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Review of The Arrival by

The Arrival

by K.A. Applegate

Tfw you’re too lazy to write a review because Julie’s is literally word-perfect.

I’m actually just going to quote stuff I like from her review and add a few thoughts of my own in order to pretend I’m doing work here and justify counting this as a “review” of my own….

Ax's characterisation is pitch-perfect

So much yes! Ax is a fun narrator because of his alien perspective, but in the wrong hands that perspective becomes too loony. Ghostwriter Kimberly Morris keeps the comic tone from become too over-the-top. I like how Ax doesn’t assume the reader is human, so he explains things that non-humans might be confused by. Also, there are some good moments in here that remind us that Ax is a young Andalite and an inexperienced (by some standards) warrior, which is easy to forget when he is the only non-Controller Andalite on the planet.

My opinion of the Andalites drops almost every time we meet more of them.

Exactly, this is one of the great strengths of the Animorphs series. The Andalites are not a stock species of heroes and the Yeerks are not villains. We’ve seen Applegate time and again work to subvert such Saturday-morning-cartoon readings, portraying honourable Yeerks and devious or nefarious Andalites. However, she still succeeds in presenting a set of Andalite cultural norms that is markedly different from humans. One of my pet peeves about SF is when someone writes aliens as “humans who look different”. Aliens are alien, and we get that here with the Andalites. They may be sentient and very good with technology, but they have slightly different moral philosophies from humans, as this book and previous books have shown us. If Ax hadn’t been “corrupted” by the Animorphs, he would be espousing the same philosophy.

Except that I genuinely fell for it and thought that they had fallen apart, because my trust in some of the ghostwriters is that low…

(Emphasis original.) I nearly fell for it too, but I had a vague memory of it being a set-up from when I read this book as a kid, so I kind of suspected that for the rest of the book.

On a related note, though, this is one of those rare Animorphs adventures where only one character features prominently and the rest only appear fleetingly. This is an Ax story and the other Animorphs are support characters.

That being said, Jake standing up to Gonrod? Yes please! Chills down my spine as I saw this human pre-teen (teenager?) telling an adult Andalite how things will go down. But please, keep telling me how teenagers aren’t going to fix this world if we just let them.

The Arrival's plot is emotional, contributes a lot to the worldbuilding and overall arc, and is relevant to the war as a whole, with wonderful characterisations and high-stakes, and even slow horror at times.

What she said!

Much like this book, the next book will pick up on continuity from earlier in the series. Guys, we have officially entered TNG-season-6 mode. As Rachel says, let’s rock and roll.


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