Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book 21: The Threat

The Summary
The Animorphs are still falling in midair from last time, but they are rescued by Rachel and Tobias. Then they all stand around on the beach, trying to figure out what to do next while David makes one worrying comment after another.

The Animorphs eventually come up with a ridiculous plan to get inside that involves Jake morphing a dragonfly and everyone else riding on him as fleas. It works, mostly, and the Animorphs manage to get to the ballroom, where the banquet with all the world leaders will take place. They find another jacuzzi full of Yeerks hidden behind a hologram. They also overhear Visser Three (in, er, 'Event Planner' morph) giving instructions that will get the heads of state close enough to the Controllers to have them infested.

The Animorphs decide that, when the event happens, they will knock out any Controllers guarding the jacuzzi and hide inside the hologram. When the various heads of states walk past, the Animorphs will show them Ax, explain everything, and then send them on their way. The Animorphs get the first two parts of the plan down, but they never get to talk to anyone important because it's a trap and the banquet is...tomorrow night. Whoops.

After a narrow escape in which David attempts to switch sides, the Animorphs go home to keep up appearances. That night, the other Animorphs stake out Cassie's barn, where David is staying. At about two AM, he runs off. Tobias pursues him initially, and then Jake finds him at his old, destroyed home. A dead red-tailed hawk is nearby.

Jake pursues David to the shopping mall, where they have a dramatic fight in their most powerful battle morphs (tiger and lion, respectively). David wounds Jake very badly, and knocks him off the roof into the mall below.


The Review
Ifi: I like how the most interesting thing they could think up for the cover was Homer the dog
Adam: This would honestly have been a good time to have a tiger cover
Ifi: He morphs like ten things in this book
Ifi: The dragonfly would have been perfect
Adam: Ah, yes
Adam: That would have been a good choice as well.
Adam: I am sticking with tiger as my preference though, because then when they get to the book where he does morph the tiger on the cover, they could have used a howler, like they should have.
Ifi: Perhaps you will do the covers for the 2040 reprint
Adam: Sure, let's go with that.
Ifi: Any more about the cover?
Adam: Cover scheme is still kinda bland, but the overall layout is at least okay.
Ifi: What do you want, it's an Animorphs cover
Adam: I want the world.
Adam: I want the whole world
Adam: I want to wrap it all up in my pocket.
Adam: It's my bar of chocolate.
Adam: I want it now.
Adam: *cough*
Adam: Yes.
Ifi: Are you done
Adam: I don't even know, man.

Ifi: We left our heroes falling to their deaths several thousand feet in midair

This is going to be a running gag.

Adam: Honestly, a cockroach would be able to survive a fall from that height no problem.
Ifi: Which is quickly pointed out

<He's right!> Cassie cried. <You can't kill a cockroach by dropping it. Not even from this high.>
<Unless that's water below us,> Marco said. <In which case we could hit the water and get chomped by some big hungry fish.>
<Should we demorph?> Ax wondered.
<No time,> I said. <We'd get bigger, more mass, and then when we hit we'd—>
I stopped falling. In an instant something hit me. But it hit me going sideways. A gigantic talon closed around me.
<That is you guys, right?> Rachel's thought-speak voice asked calmly. <I mean I figure, cockroaches falling through the air, gotta be you guys.>

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Rachel and Tobias! So nice of you to cut your make-out session short and CONTRIBUTE TO THIS MISSION
Adam: It's like the ending to Lord of the Rings or something

Ifi: Oh and David still hasn't figured out morphing clothes
Ifi: So they commit some petty theft
Adam: C'mon guys.
Adam: You're being a bad influence on the new guy.

"We'll find a way to get the money to the store," I said. "We don't want to even start down that path. In an emergency like this, maybe we can grab something. But we have to make it right later. That's the rule."

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: But David has plans bigger than a souvenir shirt smuggling ring

He shrugged. "Us, with our powers? We could take anything we wanted. We could like morph into cheetahs or whatever, run into some jewelry store, grab the diamonds, and get away at sixty miles an hour. What could anyone do? We'd be outta there. Plus, we'd morph back to humans."
"Let's do that," Marco said dryly. "Right after we figure out how to keep the Yeerks from turning the most powerful leaders in the world into alien-infested zombies. As soon as we're done with that, we start ripping off jewelry stores."

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

(c) David Shannon, 1998

Ifi: The exciting new business proposal is shot down
Adam: Well, he seems perfectly stable
Ifi: What warning number are we on now?
Adam: I have lost count

<Can I grab a gull? Puh-leeze. Can Michael Jordan hit a three-pointer? They're just rats with wings.>
"Tobias is like really into the whole bird thing, isn't he?" David commented.
"Tobias just has some fairly definite opinions about birds," I said. "He respects most eagles, owls, and other hawks. Looks down on gulls and pigeons. And he absolutely hates jays, crows, and golden eagles."
David laughed. "He's like a racist or something, only with birds instead of people."
"All those birds are different species," Cassie pointed out. "Humans are all one species. Not really a very good comparison."
David shrugged, and looked a little sullen. "Whatever."

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Hey, that was actually a semi-valid point David had
Ifi: Specisim is totally a theme of this series!
Adam: Seriously.
Adam: And Cassie of all people is the one to shoot him down.
Ifi: Yeah Cassie oughta know that jays and crows can be total dicks
Adam: Well, there goes the neighborhood.
Ifi: And swans? Forget it.
Ifi: Swans will mess you up.
Ifi: Why has nobody morphed a swan?
Adam: In what circumstances would they use that?
Ifi: Chase around brides?

Ifi: I'm sure this has some legitimate combat applications

Ifi: Peter would have never married Nora if Marco only had a swan morph.
Adam: Zeus once seduced the princess of Tyndareus in the form of a swan.

Adam: Is this safe for work if it is classical art?
Ifi: According to Pratchett, it's not smut if there are urns, pillars, or cherubs.
Adam: If it is good enough for Pterry, it is good enough for me.

<If we go, into the wild blue yonder, flying high into the sun!"> Marco sang.
<Marco, why are you singing?> Rachel asked.
<It's some old movie on the Movie Channel about Air Force pilots. That was their song. "Off we go, into the wild blue yonder, flying high into the sun.">
<Marco? Why are you still singing when clearly I want you to shut up?>
<"Off we go, into the..." Hey! Whoa! Pizza Hut! The guy down there on the blue beach towel. He's got an entire large pizza!>
<Is he going to eat all that himself?> David asked eagerly. <No way one guy eats a large pizza.>

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: I am with David on this one.
Adam: I have eaten a whole pizza before.
Adam: It regretted it afterwards, but it can be done
Ifi: I want a pizza
Ifi: I want pizza
Ifi: I want pizza so bad
Ifi: with cheeeeeze
Ifi: and pepperoni
Ifi: and bacon
Ifi: and chicken and tomato and peppers
Ifi: oh god I'm so hungry
Adam: I just had some grilled cheese
Adam: it was tasty

<Of course they're Secret Service,> David said. <But so are some of the people lying out here on the beach. With something like this, probably half the people on the beach are security.>
<And of course you're the big expert because your dad is a spy,> Marco said with a definite sneer.
<He's with the National Security Agency, that's right, > David said.
<Yeah? Well now he's with the Yeerk Security Agency,> Marco muttered.
<Shut up, Marco!> I snapped. <That was over the line.>

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Marco, WTF?
Ifi: Need I remind you that your own mother is currently running around in a bright red custom-tailored dress uniform, tripping over Leerans?
Adam: That was uncool.
Adam: Though I wouldn't mind too much if this conversation had degenerated into a series of "your mom" jokes
Ifi: I mean, David was a horrible person, but you have to sort of wonder how much of Marco being openly hostile caused the situation to escalate the way it did
Ifi: At this point, I didn't feel like he was irredeemable. Stupid and selfish and greedy, sure, but who isn't at fourteen?
Adam: A lot of this could have been avoided if they just got him to sit out this one big important mission
Ifi: That would have almost certainly been for the best
Adam: It just seems sensible to me to have the new guy start off on sort of a trial basis
Ifi: Hypothetical situation. You stumble upon a jacuzzi tub full of helpless Yeerks. What do you do?
Adam: Absolutely nothing!
Ifi: Sorry, the correct answer was 'take way too much pleasure in turning on the jets'.
Ifi: I don't think you can be an Animorph
Adam: I am sorry, should I have said, "Lunch time?"
Ifi: Only if you're an Andalite
Ifi: Because you know
Ifi: Photosynthesis
Adam: Ah
Adam: That seems
Adam: perfectly sensible

I sighed. <Maybe. Only we can't be. No matter what the risk, we have to get inside and—AAAAHHHH!>
The pain came out of nowhere. Suddenly, for no reason, I'd felt a wave of agony that seemed to sizzle and fry every cell in my body.
<AAAAAAHHHHH!> It was Tobias's turn.
I stared at the bald man. I saw where he was looking. He was looking at a gull that had suddenly jerked in mid-flight. Tobias?
<It's that guy!> I said, suddenly certain. <That bald guy! He's doing it!>
I watched the bald man casually shift his gaze to another seagull. This seagull, too, spasmed in midair. It recovered and began to haul wing out of there. Not one of us. A regular gull.
<Ax! What is that guy doing? I don't see any weapon.>
Ax sounded as shaken as I was. <He may…he may be using a very low-power Dracon beam. Possibly hidden on his body, with the sunglasses used as emitters.>

----The Yeerks got Scott Summers

Ifi: Aaagh!
Adam: I want one of those!
Adam: Now I have a way to keep all those terns from attacking when I go to the beach
Ifi: Faced with a balding security man with optic blasts, the Animorphs all go home

"Thank goodness you're home," my mother said.
"We were worried," my dad said.
"Why? I was just out with Marco."
"Something has happened," my dad said solemnly. "Maybe you should sit down."
My mother said, "It's your cousin, Saddler. He was riding his bike and was hit by a car. He's alive, but the injuries are very severe. He's in intensive care."
----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Adam: =<
Adam: I am sad now
Adam: Poor kid.
Ifi: So as if this book wasn't depressing enough, we get random-ass everyday freak accidents
Adam: Oh, it only goes downhill from here
Ifi: I don't think the unholy horror that is the Saddler Incident really begins until the next book
Adam: Indeed.
Adam: But we shall get to that next week.
Ifi: Sick and unholy.
Adam: There there

I spun in my chair. It was Tom, sticking his head into my room. On my computer monitor was the article about the French chief.
Don't act guilty! I silently ordered myself. But I clicked the window closed anyway.
"Are you gonna tie up that line all night?" Tom demanded. "Someone might want to make a phone call. It's ten o'clock, anyway. Your bed-tiiiiime," he said, drawing out the last word.
"Shut up," I said. "Just because Mom and Dad aren't here, that doesn't make you—"
"Oh, yes it does. I am the All-Powerful Tom," he said.

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Come on Jake, you have to admit that was funny.
Adam: Ah, dial-up
Adam: It was truly a different era
Ifi: I mean, this may or may not be the guy who later runs off with the morphing cube, but it made me lol

"Hi, Jake, it's Cassie."
I felt a little tingle on the back of my neck. Cassie sounded cheerful. But that was because we never trusted the phones to be safe.
"Hi, Cassie, what's up?"
"Hey, you know what? I heard Letterman got canceled. Is that true? No more Dave?"
Now it was more than a tingle. Of course Letterman wasn't canceled. Cassie had just been looking for a way to say "Dave." As in David. David was missing.
"Did you check TV Guide?"
"No. I looked everywhere else, though. Everywhere."
"Well, don't worry about it. He'll be there at the usual place, the usual time."
We hung up. We both knew. David was missing and I was on my way, as soon as I could get away safely. I'd be "at the usual place."
Twenty minutes later Tom came to check on me. I was in my bed. Asleep. Or at least I looked asleep. I lay there in the dark, listening. Then I heard the faint sound of the front door opening and closing.
Tom was leaving. Yeerk business, no doubt.
"Yeerks make lousy baby-sitters," I muttered under my breath.

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Adam: Their phone-code is terrible
Ifi: I'm just going to ignore that truly inspired code and just tell Jake to stop making generalizations like that
Adam: When did this suddenly turn into a Bruce Coville book, anyway?

Ifi: I bet you I could find a -great- Yeerk babysitter who legitimately loves his or her job
Adam: Likely so
Adam: Why do you think is the one taking care of all the widdle larvae?
Ifi: the cuuuutest ootest wootest widdle grubby grub, yes you is. yes you iiiiiissssssssss
Adam: Yeah okay, that's enough of that

"Hey, Rachel. You must have morphed to get here so fast," I said. "So how come you have regular clothes on?" 
Cassie rolled her eyes. "Didn't you know? Rachel keeps a couple of outfits here at the barn." 
"Is it a crime to want to look good?" Rachel asked self-mockingly. 
"Good grief," I said. "So what's the deal?" 
"The deal is, David went to sleep up in the loft around nine. Early. Said he was tired. I checked on him. At ten I remembered that I forgot to give that deer with the bullet wound her meds, so I came back out. No David."

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Probably went to knock over a liquor store
Adam: Not everyone has the same motivations as you

I followed David's scent as Cassie floated in absolute silence overhead. Her owl's wings made no sound. Not even to my ears.
<He stopped here,> I said. We were a thousand yards from the barn in the middle of a field. <He morphed. I'm getting a new scent.>
I sniffed carefully at the ground, going around in a circle. <The idiot!> I yelled, suddenly too angry to be dog HAPPY. <He went into that lion morph you hooked him up with.>
<Maybe he just wanted to try it out,> Cassie said. <We all used to do things like that.>
<Yeah,> I agreed. <But a lion? This close to people's homes?>
<I seem to remember you morphing to tiger and running around on people's roofs, Jake.>
<Oh. Yeah.>

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Um.
Ifi: When was this?
Adam: That
Adam: Is a very good question
Ifi: I really, really want to know
Adam: I think the assumption is that it is just something that occurred offscreen
Adam: But still
Ifi: Is that what they do on their dates?
Adam: Well, Rachel and Tobias go and kill small rodents
Ifi: That's still not as weird as running around on people's roofs as a tiger.
Ifi: The more you think about it, the more questions it raises
Ifi: Presumably shortly after getting the morphing power, Jake decided, for no reason, to take his battle morph for a spin in his suburban neighborhood. On the roofs. With his girlfriend.
Adam: Wouldn't a tiger on the roof be really noisy?
Ifi: Everyone would need to get their roofs re-whatevered
Adam: To use the correct technical term, yes

Human once more, and not at all HAPPY, I looked up and down the street. "So. Maybe he just came to snag some food. Maybe he was hungry."
<I left him some chips up in the loft,> Cassie said.
"Maybe he had a craving for a Big Mac. Cassie, did he say anything to you tonight?"
<He was complaining about missing his old room. His pet snake. His stuff. TV.>
I nodded. "Yep. TV." I pointed at the Holiday Inn. "Cassie, Tobias, Rachel? Go take a look. I'll be right there."

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: For the record, I'm with David on this one as well.

"Listen, David, we don't break laws. Not unless absolutely necessary. We don't hurt innocent people. We have to control how we behave. We're not a bunch of criminals. Like on the beach when we needed clothing? I already mailed the money to the shop. Are you going to do that here?"
David stopped channel surfing. "How's it end for me, Jake?" he asked. "I have no home, all right? My family wants to turn me over to the Yeerks. What am I supposed to do? Keep living in that barn? It's easy for you, Jake. You have a family. You have a home. You all have homes. You all sleep in beds at night and watch TV and eat at a table."

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Christ man, let the kid sleep in a bed. Hotel chains make too much money anyway.
Adam: Serious, the guy has been through this much. You could have the decency to sleep on the couch for a few nights
Ifi: Yeah, breaking the window was probably not crucial, but still.
Ifi: I know this is supposed to be the greedy/selfish/sociopathic side of David coming out, but this is one warning that I did not buy
Adam: Well, we are still not at the point where he dives off the slippery slope
Adam: Still, it can be argued quite convincingly that the others drove him into doing what ends up happening
Ifi: They certainly did not help

"It's like school and home, okay?" David continued. "It's like being an Animorph is school, and you're the teacher or the principal or whatever. But then, after I go home, you don't tell me what to do anymore."
I shook my head. "No, that's not what it's like, David. I don't want to come down on you, but the way it is is like this: You want to go around using your powers in selfish ways, then we can't have you around. You're just a danger to us. And you're against what we stand for."
His eyes widened. He rolled off the bed and stood up. "Are you threatening me?"
"No. Just telling you the way it is. We're the only family you have now, David. The only people you can trust. The only people who can help you. We're all you have. Deal with it."

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: And so David slept in the barn.
Ifi: Good job heroes.
Adam: I am going to go sit in the corner and stare at the wall for a bit, I think.
Ifi: This in no way justifies what David goes on to do in retaliation, but I don't think anyone could really be against him on this one.
Adam: I pretty much have the same stance
Adam: What he does is still horrific and evil, but I think this whole thing could have been avoided if they just lightened up on him a bit at first.
Ifi: So now we have brilliant plan

<I'm not understanding this,> Ax said. <How will the rest of us get inside with this single dragonfly?>
"Well…" Cassie said. "That's the part that is either beautiful or gross, depending on your point of view."
"Oh, I so don't want to hear this," Marco moaned.
"See, the dragonfly is so big, and such a powerful flyer, he can carry passengers."
We all considered that for a moment. All of us staring at Cassie.
<What kind of passengers, Cassie?> Tobias asked.
"Well…I think you could get six fleas lined up on—"
"Okay, okay, that's not happening," David said.

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Adam: I am going to have to side with David on this one
Adam: Does a dragonfly have enough soft bits for a flea to cling to?

Adam: I mean, it is mostly exoskeletal plates
Ifi: I do not claim to understand
Adam: I know that there are mites that live specifically in the joints of bees
Adam: But those are specifically developed to do so
Ifi: Didn't need to know that.
Adam: Every day is a day for learning!
Ifi: Really, really didn't.

<We're in the air-conditioning vent,> I explained.
<It is chilly,> Cassie remarked.
<We must demorph very soon,> Ax pressed.
I zoomed down an endless square tunnel. There was plenty of light from the various room vents. I zipped along, pausing only to glance into each room we passed. They were all occupied. A lot seemed to be reporters just unpacking. In one I saw what looked like Japanese security guys setting up equipment of some kind. But nowhere we could demorph. It was getting desperate. As Ax kept reminding me.
<Prince Jake, there are only five of your minutes left.>

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Fucked-up moment detected! INCOMING!

<Aaahhh!> Something grabbed me. I was yanked out of midair! I flapped madly, but I felt myself being wrapped up in tiny, sticky ropes. I could jerk this way and that, but I could not escape. My wings were pinned down. My legs…
<What's happening?!> Rachel yelled.
Okay, get a grip, Jake, I ordered myself. I stopped struggling. And that's when I saw it.
Radiating out from me in all directions were glistening ropes. The ropes were sticky. Thin but strong. And they formed a pattern. A definite pattern.
<It's a spiderweb,> I said. <We're caught in a web.>
And then, with my all-directional dragonfly eyes, I saw the black, menacing shape hanging in the air above me. Eight legs. Eight cold, evil eyes.
----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Author.
Ifi: Was this really really necessary?
Adam: Didn't they already do the "everyone gets nearly eaten by a spider" thing already in an earlier book?
Ifi: A hotel full of alien invaders, three minutes to being trapped in flea morph, and you decide the main characters need to be threatened by a spider? Really?
Adam: Applegate is a sadist from time to time

I began to demorph, maximum speed. I was a two-inch-long insect. A few moments later, I was a four-inch-long insect with some very weird features. The web sagged. I hit the metal floor of the duct.
<What are you doing?> Rachel yelled.
<Aaaahhhh!> Cassie cried suddenly.
<Cassie's hurt!> David yelled.
The spider kept advancing. I kept growing. I was five inches long. Already my dragonfly features were being altered as human DNA began to reassert itself.
My backward vision showed the fleas, separated by more distance now, as the flesh beneath them swelled. But one flea was no longer well. One flea was oozing blood. Blood was squishing out through the armored plates.
My blood! My morphing body must have created a semihuman artery! The sudden surge of blood pressure had burst Cassie's insides. My mind was screaming. Cassie hurt! The spider still coming on! My own body this weird mess.
----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Adam: ...
Ifi: Did you think we were done?

<I can't get out of morph!> Marco yelled.

It stood on six bristling legs. The body was the color of rust. It was narrow, as if it had been run over by a train. It was built of interlocking plates of armor. Its head was a hideous helmet, with a ring of spikes raked back all around the top and sides. At the bottom of the helmet were more spikes, like some horrible parody of a mustache. Two stubby antennae protruded. Saber-toothed tiger "teeth" stuck straight down. It had two black, button eyes. Dead, soulless eyes.
It was now a flea as large as a dog.
<Marco?!> I cried.
<Oh, please, help me! Help me!>
I could not stand to look at the thing.

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Adam: I repeat my previous statement.

And then, slowly, slowly, the armor plate began to soften into flesh. Slowly the mouthparts retreated. The spiked helmet melted into hair. Slowly, slowly, Marco emerged. At last he was sitting, his own self again, on the edge of the table. He looked at Cassie with his own, human eyes, and he did something I didn't think Marco was capable of. He put his arms around Cassie's shoulders and cried.
----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Grief counseling and cake?
Adam: Yes please

"Okay," Marco said, snapping us all out of our trance. "Anyone bothered to notice where we are?"
I shook myself back to reality. "Yeah. I noticed before when we flew past earlier. That's why I didn't come here. Until we had no other choice. Ax! Stay alert, keep your tail ready. Rachel? We may need some firepower."
"What the—what is all this stuff?" David wondered, looking around the room. "And look at this room! It's like, huge!"
<This, unless I am mistaken,> Ax said calmly, <is a small-scale, portable Yeerk pool.>

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Okay turn the jets on.
Adam: Now you're okay with that?
Ifi: Well, this time it doesn't really even occur to them
Adam: I was a bit surprised, admittedly.
Adam: However, it turns out that their general apathy ends up helping out later
Ifi: Ax figures out that the area they are inside is protected by a hologram/force field thing that they managed to stumble into while they were flies
Adam: In advance, there are a lot of holograms in this book.

"Tony, that doesn't make sense," the other man said.
Suddenly three chairs were yanked out all around me! Legs were coming at me! Two bare, female legs and four covered in gray, pinstriped suit pants. The three of them were sitting down.
"Urgh!" I emitted a muffled sound as someone's shoe poked my side.
"Don't tell me what makes sense. I've spent weeks working this all out," the man named Tony said.
"If so, then why did you tell us something totally different this morning?" the woman asked.
"You must have misunderstood what I said this morning," Tony said coolly.
"I don't see how."
"Look, Sheila, let me make this simple for you: I am the White House Chief of Protocol. This is my show. Who sits where is my business. Your business is to make it happen."
----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Visser Three is living his dream as an event coordinator
Adam: So I guess he really was cut out for politics, in a sense

We needed a distraction.
"The fire alarm," David said. "I did it once at my old school to get out of taking a test."

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Now this? This is a legit red flag.
Adam: …Just once?
Ifi: How did he get out of getting sprayed with paint?
Adam: They don't have that setup in every fire alarm

"Not now, Rachel," I said through gritted teeth. "Close the archway behind me. David and I will find another way out." I dropped to my knees and crawled out of the pillar. I was out of sight of the advancing Controllers as I made my way under the table. But peering down the long line of chair legs, I saw David.
Only David wasn't David anymore.
Cassie had helped him to acquire a combat morph. He'd chosen a male lion. As I watched, I saw the bushy mane sprout from around his neck.
I mouthed the word "no" silently. We needed to escape, not fight. But David just grinned. He was still grinning as three-inch-long yellow canine teeth grew from his suddenly puffy upper lip.

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

This book is depressingly relevant.
"Okay, if we have Andalite penetration, they could be anything. Even flies. It's probably just a false alarm. Nothing to do with us. We'll know as soon as we check the pool. If it was Andalites…well, our friends in the pool will not be alive."
Two sets of legs went to the Yeerk pool. I heard a hinge being moved.
"They're okay!" a new voice yelled.
"Okay," the leader said, sighing in relief. "No way we have Andalite penetration then. They'd never leave our people alive. Clear the doors. I'll notify the others. Hologram on."

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: This actually made me feel fuzzy inside.
Ifi: I don't know why.
Adam: Remember kids, it is not right to make assumptions on the quality of a person’s character, based upon their species
Ifi: Well I dunno, he's probably right about the Andalite part
Adam: Ax was with them at the time, was he not?
Ifi: Yeah but he does what Jake says so it doesn't really count
Adam: Let me have my positive message
Ifi: Okay okay

<Had you worried, huh?> David said.
"No. I knew you were cool."
<Just being prepared. You know, in case there was any trouble. I was surprised you didn't go into your tiger morph.>
"Yeah. Well, I didn't see the need."
<Hey. You ever wonder who'd win in a fight between a lion and a tiger?>
That took me by surprise. I hesitated.
<Lion. That's what I think. But it would probably never happen,> David said with a laugh.

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Following this, the Animorphs snapped David’s neck and dumped his body in a ditch.
Adam: @_______@
Adam: Well
Adam: That was slightly terrifying

We now knew the Yeerks' plan. They would wait for the big banquet. The heads of state would walk up to the platform, one by one, to give speeches. One by one they would pass behind the holographic pillar. There, out of sight of the audience, they would be hauled inside the pillar. They would be grabbed and held, their heads forced into the pool. A Yeerk slug would enter through their ears. Minutes later, they would be Controllers.
Meanwhile, the holographic emitter we'd seen would project an image of the head of state continuing his walk up to the podium. He would seem to reappear on the far side of the pillar, walk up, and calmly deliver his speech.
By the time the speech was over, the real head of state would be ready to emerge. The switch would then be done in reverse.

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: That is a very ballsy plan, I must say
Adam: Isn't a person usually disoriented for 15 minutes or so after being infested?
Ifi: That is a thing that is sometimes canon and sometimes not
Ifi: It didn't really happen with Afran and Cassie and then Aftran and Karen after
Adam: I could have sworn that it did happen to Cassie
Ifi: It definitely didn't happen to Karen
Adam: I stand corrected
Ifi: And it doesn't happen later on, in the book where Ax gets sick

"Well, I assume this banquet is tonight," I said, looking at my watch. "And if I'm right, we have very few hours to figure out how to bust up this plan."
"I need to spend some time at home," Rachel said. "You probably do, too, Jake."
"Actually, I'm pretty free for now," I said. "You heard about Saddler, right?"
She hadn't. So I told her about our injured cousin. About my parents going to help out. And about the fact that Saddler was not necessarily going to survive.
Everyone made the right noises of sympathy. So did David. But while his mouth was making the right words, I saw something disturbing in his eyes. Something I couldn't quite put my finger on.
I glanced at him and he looked at me with a face that seemed to be shining with restrained excitement. Like someone who had just figured out how to win the lottery.

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Forrrrrrrrrrreshadowing
Adam: Eh, I am sure it is nothing.
Adam: It is hard knowing how to properly react to these sort of situations

From that point on, you could drop straight down to the hidden Yeerk pool. Just a few major problems. We would have to instantly take out any Controllers who were stationed within the hologram column. And if any of us stepped outside the hologram, there would be security guys on us before we could blink.
Then we'd have to be ready to snatch the various world leaders as they were pushed toward us and convince them to play along. Despite the fact that most of them didn't speak English. And oh, by the way, Erek had warned us that one of the men, one of those world leaders, was already a Controller. At least one of them.

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: There is no possible way that this could go wrong.
Adam: It's like in the Legend of Zelda
Adam: Where you need to sneak into the Gerudo Fortress
Adam: And so you have to snipe all of them with arrows from high up, or else they spot you and throw you into the easily escapable prison

I flapped to build up speed and I rocketed down that tube. The fastest thing in the air is a peregrine falcon in a dive. I broke a hundred miles per hour within seconds and kept building speed. Faster and faster, as my laser-intensity falcon eyes watched the head below me grow larger and larger. I gripped the lead weight in my talons.
I was a dive-bomber. And I was doing well over a hundred miles per hour when I released my bomb.
Now you know why we were carrying the weights.
Down, down, down like a diving fighter plane!
I released the weight, flared my wings just a hair, slowed, and swept aside as David's own bomb dropped past me. My lead weight dropped. David's dropped. Then, more slowly, three more weights.
----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Oh.
Ifi: We uh
Ifi: Appear to have been transported into a cartoon from the sixties.
Adam: Um
Adam: This sort of thing would easily kill all of them.
Adam: And if not
Adam: Cause irreparable brain damage
Ifi: You know, I can see the Animorphs doing this and honestly not realizing the damage they just did because they are thirteen years old and nobody ever got brain damage in cartoons

Ifi: And then being wracked with guilt
Adam: Also, Marco turns into a cobra and bites one of them
Ifi: WRACKED with guilt

Ax, David, and I each acquired one of the unconscious Controllers. I know what you're thinking. We have a rule against morphing other humans. But to my mind, these weren't really other humans. The bodies may have been. But their minds were pure Yeerk.
Besides, there was no other way. Even Cassie had agreed for this one time. If we didn't pull this off, the leaders of the free world would be made into slaves of the Yeerks. That couldn't happen.

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat
Ifi: Wait
Ifi: What?
Adam: Gah
Adam: I was just about to rant about this.
Ifi: But...
Ifi: what?
Ifi: Just
Ifi: Sense
Adam: "But to my mind, these weren't really other humans. The bodies may have been. But their minds were pure Yeerk. "
Adam: Jake
Adam: You were a Controller at one point.
Adam: That's
Adam: That's really not how it works
Ifi: And in this series, it is firmly and repeatedly established that mind has nothing to do with DNA
Adam: And I mean, the no morphing sapient beings rule is not logically consistent to begin with.
Adam: But his attempts to morally justify it here are still so brain-breaking
Ifi: Morphing someone and saying "hello yes I am your husband Bob and I would just like to tell you that I have been cheating on you for ten years and also that dress makes you look horrible" would be immoral. But the Animorphs do not do this. They have no reason to do something like this. They have no desire to.

At some level, we were doing something very close to what the Yeerks were doing: We were taking control of a human being.
Not their minds, of course. Because morphing just gives you the body and the instincts, not the memory, the thoughts, the soul of an individual. Basically, we were cloning these three unconscious men. Making exact duplicates of their physical selves.

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Adam: Um
Adam: The whole reason that what the Yeerks are doing is immoral is because they are usurping someone's mind.
Adam: Which you just admitted to be not doing.
Adam: [/end rant]

The Yeerks' plan was simple. Wait until one of the presidents or prime ministers disappeared behind the marble column. Then, when the hologram was opened for just a split second, the two Controllers waiting there would shove their victim inside.
The hologram emitter would project an image of that same leader walking to the stage and giving his prepared speech.
When the speech was over, the man would appear to walk back behind the pillar. At which point the real leader, now a Controller, would step out, and boldly sit down with his wife and aides.
Our plan was equally simple. We'd wait till the Controllers outside shoved the President or prime minister our way. Then we'd grab him and let the emitter show the guy heading up onto the stage. Meanwhile, we'd explain to the man what was happening. We'd show him the Yeerks.
----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: I can think of how that could easily go bad, but okay
Adam: Even if they pull this off without a hitch, what is stopping the Yeerks from taking them captive immediately after?
Ifi: Well

<Turn off the outer hologram,> Visser Three said. Instantly the entire room full of people disappeared. All the heads of state. All the guests. All the food. All the sounds of laughter and applause and conversation.
It all disappeared. Instead, we saw the banquet room itself. Empty, except for the rows of tables and chairs.
That, plus a solid wall of Hork-Bajir warriors completely encircling us, each with a Dracon beam leveled directly at us. Or at least at the marble pillar they could see.
<By the way,> Visser Three gloated. <The real banquet is tomorrow night.>

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Adam: Also

Adam: Obligatory
Adam: Visser Three has been very quippy these last few books
Adam: Has he hired a speachwriter or something?
Ifi: And did he just...pull off an elaborate ruse?
Ifi: Way to go, Visser Three!
Ifi: I knew you could do it eventually.
Adam: Let's give him a round of applause
Ifi: Luckily, the army of Hork-Bajir that is now surrounding the audience is -also- a hologram
Adam: Oh dear
Adam: We've entered hologramception
Ifi: It's like a hologram inside a hologram inside a hologram inside a hologram.

<I'm growing impatient,> Visser Three said. <Demorph. Do it now. If you refuse, I'll kill you one by one till you decide to comply.> He raised a Dracon beam weapon and pointed it. The tip of it traveled from one of us to the other. Tobias…Rachel…Me…<Who dies first?>
<Wait!> David cried. <Don't shoot me! I'll de-morph. I don't care about these—AAAHHHH!>
Cassie clamped her jaws around David's right hind leg.

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Well, this is embarrassing.
Adam: I wanna smack David right now
Adam: Even if he is a lion

<No! I'll demorph! See? I'm doing it!>
<Shut up, you pathetic, gutless weasel,> Rachel screamed. <You won't have to wait for Visser Three to kill you!>
<They're threatening me!> David cried, running toward Visser Three. And then I knew for sure.
Visser Three turned his Dracon beam on David. He hesitated. But more important, none of the Hork-Bajir even flinched.
<I'm on your side> David yelled.

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: From this point onward, there will be no more warnings, only outright treachery

<Um, Jake?> Marco said. <I just bit a Hork-Bajir on the leg. He tasted like air. I went right through him. Hologram, but no force field.>
<It is a hologram!> I yelled triumphantly. <There are no Hork-Bajir! Just us and the Visser.>
<Well, well, well,> Rachel said. <I think I'd better just…>
<No,> I said. <I'm faster than you are. I'll get him!>
<But I'm closest,> David said suddenly.

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Well that was the fastest defection and reenlistment I've ever seen, and I watch Transformers regularly.
Adam: So, there is a big fight.
Adam: Turns out, there were a bunch of real Hork-Bajir in with the holograms
Ifi: Yeah it is classic chaos for a little while, but the Animorphs manage to get the upper hand when Ax holds Visser Three hostage.

<Which of you is the human?> he asked, his thought-speak voice suddenly silky and insinuating.
Ax was the one to answer. <Humans?> He forced a laugh. <You are losing your sense of reason, Visser. Humans do not morph.>
<You took my parents!> David said. <You turned them into…into Yeerks!>
<Yes. But we would not do that to you, David. I give you my word. You would be allowed to live free with your parents.>

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Adam: All of a sudden, Visser Three is Satan
Ifi: <Yeah, we have the human. But why the hell would we give him the power to morph? They have laws against that. And bring him to a battle? Humans can't fight! They don't even have tail-blades!>
Ifi: <Also we are a small, highly specialized black ops team. A human would really just get in the way.>
Ifi: ^If the Animorphs could lie as well as they claim
Adam: Admittedly you probably wouldn't be able to think that up offhand if you were surrounded by laser-wielding utahraptors
Ifi: I am rather good at the improv
Ifi: Furthermore, what are utahraptors?
Ifi: Do they have anything to do with Mormons?

Adam: Crazy Utahraptor
Ifi: Aaah! And one of those things wants to run for president?
Adam: No, the scorpion-centaur is the one in political office
Adam: Seriously Ifi, get things straight
Ifi: I'm sorry you know I have difficulty with current events

Ifi: So the Animorphs get away
Adam: There there
Adam: Um
Adam: So I guess all of the political leaders are going to be taken over, then?

<I mean, look,> David was saying, <I'm the one who took him down, right? I mean, I got the creep. Even though Cassie had been chewing on my leg. Which was totally unnecessary.>
<You did great, David,> I said.
<Yeah. I think you almost finished the guy off,> Marco enthused.
<I was impressed,> Rachel said. Then added privately to me, <The gutless, treacherous little worm. He blows with the wind. He turned on Visser Three when he saw we might win.>
David seemed to relax as we flew. Then he went beyond relaxing. He started bragging.
<Like I was ever scared of that guy? No way. Him and me, we had a score to settle. And I would have taken him down, only the way it played out I couldn't. You know, because they got Cassie and all.>
----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Following this, the Animorphs snapped David's neck and dumped his body in a ditch.
Adam: Hoot. You're a sociopath.
Ifi: That night, the Animorphs stake out the barn where David is sleeping for obvious reasons
Adam: And the chicken flies the proverbial coop

<This is Aximili,> he said, in as loud a thought-speak as he could manage. <We have an eagle leaving the barn.>
Tobias's thought-speak came from somewhat closer. <I see him. Jake? I hope you hear me. Because we have a traitor.>
Tobias came swooping down to land beside me on the back of the truck.
"Follow him," I said tersely. "But don't let him see you. Ax and I will follow."
----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: Aximili you are so cute.
Adam: Ax is really awesome in this next sequence.
Adam: Also, you are a crazy person
Ifi: I have papers to prove it.
Adam: oh, that's nice.

Ifi: So they lose Tobias, but Ax and Jake pursue David to his old house, which is still full of holes
Adam: Tobias!
Adam: T_T

A golden eagle stood on the upright bedpost, watching the TV screen. And that's when I saw the other bird. A crumpled mass of feathers lay atop a wadded-up sheet. Blood had seeped into the material.
<Tobias!> I cried.
There was no answer.
<David, you can't do this,> I said as calmly as I could.
<Do what, Jake? Turn myself over to the Yeerks? Of course not. You really think I'm dumb enough to try that? That's not what this is about.>
<Then what are you doing?!> I roared, suddenly not so calm. <What are you doing, hurting Tobias?>
<Hurting him? Oh, he's dead, in case you were wondering,> David said. <Definitely dead.>

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Pic related.

Ifi: But
Ifi: But I
Ifi: wha
Ifi: but
Ifi: but
Ifi: Rachel is going to KICK YOUR ASS
Ifi: She is going to KILL you. Or at least leave your death HIGHLY AMBIGUOUS.
Adam: *pats your head*
Adam: Dude be craaaazy

<You think I don't know you were threatening me, Jake?> David said. <I'm not spending the rest of my life taking orders from you. You and Marco and Rachel and Cassie? You're like this clique or something. Like, do what we say, or you can't be one of the popular kids. My family used to move around a lot. I was always the new kid in school. I got used to being pushed around by the so-called popular kids. That's all this is. This is like you and Marco and Rachel are the cool kids, and I'm just the new kid, right? So you get to push me around? Rachel gets to call me a coward? Because I want to stay alive? I don't think so.>
<You murdered Tobias because you think this is some stupid school thing?!> I yelled.
<Murder? I don't think so, Jake,> he said with a laugh. <He's a bird. You may kill a bird, but it isn't murder. I'd never do that. I wouldn't hurt a human. But hey, an animal? That's a different story.>

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: This is a really weird David trait. He'll only kill someone if they're in morph.
Adam: This is not a series unfamilar to giving people strange justifications for immoral behavior
Ifi: He'll beat them with a baseball bat and tie them up in a closet, but he won't kill someone unless they are in morph.

But then, something flew overhead! Over the fence. Over the pool! No, it didn't fly, it soared!
Ax cleared the fence and the pool and dropped almost daintily down between me and the advancing Hork-Bajir.
<I thought you might wish some assistance, Prince Jake,> Ax said calmly.
"Andalite!" the biggest Hork-Bajir spat.
<Yes, Andalite,> Ax said with all the natural arrogance of his people. <What a pity for you, Yeerk.>
Now, one Andalite is not a match for three Hork-Bajir. But the Yeerks have a very healthy respect for Andalite tails. So the Hork-Bajir hesitated. They didn't hesitate for long, but it was long enough. Ax reached down, scooped me up in his many-fingered hands, and leaped backward over the pool.
<Whoa! I didn't know you could do that!> I said.
<I didn't, either,> Ax said.

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Adam: Ax, you are the best
Ifi: I want my own Aximili to snuggle
Adam: *patpat*
Adam: I will try and get you an Andalite plushie for your birthday or something
Ifi: Maybe with the reprint, Scholastic will release some merch!
Adam: We can only hope
Ifi: <Cease this indignity, human! Andalites do not cuddle!>
Adam: It will say that when you squeeze it
Ifi: Patent that!
Adam: I am on it

<No. We can't lose him!> I said. <Don't follow me. Get help. Get Rachel, she lives close. She can use her owl morph to find us. Maybe.>
<Good hunting, Prince Jake.>
Normally I would have said "Don't call me prince." It's a running joke between me and Ax. But this wasn't a night for jokes.
<Ax? I think Tobias is dead,> I said. <I think David killed him.>
<That would be a most terrible thing,> Ax said.
<Yeah. Get Rachel. If David's killed Tobias, we may have to do a terrible thing, too. Get Rachel.>

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Ifi: "We need to commit murder. Get Rachel."
Adam: "What? I was just saying what we were all thinking!"
Ifi: 'She lives close' psssh yeah sure I think everyone saw right through that one.
Ifi: The thing is, David deserves a horrible death and Rachel would certainly give it to him.
Adam: You scare me a little sometimes.
Ifi: Look, the 'Tobias is dead' thing was handled very very convincingly! I mean not even a kid would believe that the author really killed off Tobias for good, but Applegate does an excellent job of leaving that niggling doubt

Adam: So, we get the obligatory end-of-book boss fight.
Ifi: They somehow wind up on the roof of the mall and go into their respective battle morphs, the lion and the tiger

I felt the tiger's instincts welling up beneath my own. I had done this morph many times. I had long since learned to control the tiger's bloodthirsty instincts.
But I didn't want to control them. Not this time. Not with Tobias lying dead.
I sniffed the breeze and smelled him. I listened and heard the stealthy pad of feet on the gravel and tar paper.
I looked, with eyes that were indifferent to darkness. He was fifty feet away. His mane ruffled in the breeze. His tail swooshed restlessly back and forth.
<You never answered me, Jake,> he said. <Lion versus tiger. Who do you think will win?>
<Let's find out,> I said.

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Adam: I can't help but think of this:

Ifi: Realistically, with a normal lion and a normal tiger, I do believe a lion would win, and not just because he has six girlfriends backing him up
Adam: Tigers are bigger
Adam: And usually it is the female lions that do the hunting
Adam: Whereas tigers are equal opportunity predators
Ifi: As pointed out in this fight, the mane makes it really tough to get to any real vulnerable spots.
Adam: That is why it is there!
Ifi: Oh hey check this out
Ifi: It's long but seems like it's worth watching
Adam: LaTah LaTa! LaTora~Tah!
Ifi: First: KITTY!
Ifi: Second: I guess the tiger does seem to have an advantage
Adam: See!
Ifi: Third: What the heck is that thing?
Adam: Kamen Rider OOO
Adam: Let me have my obscure references!
Ifi: Fourth: KITTIES! Hi kitties! Hi!
Adam: Anyway, ligers are best
Ifi: But they are psychologically screwed up because they don't know whether they are social animals or not
Ifi: and
Ifi: HOW
Adam: Hybrid vigor
Adam: It is a neat thing
Ifi: That is insane.
Ifi: I want a liger to cuddle with
Adam: It would eat you
Ifi: I would raise it from birth so it thinks I'm mommy and even when it gets hungry or moody and kills me in five years, it'll be worth it.
Adam: You frighten me sometimes
Ifi: I mean it will interfere with my plan to launch myself down the Hudson in a boat crafted from assorted fireworks, but I feel like it is an almost even trade
Adam: What
Adam: I
Adam: I don't even
Adam: *goes gentle*
Adam: Eh, we're expected to live past the singularity.
Adam: I'm going to upload my brain into a shiny robot body
Ifi: Mine will be pink.
Adam: I am not surprised
Adam: We have gotten dramatically off topic
Ifi: Seriously, how the hell did we get all the way over here?
Adam: Don't ask legitimate questions.
Ifi: Anyway, there is only like a page left in the book anyway

Down we fell, slashing and biting and trying to kill, even as the floor rushed up to slam us.
And then, in midair, twisting to get my feet beneath me, I felt the teeth.
I felt them sink into my neck.
I felt the blood gushing.
The tiger's blood.
My blood.
Falling…and already the darkness…the darkness…

----Book Twenty-One, The Threat

Adam: Any closing thoughts?
Ifi: Holy crap she left Tobias' status ambiguous!
Ifi: This was a hell of a cliffhanger for me.
Ifi: Far moreso than the last one.
Adam: They were even clever enough to mention Tobias being dead in the next book preview.
Ifi: Yeah. I mean, I knew that Tobias was in the rest of the series, but I still had legitimate moments of 'huh...'
Ifi: And if you were reading the books as they were being released? Forget it.
Ifi: Even as a kid, you realized that?
Adam: *nod*
Ifi: Actually, when you think about it, it makes sense. She can't kill him yet because he hasn't found out that Elfangor was his father and obviously that needs to happen for reasons of drama and angst.
Ifi: I'm just glad she didn't do some lame cop-out thing and have the Ellimist bring him back to life with magic or whatever
Adam: Oh gods
Adam: That would have just been painful
Ifi: Dumber things have happened.
Adam: It's true
Adam: But that doesn't mean that more dumb things have to occur

Ifi: Well I think I don't have too much left to say
Adam: We are done!
Ifi: This book really leads right into the next one, so there is no true conclusion
Adam: mhm
Adam: it is that odd sort of in-between period, where it has some of the lightheartedness from the first part, and some of the darkier and edger from the third part.
Ifi: Third part is nothing but dark and edge and a sixteen year old boy's body being dumped in an elevator shaft.
Adam: *sob*


  1. So...
    this book.
    I guess It's not as bad as the last part of the trilogy, but still, that's like, pretty creepy. I didn't read the books until they had all come out, so I knew Tobias didn't die because book 23 was the first one I ever read. (yes, i spent the enitre series knowing Elfangor was tobias's father)
    The thing that freaked me out more than anything int he third book though? Sandler. I think he gave me more nightmares than anything else in this entire sires combined.

    1. Don't want to get too into this, because I don't want to run out of stuff to talk about next week, but I think the reason the Sandler thing was so bad was because it had nothing to do with the Yeerks trying to get the upper hand (even when they do bad things, we understand why). David gave the impression that he wanted to do evil for the sake of evil.

      Plus, there's the part where his family is overjoyed that he miraculously recovers...only to have him disappear and find his body again in a few weeks and never understand WTF just happened.

      Nobody should have to go through that.

  2. Hi Adam and Ifi. I found your website a few weeks ago and I like it! #21 was the first Animorphs book I read and it's one of my favorites. Looking forward to the rest of the project! :) -Tripp from Florida

  3. Boy am I glad I clicked on the link to this blog :)

    I read all your posts in like, a day. These were my favorite books way back when, and your blog really do them justice. I mean, I haven't seen another blog that criticizes, laughs at, and enjoys these books as well as your blog does. Simply said, you guys are awesome.

    That being said, this book was probably the book that scared me the most, b/w the flea thing, Visser Three actually getting the upper hand, and David going Ax Crazy. I really thought Tobias and Jake died by the end (Gimme a break- I was ten and didn't know how many books there were.) Still gives me shivers today.

  4. Hi there Tripp and Emmy! We love new readers to reminisce with us and/or point out all of our mistakes! We are both totally nuts about the Animorphs series, so don't take our crits too seriously. Most of it is for comedy purposes.

    However, the flea thing was incredibly messed up and completely unnecessary. It had nothing to do with the plot. It was like the editor went, "This book is five pages too short, throw in some filler." And KA Applegate said, "Here's a scene of them getting lost in the air conditioning vents" and the editor said "Make it longer" and KA Applegate said "Ok now there is also a spider" and the editor said "MOAR" and KA Applegate said "Now Marco is trapped in flea morph but he is normal-sized" and the editor said "Perfect!"

    And this book is nothing compared to the horror of the next one, in my opinion.

  5. "'Tobias is like really into the whole bird thing, isn't he?' David commented."

    I don't know how you are supposed to react when someone notes that a BIRD is into "the whole bird thing".

    I agree: Swans would be the best battle morph because look at those people in the videos! They're each so shocked when the swan goes ballistic on them just for looking at him wrong. And in hindsight, why didn't they all acquire the Golden Eagle, the dragonfly, and the deer that's just lying there? Or a freakin' LIGER!?! They're in California, they could find one! *sigh...*

    "A golden eagle stood on the upright bedpost, watching the TV screen."

    There's something about that image that just... brrr...

    he said with a laugh.

    Dude. Hey, dude, listen. Dude. This is important. Dude - DUDE! Right now YOU ARE NOT HUMAN EITHER YOU F***ING PSYCHOPATH!

    And I would just like to say that the lion vs tiger graphic is amazing. And I would totally upload my brain into a shiny robot liger body. With wings. And racing stripes...

    1. Swans are absolutely evil. I once worked at a place that was on a big, big piece of land with a lake and everything. The problem was, all the Canadian geese would rip up the grass and generally make a horrible mess.

      Faced with thousands of large, hissing birds, the owner of the place bought two swans.

      No more geese.

      Swans will fuck you up.

    2. As an aside, I just watched "Tucker and Dale vs. EVIL" last night (great little screamingly funny horror-comedy and if you have Netflix Instant it ought to be in your queue). There is a character who is essentially David in it. With the slight difference that (a) he is incapable of transforming into animals that can f*** people up and (b) the other characters actually call him out on the "It's not murder since I'd just be killing X!" "But you ARE an X!" thing.

  6. I'm pretty sure the Lion would win a fight against a tiger.
    A Lion is evolved with the sole purpose of fighting other predators. The females hunt, while the males fight off rival lions and scavengers trying to steal a kill.

    1. I think a lion would win too, but Adam would have argued with me until 3 AM so I let it go.

    2. Oh God, this book. Oh God.

      Ok, it's not as nearly as fucked up as the next one, but, really...

      The scene with the giant flea is clearly something taken straight from the mind of David Lynch. Like, I don't know, a scene from Eraserhead that got cut or something.

      I always thought that the motel scene was something on the line with the scenes with Faith in the central part of Buffy's third season. Like the author is saying: "Yeah, I know he's messed up, but he's alone, and scared, and he acts like a jerk just because it's a form of self defense...". But no, he's just a jerk and that's it.

      And I'll say that a tiger would win against a lion, if only because male lions are the slackers of the animal kingdom and I don't like them that much (and this is a totally valid reason, right?).

    3. And I also think a swan could win against a lion. Swans could win against ANYTHING.
      When Iwas five, a swan tried to drag me into a lake and make me drown (true story)

  7. I feel the need to giggle about the part in this book where the boys don't know how to do a tie.

  8. David sort of has a point about Tobias. I don't think he was saying that the murder doesn't count because Tobias is in a morph, I think he's saying that Tobias is not a human being who morphs (like David & the other Animorphs), rather he is a bird who morphs. Despite his intelligence, Tobias' home species, his baseline, is now red-tailed hawk. He simply is capable of taking on a human disguise. While David is wrong about the morality, I think his point is that when you take morphing out of the equation, Tobias is a bird, not a human. Despite his birth species & first dozen+ years of life.

    1. I see where you're coming from with that, but in the next book he makes a point to only attempt to kill the Animorphs while they're in morph. At one point, early on, he has Marco in a vulnerable position but doesn't kill him because he is not in morph at the time. Then he attempts to beat Jake-as-hawk to death with a baseball bat.

      Also, he tried to pass off his breaking of the Holiday Inn window as 'a bird doing it' and technically birds can't commit crime so it's all good and Jake was like 'are you serious right now'

    2. Exactly. I mean, Davide actually tries to kill Jake-in-tiger-morph at the end of this very book. And in "The Solution" [spoilers!] he hits Ax with a baseball bat when he's a harrier and then he nearly succeeds in killing Rachel when she's an eagle (and he also tries to spy on her when she's showering or something, but that's probably my mind playing tricks on me).

    3. Aaaaand as you can see I f***ed it up and wrote my own name instead of David's. I need some ice-cream and a hug now.ç__ç

    4. you have to admit that is very funny.

    5. So, would he try to kill Aximili in Andalite form? I mean, assuming he's that stupid.

  9. Man, I do NOT remember the Animorphs being that stupidly preachy. I guess it's more obvious when you don't watch dumbed-down, moral-teaching cartoons every day and know how the series ends.

    Also did not know there are spray painting fire alarms.

    I kind of want to buy the old books for my cousin's kid just so I can confuse her with wired internet and not being able to use the phone at the same time.

    1. They always told us in school that if we pulled the fire alarms to get out of class or something, we'd get sprayed with paint and then expelled. It happens sometimes on TV, too. Though who knows, maybe it's all an elaborate ruse, like the permanent record thing.

    2. I always got told it was permanent ink that would stain your hand for weeks, but I never tested it to see. Though I will admit I have been curious and kinda wanted to do it from that day on.

  10. Wikipedia actually has a "tiger vs. lion" article. Huh. (

    1. Why is this a thing? o_o

      I am just baffled.

    2. This is a strange universe that we live in.

  11. I'm like a month or two late on all my comments so far, but oh well. I'm leaving them as I complete the books. The first thing I do as I complete each book is come to this blog and read the review. It's been making my Animorphs reread so much more enjoyable. It's kind of like having friends to talk about the series with. I try to explain the magic of these books to my fiance, but it's kind of difficult to really understand it from the outside, as I'm sure you know if you've ever tried to explain them to someone who hasn't read them.

    Anyways, holy shit this book is so awesome. Jake as a narrator is always great, this conflict with David is so fresh, the stakes of the Yeerk conflict are so high and the tension throughout is just ridiculous. I know you guys thought the spider thing was gratuitous, but I thought it was great. It really amplified the tension for them getting trapped in morph. If they were ever going to get trapped, it would have to be an accident, something they couldn't plan for, and since they were pushing the morphs to the last few minutes, KA needed something to prevent them from morphing unexpectedly.

    Then Marco and the flea thing? Forget about it. Such a horrifying and grotesque concept, easily beating the formerly grotesque "almost trapped as half-wolf monsters" thing that happened in number three. My heart was racing. And so cool how they showed Marco break down crying on Cassie, since he's been feeling a little tense towards her since she defected in 19.

    And this ending was so goddamn good. From David's creepy, official turn to the darkside, to the fear that Tobias is dead to full-on battle morph showdown. In a series I love that unfortunately contains a lot of filler, this book didn't really seem to have any, and I really liked that. I guess I need to appreciate it while I can, because the ghost written books are coming up...

    1. Everything you just said I completely agree with!

  12. I really love every time Marco and Cassie get their own interactions apart from the others. It doesn't happen often, but things like here and Megamorphs 3 show that they can really click if the situation is right.

  13. I wish Utahraptors had everything to do with Mormons. It would be amazing. A lot less people would slam a door in your face if you offered them a free ride on your Utahraptor. It would be like, "Hello. We're from the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints. Like my Utahraptor? Let's go get milkshakes!" There'd be something like a bajillion new members basically overnight. Because eternal religious alliance is definitely worth a free Utahraptor. I'm not even being sarcastic right now. Just Utahraptors.

  14. Now I want to know if Ifi has a PO box we can send stuff to, cuz my sister wants to make her an Andalite plushie. And a Rachel one with a collectible fork for shoving in the David plushie's ear.

  15. Two dumb things
    - How did Jake mail the money to the store without breaking cover? Did he mail cash? Because that's a good way to lose money.

    - Why were they talking so David could hear their thought-speak after he betrayed them? If he hadn't decided to switch back, he would have alerted Visser Three to their awareness and blown the surprise.

  16. Well. I see I'm late to this party, but I want to post anyway.
    Oh, David... the blood-chillingly evil David...
    David scared me. More than any other fictional character in my childhood.
    The Sadler incident never really phased me, honestly. Some kid we've never seen, and who would have died within the hour anyway (according to his doctor) dying "offscreen" really made no impression on me.
    The end of 21. And the little excerpt from 22...
    Oh, God...
    When I read in that excerpt that David/Marco smashed Ax's face in with a baseball bat, sending pieces of face shrapnel flying across the front yard... David holding up his fingers in an Animorph kill-count... Tobias... Jake... Ax... his sides shaking as he LAUGHED.
    I shut the book right there, horrified. And I stared over at #22 like it was a beloved family pet that had just bitten me, and I tried to understand how this thing that I loved could have just screwed with my mind so badly.


  17. What makes fireworks explode. Click for more information.


    1. What does this have to do with the review?