Review: Megamorphs #4 - Back to Before

11:30 Cilla P 0 Comments

Title: Back to Before (Megamorphs #4)
Author: K.A. Applegate
Publisher: Scholastic Paperback
Source: E-book
Synopsis: Jake's finally weakened. After a grisly battle, the Drode offers the Animorphs' leader an escape from the terrifying pressure. He'll reverse the decision to start the Animorphs. Now, there's no morphing, no missions, and no knowledge of the Yeerks. That is, until very strange things begin to happen and Jake, Rachel, Tobias, Cassie, Marco and Ax are forced to confront their new reality

Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

"Power enough to win? No. Power enough to fight? Ah yes. Just enough, little Jake, here is just enough power to imprison you in a cage of duty, to make you fight."

I said it in the review I wrote for Animorphs #41 that I was getting tired of time-travelling in all its forms. So when I started reading this and saw that it is all about an alternate timeline again, I pretty much rolled my eyes. (This book was supposed to come before #41, but I imagine my reaction would still have been the same.) Nevertheless, the premise was an interesting one: what if our heroes never took that shortcut by the abandoned construction site? What if they never met Elfangor?

The thing I love about the Megamorphs editions is how we get to see through everyone's point of view instead of following just one like usual. Here, that format lets us see what each of the Animorph's life would have been without that encounter with Elfangor. Tobias' life, in particular, was heartbreaking. We never got to see how badly bullied and abandoned he was, given he became the red-tailed hawk in the first book and never went back to school. To me, this highlighted how Animorphs gave him people who genuinely cared about him.

The answer to the 'what ifs' is complex. In this timeline, the kids were not haunted by nightmares of battles or the guilt of killing, but their lives weren't necessarily better. Just because they weren't given the power to be soldiers, it didn't mean the war didn't exist, or that they didn't have to fight. I finished this book feeling that even if you could go back in time and change a pivotal moment, some things are just meant to happen.


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