Animal Rage

(Smallville, #4)

Before the legend...before the icon...there was a teenager named Clark Kent.

Clark is worried about one of his classmates, an over-zealous animal rights activist named Heather Fox. A strange series of attacks has been aimed at Smallville farmers who own livestock and shops carrying animal fur or leather. The victims suffer property damage and bodily harm, but the most bizarre detail is that Clark believes Heather changes into animal form to carry out these crimes. With the county fair just days away, Clark is certain Heather will strike again - probably at the fair - and it's up to him to keep Lana and everyone else from danger.

Simple writing but well-written, I continue to enjoy these more than I figured I would when I first started the Smallville reading project. Being a fan of the show and characters is likely what does it.

Like the others in the earlier series besides the first book, this novelization invents a story instead of using an episode recap. I enjoy this since it adds on to the fan canon, and overall the writers have done a worthy job. This time the group of friends runs into a local girl who takes animal activism too far, and the author brings up the controversial topics of big-game hunting, meat eating, farming, and animal activists, treating said subjects delicately.

The freak of the week was a clever tale about a girl who gains twisted meteor powers. The ending is kind of funny, even if it probably wasn't meant to be, with the large animal suddenly charging the stage.

I dug seeing the series regulars. Lana isn't a favorite of mine but I loved her ending speech and the subtle revenge she takes with it; it too me by surprise because I was kind-of expecting some humdrum, goody-two-shoes output and was pleasantly amused instead. Chloe is cute but almost cloying. Pete's always fun, and Lex steals any page he appears on. The authors captured a faithful picture of Clark and made it convincing.

Enhanced smell shows up, something I'd wondered about before. He has an ability with his ears, four with the eyes, and considering the breath powers and mouth...I always wondered about the nose. The only sense not heightened? As the book explains it, it's not a power but something that enhanced during puberty along with a full host of other powers. I'm guessing instead of actually "Super smell", he just has a more advanced olfactory system than humans. Works out for the subtle burning wire smell that's about to start an issue in the book, but would suck in other situations with smelly people. The "fear sweat smell" scene was a little fan-girl fascinating.

Overall this series is proving to be much more fun that I anticipated. Despite the weaker first book, these sequels are definitely worth a read for fans, as long as you don't mind the writing style geared for such a young age group.


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