It starts with Rachel, Jake and the rest on a field trip tour of the White House- when the aliens bust in, chaos ensues, the President is in a helicopter trying to take off while aliens attack it, Jake tells Rachel they\’re leaving but she keeps fighting, gets mad and starts fighting Jake
as tiger, in her grizzly bear morph, on the White House lawn. Snap- it\’s all a dream! but things aren\’t quite right- Rachel goes about her day feeling that everything\’s off, arguing with her friends, hearing rats in the walls, seeing red lights flash- turns out she\’s having another nightmare. Or is she? After being attacked by hordes of rats and nearly drowning in a pond she wakes up in a dungeon, locked in a small plastic cube. David-the-rat
returns and threatens to force her into becoming a rat forever, just like him. Cassie appears nearby, also locked in a cube. Rachel has to choose between following David\’s demands, or loosing Cassie. Except- how does a kid trapped in a rat body acquire or build perfect locking plastic-box cages? It was really too far-fetched. There\’s other plot holes, too. Which turns out to be explained because most of it isn\’t real
Meanwhile Rachel is reliving all her bad moments, agonizing over how much she enjoys fighting, facing the maniacal violent side of herself. Crayak shows up- the evil all-powerful counterpart to the Ellimist- and it turns out he\’s playing mind games with Rachel. He morphs her into a superhero version of herself, then back into the cage as a rat, back and forth, until she\’s going crazy. He pits her against Visser One in an arena, where they battle it out, using their morphing powers. This was kinda interesting, and kinda eye-rolling. Aliens and mind games and shape-shifting abilities in this series, and now we have superhero powers too
? I just wasn\’t on board with that. Why did it have to introduce another fantastical element that hasn\’t been a part of the worldbuilding in this series at all
to date? Like when they gained dinosaur morphs
but then couldn\’t use them after travelling back through time. Pointless. Unless there\’s going to be super-Rachel in one of the last few books too? I have my suspicions though. It was an interesting look at Rachel\’s deepest inner fears, facing the part of her that is eager to use violence and her conflicting feelings about group leadership, how she feels used by the others sometimes, etc- but I got tired pretty quick of the repeated angst and the ridiculous fight scenes. In the end, Rachel is left in an alley facing David-the-rat, who is begging her to just kill him, he\’d rather die than go back to the island. Rachel is agonizing over what to do, and the book ends without disclosing her decision. That really irritated me too.
148 pages, 2000