Book 52: The Sacrifice
Publishing Date: April 2001
After the Governor’s televised warning in the previous book, the Yeerks decided to drop al pretences and start herding civillians via trains to the Yeerk pool to be infested. Ax and the Animorphs know the pool is a major weakness they’ve tried to exploit in the past, but now it’s time for them to pull out the big guns – literally – and blow it up, crippling the Yeerks once and for all.
It was hard for me to remember, in this book, that the Animorphs themselves don’t know how limited their time is. They’re not aware that the series and war is almost over, and have no idea how close the Andalite fleet is. They’re exhausted from fighting for three years, on the run, and utterly desperate. All-out war is something they can’t fight: not without weapons and armies of their own. So they improvise, and borrow both an army and weapons.
The problem with having such short books in the series is that sometimes there are things that need to be addressed that should have been addressed in previous books. It’s revealed through conversation that Cassie let Tom get away with the morphing cube and directly relates her stunning instincts to a falcon-morphed-Yeerk Ax met earlier and let go after the Yeerk begged him to allow him to become a nothlit. Lots of readers hate Cassie but even though her first instinct was to protect Jake from murdering his own brother, I always believed Cassie hoped the Yeerks would come to an arrangement similar to that of Aftran: after all, it’s their bodies they are trying to escape from by infesting other species. If they can leave those bodies behind permanently, it would mean the end of a species and the end of a war bent on dominating and enslaving other species. Just eradicate the need of the parasites. Fixes everything, right?
Most of the first half of this book is taken up with a spy mission that goes horribly wrong (but when does it not?) and then much talking, and the actual plot – blowing up the Yeerk pool – doesn’t kick in until halfway. The second half of the book is the train mission including stealing from the National Guard, hijacking the train and finally dive-bombing it into the Yeerk pool and telling everyone to get out. Though why Cassie tried to use her voice instead of Ax broadcasting thought-speech is beyond me. Sometimes these guys just don’t think. Visser One’s monster morph of the week shows up but beats a hasty retreat when he figures his own life is at risk, as usual. All I keep thinking when the pool is blown up though, is how when Buffy the Vampire Slayer blew up the Hellmouth and destroyed Sunnydale the TV show ended, and while most of downtown is gone in a giant sinkhole, we’ve still got two more books. This is because although the pool is gone there are just so many more Yeerks coming in from other colonies and ships. So even though the Animorphs took out the biggest Earth-based weakness, it wasn’t enough. The war goes on.
There is a bit of moralising in the book but not much, since the Animorphs have basically figured it’s better to save a planet and kill a few thousand people than lose the planet. Even Cassie tries out some typical moralising then retreats behind ‘I know it’s wrong but we need to do it anyway because war.’
Because there’s no going back after this.
Join me for a review of #43: The Answer next week!