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Megamorphs #2; a "special" book in the series Animorphs by K.A. Applegate.

Disclaimer: If you've heard of Animorphs and you're thinking "Aww, how cute," maybe you should read my introduction to the first book to see how wrong you are.

IN THE TIME OF DINOSAURS

Megamorphs #2
by K.A. Applegate

Summarized Plot:

While morphing dolphins and trying to help divers locate a damaged nuclear sub, the Animorphs get sucked up into a Sario Rip effect and get sent back in time to the late Cretaceous period, where there are dinosaurs. Almost immediately Tobias and Rachel get separated from the group because a water dinosaur eats them, but the others escape and try to see about surviving. Rachel manages to save herself and Tobias but they're on their own. Each group encounters ancient horrors from the prehistoric world, but then things get weird when Rachel and Tobias encounter the ant-like Nesk aliens and Jake, Marco, Cassie, and Ax find an alien city belonging to the displaced Mercora aliens. The Animorphs are reunited after some issues, and they join forces with the Mercora to figure out how to get themselves home again while fighting against the Nesk. Unfortunately, though they manage to steal a nuclear weapon from the Nesk to provide power for their intentional Sario Rip, the Nesk decide to retaliate by redirecting a comet that was due to narrowly miss Earth, and now it's going to hit. The Animorphs have to decide whether to let history play out as they read about in history books or try to help their new alien friends. But helping the Mercora may result in them being unable to go home again.

About this book:

Narrators: Marco, Cassie, Jake, Rachel, Tobias, Ax

New known controllers:

  • None

New morphs acquired:

  • Jake: Tyrannosaurus (deleted due to Sario Rip)
  • Cassie: Tyrannosaurus (deleted due to Sario Rip)
  • Marco: Tyrannosaurus (deleted due to Sario Rip)
  • Rachel: Deinonychus (deleted due to Sario Rip)
  • Ax: Dolphin, Tyrannosaurus (deleted due to Sario Rip)
  • Tobias: Deinonychus (deleted due to Sario Rip)

Notable:

  • It's a bit ridiculous to imagine that a nuclear bomb could have gone off right next to a populated area and this doesn't appear to have any repercussions, nor is it brought up in the series again that an event which would be heralded as a catastrophe happened right there in the water. (Being that this is science fiction and sometimes very silly with its scientific justifications, perhaps we can just ignore that nuclear bombs don't rip through the time/space continuum to send people back in time, but that's ridiculous too. The very few nuclear explosions we've endured on this planet did not cause time travel. The sub's crew and rescue team also inexplicably did not come with the Animorphs to the past. It's unclear why the Sario Rip "picked" them to go through it.)

  • There's no reason their morphing abilities shouldn't work as they always did to heal wounds, but in this book, morphing doesn't heal them. This is never explained, and seems inconsistent because this is the second time they've experienced time travel by Sario Rip and during the first time they had no such problem.

  • It's interesting that Cassie immediately jumped into survivalist mode after she thought Rachel and Tobias were dead. She said some things that shocked Jake and Marco (such as suggesting they do various things with the dead body of a Tyrannosaurus to serve as clothes, shoes, and meat). It's never been said anywhere else in the story that Cassie has survivalist training--just animal-related medical training--but it makes sense that if she knows how to heal animals, she might know how to butcher them.

  • A new kind of creature is introduced in this book: An alien creature called the Nesk. It's made up of millions of ants.

  • There's a point when Jake overhears the thought-speak of Tobias when he is calling to Rachel. It seems odd that Tobias would randomly be using public thought-speak if he didn't think any other sentient creatures were around. That's not explained; it seems usually when they're talking just to each other they use specific, private thought-speak.

  • Another race called the Mercora emerges in this book--a race that has seven legs and is highly asymmetrical and slightly crab-like. In describing them, Ax also mentions a race called the Korla that the Andalites know about, and they've never been mentioned before.

  • It's revealed in this book that broccoli is not indigenous to Earth. It was brought to the planet by the alien Mercora race.

  • Toward the end of the book, the entire group morphs into birds and starts flying away, but there's a bit when Ax is said to have been keeping watch on something with his stalk eyes. He shouldn't be able to have stalk eyes while in a bird morph while they're all flying away. Seems this is a continuity glitch.

  • During the last time a Sario Rip happened, it makes sense that the morphs they acquired disappeared because that whole timeline was made to not exist based on Jake changing his mind about a choice they made. But in this book, the morphs getting erased doesn't really make sense because they did not undo anything they did and presumably they actually did have a lasting effect on reality. They should really be able to morph dinosaurs.

  • It's unclear because of time paradoxes whether the Animorphs actually changed history or were always there/had always been part of it somehow. Their influence was what inspired the Nesk to aim a comet that wasn't going to hit Earth straight at the Mercora settlement. If that comet was the only one that hit Earth during that time and it wasn't actually supposed to, then the Animorphs influenced history before they were born.

  • There's a note from Tobias at the end that seems tacked on, saying that even though Spinosaurus is said to have been extinct by the time the Cretaceous period was ending, Tobias wants you to believe otherwise because he was there (and almost got eaten by one). This seems like a case of patchwork editing pointed out late in the game rather than an intentional afterword by Tobias; seems more like a fact-checker caught the error and the editors decided to change it by making an excuse instead of making it match the known fossil record. This is the only factual error the book attempts to acknowledge but excuse, even though there are dozens of others--such as the water dinosaurs not really being dinosaurs and which ones were actually around during that time.

Best lines:

Marco: The Yeerks are a parasitic species. Like tapeworms or lice or certain gym coaches who think you can't play basketball just because you are somewhat not tall.

Ax: I believe his tone of voice indicated something the humans call "dry humor." I have not heard any wet humor, so it is difficult for me to tell the difference.

Marco: "You saved my life. Don't undo it by killing me with algebra."

Tobias: "You think getting eaten by a Kronosaurus was going to kill us? Nah. Or being chased by a pack of Deinonychus?"
Marco: "What are you, Dinosaur-boy?"
Rachel: "Now you know what I've been putting up with since yesterday. This-a-saurus and that-a-saurus. Tobias rattles them off like they were, I don't know, like any normal person would rattle off the names of major clothing designers."

Marco: "There would be this primitive tribe and because of my superior knowledge I would become their ruler."
Rachel: "Your superior knowledge of what, Marco? Your superior knowledge of Spider-Man's super powers? You run into a tribe of Neanderthals, you'd end up being their pet monkey."

Rachel: "They think we're intelligent. So, Marco, keep quiet. We don't want them to learn the truth."

Tobias: Who would have guessed that so long before the humans and the Andalites and Yeerks would even appear on the screen to play out their own life-and-death struggle, there had been an earlier war for Earth?



Next book: The Departure, Animorphs #19

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