The Unexpected

Animorphs #44 

by K.A. Applegate

Opening scene has the Animorphs involved in a shoot-out between a few Marines and a bunch of enemy Yeerk controllers at the airport, because a piece of wreckage from a alien fighter ship was found and who\’s going to have it. Cassie gets caught in the middle, nearly killed, escapes by morphing a fly and hiding in some luggage, winds up on a plane headed to Australia. The Yeerks attack and there\’s a crash and she\’s lost in the desert. She morphs again to escape safely, but is witnessed by an Aboriginal boy nearby. He\’s not at all surprised, because his traditional beliefs lead him to readily accept people having powers to change into animals. Really? This made me a bit uncomfortable. So. Cassie gets sheltered by the Aboriginal family, and makes a plan to get back home. The outstation radio was destroyed by Yeerks, so Cassie is going to travel as kangaroo overnight (too hot during the day, even as a native animal) to the nearest place where she can use a phone. But the boy\’s grandfather gets a leg injury that develops into a terrible infection alarmingly fast, and Cassie and the boy perform an amputation. Even for a sci-fi book in a series that really stretches reality, this was too much for me. There\’s other adults in the community, even one who is a healer- and it\’s two relatively inexperienced kids who perform an emergency operation? Um, no. Description of that was very unsettling, too. 

At the end, Cassie has another confrontation with the enemy, who discovered her location and are going to wipe out all the innocent people there, unless she surrenders. She runs off in kangaroo form, hoping to lead them away. Finds a wild kangaroo mob and hides among them, the wild kangaroos and Cassie-kangaroo end up fighting Taxxons and Hork-bajir soldiers. A lot of this was just ridiculous scenarios. Why am I not surprised, ha. I found the beginning escapade uninteresting (fight scenes bore me, having high-profile men in black suits and impressive weapons and chase scenes across the tarmac dodging airplanes doesn\’t really make it exciting for me. I\’m just skimming through waiting for it to be over). The story got far more interesting when Cassie landed in Australia, but then disappointing. I don\’t know very much about Aboriginal people, but the depiction of them in this book felt shallow. I did like reading about the kangaroos, their incredible stamina and defense abilities against predators (they will lead dingoes into water and then drown them). 
The other good parts of this book were seeing Cassie on her own- having to quickly solve problems, escape the enemies, and finding it in her to actually kill a bunch of enemies when she had to. She was fairly resourceful once she figured out where she\’d landed. And upon returning back home, there\’s some very nice moments between her and Jake, demonstrating how much they care for each other, how worried Jake was about her disappearance. The usual humor among the group when they\’re hanging out at a food court re-grouping now that Cassie\’s back with them.
This one\’s on my e-reader. All the rest of the Animorphs series are.
Rating: 3/5                160 pages, 2000
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