Saturday, December 10, 2011

Book 15: The Escape

The Summary
Visser One has returned to earth, so Erek tells the Animorphs that they have to go figure out what she is up to. She is operating out of an underwater base with a new species of controllers, psychic amphibians called Leerans. The Animorphs must avoid the Leerans at all costs, because they will immediately know they aren't Andalites.

Visser One is in charge of the invasion of Leera, as conquering a race of psychics could mean complete victory for the Yeerks. Unfortunately for the Yeerks, Hork-Bajir can't really swim and Taxxons are Taxxons, meaning they have no way to launch a proper assault on the planet.

Marco is not handling the situation very well: the return of his mother combined with his phobia of sharks is giving him a nervous breakdown. When their dolphin morphs don't work, the Animorphs are forced to acquire hammerhead sharks (check out that badass cover) to infiltrate the Yeerk base. The Yeerks are doing something to the sharks that is altering their brains and making them more intelligent so they can use them as hosts.

The Animorphs decide they need to explode the entire facility. They run around inciting chaos while Ax will trigger the self-destruct mechanism. Marco accidentally walks right into Visser One's office. Luckily, she mistakes Marco for a controller and sends him on his way.

Visser Three arrives for no real reason and a big fight ensues while the facility begins to collapse. Marco is forced to reveal to the others that Visser One is his mother, Eva. The Animorphs escape the base, and Visser One is either killed or rescued by a Leeran.

The Review
Ifi: I like this cover because it is different and also it has a background
Adam: And Marco is actually performing some sort of sensible action in it, rather than stopping in mid pose for a workout video
Ifi: Why are all the water covers the best covers
Adam: It's easier to fit water in them then land, and sky covers are pretty much the default
Adam: Also, where exactly do a bunch of middle school kids get wetsuits, anyway?
Ifi: Well they don't actually have them in the book right?
Adam: No idea.
Ifi: Hammerhead sharks are scary.
Adam: Am I the only one who finds them kind of cute?
Ifi: Apparently.

Adam: Aw, but look at that sad widdle face
Adam: He just needs a hug, is all
Ifi: Hammerhead sharks have their mouths so weird it's amazing they don't all starve
Adam: Their mouths are not significantly different from other shark mouths.
Ifi: I would not be able to get my food into my mouth it would be a mess
Adam: They are just framed differently because of the eye stalks
Ifi: a MESS

Adam: See?
Ifi: Haha look at your big nose you are going to STARVE
Adam: You are mean
Ifi: I'm a thousand years old

Ifi: Oh right. This is that book.
Ifi: The one with the parrots
Ifi: I almost forgot about this
Adam: Oh god
Adam: This.
Ifi: This.
Adam: So, Cassie is upset that a bunch of parrots at the Rainforest Cafe are getting well fed, groomed on a daily basis and kept in clean habitats, because snot nosed kids occasionally prod at them
Ifi: Those sorts of birds are incredibly expensive. I can't imagine anyone would just let them run around.
Adam: Nah, you just give them a consistent place to provide food, and they won't stray far.
Adam: My uncle has a cockatiel. He lets it wander all over his house.
Ifi: I'd just waltz on down to the mall and grab myself a free thousand-dollar bird
Ifi: Or do you think they have security tags?
Ifi: Spray you with ink if you try to walk out the door?
Ifi: Or maybe they’re just trained to yell "HEY PUT ME BACK"
Adam: Macaws are large, and brightly colored.
Adam: And they possess sharp beaks.
Adam: You can't exactly sneak one under your coat.
Ifi: I can sneak one under my top hat
Adam: Of course you can.

Adam: So, the team gets the idiotic plan of morphing the parrots, and then getting on stage and insulting the restaurant.
Ifi: Sure why not I guess
Adam: Because of course, this will give the restaurant the incentive to bring the parrots back to the Amazon Rainforest.
Adam: This is honestly the dumbest plan they have ever had.
Ifi: It's heavily implied Jake is making them do this because Cassie made googly eyes at him
Adam: If by "implied" you mean "outright stated" but yes.

"Squuuuaaaakkk! Amazon burgers are made with cat meat! Squuuaaaakkk!"
"Squuuaaaakkk! Try our spaghetti with hair!" 
"Squuuaaaakkk! Amazon Cafe nachos and toe jam!"
Tobias was in the crowd smirking as he watched the people turn slightly green. Ax was with him, scarfing a slice of pizza he'd gotten somewhere. I could only hope it wasn't from the trash. 
"Squuuaaakkk! Botulism! Food poisoning!" 
"Squuuaaakkk! Enjoy the fried booger strips!"
Oddly enough, many people standing in line decided to go and find another restaurant. The restaurant manager took about five minutes to decide that real-live parrots were maybe not a good idea. But we decided we'd make dead sure he got the message.
"Squuaaaakkk! By the way, is that your nose or are you eating a banana?"
"Squuaaakkk! What's that on your head, a wombat?" 
"Squuaaakkkk! It's a toupee! It's a toupee! Squuaaakkk!" 
"Squuaaakkk! We should be flying free in our native habitat!"
That last one was Cassie, of course. 
----The Animorphs, being amazing

Adam: …They do realize that by doing this, the restaurant is either going to dump the parrots into the first pet store they can find, or else have them put down, right?
Ifi: Oh man now I'm sad.
Adam: As you should be.
Adam: Which is why this plan is the dumbest thing ever.
Ifi: Well the flagrant misuse of classified alien technology comes to a sudden halt when Erek shows up.
Ifi: Visser Mom has come to visit and they're doing something in the ocean or something I dunno guys go check it out you’re not busy right?
Adam: Also, Marco has still not told the others that Visser One is his mom.
Ifi: It's so there can be a dramatic reveal!
Ifi: Duh
Adam: Marco bases all of his actions on literary tropes.
Adam: My god, Marco is Abed!

"There's one other clue," Erek said. "We have reason to believe that some new species of Controller is at Royan Island. We believe they are called Leerans."
----Erek, doing mission control

Ifi: Leerans are AWESOME
Adam: Oh man, I love the Leerans.
Ifi: Though we only get to see a tiny bit of them here
Adam: Telepathic frog people is an excellent idea.
Adam: Well, we get more later.
Ifi: in the BEST BOOK EVER but that's later so :(
Adam: It isn't that far off.
Ifi: In this book, we also get to hear Marco talk at length about how he makes jokes to deal with his life, as if that wasn't immediately obvious.
Adam: Wait.
Adam: So, he makes jokes because if he doesn't find the world funny, he finds it tragic.
Adam: So what this is saying, basically
Adam: Is that Marco is not just Batman, he's also the Joker.
Adam: My mind, it is blown.
Ifi: Woaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh
Adam: I knowwwww
Ifi: *stares at hands for forty minutes*
Ifi: Duuuuuuudeeee

Ifi: Anyway the Leerans are also banned from planet Andalite for being creepers
Adam: Which is funny, because the Andalites are also telepathic
Ifi: Yeah but the Andalites don't announce to the room that you blew your nose on the drapes. They would if they could. But they can't. So.
Adam: Visser Three does
Ifi: He does?
Adam: For himself, yes.

Ifi: Anyway we're not thirty pages in and Marco starts to lose it

"Anything," I said with a laugh. "It doesn't matter, does it?" I guess I always knew my secret would come out sooner or later. Funny-boy Marco is destined to look pathetic. My friends will look at me and think, Poor, poor Marco. I shook my head. "Never fails, you know. The Irony Gods. They wait for the chance to twist your life around. Mr. Cool-and-Detached ends up being the object of pity. Great. Perfect."
----Marco, beginning to come a little unglued

Ifi: Everyone else: Ooookey....moving on.

Ifi: Oh but they can't just go check out this Yeerk thing. They all force Tobias to acquire a dolphin so he can come even though he really really really does not want to
Adam: This is also where we find out that Tobias is hydrophobic
Adam: Something which came completely out of nowhere
Ifi: Well I mean he has been a bird for so long it does make sense
Adam: Are you calling him a birdbrain?
Ifi: I am not even going to respond to that.

<This way!> I banked my wings and suddenly shot left. Straight for the wooden roller coaster. A car was clank-clank-clanking its way up the first main hill. I flapped my wings and swooped right for it.
The first car had two guys in it. Not much different than Jake and me, I guess. They were holding their arms up in the air, getting that  anticipation rush. I flew straight for them and landed on the front railing of the car at the moment it reached the top of the hill.
[T]he coaster dipped over the top of the hill. Down we went. Down and down, faster and faster. I clutched the railing with all the strength in my seagull feet.
<Yaaaahh!> I yelled.
"Whoa-oh-oh!" the kids shouted.
The bottom of the hill rushed up at us. Down we shot. Then the bottom and up, up, up at a hundred miles an hour, and right then, at maximum speed, I opened my wings. The car dropped out from under me and I was airborne again.
<Yee-HAH!> I yelled.
----Marco and Jake, abusing their powers AWESOMELY

Ifi: That was dumb. It made me smile.
Adam: I don't really think that a seagull would have the grip strength for that.
Ifi: Yeah I dunno eh but it was very cool
Adam: If you say so.
Ifi: You're no fun
Adam: Correct

Adam: So, they get to the dolphin exhibit, and Tobias proceeds to stalk down a dolphin.

"Tseeeeeer!" Tobias screamed in his best red-tailed way.
< this stupid?> Cassie asked, way too late.
One of the dolphins shot up out of the water, clear up and out. And Tobias went for him.

----The Animorphs, thinking things all the way through

Ifi: Guys.
Ifi: Guys.
Ifi: No
Ifi: What.
Ifi: Guys.
Adam: So, Tobias basically gets his claws stuck to a dolphin, which sounds positively horrifying, but apparently doesn't mind.
Adam: However, being a dolphin, it proceeds to torture him relentlessly.
Ifi: Yeah you'd think that would be incredibly painful
Adam: That was my thought process as well.

<Aaaahhhh! He's gonna drown me!>
We all yelled helpful advice.
<Hold your breath!>
<Gee, really?! Do you think?! Hold my breath?!> Tobias managed to respond.
<He must be okay,> I said. <He's still capable of being sarcastic.>
<Let go!> Ax advised.
<Why didn't I think of that?> Tobias answered. <Ahhhh!>
<Start acquiring him!> Rachel said. <It will put him in a trance.>
<I am acquiring him,> Tobias said. <Guess what? He's not in a trance. Ahhhhh!>

----The Animorphs give helpful advice

Ifi: Of course the one time an animal doesn't go into a trance.
Ifi: Even though all the OTHER dolphins went into trances when they were being acquired.
Adam: Well, I figure that if an animal is sufficiently excited or angered, it can resist the trance.
Ifi: Oh I guess that makes sense.
Ifi: And this dolphin was like I HAVE A BIRDEEEY YAAAAAEY!!!
Adam: Pretty much.

Ifi: They finally get to this island which is near where the Yeerks are doing their thing.
Ifi: The 'thing' is actually underwater so we all go for a swim.
Ifi: Though they are in dolphin morph so they have to derp around for a while first.
Adam: While doing so, Marco freaks out over Ax having a shark morph.
Ifi: Yeah dolphins just don't like sharks apparently
Adam: And I can understand having developed a fear of them, after getting disemboweled by an earlier book.
Adam: But noone seems to appreciate the irony of being nervous around an animal because it is a large toothy predator.
Adam: While they are morphed into an animal that is a large toothy predator.
Ifi: I can understand having developed a fear of them as they have like three rows of teeth
Ifi: They have teeth and then behind the teeth are more teeth and then behind those teeth guess what they have????
Adam: Hey, I can understand sharks. They sometimes attack animals because they are hungry
Adam: And they almost never attack people, and when they do it is largely by accident.
Ifi: Just like you and me!
Adam: Exactly.

Adam: I would also like to bring up the fact that Hammerhead sharks are currently endangered.
Adam: Do you know why they are endangered?
Ifi: Because they are delicious.
Adam: Exactly.
Adam: They are overfished.
Adam: Aka: Too many people are eating them.
Ifi: NONSENSE. I only get to have it every few years :(
Ifi: Where are all the people eating shark and why are they not inviting me to dinner?
Adam: I know! I would certainly like to try some.
Ifi: Anyway Ax is a tiger shark and I dunno if people eat those.
Adam: I'm sure someone does.
Ifi: Well sure someone
Ifi: If you can eat it someone somewhere has eaten it
Ifi: And that includes things like airplanes
Adam: Where are these people eating airplanes?
Adam: And why haven't they invited me over for dinner?
Ifi: It is just this one dude and he doesn't like to share I guess.
Adam: Tragedy of tragedies

Ifi: So there is like a hologram thing but they just swim through it

We headed straight for the place our eyes told us was just seabed. We swam for maybe fifty feet and then everything changed. It was like sticking your head through a movie screen and suddenly seeing the stage behind it.
There, less than a quarter mile from the mansion on Royan Island and two hundred feet underwater, was a pink-shaded structure built into the side of an underwater slope.
There were three vast openings, each big enough to drive a dump truck through. Two were closed by steel doors. The third was open, revealing a dark tunnel.
Between these large openings were two circular portholes covered by convex glass or plastic. I could see clearly through one of these transparent blisters. Inside there were humans working at computer workstations. It looked weirdly normal. Like any office full of engineers or whatever.

----The Yeerks are sort of awesome sometimes.

Ifi: The Yeerks have an EXCELLENT contractor.
Adam: Now I can't help but picture this, but with Hork-Bajir and Taxxons:

Ifi: I would watch the hell out of that.
Adam: Someone animate it!
Ifi: The lower levels of the Blade Ship are probably wacky and ridiculous.
Adam: Howso?
Ifi: They sit at desks all day and never get to see any fighting and so their personal idiosyncrasies have turned into full-blown personality disorders and they get no work done and instead have silly interpersonal conflicts.
Adam: Wow, I suddenly feel intense pity for all the hosts of the Yeerk accountants
Ifi: The Yeerks are equally bored so they actually become good friends and that was how the Yeerk Peace Movement started.
Adam: Ah, I see

<There are some fish that seem to be heading toward you.>
<Okay. I'm sure it's nothing to worry about.>
But something told me to ask for more details. <Large fish, Ax-man?>
<Yes. As large as my current morph. And they are strange in shape.>
<Strange how?>
<Their heads. They have heads that are flat in the front but extend out on each side. They have eyes at the end of each side extension. Also, they have fins like mine.>
It took a few seconds for me to process that word picture. A large fish with a dorsal fin and a head that...
My dolphin heart stopped beating.


Ifi: O SHI--
Adam: Yeah whatever.

<There must be ten of them!> Tobias said.
<Ten of them against five dolphins and a tiger shark,> Rachel said. <We can handle it.>

----Rachel, being sane

Adam: A hammerhead's preferred prey are actually stingrays
Adam: And realistically speaking, it makes little sense to go after something that can put up a big fight, especially when there is smaller and more numerous prey available
Adam: It would be a waste of calories otherwise.
Ifi: Yes but these are not regular sharks these are Yeerk supersharks with adamantium skeletons and healing factor
Ifi: Oh and now there are fourteen of them.
Adam: And they have lasers strapped to their heads.
Adam: And swim through concrete.

Ifi: God I think I remember this
Ifi: Was this some sort of ninja turtles ripoff?
Adam: Yes.
Adam: Though it did have the advantage of spawning this:

Ifi: I miss the nineties like damn
Adam: It was a strange time for us all

Ifi: They decide to draw blood from one of the sharks to send them into a feeding frenzy but it does not work.
Ifi: Now we are utterly screwed.

<Can we outrun them?> Tobias wondered.
<We're about to find out,> I said.
It was a siren, just loud enough to be heard with acute dolphin hearing. If I'd been human I doubt I'd have heard it at all. But instantly, without hesitation, the sharks turned around and swam away.

----The author suddenly realizes she has no way out of this

Ifi: Well uh
Adam: Dun dunnnnn

At the front of the sub was what had to be the command bridge. There were Hork-Bajir and Taxxons working at red-and-yellow computer terminals. And in the center of the room was a chair. It reminded me of Captain Kirk's chair on the original Star Trek.
Standing beside the chair was a bizarre creature. It had pebbly yellowish skin that seemed slimy, like it was coated with Vaseline. It sat like a frog on big hind legs with webbed feet. But instead of a frog's tiny front legs, this creature had four tentacles spaced evenly around its body.
It had a big head that just sat on its shoulders with no neck. The face was curved outward, with a hugely wide mouth that seemed frozen in a sort of idiot grin. There were two eyes, both brilliant green and large.
As the sub passed beneath us, this creature seemed to shake, like he was having just a slight tremor. I saw him turn around to face us as we receded behind the sub. He gazed at us with his blazing green eyes.
The person sitting in the captain's chair must have said something. Because the frog thing sort of looked troubled, then shrugged in a very humanlike gesture.
The person in the chair stood up. She stretched. She turned around and looked up. Right at us. Right at me.
And I swear I had to stop myself from saying, <Hi, Mom.>

----Marco, actively stopping himself from dooming the planet.

Ifi: Oh and also some frog thingies I guess

Adam: The Leeran seriously sounds super adorable
Adam: I want a plushy of one.
Ifi: Write to scholastic
Adam: I will consider it

Ifi: Okay so Marco goes home to angst and fail a paper

Those were not normal sharks," Cassie pointed out. "Somehow they were being directed. Controlled. They worked like a pack. Sharks don't cooperate."
We had met up in the woods beyond Cassie's farm.
"Are they Controllers? I mean, we discovered horses being made into Controllers," Rachel pointed out.
<No,> Ax said. <Cassie has shown me pictures of the internal structure of a shark. There is no room in that brain for a Yeerk. The structures would never support a Yeerk.>

----Oh Ax stop pretending like things are meant to make sense.

Adam: Wait, where did Cassie get books about a shark's neurological structure?
Adam: Is that something that is commonly found?
Adam: Because if so, I really want one
Adam: Damn western land sharks, always getting hit by cars.

"You think that frog-looking thing on the sub was a Leeran?" Cassie asked Ax.
<Yes. Probably.> He sounded uncomfortable. <I haven't exactly memorized the Encyclopedia of Galactic Life-forms.>

----Ax, being uncharacteristically lame.

Ifi: Dude.
Adam: I must own
Ifi: I would kill so many people
Ifi: for a copy of that
Adam: You and me both
Ifi: So now we need to find and acquire a goddamn hammerhead shark.
Adam: Fortunately, it seems that Sea World has opened up in California, just for the sake of this plot.
Ifi: So they sneak in
Ifi: in the dead of night
Ifi: and are promptly caught by security
Ifi: One of the guards is a Controller
Ifi: So there is A ZANY CHASE

<Now, this is an interesting human concept,> Ax said approvingly. <This hologram makes it almost appear that we are under the water.>
"Ax? It's not a hologram," Rachel said.
<Then…we are underwater? Protected only by badly made human plastic?>
<Why do you humans do things like this?>

----Ax, redeeming himself

Ifi: And then

"Jake," I whispered. "This is bad. We need something drastic."
"I'm open to suggestions," he muttered.
"Okay. I suggest you take a deep breath."
"Oh, no. Oh, man."
"Yeah," I agreed. "Everyone take a deep breath. Ax-man? Just how badly made is human plastic?"

It took Ax just a second to figure out what I was talking about. In a flash, he swung his tail. He swung it in a big arc. The blade sank into the Plexiglas. And it kept on cutting.
It cut a three-foot gash in the plastic, and that was all it took. The water pressure did the rest.
The water poured in like Niagara Falls.

----Everyone was killed instantly

Adam: I was going to say that the windows in aquariums are a heck of a lot tougher then that.
Adam: But apparently Andalite tail blades can cut through steel
Ifi: Andalite tail blades can cut through any plot-related substances.
Ifi: Warning: Elder Gods may not be affected by the Andalite Tail Blade
Adam: Where can I get the upgrade that can effect cthonic horrors?
Ifi: Sorry we're fresh out.
Adam: Aw

Ifi: So Marco spends a few pages trying not to drown and even manages to acquire the shark he needs by falling on it from above
Adam: Note that in real life it is an absolutely horrible idea to grab a shark with your bare hands
Ifi: That is pretty far down on the long list of horrible ideas they've had
Adam: They are covered in what are referred to as "dermal dentacles" which are tiny, razor-sharp scales which could cut your hand clean open if you rub against it the wrong way.
Adam: I am glad I am able to put that aquarium job to good use.

Ifi: So Marco finds his way back to the others, who express surprise to see him alive

The next day there was a huge headline in the newspaper. A terrible accident at the Ocean World Aquarium. Two guards were missing. Also several fish.
The one guard who did remain told a bizarre tale of a half-deer, half-human creature. The aquarium spokesman sort of implied that the guards must have gotten drunk and shot up the place, causing the tunnel to shatter.

----A children's book

Ifi: Goddamn I love you KA Applegate
Adam: Sounds like a normal Friday night.
Ifi: Marco then starts having really cryptic dreams that don't have any clear symbolic references like Jake's. Nor are they ever really resolved.
Ifi: Also Marco decides to try out his new morph in the school swimming pool in the middle of the day
Adam: Public swimming pools are filled with chlorine
Ifi: Yeah I was wondering if they were gonna touch on that but it never came up
Adam: Nope.
Ifi: Anyway, obviously some jerks show up while Marco is mid-morph.
Ifi: They yell at Marco to get out of the pool because apparently it is their pool?
Adam: They make fun of his mom being dead.
Adam: That just crosses some sort of line.

"Yeah, run home to your mommy, Marco-roni," Woo said.
"He can't," Drake said, with a touch of normal humanity in his voice. "His mom's dead."
"Oh, boo hoo," Woo sneered. "Oh, boo hoo, boo hoo." He made a little gesture like he was wiping tears out of his eyes. "His mother probably just ran off with some dude."
All I had to do was walk away. And all I did was to stare at Woo's throat. I could see the arteries there. The ones that were pulsating on either side of Woo's Adam's apple.

----Marco, being sort of creepy and some other jerks making a good case for just letting the Yeerks have Earth

Adam: *slowly…backs…away*
Ifi: The jury finds the defendant NOT GUILTY of ripping out Woo's throat because it was done for the betterment of humanity.
Adam: …Fair enough
Ifi: Luckily Jake shows up and is like "Get rid of those teeth you goddamn moron."

"What's the matter with you?" Jake demanded once we were out of there.
I shrugged and forced a smile. "Not a thing, Jake. I guess Woo just looked a little like a fish to me. He look like a fish to you? He does to me."
Not even slightly funny. But it was the best I could do. Jake gave me a long look.
"Maybe you'd better sit out this next mission, Marco."

----Jake, making a good point

Ifi: I'm with Jake on this one.
Adam: I may have to agree
Ifi: So they morph the sharks and blah blah blah sharks are badass
Ifi: None of the hammerheads bother them now, but they get into some horrifying slaughterhouse/mind control factory thing

Suddenly I heard Cassie yell, <Ahhh!>
She was right in front of me. And before I could react, I knew why she had yelled. Steel claws reached out from each side and grabbed me just behind my hammer head. The claws held me tightly, but not painfully. I was drawn upward till I was vertical. I was out of the water. My gills gasped in the air. My body writhed in panic.
I saw a line of us. A conveyor belt of hammerhead sharks, all hanging vertically. There were human-Controllers and Hork-Bajir manning equipment boards and looking totally uninterested.
We turned a corner into a second room and up rose a robot arm festooned with tools whose purpose I couldn't even guess. The robot arm arced toward the shark two spaces ahead of Cassie. From out of nowhere a long, thick needle appeared. It plunged into the back of the shark's head.
The robot arm moved with machine precision. It plunged the needle into the back of Cassie's head.
<It's okay,> Cassie managed to gasp. <l think it was just an immunization. Maybe.>
But what came next was not okay. The robot arm hesitated. It popped out a sort of metal detector or something and moved it over Cassie's shark head. Then it extruded a drill.
Not like a dental drill. Like a drill you'd use to make holes in wood.
The drill bit spun and it plunged.
<What was that?!> Cassie cried in alarm.
The drill bit withdrew. But a bright steel probe lanced into the hole. In it poked, then withdrew. A wisp of smoke curled away from the hole as it was cauterized by a green laser beam.

----KA Applegate traumatizes everyone

Adam: @_@
Adam: Wuh
Adam: I
Adam: …I think I need a hug
Ifi: So the Animorphs all get these brain control things in their brains.
Adam: *shudders*
Ifi: They actually make the sharks smarter. Not like, human-level smart, but smart enough to be trained.
Ifi: Also they get zapped when they do something they're not supposed to.
Adam: Wait
Adam: So they have intelligence enhancing technology
Adam: Why don't they use this on themselves?
Ifi: Yeerks are itsybitsy
Adam: It isn't as if a shark has the largest cranial capacity in the world

Adam: This is a hammerhead shark skull
Adam: Note the lack of space for a brain to go
Ax said, <There's only one reason to alter the physiology of these brains. To make it possible for the Yeerks to enter them. The natural shark brain is too small, too simplistic for the Yeerks to control. They are mutating the sharks to make them capable of being made into Controllers. They will need to add ear canals as well. So that the Yeerks can enter and leave the brain.>
----Ax loves to pretend this series follows logic
Adam: But all they seem to be doing here is improving upon the preexisting brain tissue. There is really no way for them to provide more room for more.
Ifi: The Animorphs try to morph to fly and nearly explode themselves.

<Everyone, stop morphing! Stop now!> I yelled, just as the others all started groaning in agony.
<What is it?> Ax asked. <I am experiencing a terrible pain.>
<I'm not surprised. Demorph! They put something in us.>
<What are you talking about?> Rachel asked.
<I mean when the Yeerks drilled into us, they left something inside! When we shrank to fly size, this thing, this whatever it is, was too big! Our fly bodies were smaller than the thing inside us. We'd have killed ourselves.>
<What did it look like?> Tobias asked.
I surfaced again, human once more. "I couldn't tell. I just saw Rachel's head being all twisted and bulging from trying to shrink with this thing inside it!"

----Enjoy therapy kids

Ifi: Yeah that is pretty horrible.
Ifi: So they can't morph anything too small or else kaboom
Adam: Why exactly don't the devices get incorporated into the morphs?
Ifi: I mean, Ax is known to have a translator chip inside his head.
Adam: And that didn't effect him when he turned into a flea
Ifi: And it is established that you can still morph even if you have a Yeerk in your head
Ifi: So
Adam: Yes
Ifi: So
Ifi: Uh

Ifi: The Animorphs go tearing through the underwater base like escaped mental patients.
Adam: Which fortunately does not possess a single security camera or alarm system
Ifi: Those don't, like, exist in this universe
Adam: From Megamorphs #1, we can determine that the Yeerks have some method of determining morphing energy
Adam: Why don't they rig off some alarms that are triggered by that?
Ifi: I thought that was just the Veelek?
Adam: Well, they were able to modify the Veleek so that it was specifically able to target morphing energy
Adam: I would assume that implies that they have some way of detecting it as well
Ifi: Also Visser Three would be setting the alarms off all over the place.
Ifi: Probably on purpose

Ifi: And then we finally get the moment we've been waiting for.

I crept out into a brightly lit hallway. I took a second to try and figure out which direction to go. At the end of the hallway was a door, different from the others. On it was a gold symbol of some kind. Like the presidential seal.
I reached for the door handle. I opened it.
"Come in," a voice said.
I froze there. My head poking through the open door. My friends were hidden behind me.
"I said come in," a sinister voice said. "Never make me give an order twice. You won't live to hear me give it a third time."
So I stepped through the doorway, closing it quickly behind me, blocking Ax and Tobias from view. And I walked on wooden, rickety legs to the big desk in the center of the room. I walked over and stood there. Facing her. Facing my mother.


Ifi: Cue nervous breakdown in five...four...

"I see," she said. "Obviously your host mind is giving you some trouble. I'm sure you are aware that your host body is the biological son of my own host body." Not a shred of emotion. Not a shred of guilt. It was sitting there, using my mother's body, knowing…knowing, like no one else could possibly know, the agony my mother must be feeling at seeing me.
I nodded. "Yes, Visser."
"You must learn to control your host more completely. My own host is in here creating an awful racket," she said, tapping her head. "But I do not let her weeping and wailing disturb me."
"No, Visser," I said in a whisper. "I will try harder to control my host."

----Edriss can be a real bitch sometimes.

Adam: Geez
Adam: My poor heart can only take so much
Adam: Calm down
Ifi: So Marco manages to stammer his way out of that one.

Then, through the massive round porthole, I saw something large and sinuous. Like a snake. But a snake that was fifty feet long and thicker than a Taxxon. It was the yellow of poison. With a mouth that looked able to swallow a small boat.
It was coming straight for the facility. And on either side of it, like an honor guard, were a dozen Hork-Bajir in bizarre red diving suits, propelled by small water jets attached to each ankle.
I had a feeling I knew this particular snake's name.

----Another classic Animorphs moment

Adam: The snake's name is Jerry.
Adam: How Marco knew this, I haven't the foggiest
Ifi: -_-
Ifi: I am actually having more trouble with the Hork-Bajir than Visser Three.
Adam: I do feel rather bad for the hork-bajir's tailor though
Ifi: Are we done being ridiculous.
Adam: Never

Ifi: Okay well now it is time to blow up the underwater base.
Adam: Okay, this is the part that just makes my head explode.
Adam: Apparently, the mind enhancement devices are rigged to dissolve if the base explodes
Adam: …Why?
Adam: I don't understand
Adam: anything
Ifi: Then we get a very awesome scene with Visser One, Marco, a Leeran, and Visser Three
Adam: This sounds like the start to a bar joke
Ifi: I'm going to need to put some more thought into that.

Visser One's so-familiar eyes flickered. "If you kill me, you'll die as well, Andalite."
And then I heard a rasping, rumbling, almost belching voice. It said, "Ha tu ma el ga su fa to ll." An alien voice speaking an alien language. But I understood it. I felt it in my mind. It was like thought-speak, only this was deeper, more profound. This voice seemed to use my own words in my own brain.
What it said was, Don't be fooled. Visser One, this is no Andalite.
I spun around. And there, standing just behind me, was a Leeran-Controller, its tentacles waving. I could squash the big amphibian without breaking a sweat. But I just froze. I froze and looked back at my mother.
It is not Andalite, the Leeran said again. It is a human.
Visser One's face remained impassive. "No, you idiot," she sneered. "It's a gorilla. They are related to humans, but not human. This is an Andalite in morph."
I beg your pardon for disagreeing, Visser, but-
Two things happened then, within seconds of each other.
I broke out of my trance, whipped around and punched the Leeran right in his froggy mouth. And from the nearby dock a huge yellow serpent reared up suddenly.
"Visser Three, I assume," my mother said contemptuously.
<Well, I see you've made a mess of things, Visser One. Our old friends the Andalite bandits seem to be annihilating most of your troops.>

----Like I said, awesome

Ifi: And then Visser One and Visser Three forget about the Animorphs and spend the rest of their onscreen time yelling at or possibly flirting with each other.
Adam: *whistles*

Rachel was on her in a flash. Grizzlies can be very fast when they need to be, or when they are mad. And Rachel was mad. Her sheer momentum knocked Visser One sprawling across the room. And when she tried to stand up, Rachel was over her.
It was no contest. Bear against human. Morphed bear against human-Controller. It was hopeless. Visser One might as well have been a rag doll. With one sweeping blow of her daggered paw, Rachel could knock Visser One's head from her shoulders.
<NO!> I yelled.
Rachel swiveled her head and stared at me with nearsighted bear eyes.
<Shut up, Marco!>
<I said no! Don't do it!>
<She's a Yeerk visser,> Ax pointed out calmly.
<No,> I said again. <She's my mother.>


Ifi: ~~~DRAMA BOMB~~~

Ifi: So now they can't kill her so they just sort of toss her aside.
Adam: As pointed out, all this does is give Visser Three more of an incentive to kill her
Ifi: And then the whole places explodes
Adam: As it does, everyone makes sure to walk slowly away from the explosion while they all don sunglasses.

Ifi: Visser One possibly dies but we all know she doesn't because there is so much more angst to be had from this subplot
Adam: I am surprised we are getting so much angst from a non-Tobias book.
Ifi: Marco has legit angst. I always loved the Visser One books.
Ifi: They were always drama-riffic
Adam: What if Marco was the one stuck as a nothlit?
Adam: How would that have turned out?
Ifi: The universe would implode on itself under the weight of all the angst
Adam: Madness.
Ifi: So they get out, the brain-control things magically melt and presumably trickle out their ears, and the book ends.
Adam: This is probably the most abrupt ending so far.
Ifi: Naw I still think Megamorphs 1 was the most abrupt
Adam: I'll call it a tie
Ifi: KA Applegate had some epic chase scenes and insane battles but she is not very good at endings. In general.
Adam: Hey, endings are tough


  1. I don't even know what to

    I am speechless


    Because, see, I have a phobia of sharks (WHICH I GOT FROM READING ANIMORPHS AS A 7-YEAR-OLD, THANKS KA APPLEGATE) which makes me freak minorly every time I see a picture of sharks... so here I am, whimpering, trying to cover the shark pics with my left hand as I scroll down with the right, then scrolling reeeeally slowly when I see a pic or video clip coming up


    so much mood whiplash. Headsplodey, you guys.

  2. Aw, my apologies for freaking you out. Sharks aren't all that bad though. I've swam with them before. They're kind of cute if you look at them in the right context.

  3. Completely off topic, but Abed is awesome!

  4. the one thing about this wook that always bothered me was that guy named woo

    why would you be named woo


    Regarding sharks though I actually find a lot of them kind of cute in a weird way, too. They just have such tiny little derpy faces.

  5. I always just assumed that Woo was his last name.

  6. I always get this book mixed up with that totally rad one where they actually DO go to Leera and whoop all kinds of ass. Even if it does bring up the KIND OF A BIG DEAL issue with some andalites turning over to the yeerks without being controllers (for some reason), which is then like never mentioned again and has no impact on the other 30-something books.

  7. I always get this book mixed up with that totally rad one where they actually DO go to Leera and whoop all kinds of ass.

    I did this exact thing. That book is the awesomest. Adam says we are almost there.

  8. The parrots are not the stupidest thing ever. The elephant police were the stupidest thing ever.

    Tvtropes needs "stupid moments" and "completely messed-up moments" in Darth Wiki just for this series.

  9. (same anonymous dude)

    I think it's like book 18 or something. I THINK the dinosaur book is wedged somewhere between them, but that is probably the coolest detour ever so it's still all good.

  10. AAA: They are both up there.

    And that is not a bad idea...

    Anon: Yep, Book 18. And Megamorphs #2 actually comes right after it. As someone who loves his paleo-art, I am looking forward to that one.

  11. "Adam: Wait, where did Cassie get books about a shark's neurological structure?
    Adam: Is that something that is commonly found?"

    Actually in my elementary school they had these little blue-bound books about different kinds of animals. They would have facts about their diets and habitats and stuff and show colourful cross-sections of their bodies and heads, with little silhouettes of humans standing beside them to show the scale. We had ones with sharks, squid, birds, lions, all sorts of animals (and I think there were even a few about dinosaurs) and I loved them.

    I can totally imagine Cassie having the whole set.

  12. Oh, you mean Zoobooks? I had completely forgotten about those. I had the full collection of them when I was that age as well.

  13. "completely messed-up moments"

    Pretty sure that's covered by Nightmare Fuel (or it was before Nightmare Fuel itself became a nightmare.

    "It's only Nightmare Fuel if it's unintentional!" "But then where the hell do we list other scary moments?" "Well that goes into High Octane Nightmare Fuel, duh, anyone could figure that out!" "This is all the fault of that one balls-out insane guy who listed the theme song to 'Coyote Ugly' cause he thought it had to do with werewolves, right?" "Yeah, and he was an Otherkin werewolf so I don't even know WTF." "Why do we even HAVE like ten Nightmare Fuel categories? Wouldn't it be less confusing to have just the one? It was like that for months and everybody was happy." "Shut up you! I'm too busy editing Useful Notes on Breast Sizes to care!"

    And that's when I left TV Tropes.)

  14. I just stay there because I like metafiction.

    (That, and I really want someone to write an article about this blog, butyoudidn'thearthatfromme.)

  15. Bit of fridge logic I missed before probably because the parrot scene is so... stupid.

    We know that Cassie has a problem with morphing intelligent species. Yet she's okay with crazy parrot plan?

  16. I honestly don't see what the problem with morphing intelligent species is. It's not like you're stealing their body, just copying it. I mean, if you were going to go mess with their life, that's an issue, but as a battle morph or something? Where's the problem?

    1. Probably because of the title and ostensible premise of the series. The whole interstellar warfare plot is supposed to only provide excuses for kids to morph into animals and the readers to get their learning on. Unfortunately, it's so awesome that it drags the focus away from ANIMAL morphing. (which was probably the main point of the pitch to Scholastic:
      "We'll teach kids about nature and endangered species, and all the wondrous animals on our planet by having books where junior high kids turn into animals."
      "How are you going to explain the transformations?"
      "Um, I don't know? Throwaway alien visitors?"
      "Sure, who cares." )

      They'd have to change the name to Alienmorphs, and then no 10 year old's mother would buy them for him.
      "Read something educational, not that violent sci-fi trash you watch every Saturday morning."
      "Okay ma, what about this educational series about animals?"
      "Sounds good!"

  17. Tobias has my complete sympathy when it comes to hydrophobia. I've got it so bad, I can't even make aquatic exhibits in my Zoo Tycoon game anymore without getting some kind of panic attack (except for mermaids. I can still do mermaids.) I can do backyard swimming pools (and I usually don't stick my head under the water), but that's it.

    I also used to have this crippling fear of crowds or interacting in a large group of strangers/peers. But I'm mostly better. I still don't like being asked a lot of personal questions/expressive testing, though.

    Love Ax in the shark tunnel, though. Probably wrote something in his journal about how all humans are subconsciously suicidal and they haven't figured it out yet.

  18. I never understood why the entire "My mom is Visser One don't kill her" was even their. Because the entire series is like "I would rather die than be a Controller" so why don't they kill her so she's "free in death" or whatever. If he really loved her he would have killed her AND hurt the Yeerks REALLY bad.

  19. I am rereading this book and noticed this lovely line for Marco/Jake shippers: "'Well, I don't have any secrets from Jake,' I said. 'I think that's the basis of a good marriage: openness, honesty.'"

    Just wanted to share!