Sister series to Animorphs written by K.A. Applegate and Michael Grant and published by Scholastic between 1999 and 2001.The series is about four teenagers with opposing personalitiesTrapped in Another World, where all of the classical polytheistic gods, demons and legendary heroes from various mythologies fled when people stopped worshiping them in the "Old World." While dealing with lunatic gods and insect aliens, they must find a way back to the Old World. Unfortunately, the only person who might be able to help them return is Senna, the witch who brought them to Everworld and shows up from time-to-time to either save their lives or travel with them and lend her magic to help. However, Senna has her own goals and plans for Everworld, and is more interested in bringing them to fruition than helping the rest of the group, and may be following a master plan darker than any of them could ever guess.Everworld had many of the themes of Animorphs, but aimed at an older audience, so it got to include "fun" subjects such as alcoholism, homophobia, religious intolerance, prejudice, obsessive-compulsive disorder and, the best of all(?), homosexual pedophilic rape.Books in the series include:
The Alliance: The group opposing Ka Anor by series end includes the Norse and Olympian Pantheons, the Dwarves, the Elves, every Fairy mercenary that Dwarf gold can buy, Merlin and the Irish, and the core four. They plan to grow it even more.
Ambition Is Evil: Senna. She's more ambitious than every other character in the entire series combined.
Ancient Grome: We get both the Greek and Roman pantheons, who hate each other. Neptune and Poseidon are always beating the crap out of each other, and Zeus refers to the Romans as "that impostor Jupiter and his brood."
Badass Normal: The core four approach this as the series progresses. They'll never win any stand-up fights, but their ability to survive and turn situations to their advantage is very impressive. Any human characters they encounter are either utterly pathetic, or this, with special points going to Thorolf and the other Vikings.
Senna's list of berserk buttons include: being called by her birth name, being in a situation where she isn't in control, any action that she constitutes as a betrayal of her, and the idea of anyone using her as a pawn in a scheme.
Better Than Sex: To Senna, using magic. She makes numerous quotes about it in Inside the Illusion to this effect.
...filled me up, rushed through me, the sensation of power more erotic than any fantasy, more exciting.
The power, I loved it so, it filled me and fulfilled me.
It was mind, it was body, it was sex and money and power and revenge and triumph all rolled into one.
Big Screwed-Up Family: Loki's. Christopher says it the best: "As bad as Loki is man, his kids are worse. I mean, how is it that you're this Calvin Klein, underwear model-looking god, and your kids are a snake, a wolf, and a half-dead monster woman?"
And that's not to mention the Wales family; both members that appeared in the series have a serious case of Moral Myopia, and it's implied in the ninth book that Senna was conceived when her mother used magic to seduce her father, just as Senna is doing to David in the series.
Worse yet: it's implied that this *
is how the Wales family has reproduced for untold generations, and Senna may be descended from Morgan La Fey.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Senna. While it's relatively obvious that she's up to no good, she makes an effort to appear polite and reasonable to the others in the first three books. As the series goes on, she eventually drops the facade and lets her Jerkass behavior come to the forefront when they continue to distrust her.
Body Snatcher: Senna can insert her mind into the body of a mentally unstable person, taking control of them. The owners are still fully aware when she does this, and think she's just a figment of their imagination. Senna being Senna, she doesn't waste the opportunity to snark about it.
Fat Billy: You're not real. Go away now. Don't be bothering me. I took my meds. Senna: You can't get rid of me that easily. I'm with the CIA. You know we can control your brain. You should have worn your tinfoil hat. It's the only way to stop us. Get up, Fat Billy. We have places to go, people to see.
David's backstory, too. Heck, all the main characters over the course of the series, especially April.
Breaking Speech: An example where one character's attempt to break another with words is turned around and broken in return. Jalil attempts to point out to Senna that she's in a bad situation, being on her own in a world where she has few allies and many enemies. Senna promptly composes and responds with one of these, deconstructing everything from Jalil's confidence to his religious beliefs, to great success.
Ares and Heracles fullfill this role for the Olympian gods, with their short tempers, love of violence, and incredible stupidity. Ares in particular is a wonderful case of Dumb Muscle meets Psychopathic Manchild.
Cain and Abel: Senna and April. But in this case, April, the good sister, kills Senna, the evil one.
The Caligula: Most of the gods, but Neptune exemplifies the trope.
Can't Stay Normal: The first variation of this is a recurring theme throughout the series. As the series progresses, the characters want less and less to do with their regular lives in the real world, until eventually they are forced to choose between staying in Everworld or returning to the real world, and all four choose Everworld.
Senna and Merlin. A good chunk of the first ten books is made up of the two of them trying to out-manuever one another. Senna escapes him in their first three encounters, but comes off worse in their fourth.
Compelling Voice: Senna has a sort of compelling touch which can cause anyone to fall under her spell and obey her every whim, or believe something that is false. Later in the series, she becomes able to extend it at a distance as well.
Cool Sword: Galahad's sword burns anyone who isn't supposed to touch it. It also survives physical contact with Hel, something normal swords do not do, and seems pretty much unbreakable.
Cowardly Lion: Christopher is no less able than any of the other characters, and when push comes to shove, he shows it. Otherwise, he's usually the first to advocate running away.
Creepy Child: Senna, especially when she was younger, but still creepy as a teenager/young adult. When the author was describing the series online, the only character she mentioned by name was, "Senna Wales, a strange, disturbing girl."
Deadpan Snarker: When Senna is actually traveling with the four, she tends to stay quiet, except to occasionally make a sarcastic comment to mock them.
Christopher is also prone to snarking (especially in the books he narrates). Nidhoggr gets a few choice lines in Book 6.
Death Glare: Senna's cold, contemptuous looks; she prefers these to express disapproval most of the time, unless she gets really angry.
Did They or Didn't They?: In the third book, April goes to see David in his room at the castle they're staying in, and finds to her surprise that he's shirtless, and Senna is in the room with him. David denies that they did anything, but Senna is in a suspiciously cheery mood afterwards and makes some rather suggestive comments. It is implied in a later scene that they did do it, and Senna compelled David to forget about it.
Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Merlin, while he lacks the power of the average god, still holds his own against them by using his intelligence, cleverness and imagination. Senna recognizes this, and later uses the same strategy to good effect.
When the kids aren't kowtowing to the gods, they're insulting them.
Defied by Senna, who repeatedly tells them that taunting Cthulhu is a very bad idea. The page quote is given by her after the core four flip off the African deities, which Senna thinks is outright stupid and unnecessarily risky.
The Dragon: Merlin has an actual Dragon, Senna has Dawkins to act as her second-in-command and Keith as her primary physical crony, and Loki has Fenrir. Judging from what Eshu says in Book 8, the Orisha (demi-gods) play this role to the Great High Gods of the African myth the group wandered into on their way to Egypt.
Dream Weaver: Senna has the ability to project her mind into another person's dreams and control them. This might explain the rather freaky dream of her that David had in the first book.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Debateably Senna, who gets knifed by April in Book 11, right after her moment of triumph, and then the book just ends abruptly afterwards. Definitely Finn McCool, an Irish hero who looks like he's being set up as a Foil to David and Christopher and who promptly gets shot by an unnamed Sennite during an ambush.
The Dung Ages: The kids' view on Everworld is not a positive one. And it's largely accurate.
Dying Moment of Awesome: The already dead Thorolf manages to bail the kids out of an upside down African afterlife by holding onto a messenger of the gods with his bare hands while Jalil blackmails the gods themselves (see Crowning Moment of Awesome above). This leads to their release, resulting in Thorolf's immediate death...which he greets in true Large Ham style, demanding the Valkyries come and get him.
Dysfunction Junction: The core four, and Senna. Deliberately, because Senna wanted a bunch of real-worlders mucking about and causing havoc without working together, so that when the Sennites come to conquer Everworld anyone who can shoots back rather than tries to talk to them.
Eldritch Abomination: The ever changing Ka Anor. He's witnessed once, and all the kids can really remember is an all-powerful sense of revulsion.
"How bad? Bad enough that really bad, really violent, really hard, nasty, evil guys are scared of him. Imagine Jeffrey Dahmer thinking someone else was really a hard-core psycho. "Hey, man, sure I kill guys and cut them up and put them in the freezer and cook certain body parts for lunch, but see that guy over there? That guy is crazy!"
Evil Genius: Loki is probably the smartest of the gods in his own warped way. He knows they can't beat Ka Anor and just wants out of Everworld. Hel is also far from dumb, to the dismay of all.
Mr. Trent is also the Evil Genius for the Sennites, being the primary recruiter and "mission control" who gets their supplies and arms, and presumbably delivers them to Dawkins.
Evil vs. Evil: This actually seems to be what's driving the plot a good portion of the time—both Ka Anor and Loki want Senna to keep the other from having her, and she's planning to overthrow both of them. The villains sometimes have alliances (like Loki and Ka Anor in the beginning), but even then they always seem to be planning to betray each other.
Flanderization: Subverted. The characters seem to be playing it straight for a few books, but eventually grow depths that shed a different light on past actions.
Flaw Exploitation: Senna does this to everyone throughout, but especially in the climax of the story. Poor Jalil...
Conversely, the core four are not above exploiting Senna's need for control to their own advantage. Jalil is especially adept at it, and he and Merlin put her through the psychological ringer in Book 11.
Fiery Redhead: April. She's green-eyed to boot, and, of course, has an Irish ancestry.
Friendship Moment: Mostly between Christopher and Jalil, when they stick up for each other despite their many arguments, especially when that lapses into the "real world."
Functional Magic: Used by wizards and by witches, though the rules and limitations of the system aren't seen in detail until Inside the Illusion, when Senna details her experiences with using it.
Gambit Pileup: With Senna, Merlin, Loki, Ka Anor, Athena, Jalil, and every one of Everworld's other major players all putting their own plans in motion, this was more or less inevitable.
Gangsta Style: Keith. To quote Jalil, "He'd learned his moves from TV."
Genre Savvy: Played with, or possibly satired: Christopher babbles about how the laws of movies and TV are inescapable, and even predicts his own death through redemption. Defied by April.
A God Am I: Both defied and invoked by Senna in Inside the Illusion. She admits freely that she is no god, merely a mortal with unusualabilities. However, she also pretends to be a god, creating an illusionary appearance and voice, and then passing herself off as one to the Sennites, in order to better unite and encourage them, and give her cause a greater sense of importance. (And she puts on quite a performance.) Played straight in Mystify the Magician, where Senna seems to honestly believe she's become a god, and starts to really act like one.
Heroic Wannabe: David starts out as this and develops into more of a hero before being gradually deconstructed back into this. And then starts reconstructing himself in the last book. He's all over the place.
Insulted Awake: Subverted. April attempts to insult David's masculinity to "make him mad, wake him up" only to be rudely disabused in a rather creepy scene.
April: Where are Jalil and Christopher? Maybe they're still both men. Senna: Don't try to provoke him. David: Don't try to provoke me.
In the Blood: It becomes apparent in the ninth book that quiteafew of Senna's traits were inherited from the maternal side.
As an immortal example, Loki and Hel are notably smarter than most of the other gods, much to the dismay of the main characters.
It's All About Me/Moral Myopia: Senna and her mother. Lampshaded in the tenth book by David, when he notes that when Senna hurts someone, it's business as usual. When someone hurts Senna, it's unforgiveable.
Jade-Colored Glasses: Done in a mild way to April, as she didn't break, but she definitely became more cynical.
Jerkass: Senna, increasingly with each book. Keith is even worse, and Senna decides that he's a natural choice for her chief minion as a result.
Jerkass Façade: Christopher. He comes across as a straight up Jerkass, but is more this trope, which he admits at one point. Sadly, he only starts really letting down that facade toward the very end of the series.
Large Ham: Pretty much every single one of the gods, who's personalities range from Psychopathic Manchild to Boisterous Bruiser. Even Athena has shades of this. Thorolf, one of the Vikings, is also a decent example, as are many of his crewmates, and Senna does it as an act for Keith and his psychos.
Senna has a special, illusion-modified voice that she uses especially for maximum hamminess.
Meaningful Name: Senna's real name (Senda) means "Pathway" in Spanish. Her mother was a translator of languages, and apparently guessed that her daughter had inherited the ability to travel between universes.
Messiah Creep: Ironically, atheist/agnostic Jalil, who evolves from a guy trying to rationalize the situation to the one with the most power to stop Ka Anor and genuinely cares about morality and such. Might also be "Leader Creep", since by that time, David has lost some of the others' trust, while Jalil's been building his.
Mighty Whitey: Subverted. Early leader David is Jewish, while later, leadership shifts to African-American Jalil.
Mind Rape: Senna has the ability to do this. Poor David and Jalil learn the hard way not to tick her off, in Discover the Destroyer and Inside the Illusion respectively.
Mommy Issues: Both subverted and played straight. Senna's mom was generally a nice person (well, sortof) who did want her daughter to be safe, but was too overwhelmed. However, it was precisely her absence that caused her daughter's start of darkness, because Senna considered it Parental Abandonment.
Senna's stepmother contributes to her Freudian Excuse as well; she seems to have never become comfortable with having to take care of her husband's bastard daughter.
More Dakka: The favoured fighting style of Keith and the rest of the Neo-Nazi Sennites. Justified by their lack of training, and effective due to their facing people who have never seen a gun in their lives.
Nay Theist: Senna's official view towards the various gods of Everworld. She openly acknowledges their existence and often even scolds the others for not treating them as such, but also quite clearly states that they are not omnipotent, are too weak to use power correctly, and she even plans to kill or reduce every god to a slave when she rules Everworld. It is unknown what her attitude towards the idea of a monotheistic God is, as the only things she's said about that sort of religion is that she enjoyed going to church and that she can't stand April's self-righteous religiousity.
Jalil as well. He can accept that these beings have tremendous powers, etc, etc. But none of them are gods, and as a straight-up atheist, he will not bow to them. In fact, most of the kids express these sorts of sentiments on one occasion or another; he and Senna are just the most obvious about it.
Not So Different: The similarities between Senna and April, and more frighteningly, Senna and Hel are repeatedly pointed out.
Nightmare Fetishist: Senna takes a liking to some . . . rather odd things. The two best examples are in the eighth and ninth books. In the eighth, the characters are sent into a mirror world where the sky is down and the ground is up. The core four find this extremely disturbing and disorienting, while Senna is cheerfully intrigued, compliments the African deities on creating such an awesome place, and compares the whole thing to fine art. A more disturbing example comes in the next book when Senna states that she likes watching crazy people, and it is implied that she has a thing for Jalil because she enjoys watching him struggle with his obsessive compulsive disorder.
Omniglot: Anica. According to the narrative, she can understand anything anyone says, regardless of language. In the ninth book, she recites the exact etymology of Senna's name.
Our Dragons Are Different; Even from each other. Merlin's is normal sized (for a dragon anyway) and serves as his Dragon in a literary sense as well as a physical one. Nidhoggr, on the other hand, is the size of Godzilla, and serves no one. Kind of a cool guy though.
Out-Gambitted: Senna outgambits Merlin and Anica in Inside the Illusion. Merlin gets his own back in Book 11 with asists from Christopher and Jalil. These are just some of the more notable examples; throughout the series, Merlin, Jalil, David, Senna, Loki, Hel, Ka Anor and the other gods run countless overlapping gambits that inevitably end up tripping one another up.
Out-of-Genre Experience: This was the only fantasy work that Applegate ever did; everything else she's written has been either sci-fi or realistic fiction, with the sole exception of The One and Only Ivan.
Overshadowed by Awesome: Senna is a powerful witch in her own right, but her powers don't look that impressive next to Merlin, Loki, Hel, Ka Anor or any of the other people who are out to get her. Her recruitment of Keith and company is an attempt at rectifying the situation. Merlin himself suffers from this in comparison to the gods, as do heroic humans like Galahad and Finn McCool. As for the core four (who are competent enough by early in the series to be much more than innocent bystanders, they suffer from it when compared to just about everyone.
Power High: Senna claims using magic "...filled me up, rushed through me, the sensation of power more erotic than any fantasy, more exciting. The power, I loved it so, it filled me and fulfilled me. It was mind, it was body, it was sex and money and power and revenge and triumph all rolled into one."
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Senna seems to like doing this. She talks down all four of the other main characters in Discover the Destroyer, then again in Brave the Betrayal. During the ninth book, she also lets Anica have it pretty bad.
Jalil recognizes this, hangs a lampshade on it, and at one point (Discover The Destroyer) even deconstructs one of Senna's speeches point for point. He and Merlin give Senna and her troops a joint "The Reason You Suck" Speech in Book 11.
Redshirt Army: Everyone that is allied with the core four; played straightest with the Vikings.
Screwed by the Network: Because there was a chance the series could be renewed, the ending was deliberately vague. As a result, the books end with David having just come out of hitting bottom, and proceeded to mostly ignore him and leave him isolated, most likely because there wasn't enough length left to devote to building him back up. In addition, the Ka Anor plot ends up reading like a better foreshadowed, lighter version/prelude to the Animorphs' Bolivian Army Ending.
Shape Shifter: Merlin and Senna create the impression of doing this, but it's all illusion. Eshu plays it straight, transforming into a lion during his battle with Thorolf.
The Smart Guy: Jalil, so much. It's why Senna brought him along. Though he proved to be a bit of a disappointment when he wouldn't obey her, as Senna herself admits. Merlin is The Smart Guy for all of Everworld, and Athena is The Smart Guy for the Olympian Pantheon.
Spanner in the Works: The core four themselves. Senna brought them over to Everworld for this very purpose originally, but they ended up causing problems for not only the gods, but her as well.
Split Personality: Kinda. The four live in both Everworld and our world. When one of them sleeps in Everworld, they reunite until they wake up there. They call this "CNN: Breaking News", where the memories of the Old World and Everworld collide. It gets to the point where they basically think of each life they live as separate people.
Too Dumb to Live: The party and Dionysus are traveling incognito in Hetwan territory, trying to keep the fact that they have a god in tow quiet since, you know, the Hetwan's god eats gods. Dionysus gets bored, so he summons a party out of thin air.
Took a Level in Badass: April, Jalil, and Christopher move from hopelessly lost kids who just want to go home, to major players in Everworld. Even David does this, following his rebound in the final two books, shaking his dependence on Senna, and becoming a leading figure in Everworld's army, thus undoing some of the aforementioned Badass Decay. And then there's Senna in Brave the Betrayal when her powers as a witch increase dramatically and she becomes able to extend her Compelling Voice at distances and even manipulate energies to move the course of an entire river.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Senna gradually becomes colder and more antagonistic each time she appears, which can be attributed to her revealing more of her true personality. Her actions in the eleventh book are perhaps the most extreme example. This is lampshaded by the main cast, and in particular April, who notes that while she's never liked Senna, the arrogance is new.
True Companions: Takes a long time to develop, but it's very fulfilling to follow its development. The core four may not like each other all that much, but by the end are very close, and are willing to give up their normal lives in order to help one another save Everworld.
The Undead: Hel is half-undead anyway. Only her living side can be injured, while the other side a) is nigh-invulnerable and b) continues to rot.
Ungrateful Bastard: Senna and April, especially towards each other. It's hard for their relationship to improve when each time one saves the other's life, the other immediately acts like a bitch about it.
Unnamed Parent: Nobody's parents are named, with the exception of Tom O'Brien, the father of April and Senna. Doubly Subverted in the ninth book with Senna's mother; her actual name is mentioned in one of Senna's memories, but in the present, she is still consistently referred to only as Senna's mother.
Up the Real Rabbit Hole: The protagonists continually refer to their world as "the real world". Others point out that this doesn't really make sense.
The Vamp: Senna to a degree, who uses David's crush on her to control him. And then there's Hel.
Verbal Tic: Senna has a tendency to say the name of the person she's talking to several times in a single conversation, usually at the end of her sentences. In one occasion in Inside the Illusion, she says Jalil's name seven times in one page.
Weak, but Skilled: Though not nearly as powerful as the gods, human magic-users (Merlin, Senna and Anica) can be quite influential if they use their powers wisely. The latter two, of course, also have the power of moving between worlds, which is difficult even for gods.
What Measure Is A Non Super: Senna, being the only member of the group with real magical power, often looks down at the others. From her point of view, they're mostly tools to an end. The irony? That's how the gods and the other players (esp. Loki and Merlin) see her.
Xanatos Speed Chess: Senna prides herself on her ability to adjust her plans on the fly. In fact, this talent is one of her strongest assets, as she is able to escape virtually every dangerous situation she's put in and quickly recover from any setback or defeat, at least until the eleventh book. Merlin's pretty competent at it to, and Jalil's learning.
Year Inside, Hour Outside: The time difference between Everworld and "The Old World" is incredibly wonky. Even if all four of them are asleep in Everworld, that's not a guarantee that they'll be back in the Old World at the same time.