Saturday, January 21, 2012

Book 20: The Discovery

The Summary
While loitering in the hallways at school, Marco spots a kid carrying Elfangor's morphing cube. The kid is named David, and has no interest in giving Marco the cube, so the Animorphs break into his house and try to steal it back. When this fails spectacularly, David realizes that the cube is valuable and tries to sell it online, which attracts the attention of Visser Three.

The Animorphs return to David's house to save him, completely wrecking the place in the process. David and the cube are rescued, but David's parents are made into Controllers. David crashes at Marco's place, and the decision is made to make him an Animorph. Marco really really doesn't like this, but he's outvoted so there's nothing he can do.

The Yeerks are planning to attack some sort of meeting for a bunch of world leaders, so the Animorphs decide to see what this is all about. While flying to the meeting, they spot the president's helicopter being abducted by the Blade ship. They get inside the ship, minus Rachel and Tobias, who are trapped outside, only to run around for a little while and then be dropped out an airlock several thousand feet in the air.


The Review
Ifi: This cover
Ifi: is
Ifi: it just
Ifi: sense
Ifi: it makes none
Adam: I mean, I like snakes and all.
Adam: But man, this cover is just dull.
Ifi: Marco does not look enthused
Adam: He is a smarmy SOB
Adam: Just look at that face he is making.
Ifi: And the snake does not shrink at a constant rate at all here
Adam: Well, that does make a bit of sense in the context of the series.
Adam: A bit, I guess
Adam: I mean, the morphing process is supposed to be inconsistent
Adam: Not that the covers have ever been accurate to this.
Adam: But still.
Ifi: Yes but the covers have never...
Ifi: It honestly to me looks like the penultimate stage is missing.
Adam: Then that would go against the established pattern.
Adam: It's always five stages per cover morph
Ifi: I never noticed that!
Adam: That's what I am here for.
Ifi: that is a cool thing to know
Adam: So, while we both agree that we dislike the cover.
Adam: The inside cover actually is pretty cool.

Adam: This is the first official art we have of a Hork-Bajir
Ifi: Cool stuff

Adam: So anyways, this is the first of the David books.
Adam: We should probably explain this for those who are uninitiated.
Ifi: David was a little sociopath and they should have just killed him from the start
Adam: Let's not get too far ahead.
Adam: My point is that this and the next two books following it are part of a sort of mini-trilogy thing.
Ifi: With cliffhangers and all
Adam: Also, it says on the back of the book in big bold text, "PART ONE OF A TRILOGY"
Ifi: Derrrp
Adam: Yes, that.

Ifi: So we open with Marco trying to hit on girls and failing pretty miserably.
Adam: This part is honestly just sad.
Ifi: Yeah it was.
Ifi: Marco, just resign yourself to the fact that you have no designated love interest
Adam: I mean, I can think up better pickup lines then this, and this is me we are talking about.
Adam: He'll always have Ax, if it helps.
Ifi: So then the important thing happen

I was walking away from T'Shondra, shaking my head and muttering to myself about females, when I saw it.
I didn't even see the kid holding it at first. I just saw the box.
The blue box.
The morphing cube.

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: How the hell did it survive?
Ifi: HOW
Ifi: Visser Three blew up all the evidence, or else fed it to the Taxxons
Ifi: I mean it honestly seems more likely that the Yeerks would get ahold of the cube when a Taxxon-Controller goes into medbay complaining of stomach pains and they open him up and herpaderp, free escafil device.

Delicious Andalite technology

Adam: They ask Ax this.
Adam: He pretty much admits that it was just a freak accident
Adam: For the purpose of driving the plot.

"Yo!" I said to the boy with the blue box.
I don't know why I said "Yo!" I am not a "Yo!" kind of person. It was all I could think to say. I was too busy having a heart attack to think of anything else.
He was a little taller than me. Most people are. He had blond hair and brown eyes and a look on his face like maybe he had an attitude.
"What?" he asked me.
"Um ... I don't know you, do I?" I said.
"I'm new," he said.
"Ah," I remarked. Normally words come easily to me. But I was in brain-lock. I kept scanning around the crowded hallway, looking for Jake. Or Cassie. Someone with some sense. Not Rachel.
Rachel's idea of dealing with this kid would probably involve dragging him into the nearest closet, morphing into her grizzly bear morph, and getting that blue box the quick and direct way.

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: So Marco continues to make a fool of himself
Ifi: I'm with Rachel on this one, btw
Adam: Just break open his locker when nobody's looking and take it.
Ifi: That's a whole other comedy of errors that I will bitch about in a little bit
Ifi: Anyway, for some reason, when I was remembering this book
Ifi: I thought for some reason that David already got the morphing power when he touched the box for the first time, and that was why they made him an Animorph
Ifi: And then I was mad because the real reason was far more stupid and arbitrary
Adam: Hmm, that never occurred to me.
Ifi: Yeah for some reason I'd forgotten that it needed to be activated
Adam: I was all excited that they were going to have a new team member, because I wanted some new people to show up in the cover illustrations.
Ifi: loooooooooooool
Ifi: Here's some more of Marco embarrassing himself

David gave me a look like maybe I was an idiot. And to be honest with you, I wasn't doing much to change his opinion.
"Later," he said and started to walk away.
"Hey, David!" I yelled after him. "What's that blue thing?"
He turned back toward me. "I don't know. I found it. It was in that construction site over across from the mall. In a hole in a wall. Inside the cement block. Like it had been put in there or something."
"Yeah. It's weird. I mean, it feels like it must be something, you know? Like it's not just a plain old box. It has some writing on it. Like it might be foreign, or something."
The gentle sound of the bell made me leap approximately a foot in the air.
"Hey! Can I have it? I mean, it looks cool and all. I could pay you…" I began turning my pockets out. Lint balls…a very old peppermint Life Saver…
"I could pay you a dollar and thirty-two cents," I offered lamely, holding out the bill, the coins, and the Life Saver.

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Adam: This was funnier when you don't realize that just it ends up resulting in all sorts of unbridled horror later on.
Ifi: Yeah the more you think about it, the worse it gets. I mean, think of the people you knew in middle school. Which ones would have fought the Yeerks if they had the power? And who would have joined them?
Ifi: The Animorphs got lucky that they were such a good group
Ifi: But really, what Elfangor crashed and was found by some of the most awful people you knew in middle school? What then?
Adam: Most of the people in my middle school would ignore the Yeerks altogether and would probably just go around robbing stores and sneaking into girls locker rooms.

I went right up to [Jake], grabbed him by the jacket, and yanked him into the boys' bathroom.
"Some kid has the blue box!" I hissed.
"What blue box?" he demanded, shoving me back.
"The blue box." I crouched to look under the stall doors and make sure we were alone. "Elfangor's blue box."
Jake's face went pale. "Oh—"

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: Lots of curses cut short in this book
Ifi: I counted at least three.
Adam: Well, I know there is a specific number of cursewords that you can get away with in a PG-13 movie, so likely something similar applies to YA novels.

<It is called an Escafil Device. Actually, it has a number of names. Escafil was the inventor of morphing technology. You know, the science behind it is quite incredible. The device causes a cascading cellular regeneration tied to a Z-space—>
"We so do not care!" I said. "It can cascade all over its Z-space for all I care. The point is, this thing, this box, this device, this morphing cube, currently belongs to some kid named David who thinks I'm an idiot!"

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: Hey Marco, shut the hell up and let the alien explain the single most important aspect of this series
Adam: Is this book the first time that the Escafil Device was specifically named?
Ifi: I think so
Adam: But seriously, I like my technobabble.
Adam: Marco, let me have my technobabble

"No problem-o," Rachel said. "He's not a Hork-Bajir, he's not a Taxxon, and he's not Visser Three. Us versus some kid from school? Puh-leeze. It's a walk in the park."

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Adam: Rachel's first reaction to everything, everyone.
Ifi: One time, in high school, my history teacher showed us a video of the three stooges.
Ifi: That was basically what the Animorphs' attempts to get the cube back was like

Ifi: I kept waiting for someone to walk by with a plank and hit someone else with it and then turn around and hit the person he was just talking to

Ifi: Uh
Ifi: How does this video relate?
Adam: The woop woop woop
Adam: is the noise that curly always makes.

"I'm just trying to let my little brother go to the bathroom," Jake said, patting me on the shoulder.
The kid and the man both looked down at me. I was standing inside a sweatshirt that was so huge it lay in folds around my feet. Which was a good thing, since my feet were talons. The arms hung limp.
"Your little brother?" the manager asked. "Why's his sweatshirt so big?"
"Hey, that sweatshirt was signed by Steve Young!" Jake said. Like that was an explanation.
"Something's wrong with his face!" the kid said.
Jake put his arm around me protectively. "Don't listen to them, Tommy," he said, with a sob in his voice. "Your face is just fine! It's just fine, I tell you! The doctors say someday you may be normal again."

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: I found this to be in incredibly poor taste.
Adam: T_T
Adam: B…but…
Adam: That poor child!
Adam: He has to live his life with people constantly saying cruel things to him!
Adam: Someone should start some sort of charity to help spread awareness of Beakanoma, and air those who suffer from it.
Ifi: So anyway, they try and get the box back

<Wha!> I yelled.
BLAM! The window fell shut with a horrendous slam.
Bonk! Tobias hit the closed window.
BONK! I hit the wall, too distracted to flare.
I hit, I fell, I landed behind a dresser. I was wedged in a space of about three inches, unable to move. All I could do was slowly slither down to the carpet.
<Tobias!> Rachel cried.
<I'm okay,> Tobias said. <Professor Plum did it in the conservatory with the candlestick!>

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: They get off to a great start
Adam: Oh, but it only gets better.
Adam: They face off against the mightiest adversary they have ever known!

I scooted faster. Faster, desperate to get out from behind the dresser.
I felt something batting at my exposed talons. I knew what it was.
One wing free! Then my body. And then...
"Hhhhsssssssss!" the kitty said.
The very big kitty. The big, gray tabby, with its mouth drawn back from needle teeth.
<Good kitty,> I said. <Gooood kitty.>
The kitty didn't like big birds in its bedroom. And it really didn't like big talking birds in its bedroom.
"MmmmrrrrOOOOWWWWWRRR!" Kitty said, explaining its feelings to me.

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Adam: Trying to find appropriate lolcat
Ifi: This is like watching clowns flop around with custard pies and big pants.
Adam: That is a good analogy.

Adam: I was expecting you to do your whole crazy cat lady shtick though.
Adam: I am surprise.
Ifi: I am actually still annoyed at how poorly this entire mission went

The window exploded! In blew a rock, followed by a massive bald eagle, wings folded. She flared. Her wings practically stretched from wall to wall. She landed on the bed.
"Rooowwwrr!" Mr. Kitty said in a very surprised voice.
<Come on, let's bail!> Rachel yelled.
And that's when the door slammed open. In came David. The cat screeched and leaped onto the curtains beside the window.
<Out the door!> Rachel said.
<I'm with you!> I said. <We have to grab that cube!>
<I'll distract David. You grab it!> Rachel said. She began flapping her wings madly and lashing all around with her talons.
"Whoa!" David yelled.
Rachel began tearing up the pillows. Feathers fluttered around the room. The cat was climbing toward the ceiling. I hopped and flapped over to the desk. The cube! There it was!
David lurched to the desk, like he was going to attack me. But instead he yanked open a drawer and whipped out...
<A gun! A gun? This kid has a gun?!> I yelped.

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: It's just a BB gun
Ifi: But it's probably our first real sign that there is something wrong with this kid
Adam: Knowing David, I would honestly not be surprised if it were a real gun.
Ifi: So it is utter chaos

I flapped hard and scooted along the carpet toward the door. Rachel did a little better, but once in the hallway her wings hit the walls with each stroke.
"Oh no, you don't!" David yelled. "Give me back that blue box!"
Off we went: two dragging, scuffling, staggering, BB-stung birds, one hauling a blue box. Followed by an outraged boy yelling and firing a very lifelike gun.
I could either jump up and rake his eyeballs, or give up the box. But David was not a Controller. He was not an enemy. And even I don't think you can just go around tearing into innocent bystanders.
I jumped back from the box. The door slid open. And Rachel and I flapped across the back lawn, over the pool, above the fence, and out of there.
"Yeah! And don't come back, either!" David yelled as he fired off a final BB.

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: I am so glad Elfangor is not here to see this
Adam: The various dust particles that make up his remains are all rolling in their collective metaphorical graves right now.
Adam: Defenders of the Earth, everybody!
Ifi: If there was ever a time for the Ellimist to step in and stop time for some bullshit reason...
Ifi: that was it
Ifi: just there.
Adam: He's probably just standing there in orbit, laughing.
Ifi: "Next, Marco will tap Jake on the shoulder and hit him in the face with a pie when he turns around."

Ifi: Okay so the next day at school, David goes up to Marco and starts telling him about how someone tried to steal the blue box using a team of trained animals. I guess Marco is the closest thing to a friend that he has.
Ifi: Which is a whole other sort of sad
Adam: This book has just the slightest hint of afterschool special in it.

"Two birds flew in my bedroom window and tried to get away with the box. Fortunately my cat, Megadeth, went after one."
"You named your cat Megadeth?"
"I just wish my snake had been out of his box. He's had his venom taken out, but I bet it would have scared those birds."
"Yeah, he's really cool. He's a cobra. You're not even supposed to be able to own them, but my dad got it for me. He goes overseas a lot. He's a spy. But don't tell anyone."
This was getting to be a lot to absorb. A cat named Megadeth, a cobra, and a father who was possibly a spy?

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: Warnings #2, 3, and 4, kids
Ifi: Applegate does not go light on the foreshadowing

Adam: I wanted a pet snake when I was that age.
Adam: But a constrictor, like any half-sane individual who likes large predatory reptiles.

"Anyway, I bet it's worth a lot of money, so I'm going to try and sell it."
That sent a nice chill up my spine. "Sell it?"
"Yeah. I posted a 'for sale' notice on a couple Web pages last night after all this went down. I described it. And I described those symbols, the ones that look like foreign writing? This morning before school I checked, and there was already an answer. Some guy says he wants to see it. He says he'll pay good money. Says he'll go anywhere, anytime."
That did more than give me a chill. That stopped my breathing for about ten seconds.
"You did what?"
"I'm thinking I should have some backup, you know? Someone to cover me, in case anything goes down. You're the only guy I know here."
"You didn't give this guy your address, did you?"
David smirked. "I'm not a moron. The guy could just rip me off while I'm stuck here at school." He shook his head and gave me a sly leer. "I set it up on a timer so the E-mail with my address won't go out till right before I get home."
"It's on automatic?" I said.
He nodded. "I send the E-mail, the guy comes over, and I give you ten percent for helping me out."

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: So David put the cube on frigging craigslist
Adam: Even without knowing that this is a powerful alien artifact, you are still having some strange man from the internet come over to your house.
Ifi: FedEx dude. For srs.
Adam: Really.
Adam: Hasn't he ever heard of ebay?

Ifi: So Jake tells Marco to cut class and stop the email and grab the cube and make everything all better, for the love of God
Ifi: So, with the help of Ax and Tobias, he breaks into David's house and sets off the security system.

<He's offering the box for sale over the Internet. He already has one interested party. There's a timed E-mail we have to stop. But I'm worried he'll have it protected by a password. That's why I brought Ax.>
<Ah. Um...if there's a password, why not just turn off the computer?>
I almost splatted into the rooftop from sheer "duh."
<Oh. I guess we could do that,> I said, feeling like possibly the biggest idiot in the world. Of course, duh: Turn off the computer. Or at least yank out the phone cord.

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: That uh
Ifi: That's not
Ifi: Um
Ifi: Yeah
Ifi: No
Adam: How does that...
Adam: I
Adam: Guh
Adam: My brain.
Ifi: Lrn 2 internet
Adam: Seriously.
Ifi: I'll forgive this because it's the 90's, but they better fix that in the reprint
Adam: Agreed.

Adam: Then David's dad gets home.
Adam: Who is apparently James Bond.
Ifi: It's true.

From beneath the bed I saw shoes stepping slowly through David's door.
I held my breath.
And that's when I realized two really terrible things.
One: In my quick glance at David's monitor, I had noticed something odd. The clock in the lower, right-hand corner was wrong. It was off by an hour.
David's E-mail was going out not in an hour and three minutes, but in three minutes.
Two: David's pet cobra slept under the bed.

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: This uh. This is going to be another slapstick scene, isn't it?
Adam: If you call slapstick being bitten by a large snake with teeth that look like this:

Adam: Then yes.
Ifi: I always thought snake fangs were much bigger
Ifi: Television lied to me
Adam: What, like this?

Adam: Yeah, after some research, king cobras do not have that comparatively long fangs.
Adam: Gaboon vipers, on the other hand...
Ifi: So Marco acquires the cobra

<Marco, what do you think we should do?> Ax asked.
I didn't answer. Instead, I reared up, cocked my head back, stretched the thin bones that spread my cobra cowl, and with speed as great as an Andalite's tail, I fired my head forward, mouth open.
I ate Ax.
I ate him in one quick swallow.
I felt him squirming inside my mouth. I felt the eight hairy legs kicking.
<Did you ingest me?!> Ax demanded, sounding outraged.
<Have you lost control of your morph?>
<Well…> Okay, maybe I had. For just a minute. Now I was back in charge, though.

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Adam: I totally expected to hear the Wha Wha Whaaaaaa noise when I read this.
Adam: Except that this is a book.
Ifi: So Ax has to remorph to get rid of the venom, which is when David's dad comes back in

"What the... Oh, oh, oh! What is that thing?"
No choice. I had to contact the man. I had to use thought-speak. Of course, there was no law saying I had to tell the truth. And it's a fact that you can't tell where thought-speak is coming from.
<Greetings, Earthling! Klaatu barada nikto! I come in peace!>
"Yaa-ah-ahh!" David's father said and backed up a couple of steps. I saw him draw his weapon from a shoulder holster and point it at Ax. I couldn't blame him. Ax was about the size of a Beanie Baby, with eight hairy legs, blue and tan fur, a wormy sort of scorpion tail, and two very tiny arms.
<Do not fire your Earth weapon!> I yelled. <We come in peace!>
"'We'? A second ago it was 'I.' How many of you are there?"
Great. Count on a "law enforcement officer" to notice that. I recalled David saying his dad was a spy. What was he, FBI? CIA? Or a member of the shadowy secret force that's always giving Mulder and Scully so much trouble?
<Um, well, Earthling,> I said, <there's just one of me. But I suffer from a sort of space mental illness. Split personality. Hey, it's a long, long trip from planet Xenon Five, I had to have someone to talk to!>

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: ...
Adam: Marco...
Adam: I
Adam: I thought that they were all decent liars at this point?

<You got new problems,> Tobias announced. <David's walking up.>
<Earthling!> I yelled. <Your son ditched school early!>
Don't ask me why I said that. I guess I had some instinct that maybe all parents are alike and even when faced with a weird, morphing alien, they'll focus on their kids first.
The FBI slash CIA slash Secret Whatever Agency agent's eyes flickered. "He what?"
<He ditched last period.>
"I came home from work early," David's father said. "Hah! Got him! I'll ground him for a month!"

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: Priorities.
Ifi: We have them.
Adam: My brain.
Adam: It hurts.
Ifi: Then Visser Three shows up
Ifi: Escorted by
Ifi: "A limo, two Jeeps, and a moving van"
Adam: Seriously dude, learn to delegate.
Ifi: Well idk I think if I were him, I wouldn't want to risk an underling running off with the cube
Adam: I guess.
Adam: He could stand to be just a tad more subtle though
Adam: Just perhaps.

<We heard shots. We thought maybe we could help,> the Visser said mockingly.
"Get out of here!" David yelled.
<Get out of here?> Visser Three said. <Why, I'm disappointed. I just got your primitive E-mail and I rushed right over.>
"Y-y-you want to b-b-buy the blue box?"
<Oh, yes, definitely,> Visser Three said. <l do, I do. And I'm willing to pay anything. Let's see, what could I offer you for the box? I know!> He whipped his tail and pressed the blade against the throat of David's father. <I'll pay you with your father's life.>
<You aren't getting the box,> Ax said calmly, stepping forward to tail-range with the Visser.
<Then this human will be separated from his head. I understand that's usually fatal in humans.>

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: This is why we use ebay, kids
Adam: So Visser Three is cracking jokes now?
Ifi: He is uncharacteristically cheery today
Adam: Well, he's expecting a free Escafil Device, I suppose he has reason to be in a good mood.
Ifi: So the rest of the Animorphs show up, Visser Three morphs something dumb, and David's house gets blowed up
Ifi: Oh wait, he morphs the giant purple accordion porcupine
Adam: It wasn't a porcupine.
Adam: It looked more like a machamp with spikes for hands.

Ifi: But he can throw them so
Adam: Porcupines can't throw their spikes...
Ifi: You know what? I'm not discussing this with you.
Adam: *pouts*

<Hah-hah! We'll have one Andalite to play with, at least!> Visser Three gloated.
But what they saw on the floor was not me. It was Spawn.
The Hork-Bajir threw a towel over Spawn and gathered him up. They stomped away, down the stairs, carrying what they thought was an Andalite in morph.
I didn't want to think what they'd do to the poor snake. Maybe just hold him, waiting for him to demorph.
But maybe when they realized that wasn't happening, they'd do other things. Visser Three is an evil, vengeful creature.
As for David's father…he'd seen too much. There was only one fate for him: Within hours he'd have a Yeerk slug inside his brain.

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: btw the cobra is named Spawn
Adam: Hey, I liked Spawn when I was 13.

Adam: And it was the 90's.
Ifi: It's also symbolic
Adam: Ridiculously overmuscled superheroes covered in chains were the norm.
Ifi: No I mean the word 'Spawn' is also meant to evoke Satanic imagery
Adam: Yes, but that is because the superhero gets his powers from hell.
Adam: In anycase, David is the sort of kid who would like to wear spiked leather bracelets.
Ifi: I can't tell if you're arguing with me or agreeing with me
Adam: I don't even know, man.

Ifi: Anyway, the Animorphs drag David off
Ifi: His parents are Controllers, it's game over for him, blahblahblah
Adam: And they head back to Cassie's barn.
Adam: I have no idea how they carry him that far with no one noticing.

"We have the box," Ax said. "Box. Box-uh. We could use it. The box-uh."
We all stared at him.
"Create a new Animorph?" I asked skeptically.
"Create a new Animorph!" Cassie said enthusiastically.
Jake was nodding. Rachel was thinking about it, looking from Cassie to Jake back to David, zoned out on the ground.
"I don't like it," Rachel said.
"The question is, do we have any alternative?" Jake argued. "I mean, look, the kid is gonna wake up. I can't keep him knocked out. So it's down to this: We either make him one of us, or we leave him, right here, right now. In this alleyway. With parents who will be Controllers soon. With Visser Three knowing his name and looking for the blue box."
"It's harsh," I said, "but I don't see this guy fitting in with us. We don't know him."

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Adam: Perhaps you could have some sort of trial run for him before giving him the cube?
Ifi: Really if they were half as cautious with David as they were with Aftran, everything would have been different...
Adam: Consistency is always fun.
Ifi: They put it to a vote and decide to make David an Animorph because they don't know what else to do with him
Adam: Ship him off to Africa.
Ifi: Let the Yeerks have him. He doesn't know anything important anyway.
Adam: He knows that they are human by that point.
Ifi: No
Ifi: I meant before they woke him up
Ifi: They should have just left him in the alley
Adam: Eh, they would have felt bad.
Adam: They didn't know what a horrible person he is yet.

David spent the night at my house. I told my dad it was a sleepover. I gave him my bed and I used my sleeping bag and an air mattress. An air mattress that had lost all its air by two A.M.
Which was a good thing, because I woke up when David was sneaking from the room. I found him starting to make a phone call from the hall phone.
I put my finger down on the buttons before he could dial. "Ever heard of Caller ID?" I whispered.
"I'm calling my mom and dad," he said fiercely.
I nodded. "Okay. But not from here."

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: So Marco ignores the fact that David almost got them all killed
Ifi: I mean, he completely ignores it
Ifi: And they go find a pay phone
Adam: Well, I suppose he lets it slide because there really hasn't been anything to have it sink it yet.
Ifi: We're on like warning #5 at this point

"Hello? Dad? It's me. It's me."
I waited while he listened.
"No, I'm not okay, I'm scared."
Listening again. I silently mouthed the words "ask him."
"Dad, what happened? I mean, those were aliens and all."
David listened. His eyes turned to me. I could see the dull fear.
"It was all a trick?" he echoed back. "It was guys from your work playing a trick?"
I rolled my eyes. I'd expected some lame lie, but that was really lame.
"Dad, I saw that, one alien turn into something else. That was real."
"I'm okay, I'm"
Click! I stopped the call.
"Listen, you idiot, in about two minutes a couple carloads of Yeerks are going to come screaming up looking for you. They'll trace the call."
"My dad wouldn't do that."
"No? Come with me. We can watch. We can see what happens."

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: That lie 
Ifi: was the dumbest lie
Adam: Well, they intend to collect him and make him into a Controller, so they don't really need to put that much effort into a coverup for him.
Ifi: Anyway, Marco is right, David gets to hear his Dad talk about Visser Three being pissed off if they don't find the kid, and they all go back to bed.
Adam: Goodnight everybody!
Ifi: The next day, they decide to get him some morphs

"David's here to acquire his first morph. The merlin."
"Which one's the merlin?" David asked.
"The smaller bird," Cassie said. "They're very fast, very agile," she added helpfully.
"Faster than the big one?" David asked.
<You don't want to be a golden eagle,> Tobias said. <They're jerks. They go after other birds. Not to mention anything from a rabbit to a small deer. And I'm not kidding about the deer. I saw a golden eagle take down a young doe. Sank those talons right into the back of her head, boom, she went down like she'd been shot.>
"I want to do the eagle," David said.

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Adam: Hint #6?
Adam: Also, why don't you acquire both?
Adam: I still don't get this logic
Ifi: That was my thing!
Ifi: The more morphs the better!
Adam: Why don't they all acquire the eagle, since it's there.
Ifi: I would have hundreds of random morphs. Geese. Every dog ever. Pigeons. Songbirds. Horses. Small children.
Adam: Why don't they all have Andalite morphs at this point?
Ifi: I know right!
Ifi: If Ax can use their DNA, they should be allowed to use his
Ifi: And they have met other Andalites
Ifi: And will meet more later
Adam: If they were ever captured, they could become Andalites so that they could avoid having their identities being given away
Ifi: And besides
Ifi: I mean
Ifi: come on
Ifi: Andalite
Ifi: Enough said
Adam: Indeed

Ifi: Ok, and now, 3/4 through the book, we get the Yeerk plot
Ifi: Which involves some world leaders or something

It would have been nice to have some time to prepare David. But there was no time. Erek had told us the world leaders would be showing up in four days. Time was up. They were coming. And we had to figure out which one was a Controller, protect the others, and if at all possible, find a way to warn them all of the Yeerk conspiracy.
"Now just to make things really fun," I continued, "there are the Yeerks. How many of the hotel's maids and waiters and pool boys are Controllers? Don't know. How many of the Russian, German, British, French, Japanese, and U.S. security guys are also Controllers? Don't know. All we know is that one of these presidents or prime ministers is a Controller."

"At least one," Cassie said. "Sorry to interrupt, but it's kind of important. Erek said one of them was a Controller. He didn't say for sure that the other five were not."
We all just gaped at Cassie. It hadn't occurred to me. It should have, but it didn't.

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: Great so let's just throw David into a battle
Adam: Seems perfectly reasonable.

It took me a few seconds to notice that his tone sounded different. More excited. More keyed up. By the time I looked, it was too late.
David was tearing down, down, down like a falling rocket. Swooping, straight toward a careless crow.
I watched, helpless. I was an osprey. There was no way I could catch him. Golden eagles are blazingly fast. Only Jake in his peregrine falcon morph might have intercepted the eagle, but he was too far away.
With my laser-focus osprey eyes I saw the big eagle talons rake forward. There was no sound as David struck the crow. They were too far below me for sound. Just one minute the crow was flying along, and the next second it was tumbling.
David caught the breeze again, leveled off, and swooped back upward. The lifeless crow twirled down through the air, an unbalanced, black pinwheel.
<What are you doing?!> Jake roared.
<Um…um…I guess this eagle's brain kind of took over for a minute,> David said. <I can't believe I just did that! That poor bird! I just lost control.>

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: Let's get that sociopath youtube clip in here.

Ifi: That's the one

Ifi: Also, the Yeerks bring the Blade ship into the atmosphere (I did not know you could do that, btw) and kidnap the president, helicopter and all
Adam: …Well, that was pretty simple.
Ifi: Everyone gets inside, minus Tobias and Rachel, who I guess are making out somewhere.
Adam: As birds.
Ifi: It's too tight in the helicopter for battle morphs, so they do cockroaches instead

I stopped. Spun toward my two-legged side and looked back. Through compound eyes I basically saw nothing. Nothing but a narrowness, a horizontal narrowness. And yet... something was coming nearer. I could feel it.
Something that smelled.
Something that…
<RAID!> I screamed. <They're gassing us!>

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Ifi: Why
Ifi: is there Raid
Ifi: on a spaceship
Ifi: Why.
Adam: Because there are people who can turn into insects who might want to sneak onboard.
Ifi: Who is the president here, btw?
Ifi: Is he ever named?
Adam: I am assuming that it is Clinton.
Adam: But there is no allusion to who it is.
Adam: It is kinda funny that this of all things is the part that Applegate tries to not come off as dated.

<Bail,> Jake said. <We can't just demorph in the President's helicopter. The President won't be alone. And even if he's straight, others may not be. There could be a shoot-out.>
<So?> David said boldly. <I thought we were supposed to kick butt?>
<Not on our own President, duh,> I said.
We bailed. Down the hairy leg. Across the sock. Down the back of the shoe to drop onto the steel deck.
<Back where we started from,> Cassie remarked. <Under the helicopter.>
It took about three seconds for us all to form a mental picture of what that meant. We were standing on the hatch. The hatch that would be opened to release the helicopter.
<Uh-oh,> I said, and then, the hatch began to move beneath us. Directly beneath us. A bright line of daylight appeared in the floor not an inch away.
I grabbed at the deck with my two front legs and held on. For about one millionth of a second.
And then I was falling.
Falling, twirling, twisting, down, down, down toward the ground below.
To be continued…

----Book Twenty, The Discovery

Adam: Dun dun dunnnnnn

Adam: Well, this book is a bit goofy, I will admit.
Adam: Though I think it gets away with it a bit more than others, what with the whole trilogy thing.
Adam: Because really, this books is mostly setup
Ifi: I don't have too much to say because I felt like the quotes really speak for themselves here
Adam: Fair point.
Ifi: So yeah
Ifi: I got nothing else
Adam: Well


  1. I remember David as being blond for some reason? But dyed-black-hair-satan-worshipping David makes a lot more sense. Lord knows I knew a lot of those in middle school.

    Jesus christ Visser Three is like the worst visser ever. They just showed up on some kid's lawn with a shitload of Hork-Bajir? You think maybe the neighbors noticed?

    1. He is blond. Ifi is just being a derp.

    2. Hey I is not a derp! My interpretation of David makes FAR more sense! The way I justified it to Adam is that he is blonde, he just dyed his hair black because he is goffick.

    3. Visser Three does what he wants, when he wants, where he wants, how he wants, why he wants. He is not hampered by puny mortal concepts like LOGIC.

    4. Somehow after reading Storm of Swords, blond David the Lion dying his hair Baratheon black just got 20% funnier. (And by funnier, I mean childhood-brain-scarring, but is there any other kind?)

      "In a coat of gold or coat of red, a lion still has claws, and mine are long and sharp, my lord, as long and sharp as yours..."

  2. Spawn the snake ? Heh. They translated it to Joker in the French version, if I remember correctly. ^^

    1. Joker is... the best name for a snake. Just the best possible name.

      I want a snake now.

  3. for some reason, I remember this book sucking a lot less than it did. I guess it's cause the other two parts of the trilogy were pretty good, as far as plot goes.. a bit darker, and less goofyness.

  4. First, a bit of useless trivia: in the italian version of the book, David's cat and snake are respectively called Skeletor (yeah, like the villain from He-man) and (but I'm not 100% sure) Satan.

    Also, if I had been him, I'd have totally gone for the merlin. Or a buzzard (buzzards are awesome!). Or maybe a kite, or a kestrel... No, okay, maybe not a kestrel (they are cool and all, but they are, like, as big as a blackbird... not very menacing, for a bird of prey). But a kestrel is still better than an eagle, 'cause eagles are boooooooring.

    And I remembered this book to be... yeah, less goofy, that's probably the word. That's probably because I tend to see the "David trilogy" as a whole and I don't exactly remember when one book finishes and the next one starts.

    Your review is great as always, by the way!^^

    1. I was just about to comment about the weirdness of naming your cat after the devil, but then I realized that there was a precedence. The cat in Cinderella is named Lucifer. And the cat in The Smurfs is called Azrael.

  5. David the devil worshipper. How did this kid not end up in jail before the animorphs?

    1. His dad works for the government.

  6. Yes, the escafil device is activated by thoughtspeak/pyschic command, right? Then how the hell did the buffahuman and an ant get the morphing power in a future book? Did Ax foget to turn it off? Ah, continuity, thou art a heartless bitch!

    1. "Then how the hell did the buffahuman and an ant get the morphing power in a future book?"

      I have nothing to add to this except that I cannot wait until we get to thew book(s) where that happens.

    2. Can we just pretend the buffahuman never happened? For everyone's sake?

  7. Oh man, I did not remember the plot of this book being this ridiculous. Actually, the main thing I remember about this book was this exchange:
    "What kind of kid has a cat named Megadeth and a snake named Spawn?"
    "A kid with bad taste in music and good taste in comic books?"

  8. Maybe KAA was familiar with one of the crap '90s email services (like Juno) that did actually require a running computer on the sender's end?

    1. I was legitimately not even aware that such a thing existed.

    2. Or, more simply, a desktop email client? It doesn't seem that dumb to me. It's not like they had webmail back then.

      Love the review, though I don't think you sufficiently covered the hilarity of the "invade David's house" thing. I recall loving the Taco Bell manager asking if they were doing drugs in there. Also, Marco bitching about missing Buffy (yeah, the books are definitely dated).

  9. So I read this trilogy after finding it in the library just for laughs -- and by the end of the last book, I had a thousand-yard stare. The third book gets dark as hell, and I'm kind of surprised that the first book is practically whimsical by comparison.

    And yes, add me to the presumably long list of people who would have acquired HUNDREDS of species by now. Damn unimaginative characters...

  10. In the second book, Cassie wonders if there's a limit to the number of morphs you can acquire. And then they never wonder about the matter again. Ever.
    Also, you totally just need a morph-capable person touching the blue box to activate it.

    1. But if it requires a morph-capable person to touch the box, how did the first person get the power in the first place...?

    2. Too be fair, two books later they meet Ax, and he could have given an answer about that offscreen.

      Also, I don't think it was ever stated you need someone morph capable to activate the Escafil Device. I just figured that you need to know how to get it started up, or have someone with you that knows. ant and the buffulo were just flukes...I guess?

      Hmm, I will ponder this through more.

    3. Maybe the ant & buffalo were activated because the device was reacting to the frequency the Yeerks were using to detect it?

  11. I like how they decide to make David an Animorph even though he is probably #1 on the Yeerks' most-wanted list right now. The only reason the Animorphs even have a shot in the first place is anonymity, even going so far as to not look like a group in public (which always bugs me, because how could anyone deduce that they were "Andalite bandits" from hanging out in school together?) Now we have a homeless, unpredictable stranger whose wanted poster is probably plastered to every flat surface of the Yeerk pool. Where is he going to live? How can we possibly protect him and keep him a secret forever? What happens when the most-hunted human on the planet inevitably gets caught and reveals all of our identities when they infest him?

    Whatever man, let's just let him in.

    I totally agree that I mis-remembered this book as David having already gained the ability to morph, which kind of forced the Animorphs to try to incorporate him. Some day, I'm going to write a revised version of this entire series and close all of the plot holes so my nostalgia can be satisfied with its epicness. This is making the list.

  12. My main issue with this book was, if they now have the blue box, and can use it, why couldn't Tobias morph back to human, then, once he was permanently human, regain his morphing ability from the box? Was this explained at some point, or did they just not consider that at all?

    1. It is pretty well established throughout the series that morphing does not work that way. Once you are trapped in a morph, that is it, and you cannot regain the ability to do so. This is what was so unusual about the Ellimist giving Tobias back his morphing ability; It would be impossible otherwise.

  13. I love the David trilogy, but like others I see it more as one larger book.

    In regards to this book, I always thought this was an awful, forced cliffhanger. Uh oh, the characters are falling from a great height. Characters who can turn into birds and fly. Yawn. Oh well, the next cliffhanger is WAY cooler.

  14. The Beanie baby reference made me cringe in this book. if anything is going to date this series the beanie baby reference is going to do that for sure.