Review of The Absolute by K.A. Applegate
by K.A. Applegate
Because there’s nothing like reading some Animorphs books out of order …
#51: The Absolute is where the proverbial manure hits the air redistribution machine. I mean, I haven’t generally been marking these reviews with spoiler alerts, because I feel like if you’re reading a review for book 51, you’re either in way too deep or you don’t care about being spoiled. But I had to flag this review, because this …
… this is it, people. This is the book. This is where it all changes. The secret is out!
Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this one overall, but I have to give it credit for the way it handles this crucial story arc development.
This book is interesting because it’s basically a Marco/Tobias team-up (with an assist from Ax). The other Animorphs don’t really show up for the first 25 or 30 per cent of the book, and then they do only briefly. It’s Marco and Ax who have to find the governor, extract her from danger after the Yeerks discover what’s happening, and protect her long enough to get her to safety.
Oh, yeah: I loved how Applegate and ghostwriter pull the gender bait-and-switch and hang a lampshade on the kids being surprised that the governor is a woman.
Marco also gets a chance to shine in his last round as narrator. In a weird way, he has benefited the most of the Animorphs (except maybe Tobias?) from all of these awful events: his parents have been reunited. So whereas Jake is depressed and apathetic, and Cassie is horrified, and Rachel is gluttonous for war, and Ax is conflicted, Marco is … kind of chill. His reaction to the near-impossibility of their situation is to let things ride. Is this the healthiest way to deal with it? Probably not. But it’s probably the most useful, tactically speaking, right at this stage of the war.
The Absolute is an interesting mix of serious events (the governor nearly being kidnapped by the Yeerks, Visser One showing up near the end, Marco and Tobias having to make a lot of quick decisions without much direction, and then the governor's speech at the end) and humorous vignettes. There are chase sequences and gorilla antics galore.
I love the governor’s speech at the end, and it makes me think about what would really happen if this scenario were real. If a United States governor just went on national television and said aliens were among us … I mean, it’s 2018 and Donald Trump is your president, so I guess all bets are off anyway now that we’ve wound up in the zaniest timeline. (OK, to be fair, the zaniest timeline might be Kanye as Vice President).
Anyway. As far as plot goes, this one is fast-moving and occasionally doesn’t make a lot of sense. That’s OK, though. I think at this point in the series, with the time crunch on to get all those loose ends gathered, this type of progression makes sense. We’re clearly building now to the final confrontation, and this is just one more brick in that wall.
But what a brick.