by K.A. Applegate
In this Megamorph- longer than the usual books in the Animorph series- one of the alien leaders, Visser Four, has got hold of a dangerous device called the Time Matrix. It allows him to travel through time and change events in history. The Animorph team get a jarring view of how this could drastically change reality in the opening scene. They are granted the ability to follow Visser Four through time, in a desperate attempt to prevent him from changing history. Problem is, they don\’t know what events he\’s trying to alter, and what exactly they can do to stop him. They find themselves, at various points, on a French battlefield, in a naval war, with George Washington crossing the Deleware and on the beaches at D-Day, among other points. All significant, pivotal moments and the details are horrific. The chapters are told in alternating points of view. Ax is shaken by what he sees- are humans worth saving from the Yeerks, he wonders, if they are capable of such brutalities as the Holocaust? Also for the first time they face death that is not easily shaken off by morphing. One of the main characters, I thought until the last chapter, had actually been lost forever. The complications and problems with time-travel was, I thought, well-considered in a book aimed at children. Although I agree with another viewer this book boarders on YA not juvenile fiction. So much warfare, explosions, terrible injuries, vicious quick decisions made by some you would not expect (Cassie, for one). At one point a character escapes seeing what\’s going on by morphing into a fly, at another part of the story someone morphs a dolphin in the river and decides it might be better to swim away and stay dolphin permanently. But in the end, they do manage to thwart the enemy, and regain control of the device- in a strange scene of altered history where Hitler was a mere driver for someone higher-up, but Tobias felt compelled to execute him anyway. It feels like this series just got a lot more serious.
Rating: 4/5 224 pages, 1999