entirely truthful. It is instead the spark that will allow machines to become self-aware, leading to the possibility of creating artificially intelligent androids. As the beloved benefactor of these robots, Boy and his family soon find themselves catapulted across the universe. When the Emperor sets his sights on destroying other worlds, only they can raise awareness of his crimes and fight back.

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The Hork-Bajir Chronicles

the-hork-bajir-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

Megamorphs: The Andalite’s Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs

Animorphs Chronicles: The Andalite Chronicles

The Hork-Bajir Chronicles was written by K.A. Applegate and first published in 1998. It is the second book of the Animorphs Chronicles, a spin-off of the popular Animorphs series, and focuses on how the Yeerks took control of the Hork-Bajir race. Although this book is technically a prequel, it is intended to be read after book 22 of the main series (The Solution).

Aldrea’s family honour has been tarnished by the well-meaning actions of her father, Prince Seerow. It was Seerow who first reached out to the Yeerks, taking pity on their weakness and teaching them about the stars. Now, the Yeerks are the scourge of the universe, taking over race after race, and the Andalites are struggling to stop them. Unwilling to trust Seerow, the Andalites send him on a mission to study a remote jungle planet. The only known species who live there an unintelligent race of tree-dwelling herbivore known as the Hork-Bajir.

Dak Hamee is different. He is a Hork-Bajir seer – a creature born only once every generation who possesses greater-than-average intelligence. When the Andalite party arrives, he is quick to befriend Aldrea. Seeing that he is special, she teaches him science and mathematics. In return, Dak teaches her to appreciate his forest home and the spiritual peace of Hork-Bajir life.

Yet the peace will not last. The growing Yeerk empire has also discovered the Hork-Bajir homeworld and realises that the powerful Hork-Bajir will make excellent shock troops for their war. Lead by Esplin 9466, the Yeerks invade the planet and kill Aldrea’s family. With nothing left to lose, she encourages Dak to use his influence to train a band of Hork-Bajir into resistance fighters to strike back at the Yeerks. Yet their actions have horrible consequences. As Dak watches his friends become ruthless killing machines, he starts to wonder if resisting the Yeerks is worth the cost to his people…

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Animorphs 20-22

animorphs-20-22

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

Megamorphs: The Andalite’s Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs

Animorphs Chronicles: The Andalite Chronicles

The Animorphs series was written by K.A. Applegate and ran from 1996 to 2001, consisting of fifty-four books and a further ten spin-off stories and specials. This week, I’m going to be focusing on books twenty to twenty-two – The Discovery, The Threat and The Solution – which are collectively known by fans as The David Trilogy. As always, this is a retrospective rather than a true review, so there may be spoilers.

The Animorphs believed that all trace of Elfangor was vaporised along with his ship. Imagine Marco’s surprise when he sees a boy at school showing off the Escafil Device – the blue box which gave them their morphing powers. The boy, named David, has no idea what the object is but realises that it’s valuable. He tells Marco that he’s put it up for sale online and already had interest. Marco knows that this is not a good thing. The only ones who would be interested in such an object have to be Controllers.

The Animorphs rush to David’s house to try and claim the Escafil Device for themselves and wind up inadvertently dragging David into their war. With his home destroyed and his parents taken by the Yeerks, they are left with two choices. Either they leave him to the mercy of Visser Three or they allow him to join them, sharing the morphing technology. Although Marco and Ax are wary, the Animorphs decide to take the risk and allow David to join their ranks.

Yet David has joined the team a bad time. A summit is taking place and the Animorphs learn that one of the world leaders attending is already a Controller. It will be the perfect chance for Visser Three to infest the rest. It’s a serious mission and the Animorphs soon realise that they may have made a mistake in trusting a stranger. David is unpredictable and cowardly, and would do anything to save his own skin. Even if it meant turning his new allies over to the Yeerks…

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Broken Sky

broken-sky

Broken Sky was written by L.A. Weatherly and first published in 2016. It focuses on a teenage girl striving to help keep the peace in a 1940s style dystopian America. The novel forms the first part of the The Broken Trilogy and is followed by Darkness Falls (2016). The final instalment of the series has yet to be announced.

Eighteen-year-old Amity Vancour is a peace-fighter for the Western Seaboard. It’s her job to take part in aerial dogfights against the peace-fighters of other nations in order to determine what legislations are passed for the good of all. That has been the way of things ever since mankind nearly wiped themselves out in a nuclear war. Now, conflict is a thing of the past. Sure, peace-fighters sometimes die, but they are just accidents. The era where people fought each other is long past.

However, Amity slowly begins to learn that peace is not assured. As a result of a fight that she loses, the Western Seaboard is forced to give up a third of their oil rights. The result is widespread inflation and loss of livelihoods, but Amity is convinced that she was not responsible. She’s sure that there was a malfunction with her plane, but her superiors quickly brush off her claims.

As Amity investigates further, she begins to uncover a network of lies and thrown fights. Everything leads back to the Central States – a dictatorship run by John Gunnison, a madman who trusts the stars to guide him – and Amity soon realises that the peace-fights have been fixed for a long time. However, her discovery may have come too late. The people of the Western Seaboard are growing increasingly amenable to Gunnison’s ideology and those that she loves are in very real danger…

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