Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book 12: The Reaction

The Summary
Everyone is at the zoo on a field trip when Rachel sees a little boy jump into the crocodile pit. She goes in after him and morphs one of the crocodiles to save him. Rachel is now on the news as "that girl who fell in the crocodile pit."

The real trouble starts when the Animorphs learn that The Sharing has hired an actor named Jeremy Jason McCole to be their spokesman. JJ is pretty much the nineties equivalent of Robert Pattinson, so the Animorphs need to stop this from happening, or else lose every ten year old girl in the country to the Yeerks in one fell swoop.

That night when Rachel is at home looking up pictures of JJ, she begins morphing uncontrollably. She morphs a crocodile, and then a fly, without going back to human first. Then she morphs into an elephant and collapses her entire house. Luckily her entire family is somehow not killed. Now she is not only the crocodile pit girl, but also the girl whose house fell on her. The media eats it up, and Rachel gets a spot on the Barry and Cindy Sue Show on the same day as JJ.

Rachel begs Cassie not to tell anyone about the morphing problem, because she is desperate to meet JJ. But she can't keep it hidden for long. While spying on JJ on his yacht in seagull morph, Rachel begins morphing again--in the ocean. Visser Three is there to convince JJ to be their spokesman, and JJ is pretty pleased with the idea, because Visser Three is promising him better acting roles and stuff. Rachel's heart is also broken when she hears JJ complaining about obsessive fangirls. JJ does see Visser Three morph, but presumably thinks it is some awesome new technology that the Sharing has, as aliens are never mentioned in the conversation between them.

They manage to escape from Visser Three, and Ax tells everyone that Rachel is allergic to the crocodile DNA that she just acquired, and will morph uncontrollably when she gets emotional until she is able to eject the DNA. Rachel refuses to miss the show, and so tells everyone the next day that she expelled the DNA the night before.

When they arrive on set, Rachel begins to expel the DNA for real. This involves a live crocodile emerging from her body. She morphs a grizzly bear to protect herself, and Cassie morphs a squirrel because she's a little slow today. In the fight that ensues, all the animals wind up charging out onto stage while the show is filming. Everyone panics, but Ax manages to kill the crocodile and everyone gets out safely. JJ is so traumatized by the entire thing that he relocates to Uzbekistan and is never heard from again.

The Review
Ifi: First we need to talk about that very odd pose Rachel is striking on the cover
Ifi: Or rather, just note that she is striking a very odd pose.
Adam: She is studying to be a mime.
Ifi: Or something
Adam: She is breaking down the invisible way on her way to become an alligator
Adam: Crocodile
Adam: Excuse me
Adam: In spite of the weird pose, I actually like this cover
Adam: It is one of the few where she is not just floating in space.
Adam: Similar to book 4.
Ifi: Oh you are right
Adam: There is actual ground she is standing on here.
Ifi: and I appreciate that

Adam: My copy is damaged
Adam: This makes me quite sad
Ifi: It's okay this is just a filler book anyway
Adam: True enough.
Adam: But it is also a very entertaining filler book.
Ifi: I thought it was teh dum.
Adam: Yes, but in the best sort of way
Adam: Nice is Neat, anyone?

Cassie looked guilty. "NIN. You know, Nine Inch Nails? I wanted to get the new CD but I was broke, so I told my mom NIN stood for Nice Is Neat."

----Book Twelve, The Reaction

Ifi: How the hell does anyone come up with that?
Adam: What I want to know is how Cassie's mom would actually believe that to be an honest to goodness band name.

I always wondered what lies they told people to get them to agree to become Controllers. Now I know. At least I know what it took to get one person to betray his entire planet.
I guess he betrayed me personally, too. [...]
It was a shame I had to do what I did to him. It hurt me as much as it hurt him.

----Book Twelve, The Reaction

Ifi: Well damn is it time for David already?
Adam: Sorry, not just yet.
Ifi: I actually read those lines and thought, "Wait, I thought this book was about a TV star?"

Ifi: The kids are all at the zoo on a field trip
Adam: And Rachel spots this idiot kid jump into the crocodile exhibit.
Adam: Rather than letting Darwinism take its course, she decides to try to save him.
Ifi: Let him get eated. That's Darwinism for you
Adam: My thoughts exactly
Ifi: So she saves the kid, somehow not blowing her cover...
Adam: Somehow

<Hey, kid! I'm the good crocodile, all right? Climb on my back!>

----Book Twelve, The Reaction

Ifi: Wow.
Ifi: That was almost as bad as the International Elephant Police
Adam: Well, we have already established that this kid has no brains in his head.
Adam: So at least we are being consistent here.

Ifi: When Rachel morphs the crocodile, she actually gets physically ill for a moment, but shakes it off
Adam: Oh well, it is probably not important anyway.
Ifi: So, despite the fact that what she did was very stupid, everyone is impressed by her bravery or whatever
Adam: I always just thought she was stupid, and they were patronizing her because they figured she was traumatized or something.

Jake scratched his ear. He grinned sheepishly. "Just because I would have done the same thing doesn't make it right."
"I think Rachel was a real hero," Cassie said.
<Rachel was brave. Bravery is a great virtue.>

----Book Twelve, The Reaction

Ifi: Sounds pretty sincere
Adam: Oh, you mean the other Animorphs. I thought you were referring to her parents and such.
Adam: Well, hey, at least she's doing something better then saving elephants from being abused
Adam: Saving human lives is at least related to their longterm goals as a group.

Ifi: So there's some Justin Bieber-esque character named Jeremy Jason McCole
Ifi: and Cassie and Rachel are just soooo in love with him because he is soooo dreamy even though this is soooo out of character for them
Adam: He's more of an expy of Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Adam: These books were way before the Bieber era.
Ifi: Obviously Jesus
Ifi: I am dumb but I am not stupid
Adam: *pats head*
Adam: there there
Adam: book look:
I could stare into those eyes forever...
Adam: Isn't he just so dreeeeaaamy?
Ifi: Our man JJ is on some show called Power House. The Jonathan Taylor Thomas Wikipedia article says he was on a show called 'Home Improvement' so wow that was just shameless celebrity identity theft right there.
Adam: You don't remember Home Improvement?
Ifi: I don't think so.
Adam: It was a Tim Allen vehicle.
Adam: He made strange noises and blew stuff up.
Ifi: That makes sense, because Rachel also mentions there is a comedian father character

Ifi: This is not even slightly funny
Adam: Honestly, the whole show is just Tim Allen grunting and blowing stuff up.
Ifi: I am glad I managed to miss it
Adam: It was basically the more masculine equivalent of Full House.
Adam: Comedian plays a father with three suspiciously blond children
Ifi: I see
Adam: So now you have a bit of cultural history behind that.

Cassie sent me a sly, sidelong glance. "Of course...we might have to actually meet Jeremy Jason in order to save him."
"We have to do our duty," I said. "I mean, for a start, we have to find out if he's already a Controller."
"And we'd probably have to meet him to do that."
"Get close to him."
"Very close."

----Book Twelve, The Reaction

Ifi: Creepy shit
Adam: My thoughts exactly

Ifi: JJ is apparently going to be the new spokesman for the Sharing, which is bad because if he says to join, every brainless twit in the country will sign up
Adam: And there a lot of those, evidently.
Ifi: I can sort of understand Rachel going in for the pop culture icon, but Cassie?
Ifi: Really?
Ifi: No way.
Adam: She's still only human
Ifi: Cassie does not care about other humans. Only whales.
Adam: Jonathan Taylor Thomas is the only begotten son of Jesus Whale.
Adam: Wait.
Adam: I think I am getting my religion mixed up.
Adam: Oh well.
Ifi: No it all makes perfect sense now

Ifi: Also JJ is coming to town to be on a show called the Barry and Cindy Sue Show is this meant to be Regis and Kelly or what?
Ifi: Since you seem to be quite good at translating these things.
Adam: Regis and Kathy Lee.
Adam: C'mon Ifi, this is the 90's, remember?
Adam: You're way too ahead of the times.
Ifi: You know perfectly well that a program does not hold my attention if there are no robots
Adam: There are robots!
Ifi: In Regis and Kathy Lee?
Adam: It has Regis Philbin!
Ifi: I am going to just pretend like I even know what is going on

Ifi: Can we just talk about the book
Ifi: And Rachel's issue
Adam: Go for it.
Ifi: Rachel is looking up naked pictures of JJ on the internet when she suddenly starts morphing uncontrollably
Adam: I remember the last time that happened to me.
Adam: Being a teenager is a tough time.
Ifi: And then she turns into an elephant and collapses the whole house
Adam: Oops.
Ifi: .......
Ifi: I don't even
Adam: Them's some great carpentry, huh?

Ifi: So the news realizes that she is the girl who fell into the crocodile pit as well as the girl whose house fell on her so now she is the amazing falling girl
Ifi: Enjoy those 15 minutes of fame Rachel
Adam: Classy.
Ifi: Apparently it is a slow news day
Adam: It happens.

Adam: So Rachel's gonna be on the teevee!
Adam: How exciting!
Adam: It's not like this could potentially call attention to her and her teammates or anything!
Ifi: The same show that JJ is going to be on! And the same day! OMG! WE GET TO MEET HIM SQUEEEEEEE!!!!!
Ifi: What the fuck am I even reading
Adam: Interstellar war-story.
Adam: Duh.
Ifi: I'm sorry I thought this book was about aliens or something.
Adam: Who cares about those
Adam: When we can read about dreamy boys.
Adam: *u*

Ifi: So Rachel is just going through life, morphing uncontrollably
Ifi: She manages to pass bear legs off as boots to Chapman

I stood up and headed for the door. I paused with my hand on the knob. I turned back and saw Chapman staring hard at my feet.
"Oh, you like my new boots?" I asked.
Chapman smiled. "The things you kids will wear."

----Book Twelve, The Reaction

Ifi: Christ man
Ifi: You are fired.
Adam: And thus predicting the whole Ugg craze.

Adam: Also, as usual, she completely fails to mention it to anyone until after it already becomes a problem.
Ifi: Mid-mission. While Visser Three is picking out the right morph to eat them with.
Adam: He turns into a manta ray that can shoot missiles
Ifi: But before that, they all go to JJ's yacht to spy on him or take stalker pictures of him or whatever
Ifi: And is there that they learn JJ is actually a huge jerk
Adam: Except.
Adam: He doesn't actually seem to be that huge of a jerk, if you think about it.
Ifi: I actually did notice that.
Adam: They all seem to assume he is selling out his species, or something.
Ifi: There is no actual proof of that, yes
Adam: But there is absolutely no reason to assume that Visser Three told him that much.
Ifi: Yeah. I assumed he just thought V3 was an agent or something
Adam: Exactly.
Adam: And that he would just get him some better roles in exchange for doing some ads for the Sharing.
Ifi: The whole thing about him being a voluntary controller was an assumption
Adam: It is a huge unfounded assumption.

Suddenly Jeremy Jason laughed. "I guess you see through me." He stood up to face [Visser Three]. "I let you perform this procedure…make me a major movie star. Deal?"

----Book Twelve, The Reaction

Adam: He probably just thinks that the Sharing is some sort of secret society, and the "procedure" is some sort of hazing ritual or something
Ifi: I mean, he is a jerk about his fangirls, but I can imagine that would get old fast. Random people thinking they know him, thinking they're entitled to him
Adam: Personally, I find it very hard to demonize someone for disliking obsessive fangirls.
Ifi: True.
Ifi: He's probably just sick of starring in all those real person fics

this is terrifying. wtf society D:

Ifi: In the meantime, Rachel starts morphing uncontrollably again, which prompts V3 to start chasing them
Adam: But there is a big drawn-out fight, which we barely get to see, since Rachel is currently a wounded croc.

It was a bizarre morph. Like nothing on Earth, that's for sure. It looked like a vast, bright yellow stingray. Like a living pancake, flat and oblong. It sort of flew through the water by slowly flapping its sides. There were two stalk-mounted eyes on top, and two long, trailing antennae below.
All along its back it had spears. They were lined up flat. You know how a fighter jet has missiles tucked up under the wings? That's how it held the spears, only they were on top. But all neatly in a row, facing forward.

----Book Twelve, The Reaction

Ifi: Oh V3
Adam: I like it!
Adam: It makes no sense biologically, but whatevs
Ifi: I, too, shall morph a fighter jet next battle
Adam: Make all your dreams come true.

<Hah-HAH!> Visser Three exulted. <It works! I just acquired this morph, and look how well it performs!>

----Book Twelve, The Reaction

Ifi: Confirmed: This is how V3 spends his weekends
Adam: Wait, he just acquired it?
Adam: How does that...
Adam: Well.
Adam: I guess you are right.
Adam: Huh.
Ifi: I told you so
Ifi: It's why you never see him on Sundays
Adam: Now, does he go off traveling, or does he have these things brought to him?
Adam: I kind of like the idea of him going on safaris.
Ifi: Obvi he goes traveling. It is like in the 1800's when everyone went on safari
Ifi: omg psychic
Adam: He has a broad-brimmed explorers hat, with holes cut in the top for the eye stalks.
Ifi: and khaki shorts.
Adam: How adorable.
Ifi: I don't know how he wears them but he does
Adam: I pity his tailor
Ifi: This is what he does every weekend and nothing you say or do will ever convince me otherwise
I apologize, but I could not figure out any sane method for getting khaki pants on an andalite.
Adam: So, after all that commotion with Visser Three.
Adam: They just leave.
Adam: We don't even get to see them escape.
Adam: It just cuts back to them at home.

Ifi: So after nearly getting everyone KILLED
Ifi: Ax explains Rachel is 'allergic' to the crocodile morph, and will keep doing this weird uncontrollable morphing until she ejects the DNA
Adam: Basically she has to vomit a whole crocodile out of her back.
Adam: Which is completely awesome.
Ifi: Which is why the next part makes no sense
Adam: Go on...
Ifi: The next day she lies to everyone and says she expelled the DNA because she wants to see JJ so bad
Adam: She flushed it down the toilet.
Adam: It's still in the hotel room. She hopes her dad doesn't notice.

Adam: There is one other thing I would like to address.

<No medicine. At least none that humans could create. But there is a process. Something that happens naturally in these cases. At least it happens to Andalites. It's called hereth illint.>
"That sounds poetic," Cassie said.
<A literal translation would be something like "burping DNA.">
"Now that's poetry," Marco said, laughing.

----Book Twelve, The Reaction

Adam: So, what he is saying
Adam: Is that since Andalites do not have mouths, they do not have words for things like "spitting out" or "vomiting up" since those require mouths.
Adam: So instead, they use a word that translates to another action that requires a mouth...
Adam: Um...
Ifi: They burp out their feet.
Adam: Heck, I do that all the time.
Ifi: It’s just so obvious
Adam: Clearly.

Ifi: Ok so they get to the studio and aside from JJ and Rachel the Amazing Falling Girl, there is some dude named Bart Jacobs with a bunch of animals going to be on the show today
Ifi: Any idea who that was meant to be?
Adam: Jack Hanna?
Ifi: Anyway that is convenient because it explains any random animals that may be meandering about the studio
Adam: And Marco is now a llama.
Ifi: What a useful morph

Adam: It fits his personality, in anycase.
Adam: Llamas are generally irritable creatures that spit on everyone.
Adam: Just perfect for Marco!
Ifi: Just perfect for fighting a secret alien invasion!
Adam: Clearly.

"Jeremy Jason," I heard Cassie whisper in awestruck tones.
No emotion..., I told myself. 
But you have no idea just how massively cute he was up close like that.
And then he smiled at Cassie, and gave her a little half-hug. Like he'd probably done with a million fans before.
I saw Cassie's knees buckle. She actually wobbled.

----Book Twelve, The Reaction

Adam: Celebrities are pretty much aliens anyway, by all accounts.

Ifi: There is a lot of derping around in the studio before anything happens
Ifi: Then Rachel starts expelling the DNA for real. Cassie gets her to a bathroom so they can be in a small, enclosed space with a deadly reptile
Ifi: She also bites some people and generally acts like a lunatic
Adam: I like this image of Rachel just running around, acting like a predatory reptile.
Adam: It's the sort of thing she would do in her free time when alone.
Adam: Also, we now get the image of a crocodile growing out of the back of a grizzly bear.
Adam: I love this series.

Ifi: It gets to the point where Rachel in bear morph, Cassie in squirrel morph, Marco in llama morph, and the ejected crocodile all run out onstage together.
Ifi: It's just been that kind of day
Ifi: Naturally everyone panics
Adam: And JJ is frozen in terror.
Adam: And his Yeerk decides to make a run for it
Adam: Or, er, make a slow crawl for it.

I had seen a slug crawling out of Jeremy Jason! The Yeerk had panicked. It didn't want to be swallowed up along with its host body.
It was crawling around on the dark stage like a snail without its shell.
I bailed. I ran for the far side of the stage. But as I ran, I felt one of my massive bear paws step on something.
Something warm and squishy.
Something that felt like a slug.
<I don't think the Yeerk made it too far,> I said.

----Book Twelve, The Reaction

Ifi: Jesus.
Adam: I'm not even sure of how to start on that.
Ifi: That is multiple levels of wrong
Ifi: She treats it as if she's just stepped on a contact lens or something
Adam: I would get more upset than that over a contact

There are a lot of youtube clips in this one.

Adam: It seems a bit early on for everyone to be so completely heartless.

Ifi: And so yeah
Ifi: That is it
Adam: Cassie morphs Rachel and does the show for her.
Adam: This is the first time one of them morphs another member of their own species.
Ifi: Which is actually kind of cool
Ifi: And could have had tons of uses
Adam: Espionage and the like.
Ifi: Exactly. Bears and wolves and fighter jets are fun, but it's looking like V3's secretary that wins you the war
Adam: Well, they're teenagers.
Adam: With attitude.
Ifi: I see.

Ifi: Anything else?
Adam: Well, to be absolutely honest.
Adam: I absolutely loved this book.
Adam: It was hilarious.
Ifi: I did laugh. I will admit it.
Adam: I mean, it was filler, and the plot was honestly kind of dumb.
Adam: But it was dumb in the chuckle-inducing sort of way.
Ifi: That is true
Ifi: And it's not like any of it is ever mentioned again
Ifi: So
Ifi: We're good
Adam: You know, it would have been interesting if they had brought up the whole Morph Allergy thing again later.
Adam: Maybe Visser Three was allergic to one of his giant space monsters.
Ifi: That would be a funny story.
Ifi: He'd be insufferable
Adam: And he has to try to keep himself calm for the week.
Adam: Which I don't see happening.
Adam: The other Controllers would be running around like mad to bring him tea and play soothing music for him.
Ifi: Which I swear I will someday post.
Adam: I will sit here and wait for it still.
Adam: Okay.
Adam: Next week: The Andalite Chronicles!
Adam: I am excited.
Adam: Turn off the caps lock.


  1. I'm flat out *shocked* that you guys didn't bring up that when Rachel bit Visser 3's manta ray-spear gun-fighter jet monster that it ROCKETED AWAY LIKE A POPPED BALLOON. With him screaming the whole time, IIRC.

  2. For some reason, this is the one I kept rereading as a kid. I guess I had more of a taste for the silly back then; I can understand not going through the David trilogy on every long car ride, but my current tastes would clearly dictate the sixth book.

    Thing I loved that you didn't mention: "A light would be helpful too". The kind of dodge that can only come out of a pretty girl's mouth in a particularly trivial '90s news segment, but that's what it is, so we're good.

  3. This book is so fun. Like, I don't even care that it was silly, because Marco as a llama. But who cares because ANDALITE CHRONICLES NEXT WOO HOO!

  4. Anon: Damn it, I was totally going to make a point about that! We just forgot. Things slip our minds sometimes. It might get an honorable mention in the 'top fucked up moments' list, which will be posted once we finish the series.

    Vytresna: You're right, that actually was a clever line! Like I said, sometimes we just flat-out forget things like the unemployed derps we are.

  5. I remember that scene in the bathroom with cassie and rachel was really funny. Didn't cassie have to cover for rachel pretending she was puking or something? I can just picture them all running around with the benny hill song playing in the background.

  6. Ifi: And it's not like any of it is ever mentioned again <-- So this is quite literally a... Big Lipped Alligator Moment!
    I mean, crocodile.

    And now I crave for a fanart of llama!Marco.

  7. I crave fanart of that entire ludicrous brawl! One of those old school cartoon dust storm style things, you know?

  8. "Rachel is allergic to the crocodile DNA that she just acquired, and will morph uncontrollably when she gets emotional until she is able to eject the DNA... This involves a live crocodile emerging from her body."


    It's the little moments like this that make me wonder about the R&D that had to happen before the Escafil Device/Blue Box Thing went on the market. Like, there has to be some reason why they know there is an exact time limit and that you can be "allergic" to DNA... somehow...

  9. Ahh, my list of things I must doodle grows ever higher and higher!

    And Trish: I've considered that previously, and come to think of it, the early testing for the Escafil Device must have been pretty darn horrifying. Even after they got it to work as intended and not turn people into half animal monstrosities with random organs flickering in and out of Z-Space, I really do feel pity for whoever was unlucky enough to be the first nothlit.

  10. One thing -- the books can't be nothing but Epic Gallactic War, I think... remember these are teens... not even teens, tweens! A lot of the early ones seem to deal with the whole Growing Up and OMG Puberty And Shit thing, and this is one that focuses on that more.

    Explaining all these awkward things "why when they 'first' directly kill yeerks are they more hesitant about it when in early books they just stomp them" is... difficult, though. ><; Is it an unreasonable excuse that early into their adventures, they saw it as a more two-dimensional problem, and Yeerks as Always Evil, so it wasn't a big issue for them? This is kind of reflected by the way the narrators in these early books state that Taxxons are "evil" and have no issues killing them, but later in the series when they come to understand Taxxons more, they're horrified when they have to kill them. Could be the same with Yeerks?

    Except HANG ON A MINUTE, isn't this AFTER we've met the first Yeerk who was at least Alignment Neutral?! what. you animorphs, you are insane.

  11. Nah, pretty sure that at this point they hadn't run into any neutral or good yeerks yet. But they're still insane.

  12. That controller at Marco's dad's workspace who wanted revenge on Visser 3 for killing his girlfriend is pretty much neutrally aligned.

  13. Well, he could've been the exception to the rule.

    I mean, at this point, the only Yeerk the Animorphs have repeatedly "interacted" with was Visser 3, and he's a deranged psychopath that always tries to kill them. And they're just trying to fight a hopeless war the best they can...

    I'm not trying to justify the fact that Rachel squished the Yeerk. I'm just saying it's not that insane of a thing.

  14. The yeerk at Marco's dad's work had revenge as a priority. They had no reason to suspect he was good, merely that his current enemy was also theirs. Besides which, most of the animorphs never interacted with him.

  15. I started rereading the series at work (yes, I have a lot of downtime) because of this blog, and goddamn I forgot how intense this shit gets in the last dozen books or so. It seriously goes from "young adult horror/adventure" to full-on action movie.

    Also, on a semi-related note, Applegate did an excellent interview over at Reddit about 6 months ago. It's a little hard to read, but there's some great stuff in there. My favorite tidbit is that the various aliens were originally boring "Gray" types, to make them easier to draw/put on TV, but then Scholastic told her to mix it up a bit.

    So she went balls-out, making giant switchblade monsters and scorpion centaurs and whatever the hell Visser Three is morphing into this week. Awesome stuff.

  16. Oh man, this interview is lovely. Thank you for linking to it.

  17. I live to provide relevant Animorphs links!

  18. Oh man, dat interview. Can Visser-On-A-Stick please make it into this fanfic somehow?

  19. In the book they don't say flat out how she would eject the dna. Ax knew, but he was aderp in this book anyway.

  20. HerethIllintPersonOctober 7, 2013 at 3:47 AM

    -I- commented on the fanfic ABOUT V3's Hereth Illint