I remember loving The Forgotten when I was a kid, but it really is pretty useless in the grand scheme of things, other than to establish that time-travel is a thing (this is achieved by falling through a Sario Rip, literally a hole in space-time, as the Andalites call them). That lazy genre classic, the Reset Button, shows up here and shows up hard. By the end, no one but Jake even remembers most of the events in the book.
Actually, most of the time-travel stuff in this is pseudo-science nonsense. Time-travel is hard to get right in the first place, but here it just felt like it was trying too hard, reaching for answers that didn’t quite work, and that were for the most part way too convenient. A lot of the book felt like that, just off, like Applegate was out of ideas.
Imagine my surprise when I clicked over to Hirac Delest only to be informed that K.A. Applegate had a bit of a creative crisis in the midst of writing this, and panicked that she was out of ideas for the series. It really does show in the writing. Jake makes a series of really dumb choices, doubling down on those choices and refusing to communicate, and lets his impulses get in the way. More importantly, there doesn’t actually seem to be a reason for him to have made these mistakes. They’re just there, and not born out of some flaw he needs to correct or lesson he needs to learn. Just like the story of the Animorphs being lost in the Amazon, his arc is ultimately pointless. (There is some effort towards having Jake struggle with being a leader, but it doesn’t really go anywhere.) I didn’t expect this, since it used to be a favorite, but this is actually the weakest book in the series so far.
Next up, Rachel has an allergic reaction.