by K.A. Applegate
(There may be SPOILERS). The Animorphs team are trying to find out where the Anti-Morphing weapon is hidden, so they sneak into a large event of The Sharing. While there Ax causes some ruckus because he gets carried away with tasting food (introducing some humor once more). They decide to deliberately let Tobias get captured so that when the new weapon is tested, the enemy will think it simply doesn\’t work (because of course the hawk is Tobias\’ true form). The plan is that Rachel will sneak along with Tobias as a fly, return to let the team know where they are, and bring them all back to save Tobias and destroy the weapon. Only things go wrong. Tobias ends up being held captive and tortured for most of the book. It\’s very vivid. Especially the wandering and agony his mind goes through. The reader learns a lot about bad times in his past, as he revists them. Finally he retreats into the mind of the hawk, which just suffers the pain not understanding it, and gives up thinking he\’s going to die. Of course the team crashes in just at the last minute and manages to save Tobias, in a very confusing and gruesome battle, but it leaves them all incredibly shook up. Tobias wonders about how Jake- as the leader- has been deliberately using him, and Rachel expresses her true feelings, plus all the awkwardness in their relationship. Tobias goes through all this after having faced (earlier in the story) some glum moments feeling awkward when he\’s in human form to be with Rachel, and realizing that a hawk has a naturally short life span. . . . In addition to all this, there\’s some equally grim stuff when the torturer reveals to Tobias some of her own backstory- what led her to actually become a voluntary host to an alien Yeerk. Oh, and there\’s a deeper connection bonding between Tobias and Ax, as in part of the plan to fool the enemy, Tobias acquires the Andalite so he can take the form the enemy expects him to. I don\’t know why the Animorphs haven\’t all acquired Andalite morphs before this point- it would be incredibly useful! Anyway, this is all a jumble, as I\’m rather tired, but it was such an intense story, don\’t really feel like this one fits in the juvenile fiction category either, due to the torture scenes. (During which there\’s there\’s a strong reference to the Princess Bride Pit of Despair- a few other reviwers noticed that as well). As a side note, there were numerous small typos in the copy I read- I don\’t know if it\’s just the e-book version or not.
Rating: 3/5 156 pages, 1999