Saturday, May 5, 2012

Book 32: The Separation

The Summary
Rachel loses her earring in a tide pool, so she morphs to sea star to get it back. But while she's a sea star, she is cut in half by a future serial killer. Both halves of the sea star demorph, creating two new Rachels. One is aggressive and violent and one is meek and has no short term memory. The other Animorphs dub them "mean Rachel" and "nice Rachel", respectively.

Mean Rachel is impossible to handle, so the others leave her behind when they go on a mission. But Jake and Nice Rachel are captured by Visser Three. Luckily, mean Rachel arrives (to kill them) and gets herself captured as well. Mean Rachel and Nice Rachel work together to escape and realize that they need each other.

Ax comes up with a way to put the two back together. It makes no sense, but it works, and everyone is happy.

The Review
Ifi: Starfish
Ifi: Sea star
Ifi: Seastarfish
Adam: Is it just me, or does Rachel look about 30 years old on this cover?
Ifi: That haircut
Ifi: She always does look older on her covers
Adam: But this one in particular.
Adam: When I first got the book, I thought it was Applegate herself on the cover.
Ifi: Wha xD
Adam: Yeah, I dunno.
Adam: Anyway, this is a rather goofy looking cover.
Ifi: Yeah
Ifi: I mean she starts out with her hands on her knees
Adam: Although I do admittedly like the inside cover.
Adam: Reminds me of something out of the Magic Schoolbus.

Adam: So, before we begin, I would like to point out one important fact.
Adam: This was not ghostwritten.
Ifi: Yeah I uh
Ifi: Yeah
Adam: Out of all the premises that Applegate chooses to write herself, she picks the stockiest of stock plots.
Adam: I really do not quite get the thought process that went on there.
Ifi: "But—"
Ifi: "But—"
Ifi: "Uh. Okay?"
Adam: Uh
Adam: Sure.

Adam: So
Adam: The sea star book.
Ifi: Christ
Adam: Honestly?
Adam: I thought it was great.
Ifi: In terms of writing, it was fine. The setup and resolution were stupid as hell.
Adam: Yeah, pretty much.
Adam: But we will get to this more after getting through the plot.

Ifi: So for whatever reason there is a field trip to the beach

I was wearing my morphing outfit. It seemed okay for a trip around the rocks.
"Of course I look good," I snapped. "I almost always do. You have something else to say?"

I guess that threw him. He shrugged.

"Looking good," he repeated. "Looking real good."

"I think we've been over that," I said. "Now go away."

"You are so stuck-up!"

"That's right, I am. Now you know the difference between good looks and a good personality."

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Ifi: Rachel is in a mood because she dropped her earring in a tide pool or whatever
Ifi: And I guess she's sick of random throwaway characters hitting on her in every book she narrates
Adam: You'd think that she would have gotten a reputation of attempted murder of these people by now.
Adam: Also, tide pools are cool
Adam: You have all these unusual creatures clustered into a tiny living area
Adam: Lookit all them echinoderms
Ifi: Oh my goodness
Ifi: They are all different colors!
Adam: It is lovely
Ifi: And everyone just steps on everyone
Adam: Sea star don't care.

Ifi: So Rachel thinks that it would be a great idea to morph a seastarfish to get her earring back
Adam: Right in front of two dozen other students.
Adam: I don't know why she can't just go and ask a teacher for help.
Adam: Yeerks have a subconscious hatred of earrings?
Ifi: Yeah


Something hit me. Hit me hard.

The starfish didn't have much in the way of pain sensors but I still knew, the starfish knew, deep down, that it was very, very badly hurt.

I tried to make sense of it all. But all I knew for sure was this: I had been able to count to five on my starfish legs.

Now I could only count to two.

I was cut in half!

<Aaaahhhh!> I yelled.

Panic, blind panic hit me.

I was cut in half! I had to die. Had to! There was no way...

But I was still alive.


----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Ifi: Augh!
Adam: Obligatory:

Adam: Also, there is an interesting point here.
Adam: I am pretty sure that the seastar is the most biologically simplistic animal anyone ever morphs in this series.
Adam: I mean, seastars just have a small neural ring for a brain.
Adam: So it makes you wonder how complex an organism has to be in order to morph.
Ifi: I still say you could morph a plant if you want.
Adam: I don't see why not.
Ifi: I wonder if you could morph bacteria
Adam: I don't know how you would be able to acquire one.
Adam: But probably.
Ifi: Coral!
Ifi: I am coral now.
Ifi: I am a whole coral thing.
Adam: Coral is a colonial organism.
Adam: You would become a single polyp.

Adam: Most of it is just a calcium deposit laid by hundreds of tiny anemone looking things
Ifi: You will be assimilated
Ifi: Into the Coral Collective
Adam: It would end up like the ant morph.
Adam: Yes.
Ifi: Except instead of doing whatever boring stuff ants do, we'd all chill in Australia
Adam: Whatever makes you happy.

Half a starfish lay unchanged in the tidal pool. Two legs and a chunk of a third. And an earring.

I caught a glimpse of the family, the two boys. One of them had a pail.

And a shiny new steel shovel.

He'd been the one who had cut me.

He'd been the one who'd almost killed me.

Rotten, filthy little brat!

"I'll kill him!" I said. "Kill him! Kill the filthy little creep!" Morph to grizzly bear and tear him apart! No. No. Not the kid. Bailey! His fault. He delayed me, otherwise it would have all worked perfectly.

I stood up.

"Bailey!" I screamed against the crashing waves, shaking my clenched fists in rage. "I'll kill you! I'll kill you! I'll murder you!"

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Adam: Well, this was pretty much the expected Rachel reaction right here.
Ifi: I mean, it would serve the little brat right for attacking an animal with a shovel if she pulled his head off.
Adam: You would not believe some of the stories I have from working at the aquarium.
Adam: We would get people who would try to pick up the seastars and steal them away in their purses.
Ifi: I
Ifi: what
Ifi: I
Adam: Even without that sheer ridiculousness, we would get people unnecessarily poking and squeezing the poor things
Ifi: Poor babies :(
Adam: My thoughts exactly.
Ifi: WTF would you even do with a quickly-dying starfish?
Adam: Put it in a tank, feed it clams
Ifi: Uh
Adam: Well, that is what I would do.
Ifi: Ok, let me revise the question
Ifi: What would those dumb skank kleptomaniac hoes do with a quickly-dying starfish?
Adam: Parade it around half sticking out of their purse like those people with the tiny dogs do on the subway?
Ifi: Dear God

Ifi: Ok so now there are two Rachels, and the narration alternates between them
Adam: The narrative handily refers to them as the rather succinct "Mean Rachel" and "Nice Rachel"
Adam: Though I think "Berserk Rachel" and "Airhead Rachel" might be a bit more accurate.
Ifi: PMS Rachel and Derp Rachel
Adam: Basically, we have Wolverine and Cher Horowitz.
Ifi: Actually nice Rachel isn't stupid, exactly. But she lost her short term memory in the split. She still has all her long term memories, they both do. But she's unable to remember even what she just did a minute ago, which leads me to think she's legit missing that part of her brain.
Adam: One thing that stuck out at me though was the fact that both Rachels seem much more thoughtless and sociopathic then the original one is.
Adam: And really, the "Nice" Rachel never comes off as particularly nice. She's just too spineless to be actively mean.
Adam: But the first thing that she does as an independent organism is to blow off a date with Tobias.
Ifi: I honestly didn't feel like either of these characters was an accurate representation of Rachel, even when you consider that they're missing parts of their core personalities
Ifi: Mean Rachel is like what she's like when I'm writing a crackfic to make you all laugh
Ifi: And nice Rachel is...
Ifi: Well
Ifi: I don't know WHERE she came from
Adam: Nice Rachel is basically the stereotype that a person from the 90's would come up with if they saw Rachel without actually seeing how she would act in a situation
Adam: Again, I fear I must draw comparisons to Clueless.

Ifi: So, Lame Rachel blows off her date with Tobias, but that's ok because Blood Warrior Rachel doesn't.
Adam: That's very…thoughtful of her?
Adam: Unfortunately, Deranged Madwoman Rachel goes a bit…overboard.

My eagle's eyes, adapted by nature for seeing through water, filtering out the glare, saw it all: six fish, six trout, all unaware, and one, one I chose, would die!


I looked into his stupid, terrified eyes, and with my razor beak I ripped him open. Scales flew. Fish guts spilled.

I buried my beak, up to the eyes in the cool, squirming flesh. I felt the heart still beating.

I ate the fish, ripping big chunks and gulping them down.

<Rachel! What are you doing? Did you lose control of the morph?>

<What am I doing? I am eating this fish. He's mine! Get back! He's my kill. MY kill!>

I ate the heart. Then, it stopped beating.

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Adam: The poetic wit on that one.
Ifi: Cassie was worse when she lost control of the t-rex, I'd just like to point out
Adam: I thought the implication here was more that Rachel, Warrior Princess wasn't fully lost in the morph, but rather that she was aware of what she was doing and enjoying herself.
Ifi: Yeah that is true
Ifi: I just thought it was interesting
Ifi: Anyway, at the same time, Special Rachel is at the mall with Cassie.

"Get out of my way, airhead," she snapped.
Cassie jumped forward and put her hand on my arm. "Rachel, let it go."

The girl guffawed. "Yeah, Rachel, let it go. Get out of my way before I kick your skinny, preppy, mall-crawling, bubblehead, blond butt."

"Rachel," Cassie warned, "let it go. You don't need to go postal over this."

I felt the tears start. I bit my lip.

"S-s-s-sorry," I said to the mean, mean girl.

I turned and ran away. I buried my face in my hands and ran.

"What the…" Cassie said.

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Adam: Cassie's reaction mirrored mine.
Ifi: Ok, even if you look all the crazy and the brave and the dangerous out of Rachel, THIS is not what you'd be left with!
Ifi: Just because someone's NOT brave doesn't mean they're a coward!
Adam: Um
Ifi: And just because someone's not dangerous doesn't mean they're a wimp!
Adam: I'm not sure how that would work
Ifi: Ok fine I will give an example
Ifi: You and me are on safari in Africa looking at all the pretty kitties oh so cute yes you arreeee
Ifi: When suddenly
Ifi: Oh no!
Ifi: Angry rhino!
Ifi: Charging at our jeep!
Adam: Oh noez
Ifi: You are brave, so you take out your custom-made gun sword and go running towards the rhino
Ifi: I am not brave. So I sit in the jeep.
Adam: Apparently in Ifi's internal monologues, I am Squall Leonhart
Ifi: Does sitting in the jeep make me a wimp?
Ifi: I don't think it does!
Ifi: Maybe it makes me SMART. Maybe I'm the smart one, for not wasting tens of thousands of dollars on a weapon that makes no logical sense!
Adam: I don't think that it is a comparable situation.
Ifi: I think I've lost track of this metaphor
Adam: Bear in mind, Rachel has basically been lobotomized.
Adam: She's physically unable to access certain parts of her brain.
Ifi: Well that is different. And the book actually barely touches on it. Which was annoying.
Adam: This is legitimate.

Completely impractical.

Ifi: So eventually Insane Rachel goes to the mall as well to buy some black leather clothing or something
Adam: I find it kind of funny that Psychopath Rachel feels contractually obligated to go buy a leather jacket
Adam: It's part of the stereotypical badass uniform, I suppose.
Ifi: Yup

"Aww, it's the crybaby," someone said. Some girl.

I pushed past her.

She grabbed my arm. This was a mistake.



I buried the chef's knife in her sweatshirt. The knife quivered in the wood counter. She was pinned.

She was scared, too.

I grabbed more sweatshirt and...


The boning knife went in.


Bread knife.


Seven-inch utility knife.

Naturally, she was screaming during all this.

"Ahhhh! Ahhhh! Ahhhh!"

I grabbed the cleaver. I held it high in the air, like I was gonna slam it down on her head.

Then, I laughed. I pinched her cheek and tugged back and forth while she shook and quivered.

"I like you," I said. "I really do. We could be friends. But watch who you pick your fights with."

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Ifi: So uh
Ifi: Rachel makes a friend
Adam: How sweet.
Ifi: Somehow she is not arrested, and both Rachels make their way to the barn
Adam: Again, security cameras do not exist in the Animorphs-verse
Ifi: Nice Rachel is creepy:

Jake was there. He's my cousin. He's cute. Kind of big. I mean, if we weren't cousins…

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Ifi: Woah now
Adam: This has suddenly turned into a very different sort of book.
Adam: But yes, apparently another aspect of Nice Rachel is that she will hit on anything that moves.
Ifi: Including Marco
Adam: He seems to have no problem with this.

"No, no, no," Cassie said. "If she was a Controller she'd sound exactly like Rachel. This is something different. A breakdown, maybe."

<She was weird with me, too,> Tobias said. <But in a different way. She was brutal, violent. In eagle morph she killed and ate a fish. She ate it while it was still living.>

Ax kept his blade against my throat. I would have fainted except that falling down could have been, like, fatal.

So I kept my quivering knees as firm as I could. But nothing would stop the tears rolling down my cheeks.

"Look!" Marco cried, like he'd just spotted the Holy Grail sitting on top of the Golden Fleece. "Tears!"

"What on Earth is—" Jake started to say.

But then the door of the barn burst open.

"All right! What's the mission, when do we start, and how many Yeerks do we get to kill today? I am hungry for some wild butt-kicking! Hah HAH!"

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Ifi: The Animorphs take this whole thing surprisingly well.
Adam: Well, I mean, they've already traveled through space and time and fought aliens and cosmic horrors and went to middle school dances.
Ifi: Nothing impresses them anymore

"Cool!" Marco said, climbing to his feet. "Now Tobias can have one and I can have the oth—AAAAHHHH!"

I...I mean she...somersaulted.

She leaped, landed on her hands, flew through the air, and landed, feetfirst, against Marco's chest. Marco landed very hard on his back. Rachel was astride him, squatting on his chest. Her knees pinned his arms. She reached behind his head and grabbed a handful of his dark hair.

The other hand was balled into a fist, quivering, about a foot away from Marco's face.

"What did you say?" Rachel whispered.

"Not one single thing," Marco said. "Me? I said nothing."

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Adam: I am unsure who to root for here
Ifi: I'm stuck on the fact that she did a somersault THROUGH THE AIR
Adam: What else do you do a somersault through?
Ifi: On the ground
Adam: Well, Rachel has been a gymnast for years, mind you.

Ifi: In any case, Erek shows up. Apparently the Anti-Morphing Ray is still a thing.
Ifi: Like the Animorphs, Erek is difficult to faze.
Adam: I am impressed.
Adam: The Yeerks didn't give up on a project after one failure.

Erek walked in. Looking like a boy. Looking like a boy with a very odd expression on his face.

"Um..." he said. " it just me, or are there really two Rachels here?"

"We're filming a Doublemint gum commercial later," Marco said, then cringed lest Mean Rachel go all psycho-gymnast on him again.

"Yeah, we have two Rachels," Jake said.

"Okay. Any particular reason?" Erek asked.

"It wasn't exactly deliberate," Cassie explained.


"I can't stay long," Erek said, unable to stop looking from me to Mean Rachel and back again. "I just came to update you guys on the mission."

"To the Yeerk pool!" Mean Rachel crowed. "Let's get some flamethrowers!"

"I gotta stop hanging around with you people," Erek said. "You people are just plain strange."

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Ifi: Theory: Erek is glitching and this whole book is his hallucination
Adam: I would really like to hear the other chee's reaction to this if that is the case.
Ifi: It would be magical

"Starfish. They regenerate. You can chop off a leg and they can grow a new one. Somehow when that starfish was chopped in half, the starfish's regenerative powers created the possibility of two separate Rachels. One in each half."

<But, somehow the two halves were unequal, subtly different,> Ax said. <This is a very interesting phenomenon.>

"Interesting?" Marco shrilled. "It's bizarre! It's weird. It's wacko, creepy, horrific, incredible, absurd, and totally, totally, I mean totally insane. But also, kind of cool."

"Wait a minute!" I cried. "The shrimp-boy is right! I should have seen the possibilities, but I'm getting confused. The wimp here can attend school and keep the 'rents happy and I can spend a hundred percent of my time in fierce battle against the Yeerks! I'll annihilate them! I'll crush them! They won't know what hit 'em. It will be full-time Rachel, on the loose!"

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Ifi: Two weeks later, the Yeerks surrendered.
Adam: What were to happen if they were to talk the two Rachels, have them morph seastars again, and repeat the process?
Adam: Would it divide them along different personality traits?
Ifi: Oh God
Adam: So you end up with "Able to balance a spoon on her nose Rachel" and "Thinks she's a pirate Rachel"
Adam: And then the universe explodes.
Ifi: Good riddance to it.

"Good grief," Jake muttered. "Okay, here's the deal: Nice Rachel, you sit this mission out. Go home. Stay home. And Mean Rachel?"

"Yes?" I asked, filled with excitement.

"You do the same. Home. Quiet. Don't hurt anyone. We'll handle BRI and the AMR without you. Either of you."

Naturally, I objected. But Jake wouldn't give.

"I'll kill you!" I screamed at him. "I'll kill you all!"

They left me anyway.

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Adam: Wha wha whaaaaa
Adam: I am rather amused that she has pretty much acclimated to being referred to as "Mean Rachel"
Ifi: She takes it as a compliment, I think
Adam: Wouldn't be out of character.

Mean Rachel lay there quivering with suppressed energy. "I need to do something!"


She shot a suspicious look at me. "Something. I'll think of something. Just have to focus."

"I...I mean, I, you know, I'm kind of having a hard time focusing, too," I said.

"I'm not having trouble focusing, you moron. I can focus. I'm not like you. It's just ... I mean, you can't know the future, right? Put a Yeerk here, put a bunch of Hork-Bajir in front of me, I'll focus! I'll focus them to death!"

I started to say something to her, only, what was it? Something. Or not.

Things just seemed to evaporate right out of my brain.

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Ifi: Ok so Mean Rachel is basically an animal. No perception of the future past the next meal.
Adam: That is a very good analogy
Ifi: Whereas Nice Rachel can barely create new memories
Adam: There have been cases of people who suffered brain damage and then went about a complete shift in personality.
Adam: So this really isn't too unrealistic here.
Ifi: But I get the feeling that we're supposed to believe that this is literally what Rachel would be like if you split her personality in half, but that's not true at all.
Adam: Realistically speaking, I don't think it would work out like that.
Adam: The separate aspects would need to learn how to function on their own.
Adam: And they would end up developing in ways that would be completely different from how they would be together.
Adam: The brain is a very adaptable organ.
Ifi: This book is teh dumb
Adam: It is a dumb premise.
Adam: But I think it does an interesting job with it.
Ifi: So Mean Rachel decides she's going on the mission anyway, like it or not
Adam: She takes the expected route.
Adam: That is to say, she morphs a bear, hijacks a truck, and mows down a gaggle of hork-bajir.
Adam: Obligatory:

Ifi: ...alright then

A few seconds later the driver was awakened when I removed the door of his truck.

"Aaaaahhhhh! Aaaahhhhh!" he said.

He was scared, good and scared, and it made me laugh. So I let him live. I reached in with massive grizzly paws and yanked him out, kicking and screaming and wetting himself.

Then, I climbed into the cab.

"Hey! Hey! You can't steal my rig!" he yelled.

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Adam: That is his reaction to a bear stealing his truck.
Adam: Seems reasonable.
Ifi: “So this bear jacked my truck. And I was all, ‘You can’t steal my truck!’ but he did it anyway!”
Adam: Well, this city already gets a lot of gorillas stealing trucks.
Adam: So maybe this sort of thing has become expected.
Adam: You kind of have to wonder what the sort of conversations that go on at the trucker union is like
Ifi: I figure the locals are now used to animals acting in really random ways
Adam: Exactly.

Ifi: While this is going on, Nice Rachel calls her dad and makes him think she's on drugs.
Adam: She has basically decided that she is going to give away all of everyone's secrets to him.
Adam: Because of...reasons

"I don't? But I am. Me, I mean. I am me. Maybe…I mean maybe I'm a little different or, like, you know, not a hundred percent the same."

"Is it drugs? Sweetheart, you know you can tell me. Are you on drugs?"

"Um, I took two Motrin for my headache…Oh! You mean like drug drugs? No, of course not!"

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Adam: …I think it's still drugs.

"Oh…well….I guess, boy stuff? Does it involve boys?"

"Yes, yes, it does! How did you guess? Actually three boys. I mean, four if you count this one guy who is like, you know, okay, not exactly a boy, if you know what I mean."

"A man!" he shrieked in my ear. "A man? You're going out with a man? Are you seeing a college kid?"

"No, Daddy. Duh! That's not what I meant, it's just that he's…foreign."

"An alien?"

I almost choked Bobo Bear. I lowered my voice to a whisper. "How did you know?"

"Well, honey, it's not that big a deal. I mean, my cleaning lady is an alien and she does a great job."

I had to think about that for a minute.

"She's from Ukraine," he said.

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Ifi: This conversation
Ifi: I can't.
Adam: Somehow I don't think that this is helping.
Adam: Well, nobody ever said that being a single parent would be easy.

"Shh! I can't say over the phone. They could be listening and Jake would go totally, totally nuts!"

"Jake? You're going out with Jake? As in Jake, your cousin?"

I laughed. "Silly! You always make me feel better."


"Come soon, okay? Can you come tomorrow? I have to talk to you. It's about…about what you said before."


"No, your…" I searched for a way to tell him without committing the unpardonable sin of blurting it over the phone. "Your cleaning lady," I said, trying to say it in a way so he'd know it wasn't really, exactly about his cleaning lady. "It's about, you know. What you said about her."

"That she's from Ukraine?"

He got it! The code was working. "Exactly. It's about Ukraine."

Long pause. "I'll be there tomorrow."

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Ifi: Oh Rachel's dad.
Ifi: You're such a failure as a parent.
Adam: So now he's flying halfway across the country to see his drug addled, incestuous daughter.
Adam: I think Rachel's dad could use a hug right about now.

I heard the phone ring but by then I was already heading downstairs.

My mom picked it up. I could hear her voice, sounding icy.

"No, she is not on drugs. I would know! Unlike certain people, I see her every day."

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Adam: Well, there is the whole "sneaking out of the house every week to fight aliens" bit that you are still in the dark about.
Adam: As far as you know, she could be on drugs
Ifi: Anyway, back to PMS Rachel.

I kept my foot on the accelerator. The last Hork-Bajir spotted me bearing down on him. He yelled something and leaped aside.

Hah! Not likely!

I twisted the wheel. I was on two wheels! I was so far over on one side I could have reached out and raked my nails along the floor!

The last Hork-Bajir heard my wheels screeching. He looked back over his shoulder.


Flying Hork-Bajir! I caught him in the tail and legs. He went flying.

Up, a cartwheel, over the top of me as I raced beneath. I saw him hit the ground in my rearview mirror.

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Ifi: I am pretty sure this isn't the first time this has happened...
Ifi: Oh right
Ifi: Elfangor's mustang

A huge Hork-Bajir spotted me and began to run for the Mustang. Only when he got close did he cry "Andalite!" in surprise and greedy delight.

He leaped at the moving machine. I spun the steering wheel. The Mustang turned sharply. I gunned the engine! WHUUMPF! I hit the Hork-Bajir in the legs. He cartwheeled over my head and landed in the dirt behind me.

----The Andalite Chronicles, Alloran’s Choice

Adam: Applegate loves her some car based violence.

It was a scene of perfect beauty. Blood slicked the concrete. Taxxon guts lay in steaming piles. There were bellows and cries of pain.

Battle! Desperate and deadly!

I almost cried at the sheer loveliness of it.

Then I plowed in.

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Ifi: To her great surprise, the others are not happy to see her.
Ifi: She ruined their diversion so they could sneak in
Ifi: Also

"I saved their sorry butts. Oh, man, you would not believe this battle! This one Hork-Bajir caught me with his blade and chopped my left arm off, right? I mean, I'm in grizzly morph, we're totally outnumbered, and this Hork-Bajir gets behind me and SLASH! This sudden pain! Then, thud, and I realize my arm is on the ground. Hah HAH! On the ground. So you know what I do? I reach down, pick it up, and use it like a club to beat him over the head."

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Ifi: I am just sorry we only got to hear about this afterwards
Adam: I am sorry I already made the obvious pun earlier in this review series
Adam: Oh what the heck
Adam: She has the right to bear arms

Ifi: So the next day, Psycho Rachel eavesdrops on the Animorphs in the barn.
Ifi: She does a total David.
Adam: In a way, it's sort of good that because of him, they now have experience dealing with rogue Animorphs.

"That's not all there is to it," Cassie said. "I think the split goes beyond that. I don't think Mean Rachel is capable of long-term thinking. Nice Rachel is, but she's not capable of short-term focus. Rachel busted in last night with no idea what to do. No plan. She was just reacting. But Nice Rachel laid out a shopping trip yesterday that was like a general planning an invasion."

Marco said, "Strategy and tactics. Long-term, short-term."

"We can't use either of the Rachels we have," Jake said.

I began to demorph. I was just beginning to grow when I realized what Jake had said.

Couldn't use me?

Couldn't use me?

I'd use them! I'd use them till they cried for mercy!

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Ifi: Uh
Ifi: Poor choice of words there
Adam: Ew
Ifi: Rachel deals with this by threatening to kill them all and trying to take over the team.

Then, with perfect malice on her face, she closed her fist around Tobias's neck.

"Mess with me and Bird-boy here is a dead chicken."

Everyone froze.

"Hah HAH!" she crowed. "Too easy! I don't even need to morph!"

<Rachel, what are you doing?!> Tobias yelled, more mad than scared.

"Sorry, my love," she sneered, "but as a predator, you'll understand."

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Ifi: *blinks*
Adam: I don't quite think that he does.

"I am in charge now!" she cried. "I'm running the Animorphs! I am the boss! You'll all obey me. ME!"

"Whatever you say," Jake said placatingly. He moved gradually closer to her. "You want to be in charge, fine. I'm tired of the responsibility anyway."

"Yeah? Then here's my first order: I want Marco killed! No! Wait. Not killed. He may still be useful."

"Glad to hear that," Marco muttered.

"Don't kill him. Just…just…" She looked around wildly, frantic, her eyes blazing. "Just punish him. That's it! We'll whip him! Tie him down to that stall door and we'll whip him! Whip him till he screams!"

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Ifi: They don't do that, they knock her out.
Adam: Crazy Rachel's mind goes in weird tangents
Ifi: So then Nice Rachel goes to meet her dad at the airport while he has a layover
Ifi: But Mean Rachel figures it out, and threatens her into not telling
Ifi: Thus saving her from blowing everyone's cover
Adam: Yay Mean Rachel?
Adam: Once again, I am unsure who to root for here.

Adam: For the next mission, they force Nice Rachel to go, and Mean Rachel to stay out
Ifi: Mean Rachel comes anyway though
Ifi: So she can kill them
Ifi: Nice Rachel is pretty much useless, too scared to even morph because the morphing process is gross and scary.
Adam: The entire mission is pretty much Jake yelling at her.
Ifi: And then they get themselves captures because IT WAS A TRAP

There were a dozen pedestals. On each pedestal a small, glass box. And in each glass box a bug or other small animal. Roach, ant, snail, beetle, fly. Weird. Like some kind of insane collector had gone to a lot of trouble to capture and display some rare animals that were not at all rare.
One thing was for sure: Jake and my idiot twin were two of those bugs. And they were dead meat!
I laughed. Silently, of course. The Yeerks thought they were going to kill Jake and the other Rachel. Hah! I was going to kill them! No one was going to deprive me of that.

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Adam: Oh Rachel, you so crazy.
Ifi: Rachel runs in swinging, which gets her captured as well. Visser Three puts her in the trash compactor from A New Hope

<Is there anything an Andalite fears more than being slowly, inexorably, crushed?> Visser Three said softly. <Is there anything a free-running, herd animal like you fears more?>

<I'll kill you!> I roared. <I'll kill you!>

<When the room begins to squeeze the air from your lungs, call for me, Andalite. Call for me.>

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Adam: It is liked they are having a deranged mad (wo)man-off or something.
Ifi: My favorite part is how, once he wanders off to do God-only-knows-what, both Rachels morph back to human
Ifi: No wait
Ifi: My favorite part is just after that
Ifi: When they realize the Yeerks aren't monitoring them at all
Adam: Security cameras do not exist.
Ifi: So Derp Rachel thinks up a plan!
Ifi: Hooray!
Adam: It is around this time that Rawr Rachel realized that the two need each other symbiotically or else they don't work.
Ifi: Because they haven't hammered that concept in this entire time or anything
Adam: Well, the characters need to realize it at some point.
Adam: Or else there isn't as much of a point to it.

Ifi: So they have to threaten suicide, which forces Visser Three to unlock the cage because he doesn't want to waste two good hosts.
Adam: Of course, he doesn't keep them under gunpoint or anything.

<There's a second one!> Visser Three hissed.

<Yeah. And guess where I am, Visser?>

He hesitated. <Come out and show yourself and I won't have you killed.>

<Visser? I'm in your ear, Visser. Way down inside your head. I can practically see the real you, the Yeerk slug. And here's the thing you need to think about, Visser: What happens when a morphed Andalite the size of a fly demorphs inside your head?>

<You'd die!> he yelled.

<So would you,> I said.

There was a silence that lasted at least two full minutes.

<You!> he roared for no reason. Then more minutes of silence. Then, I felt his body slump, go limp.

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Adam: I think these constant defeats are starting to get to him.
Ifi: Can't be good for his self-esteem.
Adam: He will undoubtedly go back to his room and cry afterwards,
Adam: Poor guy deals with so much
Ifi: At least he has his kitties
Adam: And that is what truly matters.

Ifi: Anyway, now that the main plot is over, they figure out a way to put Rachel back together again
Ifi: It is stupid and makes no sense but at this point I just want this book to be over.
Adam: Deus ex machina to the rescue!

I began to acquire my twin. Her DNA flowed into me, as mine flowed into her. I felt the soft listlessness of the acquiring trance.

Would this really work? I was acquiring her, she me, but I didn't feel any less like myself.

<Erek,> Ax said.

Erek moved swiftly, smoothly. He dropped his hologram and appeared as the slightly canine-looking android we knew as the real Erek.

He placed one hand on me, one on Mean Rachel. Suddenly, I had a bad feeling about this.

"Sorry," Erek said. Then…


The pain was indescribable! Both halves of me twitched and jerked and seized. Every nerve ending exploded with energy. I couldn't hear. Couldn't think. My eyes were blinded by a sizzling halo of light.

<Morph!> Ax yelled in my head. <Morph into the other! Do it!>

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Adam: How did Ax come up with this?
Adam: He's the Andalite equivalent of a C student.
Adam: And this would be purely speculative morphing theory.
Ifi: You'd be amazed at what you can come up with when the alternative is life with two Rachels
Adam: Marco didn't seem to mind.
Ifi: Marco is a derp.
Adam: True.

"Are you okay?" Cassie asked.

Okay? I wanted to cry. I was me again. For whatever that was worth. The coward was in me. The killer, too. Human and animal.

"Rachel, do you want to sit down? Maybe talk?" Cassie asked.

"I...I don't know..." I said.

"I'm here for you," Cassie said.

----Book Thirty-Two, The Separation

Ifi: But Rachel blows off Cassie and goes to cuddle with Tobias instead.
Ifi: The end.

Adam: This book.
Adam: It was a book.
Adam: It was a series of pages glued together, with words printed on the side.
Adam: Seriously though, this was a lot better then it could have been.
Adam: It took an utterly ridiculous premise, but actually went about studying the ramifications of it.
Ifi: I like the part where it ended.
Adam: No.
Adam: That was the worst part.
Adam: It begun badly, and ended badly, but had a good middle.
Ifi: No I mean I like the part where the words stopped

Adam: Well, if it makes you feel better, that one is out of the way.
Ifi: Yay.
Adam: Next up, we have Tobias getting kidnapped by sexy cyborg assassins
Ifi: Yay!


  1. No FB's this week because it is finals and also here are the things Ifi has to do:

    -Not fail finals
    -Find an apartment
    -Find a job

  2. THIS BOOK...was one of my favorites, if only because of the image of Rachel clubbing a Hork-Bajir over the head with one of her own arms.

    Good luck on your finals, Ifi!

    1. "It's your style of unarmed combat, Reg. It always takes them by surprise."

    2. Given all the times I've heard about that scene, I too am very sad it ended up happening offscreen.

  3. I suddenly feel far less bad about stopping at book 30. What an utterly ridiculous execution of such a hackneyed, recycled plot.

    1. But the next book is goooooooooooooooooooood!

  4. Oh, man, this book.

    The series seemed to hit a slump around this point, and you can definitely see it in the plot summaries. Most of the 30-39 books, with one or two exceptions, seem like "what if" scenarios hastily written up by KAA or the ghostwriters on a Friday night.

    "What if Rachel got cut in half and got split into two personalities?" "What if Cassie got possessed by a ghost?" "What if the Animorphs discovered Atlantis?"

    Et cetera...

    1. I would be fine w/ striking 32, 36, 37 and 39 completely from the record tbh.

  5. "Adam: Is it just me, or does Rachel look about 30 years old on this cover?"

    Her face and neck are heavily shaded for some reason.

    "Ifi: I'm stuck on the fact that she did a somersault THROUGH THE AIR
    Adam: What else do you do a somersault through?
    Ifi: On the ground"

    A somersault is a launch off the ground followed by a flip in the air. Though, really, I think the author meant some sort of flip or handspring - a somersault wouldn't have been good for attacking Marco.

    Also, I've noticed that "through the air" is used a lot by authors describing dynamic movement, even when there is still substantial ground contact. It just makes it sound cool, I guess.

    1. Also, I got bored waiting for the derby and made this for you:

      It's worth noting that it looked much cooler on a white background. *sigh*

  6. Regarding the discrepancies between the split parts and Rachel, I think this book operates on a premise that Visser One expresses as her perception of human brain functions. Rachel is plainly more than the sum of these two halves. Look at the clothing thing – both halves express distaste with her wardrobe. IdRachel wants to go all badass butch, while SuperEgoRachel wants to dress up more. Clearly Rachel has other parts of her brain and personality, but they are sublimated under these two after the split, just as these aspects are buried in real Rachel’s mind. Visser One thinks of human brains as divided, with each part working against one another (and I don’t care about the psychological or neurological reality – this is about how brains are strongly believed to work in the Animorphs universe, and we can extrapolate from Rachel’s experience that it is consistent in this book & "Visser"). The emergent personality of this mental conflict would be the synthesis to the thesis & antithesis that Edriss perceives to be at work in her first human host’s brain.

    Since Rachel’s issue came about because of a physical anomaly, we can guess that the two brain parts in the two halves happened to divide between the two morphs, with additional matter regenerating as the halves de-morphed. Remember, the material of her brain is still intact in z-space, and when she de-morphed, there were suddenly two legitimate destinations for the matter to go, and rather than go with one and let the other half regenerate its brain entirely from new matter, the brain bits got divied up between the two halves, which meant less conflict between the two halves. Thus, normal Rachel, the synthesis of the psychological & neurological interaction, was diminished in each half, and the dominant brain parts were able to each manifest a more appropriate personality. Plainly real Rachel was in each as they had her memories and associations.

    In summary, I think what is going on here is not so much Mean Rachel + Wimp Rachel = Rachel. Rather it is Rachel 1 vs. Rachel B = {RACHEL+Mean Rachel+Wimp Rachel}, and Rachel does the talking for that collective. When the starfish got split, two new organisms formed, but 'Rachel' was divided along with her morphed body, so each new 'Rachel' was not enough to fight off the latent personalities which gave us {Mean Rachel+rachel} and {Wimp Rachel+rachel}. In each of those, the real Rachel is diminished and thus the aberrant halves become dominant.

    As far as how the halves of her personality go, these are not halves of her personality, they are the personas generated by the estranged halves of her brain. The personalities I'll deal with in another comment, because this one is long enough.

    1. *slow clap*

      Seriously, this is a brilliant way to rationalize something that was probably much less well-thought out to begin with.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Seriously, part of what I love about these reviews (apart from the utter snark and crazy, of course) is the astoundingly well-thought-out theories and insights other people have. I'm learning so much!


  7. I just...did not like this book. Starting from when Rachel somehow thought it'd be a great idea to morph on a public beach in broad daylight, to the Anis almost non-reaction to seeing two identical Rachels, to them leaving these CLEARLY messed-up versions of their friend/cousin alone when they go on that first mission. Not to mention that completely whack solution for putting her back together. Plus I disagreed w/ the characterizations of both halves of Rachel...then again, I thought for the longest time this book was ghostwritten so idek. I get what KAA was going for but it didn't come together. Once I found out she'd just had a baby the crackiness of the story made perfect sense. Sleep deprivation is a bitch!

    Aside from these three moments -

    1) Rachel wanting to go flying w/ Tobias @ the end
    2) Marco immediately seizing the opportunity to creep on/claim a Rachel for himself
    3) Mean!Rachel beating a Hork-Bajir with her severed arm

    - I like to pretend this book never happened.

    1. When viewed through the lens of mother-of-a-baby suddenly this book makes perfect sense: Rachel flips between screaming, irrational monster of appetites who cannot be reasoned with, only satiated, on the one hand; and on the other hand, she's this helpless, sniveling, whining creature that can't do anything for herself.

  8. Despite this book's flaws, it's still one of my favorites. Mostly because even though the actual split personality was bungled, this is the first examination of Rachel through the sort of lens Tobias is always under.

    And then of course the ghostwriter of 37 goes and shits all over it, to the point where to this day I have not read more than two chapters of that book. But we'll suffer through that when we come to it.

  9. I'm pretty sure this episode is a Whole Plot Reference to an old episode of the original Star Trek where Kirk was similarly bifurcated, and each half had something the other one needed to function.
    Yeah, just found it--"The Enemy Within." The "evil" side had the strength to make tough decisions, while the seemingly meek, passive "good" side turned out to have more courage than the other, whose angry defiance hid terror of losing its independent existence.

    1. Also, there was fun with attempted rape and so on. They do this for just about every sci-fi or fantasy work that runs long enough. Legend of the Seeker and Buffy the Vampire Slayer were the two most recent that spring to mind.

  10. Alright, I went into a thing about the mechanics of the Rachel brain split, now here's my theory about how and where her personality(ies) come from or are affected by that.

    I think neither Rachel has ANY of the original’s personality traits, rather they each have their own, and their traits are an outgrowth of the portion of Rachel's brain each one possesses.

    Real Rachel is the only one with a genuine personality, interpersonal relationships, empathy or a conscience. The conscience does not merely restrain her from violence, it also impels her to act, especially on behalf of her friends. Wimp Rachel comes close, with the recollection of duty, but that is simply an abstract concept driving her, and not the real virtue, otherwise Jake would not have to remind her of it. Duty, for most people, including Rachel, implies connections and attachments to ideals or other people. Wimp Rachel does it because it is a rule, not because she cares about the cause or the people involved (that’s why she can blow off her flight with Tobias).

    I think these creatures formed as entirely new beings who grew out of portions of Rachel's brain, with none of the individual persona that exists apart from known biology (whether on a spiritual level or some sort of quantum or other rational phenomena we have not discovered yet). This is the part that Visser Three wanted to destroy with his meat-drugging product, the part that stays intact no matter what her morphed brain is telling her and the part that yells at the Yeerk in one's head even after it has total control of the neurological functions. These things are attributes of what we refer to as the soul, and that construct was unable to exert her will on either form, because of the diffusion or some other reason, leaving mindless neurological programming to drive each one, absent a significant portion of that programming that makes up a healthy brain.

    The split Rachels were not real people, they were biological automatons with brain damage. While they show some of the underlying drives in Rachel's character, Rachel herself is far more than the sum of the two of them, and her traits are more than the amelioration of each one's extremes by the other.

    1. To extrapolate and concise-ify, Mean Rachel was extrapolated from Rachel's id, Nice Rachel was extrapolated from her superego (planning, sense of abstract concepts like duty), and since the ego was split between the two bodies it was overpowered.

  11. I have a theory on Ax.
    He's probably one of those really smart kids who's simply too lazy to do anything. He's distracted a lot, but he's still doing all these awesome things. Andalite schools probably teach a lot more than any human school would.
    As for his solution to the split-Rachel problem... he probably reads sci-fi novels during class. The solution never made any sense to me, i stopped trying to make sense of it.

    Onto other things! I really liked this book, I don't know why. It was just really awesome to read. And I wonder who on Earth would go around splitting starfish in half for the lulz.
    I really enjoyed this review too. I was sitting at my friend's house, all dolled up and wearing my prom dress, LOLing while I read. What else do I do while I wait for everyone else to get ready?

    1. Considering that Andalite child prodigies appear to get roped into committing genocide in the name of the war, as we shall find out in a later book, this is probably a good thing.

      And, in fairness, Ax points out several times that he didn't pay attention in class, thinking that he'd never actually have to travel through a Sario rip or do any of the other crazy n-dimensional stuff that happens with alarming regularity throughout the series.

    2. I would really like to read a sci-fi novel written by a member of a species who has already confirmed evidence of alien life.

    3. Also many years ago, oyster farmers would go around and cut up the seastars that went around feeding on their oyster beds. They didn't realize that the seastars would just regenerate, and this ended up enormously multiplying them in number and resulted in an oyster shortage.

    4. Did half of those starfish become psychotic wackjobs, and the other half became emotionally fragile wimps who may or may not have engaged in incestuous thoughts?

      Inquiring minds want to know!

    5. As a matter of fact, yes, that is exactly what happened.

    6. Ugh, all these worms keep eating the fruits in my garden. Let me go cut them in half. Surely that's the best way to get rid of them!

    7. Oh, and! Don't sci-fi novels also cover non-alien topics? Like time travel and stuff. Most of them have aliens, but some are freaky enough without them ("--All You Zombies--" by Robert A Heinlein is one of those).

  12. This is still my favorite Rachael book.
    The cover freaks me out- there is no way Rachael dresses like that.

    I forgive it for not making sense because the whole evil twin thing is a favorite cliche of mine.

    1. It may not be a bikini, but it's still a cute swimsuit.

    2. hmmm matter of opinion I suppose.
      I buy the one piece, because Rachael is much more tomboy-ish the longer the series goes on, I just think that particular colour scheme hurts my eyes.

  13. mean rachel acts like lister from red dwarf when the polymorph removes his sense of fear
    Lister (without his fear): I say lets get out there and twat it!

  14. I saw books 30-40 as the part of the series where all the serious, disturbing, horrible, scarring-for-life things happened.

    Marco set up his mom, then Jake almost lost his dad, Rachel was split, Tobias was tortured, Cassie was possessed, Marco's dad remarried and the stress screwed up his ability to morph (why didn't this happen to jake in 31?) then Visser One's trial and Marco freeing his mom for all of two minutes, the Nartec and all the horror there, Rachel massively screwing up as temporary leader, Ax and the genocidal Andalite Assasins, and the animals who learned how to morph people.

    Basically, every book that began with a '3' tried to destroy your innocence and ability to feel joy.

    1. That's definitely true. On the other hand, Marco got to hug his mother for the first time in four years and hear that she was proud of him, Tobias got a dramatic first kiss from someone who loved him, Jake outmaneuvered and took down a bunch of trained Andalite killers like a boss, Rachel got to crash a mother****ing plane into the mother****ing Yeerk Pool, and Ax got to first eat jellybeans with a pretty girl in a food court and then prove that he really is a part of his new family and not a dumb, obedient aristh. They're dark books, but when the bright spots do show up, they're pretty bright.

    2. Okay, went back, did the math, and it's not actually their *first* kiss. But still a moving scene.

    3. I'm not sure having to think a loved one is dead for a time is a reasonable price for a physical expression of affection. Also, the torture-to-kiss ratio of Tobias' experience does not seem remotely like a net gain on his part. And then there was all the crap everyone dumped on Rachel in the plane-crashing one, that turned out to be rather unfounded and pointless, as they were criticizing her for something that had not yet come to pass, and at the end of the lecture, were forced to admit only she could get them out of it. As I have noted previously, silver linings seem to be a disproportionately small percentage of what the Animorphs get out of everything, they are just timed right to let the readers think there was a happy ending or that it all evens out somehow.

  15. Does the cover picture of Rachel mid-morph remind anyone else of the Thing from the Fantastic Four?

    1. hahahaha oh my god i can't unsee that now. Mean Rachel certainly seems to be fond of smashing things, as well.

  16. I have... very conflicted feelings about this book. I mean, I was probably looking at it through my personal pair of nostalgia goggles, but I remembered it to be much better than what it actually is. But yeah, I still think it's very quirky and interesting, even if the results of the splitting never made any sense to me: we cut Rachel in half and we get... Zaraki from Bleach and Fluttershy, basically?

    Also, I remember having read this book in French the first time - 'cause I was in Paris when this first came out there, and in Italy we were a couple of books behind. I still have that copy of the book somewhere.XD

  17. " he roared for no reason. Then more minutes of silence."

    Um, probably not for no reason. Alloran probably had an awful lot to say and was pissing him off. I mean, "I'm inside your head, and will absolutely demorph here," is a pretty clever strategy. One I wish was happening in a different book. A better one.

    Anyway, yeah. Not a fan of this one. This was around the point in the series where I was still buying them every month, but only read once and didn't form any memories of. Probably for the best.

    So yeah, I own up through #40 but I don't remember the plots past #30. I had to reread the entire series to remember them, and I still seem to purposefully forget ones. Like Atlantis.

    1. Oops. Sorry for the swear, Adam! Also, My copypasta of the Visser's thought-speech poofed. Silly HTML, can't you conform to Animorphs typography?

  18. Wait, how is Rachel wearing earrings in the first place? Morphing makes it so that when you demorph, you are wound/injury/scar free and unless she has pierced ears wired into her DNA, she shouldn't have them. Is she re-piercing them with a needle on her downtime, or something?

    1. This is why Rachel is not effective as a spy. She has the earrings on in every morph, cause they just move to her new ears.

  19. My sister does a Rachel every couple days. Except instead of being violent and... blank... she is violent and and the other half is violent while channeling the spirits of Hitler, Dr. Doofinsmirts, bin Laden, Mr. Potato-Head, George Washington, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and the Last Airbender... ALL AT ONCE... aurgh...

  20. One other important note: it seems that Erek actually is allowed to inflict pain, if it's part of healing a sickness or injury. Which makes you wonder why he didn't heal Ax when he had Yamphut.

    1. Because the Chee's programming is inconsistent as fuck.

  21. angry Rachel and scared Rachel are good names 4 them

  22. I'm certain I remember reading that this book was originally written by a ghostwriter, but it was such a mess K.A had to completely rewrite it, but now I can't find a source for that. I thought it was in one of the AMAs, but I've spent a couple hours searching and no dice. Maybe I'm just going crazy? It would certainly explain why this particular strange book was written by K.A. in the midst of a sea of ghostwritten books, but since I can't find a source for that... well, dang.

    1. I wonder if it was written solely by Michael Grant. He is much more the sci-fi buff of the two, so he'd be familiar with the stock plot (especially from the episode of Star Trek mentioned above), and that would still leave KA free to work on Remnants, which is why she handed the series over to ghostwriters in the first place.