Saturday, March 24, 2012

Book 27: The Exposed

The Summary
Someone has turned off the Chee, so it is up to the Animorphs to find the Pemalite ship that they hid at the bottom of the ocean when they first came to earth so they can fix the problem. But first, they have to rescue a Chee named Lourdes from a bunch of crackheads and find an animal that can survive that deep down in the ocean.

A sperm whale beaches itself not far from their home. The Animorphs realize that someone (probably not the Ellimist, but someone similar) is messing with them. But it's all they've got, so Rachel and Tobias acquire the whale and then use it to beat the hell out of a giant squid, which can survive even deeper. Everyone acquires the squid, and they find the ship.

But Visser Three has found the ship too, and he's arrived at the same time to check it out. The Animorphs manage to turn the Chee back on, and then time stops. A new character, the Drode, comes out to mock them. The Drode is a disciple of Crayak, and lured the Animorphs out here so that Visser Three could kill them. Luckily, Erek shows up (somehow) and saves them all from the army of Hork-Bajir. The Drode sulks off and everyone goes home.

The Review
Adam: Cephalopods!
Adam: <3
Adam: Ah, I love cephalopds.
Adam: Just so darn cute.

Ifi: This is a super cool morph for a super trippy book
Adam: Indeed
Adam: Bits of this book seem right out of something you wrote.
Ifi: :D
Adam: I'm not sure if I meant that as a complement or not.

Ifi: It's official. Underwater covers are the best covers.
Adam: And unlike some of the other underwater covers, the inside cover is also completely ridiculous/awesome.

Ifi: There is context. But. Yeah. Snoopy ship.

Adam: So from this point on, pretty much all the books are now ghostwritten.
Ifi: Sadface!
Adam: This book was also ghostwritten, but for some reason the ghostwriter wasn't credited
Ifi: Applegate really really wanted the credit for this lunacy.
Adam: Your guess why is as good as mine
Ifi: I would LOVE to have this book on my resume.
Ifi: But that's just me.
Adam: Now you have something specific to aspire to.

Adam: So our story starts with Rachel doing some gymnastics, when some douchey guy comes over to ask her out.
Ifi: Rachel's solution is to be a douche right back.
Adam: Well, he knocked her off a balance beam. I think she is justified in being a bit upset.
Ifi: She does some angsting, because if she dated this guy, he would not be a bird.

See, if T. T. and I went to a ninety-minute movie, we could go for pizza afterward. Or to McDonald's. Or whatever.
He wouldn't have to demorph back into a red-tailed hawk before the two-hour deadline.
Going out with T. T. would be normal. Maybe even fun. No tension. No fear.
"Well?" he said.
"In your dreams," I said abruptly, wheeling and heading across the mats to the locker room. He didn't try to stop me.

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Adam: When you date a bird, you don't have to constantly worry about him trying to get into your pants.

Adam: She paces around the mall for a bit before her and Cassie stumble upon an old friend who seems to be in a bit of a dilemma.

Erek flickered. His human-hologram blurred. Faded.
Revealing, for an instant, the real Erek the Chee.
The android.
"Whoa! That can't be good," I said.
"What're we gonna do?" Cassie said, as Erek's hologram shimmered again. "We can't let—"

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: Erek is broked
Adam: Poor guy. He shouldn't have stayed up all night downloading anime.
Adam: So not only is his hologram screwing up, but he is also slowly losing the ability to move.
Ifi: They stick him in a Spencers, where he won't stand out so much.
Adam: Rachel runs off to find him a disguise, while Cassie makes a very sad attempt to keep people from coming too close.

"Shopping," I said. And before Cassie could strangle me, I added, "For Erek. He needs clothes and a disguise."
I started yanking a shirt and pants and underwear from the bags.
"Underwear?" Cassie shrilled. She held up a pair. "Tommy Hilfiger underwear? He's an—" She looked around to make sure no one could hear. "He's an android. He doesn't need designer underwear."
"Sorry. They don't have a Wal-Mart at the mall," I hissed.
"Uh, Rachel? He's an android? Excuse me? He doesn't even need pants, except as a disguise."
"Oh. Point taken." I looked at the briefs. "Maybe I'll give them to Jake."

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: WTF Rachel
Ifi: Just WTF
Adam: She was in a rush and wasn't thinking straight?
Adam: That's the best excuse I can come up with.
Adam: Some people also seem to be interested in buying Erek.

I'd been gone for twenty minutes. I got back to find Cassie standing before a small group of kids and adults, including the Spencer's clerk.
Cassie was lecturing them. She was also sweating and breathing hard. Cassie is not a "look-at-me" kind of person.
"Yes, it's the latest thing from K-Tel. It's the all-new Kitchen Droid. It slices. It dices. It can make Julie Ann's fries."
"You mean julienne fries?" a woman asked skeptically.
"Anyone's fries," Cassie said, her voice tinged with desperation. "This Kitchen Droid will even ask, 'Do you want fries with that?'"

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Adam: Mmm, I could really go for some Julia Ann fries right now.
Ifi: Why would a fourteen year old girl be selling a robot?
Adam: You've got to work your way up the corporate ladder somehow.
Ifi: That makes no sense
Adam: Look at the book that you're reading.

"Oh, look! It's a guy in a gorilla suit," I said, almost laughing as I spotted Jake and a huge, hairy gorilla—an actual gorilla, of course—swaggering into the store.
The gorilla—Marco in morph—was wearing a sandwich board sign. It was crudely done in Magic Marker. It was an advertisement for a movie: King Kong vs. Gudzilla.
Yes, Gudzilla.
"That's a really realistic gorilla suit," the clerk said suspiciously.
"Look out!" I yelled at the clerk. "That Lava lamp is about to fall on your head and knock you out!"
"Huh?" He looked up and Marco totally missed his cue.
"I said, it's about to knock you out!" I repeated, glaring pointedly at Marco.

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: What is HAPPENING in this book.
Ifi: I just
Ifi: I got nothing.
Adam: I would like to point out.
Adam: That a gorilla and a guy in a gorilla suit are really easy to distinguish.
Adam: The proportions are all different.
Ifi: Well there cannot possibly be a live gorilla in the shopping mall, and therefore nobody has noticed him.
Adam: I see no possible argument against your impeccable logic.

<Underwear?> Marco said. <You bought him designer underwear? Excuse me, he's an android!>
"We've gone through that, okay?" Erek said.
"How about his face? A mask?"
Jake ran to snatch up some full-head masks. "I have Clinton, Gingrich, and a Teletubby. Dipsy, I think."
"That's not Dipsy," Cassie corrected. "That's Tinky Winky. Dipsy's green and has the straight up thing. Tinky Winky's the one with the triangle."
<Who's the little red one?> Marco wondered.
"Po," Cassie said.
<Oh, yeah.>
"No offense," Erek said, "but how on Earth have you people managed to avoid getting caught for this long?"

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Adam: It is a very good question.
Adam: Also, I thought I was the only one who regularly watched Teletubbies in middle school.
Ifi: And Rachel is the only one with a sibling the right age to watch that show. So o_o
Adam: If you don't have cable, there really isn't anything interesting on at that time of day.
Ifi: I actually have three little sisters, and two of them were young enough to watch that when it was on. That show was like being on drugs.
Ifi: Little kids love it, no idea why. There's no plot or conflict. Just aliens derping around making baby noises.
Ifi: Jim Henson is spinning in his grave.
Adam: Hey, just because the sun is an infant and the vacuum cleaner is also their baby sitter and they can commune with children via their stomachs, does not mean there were drugs involved.
Adam: Also, Henson has made some pretty damn weird stuff too.
Ifi: Yeah but at least they had a plot and epic musical numbers
Adam: Well, it is hip to be a square.

Adam: So…somehow, they manage to get Erek on the bus without arousing suspicion, and take him home.
Adam: So they get back to the King's, only to find Erek's dad frozen as well.
Ifi: Someone has turned off the Chee!

"The Pemalite ship?" Marco echoed. "What Pemalite ship?"
"The one we hid in a deep, ocean canyon thousands of years ago when we arrived on Earth," Erek explained. "It should have been safe from intruders. The atmospheric pressure down there will crush a human to the size of a guinea pig."
"Uh, how deep is that?" I said.
"Fifteen thousand feet," Mr. King said.
Marco whistled. "Almost three miles down."
We all looked at him, surprised.
"Hey," he said, "I told you before, I don't sleep through all my classes."
"Our Chee-net connects through the ship's onboard computer," Mr. King said. "That would be the only way to disable our systems."

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: So I guess we're going swimming
Adam: Except that nobody has any deep sea morphs.
Adam: This is a bit of a problem
Ifi: And before we do that, we have a bit of a sidequest.
Adam: The book suddenly turns into a blacksploitation movie

Ifi: Two Chee are in immediate danger due to being immobilized. One guy is safe for now, but there is a Chee disguised as a homeless woman named Lourdes living in an abandoned building filled with drug addicts.
Ifi: Yes, drug addicts.
Ifi: And also a fence who is a Controller.
Adam: You know, for kids!

"Point taken. Where is this Lourdes person now?" I asked.
"She made it to a closet under the front stairs," Mr. King said. "There's a complication: We have information that the police are going to raid the place. The raid will occur in about twenty minutes and we're certain there's at least one human-Controller assigned to the SWAT team."

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: This book.
Adam: So, we are now raiding a flophouse.
Adam: I didn't even know the term "flophouse" when I was first reading this book.
Ifi: Me neither.
Ifi: This book taught me a new word.
Adam: Now, isn't that the sign of good literature?
Adam: Teaching vocabulary to all the kids.

This battlefield had already been claimed by the enemy. And suddenly, I wasn't so sure we could take it back.
I was glad Ax wasn't there. I didn't want to have to explain this to him. And I doubted Tobias would find him in time to get involved.
Besides, who needed the extra firepower? Crooks might scare ordinary people, but not us. This was a quick, easy in and out. No biggie.

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: It’s easy. The same way stealing a morphing cube back from a human boy was easy.
Adam: Nothing is ever easy.
Adam: So, this being the book that it is, the police arrive and everyone starts shooting at everyone else.
Ifi: There are cops. There are homeless people. There are crackheads. It's a mess.

<Cassie? Where are you?> I called desperately, bashing through a wall and searching the next room. The floor was lined with stained mattresses and reeked of stale pee and barf.
A chalk-skinned, blank-eyed guy, too stoned to even move, just lay there, staring up at me.
I picked him up by the ankle and tossed him out the hole in the wall. I didn't want to accidentally step on the guy. Let the cops deal with him later.

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: Are they allowed to use the phrase "too stoned to move" in a children's book?
Adam: I had to check that line twice, because I would have sworn that it wasn't in my edition.
Adam: But yep, it is right there.
Adam: So Cassie is paralyzed, there are bullets flying everywhere, and one of the cops is a controller.
Adam: This subplot could have taken up a book in itself.
Ifi: It really could have.

"Give it to me and perhaps Visser Three will show you mercy!" he snapped. "You have no hope of escape," the cop continued, inching closer. "Your friends are dead and you're next."
I didn't want to die.
But better to die like a warrior.
A stark black-and-white blur caught the corner of my eye.
Suddenly, a tiny, furry, helpless-looking creature about the size of a house cat came waddling in.
Harmless-looking, unless you knew what you were looking at. Unless you knew what that black-and-white striped tail meant.

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: Jesus Christ.
Ifi: Why.
Ifi: Why is this series fixated on skunks?
Adam: Applegate had a bad experience with one as a child.
Adam: I am making that up. I honestly have no clue.
Adam: So we are at a shootout at a drug house, with a skunk being used as a cannon.

Ifi: They barely escape. They're all riddled with bullets by the time they finally manage to stash Lourdes somewhere safe.
Adam: I am still really wondering how they manage to get away without anyone questioning them on the bus or such.
Ifi: Drode did it.
Adam: We're not up to him yet.
Ifi: But he did it.
Adam: I am still not completely comprehending his motivation for everything here, but we will get to that a little bit later.

<Tobias has informed me of the situation,> Ax said. <And he says the atmospheric pressure is deadly at the depth we must travel.>
"It is for us, Ax-man," Marco said. "We'll be crushed like a beer can on a frat boy's forehead."
<Frat boy? What is a frat boy?> Ax wondered.

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: What is with the drug references in this book?
Adam: Your guess is as good as mine.
Adam: Remember kids, don't do drugs.

<Is there no Earth being that can dive down fifteen thousand feet?> Ax asked.
"I don't think so," Cassie said, frowning. "I mean, the only deep-sea creature that even comes close is a sperm whale, and their record is like ten or twelve thousand feet, I think."
<We could hijack a diving bell,> Tobias offered lamely. <You know, one of those little sub-marines?>

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: Then they spend the next ten pages trying to remember the title of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

Adam: As it turns out, there are creatures that live that deep, though they wouldn't really be the best sort of form to take in order to find something

Ifi: Anyway, they decide that they need giant squid morphs because giant squid, duh.
Adam: Because it is on the book cover.
Adam: Of course, they have no method of finding giant squids.

Adam: These guys don't exactly handle captivity all that well.
Ifi: It's ok. Omnicient space joker has you covered.

"The entire town is trying to save a fifty-nine foot whale that beached itself on the coastline less than fifteen minutes ago," the anchorwoman chirped. "This is the first marine mammal stranding in the town's history. Let's go live to the scene."
The burrito lodged in my throat. I swallowed hard.
The reporter was standing on the beach.
And behind him was a massive, wrinkled wall of whale.
I didn't hear much of what the reporter was saying. Something about volunteers and the whale surviving.
"What kind of whale is that?" I croaked.
My mother glanced up from her paperwork. "Hmmm? Oh, they just said it was a sperm whale."

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: The Animorphs realize that this is too convenient, even for this series.
Ifi: However, they can't turn down the chance to acquire the DNA.
Adam: Cetacea ex machina
Adam: It is completely and obviously a trap, but they have no better option, so they go to see Jesus Whale
Adam: Who is currently dying for their sins.

<I'll get Ax,> he said. <You know, this is bull, Rachel. We need a sperm whale and all of a sudden we have one? I don't think so.>
I veered off and headed back toward the barn. Cassie was perched in a wild cherry tree waiting for me, already morphed to osprey.
Marco, in osprey morph, landed nearby. <Gee, can we all spell "coincidence"?>
<Somebody wants us to get to that Pemalite ship,> I said.
<Or die trying,> Marco added grimly.

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Adam: Dun dun duuuun
Adam: So they draw straws to see who will acquire the whale, and Tobias cheats his way in so that he can do this with Rachel.
Adam: This is in spite of his sever hydrophobia.
Ifi: They want some alone time
Adam: And what better place for a date then surrounded by tentacled horrors that want to eat you.

<How do we get in and shut off the signal?> I said, heading for a deserted dune far away from the crowd around the whale.
<Mr. King gave us an access code that'll get us into the main computer,> Jake said, his tone sardonic. <Everybody memorize it: Six.>
<Six?> I said.

<Six,> he confirmed.
I sighed. <You know, I'm sure the Pemalites were wonderful people and all, but using a single-digit security code? I mean, good grief. What a bunch of idiots.>
<They trusted,> Cassie said simply.
<They're dead,> I said, just as simply.

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: I want to be the Pemalites friend!
Adam: After seeing what their ships are like later, so do I.
Adam: Although I am wondering why they even have access codes at all if they are so trusting about it.
Ifi: A mystery.
Ifi: So anyway
Ifi: Whales for Rachel and Tobias.

I felt the water ripple as the dolphins surged and danced. I sensed their joy and felt a deep, thousand-generation-old kinship with my lithe, sleek brethren.
My instincts were sure. Calm. Confident.
I had no fear. No questions.
I asked for nothing. I explained nothing.

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: She is basically Jesus.
Adam: So it is not just that specific whale that is Jesus Whale
Adam: They all are.
Ifi: A whole race of Jesuses
Adam: I am sure that this was already a plot of some scifi novel
Adam: So, Tobias manages to locate the Pemalite ship, while Rachel runs headfirst into a big ol' face full of tentacles.

<So, Rachel, what's new?> Tobias called, sounding, if possible, even jumpier than I felt.
I blurted out the only new thing I could think of. <Well, a guy named T.T. asked me to go to the movies with him,>
WHAT? What made me say that? If I could've kicked myself, I would have.
<T. T., huh? What does that stand for? Troubled Teen? Total Turmoil? Terrible Trauma?> Tobias said sarcastically.
<I don't know and I don't particularly care,> I shot back, irked by his attitude.
<Well, you should care if you're going out with him,> Tobias said.
<Well, if I was, then I would,> I snapped.
<Oh.> Silence. <Why aren't you going out with him?>
<Why do you want to know?> I countered. I could play that game, too.

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: Pass the awkwardsauce
Adam: Rachel should write a book on relationship advice.
Ifi: They actually had it more together than Jake and Cassie prior to this, so I don't know what happened in this book
Ifi: Oh, and it turns out the whales can use echolocation as a sonic weapon. Which is super cool. Even though I am not sure if that is actually true.
Adam: No, that is actually a thing.
Adam: But I guess after the whole thing on the Iskoort homeworld, Jake and Cassie have things a bit more figured out between the two of them
Ifi: Then there is epic squidbattle!

Now, by the light of the stars and moon, I could see the squid's huge, black eyes the size of hubcaps, the largest eyes on Earth, looking straight into mine.
It slapped me with a grasping whip tentacle. I bit it off. Thick, green blood gushed from the stump.
I clamped my powerful mouth down on several squid arms and held on. Tobias did the same.
Two against one. We had the squid outnumbered.
I kept the now-helpless squid on the surface as Jake, Cassie, Marco, Ax, and finally Tobias acquired it. It wasn't easy. It wasn't exactly a party, as human and Andalite and hawk wallowed in the waves, pressing hands and talons against the rubbery creature.

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: It is beautiful.

Adam: I feel conflicted right now.
Adam: I could really go for some calamari
Adam: But giant squid is really rich in ammonia, and isn't good to eat.
Ifi: Chug bleach instead. No ammonia in that.
Adam: That's your solution to everything.

Someone was turned away from me. Another giant squid, floating, arms extended like some vile flower. I saw the mantle.
My meat.
I drew in water and expelled it like a jet blowing exhaust.
I jetted forward! I drew my long arms up from the depths, coiling them and extending them toward my prey, moving them in what felt to the human part of me like slow motion. The other squid was unaware!
Cassie? Was it Cassie?
Who cared? Cassie would feed my hunger just as well as—
She jerked at my touch. Her own arms whipped back toward me.
<Hey!> she protested.
<Oh…oh, sorry,> I said. The human me had regained the upper hand. <I was just…>
<I know what you "were just,"> Cassie sniffed. <l had the same problem. But I didn't start to eat you.>
<I said I'm sorry.>

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: Cassie. Stop being a bitch. Remember the T-Rex?
Adam: Wait, you're right. Cassie gets lost in the morph and tries to eat people more then any of the others.
Ifi: Hypocrite.

Adam: So, they dive down again to track down the ship, and…proceed to get horribly lost.
Ifi: Well, it's the ocean.
Ifi: It's sort of like outer space.
Ifi: But turned inside-out.
Adam: I am trying comprehend that metaphor
Adam: I think you just broke my brain a little.

Ifi: Ok the book is practically over and we just now found the ship.
Adam: We are introduced to the SS Peanuts.

It was, as the Chee had said, about three hundred feet long. They had not told us what it looked like. But the faint green outline was strikingly clear: The Pemalite ship was shaped like a sort of clownish version of one of them. Like someone had done a cartoon of a Pemalite, exaggerating the vaguely canine head, making the slender hind legs stubby, the belly chubby.
<It looks like Snoopy!> Cassie said.
It did. Kind of. Like a huge, prone, faint green Snoopy.
<Not exactly the Blade ship, is it?> Jake said.
<The Pemalites didn't build it to be a weapon,> Cassie said. <It's a toy. They built it for fun.>
I looked up. The line of Yeerk ships was still above us. Maybe a mile. Maybe a hundred feet. <Let's get inside.>

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: Author.
Ifi: Why.
Adam: So it seems that Charles Schulz was a Chee.
Adam: This does make a degree of sense.

Ifi: They get inside easily
Ifi: And they don't even have to demorph
Adam: Pemalite interior design is completely awesome.

We were each suspended above the floor in a personal, floating bubble of water. Like a water blimp.
I jetted. The bubble moved. I reached a hand through the water bubble into the air beyond. I felt dryness. The bubble did not collapse.
<Oh, man, if we could take this technology, we could open a water park that would totally rule the world of water parks,> Marco said.
<Yeah, that was my first thought, too,> I said. <Water park dominance.>
Beyond the bubble was a world of magic.
Lush green-and-purple grass carpeted the floor, forming patterns: swirls, checkerboards, Picasso-like abstracts and Van Gogh flowers. Trees and bushes in Crayola colors grew in thickets and hushed groves. A sparkling river meandered through the center of the ship, cascading down into a gentle waterfall and a rippling lake below.
Everywhere there were inexplicable, brightly colored, gaily lit machines that could only be toys of some sort. Beside us, wafting through the air, were things like long, feathered snakes. Projected on the arched ceiling, far overhead, were patterns of clouds and skies like nothing on Earth.
After all the thousands of years, it was all still working. Only the dead silence lay as a grim reminder of a species lost.
<Where is the bridge?> Ax demanded.
<Kind of like your Dome ship, Ax-man, only much cooler,> Tobias said.
<Yes, well, we had to make room for weapons,> Ax said disparagingly. <Which is why Andalites still exist and Pemalites do not.>

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: Why is everyone always giving the Pemalites a hard time?
Adam: Can I move here?

A cheerful thought-speak voice sang out in our heads. <Greetings, friends. We are happy to have you aboard. However, we would not want you to access this panel. It is possible that you might accidentally do yourself harm. And that would be so sad.>
Ax punched in the number six.
<That is the correct code! Our concerns were misplaced.>
<Now that we've penetrated their crack security…> Marco said with a laugh.
<Many thanks, friend. You now have access to the control panel. Make your selection at your convenience. When you are finished, we hope you will join us in a game, a delightful meal, or simply relax and enjoy yourself .>

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: I want a Pemalite Chronicles. Even though it might just consist of Pemalites partying for hundreds of years until the Howlers show up.
Adam: That doesn't seem too dissimilar to how the Ellimist Chronicles starts.
Ifi: Then the self-destruct sequence starts for no reason whatsoever and also Visser Three turns up.
Adam: They are now stuck as floating squids, as Visser Three would be able to see them morphing.

"Oh, dilemma! Oh, drama! Oh, the tension and excitement of it all!"
The voice was new. Not thought-speak. High, shrill, grating.
<Who the…what?> Jake said. <Where did that voice come from?>
"Right here, Jake. From me, Big Jake. Jake, the reluctant leader. Jake, the oh-so-tiresomely decent one. A sanctimonious killer: my least favorite kind."
<The puppetmaster,> I said. <The guy behind all this.>
<Where are you?> Jake demanded. <Come out and show yourself.>
"Come out, come out wherever you are," the voice sang mockingly. "Of course. I'll even come out with my hands up."
It appeared from behind a tree. It moved on two legs, body held forward and balanced by a stubby tail. It walked like a bird or a small dinosaur. It did hold its hands up. But they were weak, flimsy things, multiply jointed but obviously designed for very light work or very low gravity.
The head was surprising for that almost reptilian body: vaguely human in shape, with a narrow lower jaw and wide-set, intelligent, laughing eyes. It was wrinkled, like your thumb after a long bath. Its flesh was dark, almost black. The eyes and mouth were rimmed in green.
<All right. What is that?> Tobias asked Ax.
<That is not a species I recognize.>
<I don't know what species it is, but I think we'd better report it to the Prune Growers Association,> Marco said.
"Oh, Marco the funny one!" the creature cried, slapping its limp hands together. "How's Mommy, Marco? Is she alive or is she dead? Does she scream with the Yeerk in her head?"

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: Annnnd it just got weird.
Adam: So now we have space dinosaur Joker

Ifi: You know, if he hadn't frozen time to mock them, the Drode might have won.
Adam: Well, like he said, he is obliged to give them a potential way out.
Ifi: The Drode is like Darth Vader to Crayak's Palpatine. Or something.
Adam: He's more like the Silver Surfer, really.
Adam: Had the Silver Surfer not turned good, and all.
Ifi: He proceeds to call everyone out.

"All here together?" the prune thing mocked. "Cassie, the hypocrite? 'I don't believe in violence…except when I do.' Aximili, the pitiful, pale shadow of his dead brother? If only you'd insisted on going with Elfangor, maybe he'd have lived. Too bad. And Tobias, ah, yes, Tobias. The boy not really so trapped as a bird, eh, but too gutless to resume life as a human? And Rachel. My very favorite Animorph."
The thing smiled a lipless smile. "Rachel, Rachel. Do you feel the adrenaline rush of murderous desire? Do you feel the urge to reach out and destroy me? Of course you do. You and I have that in common."

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: I can't tell if this is hilarious or sad.
Adam: Yes.
Adam: Also, apparently the Drode just spies on everyone, every waking second.
Adam: This is how he spends his free time.
Adam: Suddenly I am less inclined to become the servant to an eldritch horror.
Ifi: No way man that's like half the fun of it.
Adam: And the other half is?
Ifi: oh you know
Ifi: Feasting on souls
Ifi: Singing into the void
Ifi: Getting really drunk at two in the afternoon on a Tuesday
Ifi: etc
Adam: Isn't that all how you spend your time anyway?
Ifi: Shh

Adam: So they get the idea to spray ink into their giant water bubbles, which gives them enough cover to do their battle morphs.

We couldn't defeat all his Hork-Bajir and Taxxons. Let alone this monster.
"Ah-hah-hah! Wonderful! Lovely! Perfect!" the Drode cackled happily. "I love the smell of battle. Oh, J-a-a-ake? Are you dead yet?"
It had reappeared, stepping out from behind the same tree, seemingly oblivious to any danger.
<You. At least I'll take you down,> I said.
The Drode grinned its green-rimmed grin.
"You know, Crayak could use you, Rachel. Why stay with these weaklings? You're already more like us than like them."
<A job offer? How nice.>
"Yes, isn't it? You can survive this debacle. Just do us one small favor: Kill your tiresome cousin. Crayak would like to see that. So would I. Kill Jake."

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Ifi: The Drode conducts a job interview in the middle of a battle.
Adam: "So, do you have an prior experience in the field of planetary genocide?"
Ifi: "Well, I've watched Star Wars like twenty times."
Adam: "Welcome aboard."
Ifi: Then just as everyone is about to die, Erek shows up!
Ifi: Erek ex Machina.
Ifi: Again

Then…something new. Something steel and ivory, moving at a speed no human, no Hork-Bajir, no Andalite could match.
It raced for the tree. Visser Three slapped at it with one of his morphing claws, but the steel-and-ivory creature simply blocked the blow.
<Erek?> I blurted in disbelief, even as a Hork-Bajir leaned over to cut my throat open.
"No! Nooooo!" the Drode groaned in disbelief.
Erek reached the tree. He punched something into the control panel. The Hork-Bajir was suddenly moving very…very…slowly…
"Oh, this is not at all what I had in mind," the Drode said. I rolled aside and reached to gut it. But my paw was likewise moving very…very…slowly.
The thought-speak voice of the ship spoke. <Chee self-destruct disabled. And we are very sorry to say that the hostility containment program has been activated. What a shame to spoil our lovely time with fighting. Once repairs have been made on all injured parties, we will have to ask you to leave the ship.>

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Adam: It explicitly takes him ten minutes to get 15,000 feet under water from his house as soon as he was reactivated.
Adam: My mind, it boggles.
Ifi: Maybe the Chee have a portal gun.

The Pemalite ship carefully, politely, regretfully, packed the Yeerks, including a furiously enraged Visser Three, back into their modified Bug fighters.
<I'll kill you all! I'll take this ship apart, piece by piece! I'll be back and nothing will stop me! You'll die, all of you, Andalite and…and whoever runs this ship, I'll kill you all!> Visser Three said.
<We are so sorry you had a bad time,> the ship said. <Perhaps we can meet again someday and enjoy some pleasant activities together.>
Once the Yeerks were gone, we morphed and left the way we'd come in. The ship was polite to us, too. But it wanted us gone, just the same.

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Adam: The Pemalite ship has a feature that specifically stops acts of violence
Ifi: You'd think they could have used that to save themselves
Adam: My thoughts exactly.
Adam: The Howlers would have walked in, and would have logically been immediately kicked out unless they wanted to stay for cookies or something.
Ifi: I would stay for cookies forever

Adam: So everyone goes home.
Adam: The Drode is not terribly happy about this.
Ifi: The Drode is not a particularly intimidating foe.
Adam: He's not allowed to interfere directly and that nonsense.
Ifi: Meh

Ifi: Oh and then a few days later, the guy from the opening chapter tries to ask Rachel out again.

"Well, uh, if maybe you might want to go to the movies with me, after all," he said nervously, glancing at me.
My stomach twitched.
He really was cute. And so normal. So not Tobias.
He had almost certainly never eaten a mouse. On the other hand, he'd never morphed a sperm whale and gone to the bottom of the ocean while his brain was reeling with barely suppressed terror, just so he could look out for me.
I opened my mouth to say, "Sure." Instead I said, "Hey, do you speak English? How many ways do I have to say 'no'?"
He called me a name I've been called before. Then he took off. I was pretty sure he wouldn't ask me out again.
<Hey, he was cute,> Tobias called down from the sky.

----Book Twenty-Seven, The Exposed

Adam: My new OT3
Ifi: This book.
Adam: This book was pure crack.
Adam: The return of Jesus Whale
Adam: Raiding a crack house
Adam: Talking space dinosaurs.
Adam: Giant robot Snoopy.
Adam: Are you sure that you didn't write this book?
Ifi: Maybe I did...
Ifi: What year was it published?
Adam: 1999
Ifi: Hm. Nine years old. I mostly wrote about Pokemon back then, but it's possible.
Adam: Scholastic was harvesting your future thoughts.
Ifi: I knew it.
Adam: Any other closing thoughts?
Ifi: This book is a beautiful mess.
Adam: Such poetry.


  1. There's at least one study that tested whether sperm whale sonic booms were plausible. Not supported:

  2. Oh Ifi, *you're* a beautiful mess.

  3. This book is like, K. A Applegate found a ghostwriter who grew up in a crackhouse, and told him/her to write a book about the Chee, and to put some relationship drama in there, and, oh yeah, she wants giant squid too. And then the ghostwriter took a bunch of drugs and wrote this in a single night.
    I love it!

    1. The ghostwriter was Laura Battyanyi-Wiess. She also wrote The Conspiracy and The Hidden. And The Hidden looks just as completely insane. :D

  4. Aw man, I love this book. Like, it's in my top 20 of the series. I realize it is pure crack... but Robiiiiiiias. I am, have always been, and will always be a squealing Robias fangirl.

    1. I like both characters, being my two favorite Animorphs, but I'm not sure about their relationship. It's kind of creepily codependent. It's like they're hanging onto one another because pretty much no one else really gives a crap about him, and he's the only one who doesn't consider her a deranged psychopath, and recognizes her moral character. Also, the lowest points of Rachel's character are due to the relationship, with her propensity for trying to lure him into going nothlit again, and quit the fight.

  5. Oooh! Better place for a Rachel-rant than the fanfic!

    This continues the development of a theme of Jake being a total dick to Rachel. When the minions of eldritch horrors taunt one's friends with how close to being evil they are, a good leader should step up with some affirmation or reassurance that no, she's a good person, or something. Unless he's a total douchebag who kind of likes the idea of having his own personal Luca Brasi, in the form of his teenaged cousin. Asshole.

    Anyway....his crap about how psycho she is in the last David book dovetails into his treatment of her in this one, particularly in the scene where she and Tobias are picked to get the sperm whale. Jake dumps it all on her, when it was likely that Tobias would go anyway, and by his own choice. Bad enough that as of their last heart-to-heart she knows her cousin/boss thinks she's a dangerous psychotic, bad enough she has an aquaphobic boyfriend to worry about on top of her claustrophobia, but Jake's gotta pile some unwarranted guilt and blame her for Tobias being there at all. Rachel didn’t “ask” him to cheat until after he volunteered to pick a straw too, and given how protective she is of him, wanted to be with him if he went down, as much as any other motive. What’s more, Marco and Cassie were already eliminated, by the time she glare-asked him, so there were only three kids drawing for two spots! If Rachel didn’t go, it would have been Tobias and Jake. It was all his choice, and Rachel isn’t responsible for how he chooses to act, or his concern for her. And lo and behold, Tobias outdoes Rachel in the squid battle and actually wins, so even if she was mean to have him come it worked out for the cause. Tobias even credits his hunting instincts with giving him the edge to bring down the squid. So really, Jake is whining about Rachel causing the two best fighters of the group to be position to do the job.

    Also for someone who’s supposed to be a mindless berserker, she handled the Erek situation very well, aside from the underwear brain-fart, and was the one who noticed the tactical advantages of the ink-filled bubbles.

    Also, crack houses! Skunk guns! Deep literary discussion (by this group's intellectual standards, at any rate)! Awesome, awesome book.

    And Adam and Ifi, congrats on reaching the halfway mark. Halfway through each of the main series, the Alternamorphs, the Megamorphs, and the prequels (if we count "Visser" in with the Chronicles). Neatly done, sir & madam.

    I have to wonder why in a book with children turning into animals to survive a SWAT shootout at a crack den, as a mere prelude to a horror-movie-style undersea adventure, with beached whale trauma and a demonic alien attempting to induce the main character to commit murder, they can't actually print the word some guy calls her? I mean, if you're trying to shelter the kids, they really shouldn't be reading Animorphs! I am trying to picture the parent who would read all the way through the book and say "This was fine for my ten year old, up until the word 'bitch' appeared on the last page!"

    1. Okay, well, gonna hop in here and ???? over your interpretation of Jake a bit, because what.

      He's not really being 'a dickbag' to Rachel. The Drode showed up and proceeded to hit every trigger and button everyone had - he's got insecurities and problems too, and the Drode just waltzed in and was like "HEY JAKE HEY JAKE HAVE YOU KILLED TOM YET HEE HEE YOU'RE BASICALLY THE WORST PERSON TEE HEE WANNA KNOW HOW I GOT THESE SCARS" - I don't blame him for not stepping in on Rachel's behalf. After all, the Drode was pretty much rapid-firing at everyone, and there's a limit to how much damage control you can do ('No, Marco, I'm sure your mom doesn't scream with the yeerk in her head at all'?).

      Plus, I mean, none of them are really 'good people' by this point (they trapped a dude as a rat forever, man), so it's not like he has a leg to stand on even if he does pipe up.

      As for the Rachel-Tobias thing... well, here's the thing, I'd be really mad too? Tobias cheated to tell Rachel which straw to choose, then cheated again so he could be the other one. He did this because she wanted to go. And, yeah, it worked out okay in the end, but it absolutely was flying in the face of the purpose of drawing straws.

      'Because I want to' and 'Because I have a lot of feelings' are not legitimate reasons to go on a dangerous mission, and once people start thinking that's okay you get into some really dangerous territory. Someone that would be especially hard on is the leader.

      It's not really about the results, it's about the spirit of the thing. Is it entirely her fault Tobias is going...? Uh... pretty much...? She admits it herself. Could he have drawn a short straw on his own? Sure, but that's not what happened. And what happened, if repeated, could be really dangerous for the stability of a team that NEEDS to stay stable to function.


      ... Apparently I have a lot of feelings about Animorphs, wow

    2. Why draw straws when the two best fighters are willing to go? "We need to hunt a particular animal. If only we had someone who was an instinctive hunter, and used to dropping down on prey from above...Where can we find someone like that? I know! Let's draw straws!"

      You have a point about Jake though.

      I disagree about the "good people" notion though. They are, and remain so through the end of the books, even if someone of them can get a bit petty at times.

      "Good" doesn't have to mean "nice" and sometimes the right thing to do can seem really cruel if you put yourself too much in the mind of the guilty party. The fact that they might still be appalled at the cost of some of their morally legitimate actions only underscores their retention of decency up to the end.

    3. On the other hand, it is established that Tobias is both afraid of water, and has the least experience morphing out of the six of them. I personally wouldn't vouch for him in this situation if they were just choosing who would do it based on who they felt would be the most successful.

    4. Well, the "human scientific method" of making decisions had it down to giving Tobias a 2-in-3 chance of going, and given his chances to cheat, a dead certainty once the first person to give a damn about him drew the short straw, even without his help. As far as phobias, Rachel was claustrophobic and going, and Tobias is even more masochistic when it comes to probing his own soft spots and deliberately choosing the hard road.

      In fairness to Jake, he was probably as mad at himself for letting it come down to this situation, where there were no good choices.

    5. Jake is always mad at himself.

      And, well, IMO the issue was mostly that, after deciding to draw straws, Tobias and Rachel cheated. If they had drawn it 'fairly' he probably wouldn't have gotten snappy at Rachel.

  6. Isn't Ifi reduced to "This book." at least once in most of the reviews?

    "Jake said, his tone sardonic."

    Anyone ever notice that the kids are always sardonic and never sarcastic?

    "Although I am wondering why they even have access codes at all if they are so trusting about it."

    It's to keep Permalites and Chee from walking into the wrong ship, like key remotes for a car.

    Adam: The Pemalite ship has a feature that specifically stops acts of violence
    Ifi: You'd think they could have used that to save themselves

    Maybe it wasn't a standard feature yet?

    1. It might depend on the narrator. Ax is always identifying sarcasm. Also, sarcasm being such a common thing in our culture, only an alien like Ax really needs it pointed out. But sardonic is a slightly different thing, and not necessarily as common, and thus worth mentioning by the narrating character. Especially Rachel. She and Marco are sarcastic all the time. Jake was not actually making a sarcastic comment (generally there is irony in a sarcastic comment, or it is rhetorical or redundant), he was simply expressing through his tone, a cynical view of the security measure.

      Good explanation for the code though.

      And IIRC, the Pemalites were not destroyed aboard their ships. Why would the Howlers have left it alone? And you're right - that feature could have been added on by the refugees who came to Earth, out of consideration for their prior experiences.

    2. I may have been exaggerating "always" and "never." I've only managed to re-read like two and a half books. I just recall that I was introduced to that word very regularly with that series and haven't seen it much outside of it.

      If we want to get specific, I think the big problem here is that Erek had to go turn it on -- apparently it's not left on. (Maybe it needs help identifying violence?) And that it is ON THE SHIP. I'm going to guess that the Howlers mostly attacked them in the open on their planet.

    3. The anti-violence feature may identify aggression as opposed to potential for physical harm. The playful Howlers wouldn't be picked up. It's also unlikely that they would have such things blanketing their planet surface unless they have a lot of violent visitors; it might just be a spaceship thing (given the potential for encountering other species in space, since everything's a lot closer together in scifiland than reality). The Pemalites on the escaped ships were wiped out with bioweapons, not up-close combat.

    4. The blurb posted up there specifically says hostility, not violence. If you think about it, the Howlers would probably be the best race to take out the Pemalites, cause they weren't being hostile. They were playing!

  7. I want a Pemalite Chronicles too. It could just have descriptions of all their wonderful glorious theme park technology and I would devour it.

  8. Dude. I had forgotten that this was the book that introduced the Wildcard. Such a cracked-out character as Drode deserves a cracked-out introduction, and I love the crazy villians who just lay out all the mental trauma on the table and deal it around to everyone.

  9. Hello, AnimorphsLover here (That's what I'm gonna be called now)! I have this book, and OMGosh it rocks!!! I mean, a spaceship in the shape of Snoopy? Cool! I'm trying to get all of the Animorphs, and right now, I just need, like, 15 or something!!!

  10. I don't know what's going on with the Firefox version, but you probably want to look into it. It's barely legible and the comments box is broken.

    Anyway: Ifi, did you read Start of Darkness, and if not, what was your reaction to the recent revelations about Redcloak?

    1. LOL I didn't think anyone was gonna notice that reference.

      I haven't read Start of Darkness, but it's next on my list of THINGS I MUST READ. His plan wasn't too much of a surprise to me, it's been built up to quite nicely. He's one of my favorite characters, though right now I am more worried about V.

      Also, I am using firefox and everything looks fine to me...anyone else having an issue?

    2. Indeed, I am using firefox as well, and I even checked on multiple computers just to be sure, so I think it might be a problem on your end. Does this issue not show up if you use a different browser?

    3. I can verify that it works on my firefox too, so it isn't just mystical author voodoo that lets them see it wherever either.

    4. Yes, it's a Firefox-specific problem; I'm commenting from IE.

      Hang on - it was Google Disconnect. I'm not sure why that stuck a Blogspot page with a background I know you didn't have when you posted the Alternamorphs review, but that would explain the reply form not opening. Pie-fingered buggers.

      Also worth noting is that IE won't accept posts from Livejournal for some reason, and IE is just a default of a recent version. Once I've logged in, it keeps redirecting me to the same form in an infinite loop without going to CAPTCHA.


    5. V is awesome and man was that whole thing with the current arc and Girard's family set up well. I did not see that coming at all.

      Also my Firefox is working fine for reading the blog and for commenting.

    6. Ok me neither! I went to the forums and everyone was like "pfft called it" but I was like "WHAT? HOW?"

    7. I'm in with the forums, and I saw their train of thought between those two comics and it made perfect sense. Being cosseted with a fandom is like that: chances are, if you've read the Harry Potter books once each and never go to Mugglenet, you're not going to be able to figure out who R.A.B. is before you read the seventh book, but to a truly obsessed fan, the thing is transparent.

      That fandom does have a high arrogant-nerd demographic, though. They can have a hard time appreciating plot twists like that for themselves.

      Aaand the black galaxy background is back. I guess I'll just get rid of Google Disconnect and trust to Ghostery.


  11. Even at age nine I was like "*snort* That boy's name is tittie!!"
    It makes me feel a little immature actually.

  12. Oh, God, I didn't remember this book to be so bizarre... but again, the cover is so awesomely silly it had to be expected.

    And the Drode is epic, he's like: "Yeah, I'm just here to troll you all for the evulz". He's basically a deranged Warner Bros character.

  13. OMG! My brother reminded me of a problem I had with this book back when we first read it! The Drode can't kill sentient creatures, which is why it had to save the whale, so WHAT ABOUT THE YEERK IN EREK'S HEAD?!? If the Chee self-destruct, the ones like Erek & Jenny who are pretending to be controllers, will result in the deaths of sentient Yeerks! Why didn't someone point this out to the Drode?

    1. Probably because nobody (including the author) remembers these Yeerks exist. Which is proved by what happens in book 29.

    2. Isn't Erek their main source of intelligence throughout the series? You'd think they'd remember why Erek is able to get so much information about the Yeerks. But I really don't remember #29 at all, so...

    3. #29 was the one with the Yeerk peace movement, where Aftran was under arrest so they had to jailbreak her from the Yeerk pool with the help of another Yeerk-hippy. Cassie is the only one who doesn't get some wierd disease, so she has to go solo, and the Chee are the only ones available to assist her. I guess the reference is wondering why Erek doesn't just go in and fetch Aftran or smuggle Cassie in to get her. Instead, Cassie morphs a Yeerk and controlls a voluntary host to infiltrate past the bio-filter and into the pool to free Aftran. The Chee were actively helping her with the sick Animorphs, so why not with the pool infiltration.

      Also, in the next Tobias book, three or four books later, it's like #29 never happened. Like 29, it starts out at another school dance (how often do they have dances? My high school had like one a year, besides prom), where Tobias and Rachel are behaving completely different, and Erek makes an appearance that specifically calls attention to his being a "controller" and member of the Sharing.

      So really, it's like book 29 is complete out of canon.

    4. Re: Book 29, it's probably also the fact that they spend the last few chapters running around going OMG OMG WE HAVE NO KANDRONA WHAT CAN WE DO WITH AFTRAN WE HAVE NO KANDRONA SHOULD WE KILL HER OR WHAT I MEAN WE HAVE NO KANDRONA YOU GUYS.

      And meanwhile Erek is sitting there with the internal Kandrona generator that he uses to feed his Yeerk, going hmm hmm hmm. He plays a big part in that book, too, but, nope, nobody remembered.

  14. Also: I posted this last week, but I don't think it ever went through right, so I'll mention it again: according to the Colbert Report, a few weeks ago, a gorilla and/or a bear was/were spotted wandering around in a small town in Alabama. Nobody can figure out where they came from, or where they went, but the nearest zoo was miles and miles away, and none of its gorillas were missing. IT'S ALL REAL. ^_^

    1. My mind, it is blown.

      Also, link please?

    2. Alabama seems like the kind of place Marco would make fun of himself for being caught dead in.

    3. Here's the link - I hope it works!

    4. I love Stephen Colbert with a love that is more than love.

  15. This is seriously one of my favorite Animorphs books. Totally insane, yes, but not to the level of utter ridiculousness like the Andalite Toilet book.

    Although personally I like the Drode's later taunt at Cassie, which I think shows up in Megamorphs 3: "Cassie, the killer with a conscience. Kill 'em then cry over 'em." Because seriously, screw Cassie.

  16. I should probably save this for a later book where people are more likely to see it...but I'm not going to.

    The Drode asks Rachel to kill her cousin so that the Animorphs will be leaderless. By the end of the series Rachel has killed her cousin and because of it the Animorphs are effectively leaderless. Sure it's Tom not Jake but considering the effect Tom's death has on Jake I have to wonder whether or not Crayak would have rewarded her as promised had she survived the deed.

  17. I would like to point out that the other show the creators of Teletubbies made has even less of a plot and was even MORE like being on drugs.

  18. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)