Saturday, June 9, 2012

Book 36: The Mutation


The Summary
Visser Three is still pissed off about the thing with the Pemalite Ship. It will be HIS! So he glues some gills to a few Hork-Bajir and builds a new ship called the Sea Blade to track it down.

The Animorphs pursue the Sea Blade and deal heavy damage to it in Orca morph. They are pretty sure it is destroyed, but then the Sea Blade is rescued/captured/hijacked by strange amphibious humanoids. Jake makes everyone follow it into an underwater lake, where a race of mutated humans known as the Nartec have built their city. They also like to kill travelers and turn them into exhibitions.

Despite having about a hundred chances to run away, Jake decides to stick around and as a result they are nearly killed by insane Nartec scientists. Tobias rescues them, and the Animorphs flee to the Sea Blade. With Visser Three, they fight their way out of the city and then, once they are clear, sink the Sea Blade. Visser Three is pissed off but he can't really do anything about it. Then everyone goes home.

The Review
Adam: The cover is honestly really nice.
Adam: One of the best in the series, in my opinion
Adam: I rather like how the pattern on Jake's wetsuit blends into the while on the orca's stomach
Adam: Of course, Jake never wears a wetsuit in this book, but that is another matter entirely
Ifi: As we have said before, the underwater covers are always the best
Adam: I like that little bit of landmass you can see up at the top
Ifi: I like pretty much everything about it
Ifi: The colors are great

Adam: So, shall we…dive in?
Adam: Dohoho
Ifi: ...
Adam: =D

Ifi: Book.
Ifi: Book.
Ifi: Fucking BOOK.
Adam: Honestly? I've always enjoyed this one.
Ifi: I was lying awake last night trying to figure out the issue I had with this book before I finally put my finger on it.
Ifi: This book?
Ifi: Was not Animorphs.
Adam: Go on...
Ifi: It was in no way relevant to the rest of the series. It was arguably the LEAST relevant out of all the books. Also the author managed to reach levels of WTF that my fingertips only brush in my wildest dreams
Ifi: You could have swapped out the cast with any generic 90's group of kids and it would have worked just as well.
Adam: This is a legitimate point.
Ifi: Anyway let's just talk about it

Ifi: So Jake is awoken in the middle of the night by a phone call from Cassie
Adam: And yet for some reason, this conversation does not end with Jake's dad bursting in and screaming, "WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING ON THIS PHONE AT THIS HOUR OF THE NIGHT?!"
Ifi: And we get to see more of that brilliant phone code

Cassie's voice sounded shaky. Frightened.

"What's up?" I said, my own voice casual. At the same time praying that no one else in my house had picked up the phone. "Those math problems giving you a hard time?"

Cassie forced a laugh. "No. Just can't sleep again. You know, same old thing."

"Try counting sheep. I bet before you get to thirty you'll be asleep."

"Good idea. Thanks, Jake. See you."

Cassie hung up the phone.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Nope.
Ifi: Nothing suspicious about that conversation
Ifi: If I were Tom listening in, I'd think, "Oh, just another normal human conversation between my human brother Jake and his girlfriend."
Adam: Well, to be fair, it is a clearly suspicious conversation, but it is a whole 'nother matter to make the jump to "My brother is a magical transforming superhero who has sworn vengeance against me."
Ifi: Ok if I was a normal person listening in, like his Mom or something, I'd be like, "Oh my God my son is sneaking out to meet a girl."
Ifi: And I'd be more right than wrong
Adam: Well, two girls, a guy, a bird and a centaur
Adam: But close enough

Ifi: So Jake gets to Cassie's barn. Toby and Jara are there, along with another Hork-Bajir named Hahn
Adam: And…oh dear.

Cassie knelt by the side of a Hork-Bajir. He could no longer speak. He could barely breathe. He was laid out on the stainless steel table Cassie's dad uses to perform operations.

He was seven feet tall. Too tall to fit easily on the table. His legs hung off. His bladed arms hung off.

He was clearly Hork-Bajir. Just as clearly he was something else, as well.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Adam: Here is your share of nightmare fuel for the week.

"This is Hahn Tunad. He was not a free Hork-Bajir. Not one of our colony. Now Hahn is free of the Yeerks but he is dying for it." Toby paused before going on. "Hahn and forty-nine other Hork-Bajir were the subjects of an experiment. I have come to understand from Hahn that the visser is obsessed with rediscovering the Pemalite ship. He is very angry that his last attempt was foiled by the being called the Drode. And by the so-called Andalite bandits."

"Okay," I said, watching Cassie wipe a cool cloth over Hahn's bladed forehead. "Go on."

"The visser attempted to produce an amphibious creature. To aid in this deep-sea mission. He failed. When he realized the fifty test subjects were useless to him, he ordered their Yeerks to abandon the now-useless host bodies. They were to be fed to the Taxxons. We found Hahn...the others were already dead."

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Ok, ignoring the horrifying for just a moment
Ifi: This is actually a good plot
Ifi: Visser Three going after the most powerful technology he's ever seen? Makes perfect sense.
Ifi: It works.
Adam: Yes, but his approach is just so profoundly stupid.
Ifi: Yeah well
Ifi: that's what happens
Ifi: when you feed all your GOOD scientists
Ifi: to the Taxxons
Adam: <HAY GUYS, I WANNA GO UNDERWATER! LET'S GLUE SOME GILLS TO THE HORK-BAJIR!>

She pointed to Hahn's left shoulder. Just below the blade was—a gill. I'd already seen it. I'd seen the webs between the Hork-Bajir talons and fingers, too.

"Jake, the visser just grafted these gills onto the body," Cassie whispered. "It's as if he and his medical team had no idea of Hork-Bajir physiology. It's all wrong. Totally botched!"

"Feet! Feet!" Jara, more agitated than I'd ever seen him, pointed to Hahn's feet.

"Jake, he can't breathe. I don't know what they did inside, to his lungs…"

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Adam: This is...
Adam: so stupid.
Adam: TAXXONS ARE AMPHIBIOUS
Ifi: Yeah there's that. Though there is no way they'd be able to withstand the pressure.
Adam: But then neither could the Hork-Bajir
Adam: If anything, they would be worse at it. They're used to living at high altitudes
Adam: If anything, he should just get a good underwater morph and then go himself
Ifi: Or just steal a military sub!
Adam: Exactly
Ifi: But in a twisted way it makes sense. We are more than halfway through the series, and we've seen Visser Three sentence scientists to death by Taxxon regularly. It makes sense that the only guys left at this point are like, "Herpa derp okay I need some fish parts and two tons of Elmers glue and we are good to go."
Ifi: "Lol I am a scientist."
Ifi: "I made paper mache volcano."
Adam: His mother must be so proud.
Ifi: "Tomorrow I plant seed in paper cup and see what happens. Science!"
Ifi: "Why you doubt me? I am scientist! See my lab coat? SCIENCE!"

Adam: So, the Chee reveal that the Yeerks are also constructing a deep sea version of the Blade Ship
Ifi: Completely unnecessary.
Ifi: Yeerks: you have dudes in the military. You can borrow a military sub and outfit it with whatever the hell fancy space weapons you want.
Adam: It seems like a better idea than the Horquatic-Bajir.
Adam: And it would presumably be a lot faster and have superior sensory equipment

"We have to sink the Sea Blade," Cassie said quietly. "We have to sink it, destroy it. Make them regret ever thinking about invading the ocean."

I shot her a look. It wasn't like Cassie to be bloodthirsty.

She met my gaze, unflinching. "What they did to the Hork-Bajir was evil," she said. "Over the line. Way over the line. We need to teach them a lesson."

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Classic Cassie.
Adam: Well, it isn't like the Yeerks ever keep prototypes or blueprints around or anything.
Ifi: I am sort of wondering where the Yeerks got the materials to build this thing
Adam: Turns out you can actually construct an interstellar spacecraft out of styrofoam and saran wrap
Ifi: Ohhh, is that what Seerow told the Yeerks?
Adam: Exactly.
Ifi: And now it all makes sense

"Whales are good. We need a morph we can control. Something intelligent. That can dive deep and do some serious damage to the Sea Blade," I said. "But let's face it. The chances of another sperm whale beaching itself just for the rest of us to acquire are pretty slim."

"Of course!" Cassie snapped her fingers. "There's an orca—a killer whale—at The Gardens' SeaTown. They're calling him Swoosh."

"Swoosh?" Marco repeated incredulously. "Who names these animals?"

Cassie looked embarrassed. "Nike. They sponsored the exhibit. So they got to name the whale."

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: So who was responsible for the Friends dolphins?
Adam: Nike spokespeople watch a lot of sitcoms.
Adam: It seems to me that the only reason that they go and acquire the orcas is so they can have something new to morph on the cover.
Adam: I mean, they already have plenty of good underwater morphs at this point.
Ifi: Yeah it was pretty blatant.

Ifi: Also we don't actually get to see them acquire the DNA
Ifi: It happens offscreen
Ifi: Which is something that needed to happen more often in this series except THIS WAS NOT THE RIGHT TIME FOR IT
Adam: I honestly felt like I had accidentally skipped a chapter.
Ifi: Yeah. This was an important morph. This was not a fly or a dog or whatever.
Ifi: Kids would totally love to read about meeting a killer whale

Ifi: Anyway Jake is just flying around and conveniently happens to find the Sea Blade

The hologram showed the field. The empty field. Seen from any angle you'd see an empty, scruffy-looking rectangle of weeds and bare, tan dirt, rusty soda cans, and shredded McDonald's trash.

But looking straight down from above, something else began to appear.

Enormous! Two scimitar-shaped wings. A sleek body, built for speed. Not the elongated teardrop shape of a human sub. More like a Yeerk Blade ship, but with pustulelike pods extruding here and there around the hull.

It was blacker than black. Like something carved out of anthracite. In the brief moments it was visible it seemed to drain the light from the sky. To absorb all color into its endless black depths.

It rested on a rising platform. Like one of those hydraulic car lifts at a gas station. It was being lifted up through the roof of the Yeerk pool, up through an oblong tunnel cut through packed dirt and rock.

And then it began to shimmer and fade, just as the hologram had done. A hum grew into a low roar that even passersby would have heard, except that the only traffic was cars rushing past.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Adam: How the heck does Jake know what anthracite is?


Ifi: Haha!
Ifi: Actually I remember the term was in my fifth grade science textbook
Adam: Obsidian seems like the more obvious comparison.
Adam: I honestly had to go look it up.
Ifi: I only remember it because it was a part of a really interesting diagram

Ifi: Anyway so Jake goes running after the Sea Blade.
Ifi: And somehow does not lose it.
Ifi: When it was in the sky
Ifi: Flying
Adam: Well.
Adam: I've got nothing.

Already I was fading. Stupid! I should have gotten more altitude. I should have stayed as high up as I could be. How many times had Tobias told me: Altitude equals speed. I could have been using gravity to speed me. Instead gravity was my enemy.

A falcon struggling through the cool evening air was no match for the Sea Blade. The engines would not tire.

But as long as I could keep it in sight…

It traveled in a straight line. No tricks. No evasions. It flew straight for the beach. Suddenly it was over the sand and dunes. I was still flying hard and fast and way too low over beach bungalows and cheap motels.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: So Jake follows this stupid thing into the ocean, morphing to orca to follow it once it hits the water
Ifi: Also orcas are apparently sentient
Adam: Well, they are dolphins, I mean.
Adam: They pass the mirror test and all.
Ifi: Oh you are right
Ifi: I didn't realize they passed the mirror test, but there they are
Adam: I'm not really sure why he brings up more than when he morphed the bottlenose though.
Ifi: Yeah.
Ifi: This was really sloppily done
Ifi: It makes it sound like the orca is more intelligent/aware than the dolphins/chimps/whatever
Ifi: When really they are at the same level
Ifi: sloppy writing. poor research.
Adam: I am pretty sure that bottlenose dolphins are more intelligent.




In only a few have I encountered that strange mutation: intelligence. The capacity to see beyond fight or flee, yes or no, run or stand, kill or be killed. Only a very few species can think "If. . .then?"

The orca was one. As smart as a dolphin. As smart as a chimpanzee. It occupied that highest, most narrow rung, just below Homo sapiens.

I had encountered intelligence in a morph before. But there was something new here. New for me, at least. The orca was aware. Of me. Of something, someone directing its behavior.

It knew, in some incomplete, simplistic way, that it was being controlled.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Uh
Ifi: No.
Adam: What
Adam: No
Adam: That is not how morphing works.
Adam: You have long established that is not how morphing works.
Ifi: See? YOU CAN TELL WHEN THE GHOSTWRITER HAS NOT READ THE SERIES.
Adam: And now you are creating all sorts of horrible moral implications that are never brought up ever again.
Ifi: This was soooo annoying to me.
Ifi: Did NOBODY edit this book?
Adam: When you have to pop out one a month, something is bound to go under the radar
Adam: Still
Adam: This is the sort of plot hole that actually has noticeable implications of the overarching plot
Ifi: What plot hole?
Ifi: I don't see anything.
Ifi: Don't know what you're talking about.
Ifi: Nothing there.
Ifi: Didn't happen.

Ifi: The others somehow manage to catch up to Jake
Ifi: Despite the fact that he flew after the Sea Blade alone in bird morph
Ifi: And then pursued it into the ocean in orca morph

<Hey, Shamu! It's me.> Marco.

<Is everyone here?> I said.

<Yeah. Can't believe we found you.>

<Where's the Sea Blade?> Rachel asked.

<If you echolocate you'll sense a large whale moving away from us. You'll hear it, too. That, boys and girls, is the visser's new ship.>

<Yes, that would be sensible,> Ax said. <They not only hide, they create a false picture for anyone who does happen to notice them. They have adjusted the energy absorption field to reflect the picture of a whale. Generating the sound signature is easy, of course.>

<Perfect time for a surprise attack,> Rachel said. <We're like serious tonnage of battering ram here. And they're probably feeling pretty cocky.>

<More tonnage on the way. Look who's joined us,> Tobias said.

Two orcas. Not humans in morph. The real thing.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Also two orcas join in the fun for absolutely no reason.
Adam: Jesus Whale sent them to assist
Ifi: "Yay! I love killing things!"
Adam: …Don't we all.

Adam: Then the Sea Blade starts firing on them.
Ifi: Ready for more trauma?
Adam: Always.

A horrible shrieking! An inhuman scream of pain, silenced too abruptly.

I fired clicks. Weird, impossible picture. Not six orca. Not eight. Nine.

Nine.

What?

<Oh, God!> I cried.

One of the orcas had been split lengthwise. There were two echo pictures where there should have been one.

Sliced in half! Like a loaf of Italian bread cut open to make a sandwich.

The two enormous halves of the whale began to sink toward the ocean floor. The water darkened, thickened with blood.

Engulfed us! Billowed out from the torn halves of the massive creature.

<Who was hit?> I cried.

<Demorph!> Tobias yelled.

<It's not me!> Cassie answered. <Ax! Marco!>

<I am unharmed,> Ax answered.

<I'm mentally destroyed. Tell me that didn't happen.> Marco.

Relief. One of the real orca. Simple, dumb luck.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: AUGH
Adam: Mmm, sandwiches...
Ifi: The others ask for orders, but Jake just floats in the water going, <Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp.>
Ifi: So the Animorphs write Jake off as a loss and beat up the Sea Blade
Ifi: Somehow
Adam: Because the advanced alien craft isn't stable enough to handle a bunch of large marine mammals bumping into it.
Adam: Quality Yeerk craftsmanship at work

Ifi: So the Animorphs think they might have destroyed the ship, but they are not sure, so Jake makes them find it again so they can hit it some more.

It was the Sea Blade. Still listing. Still leaking fuel. Hovering before what seemed to be a cave.

We moved closer. As cautiously as the huge beasts could. Completely conspicuous. When we were still about a hundred yards away from the ship, we stopped.

<The opening of that cave is far too narrow for the Sea Blade to get through,> Cassie observed. <They can't be hoping to hide, can they?>

[…]

<Ax-man,> I said suddenly. <Everyone? Straight ahead.>

Through the waving underwater plants that grew around the mouth of the cave came three, four, five— creatures. Vaguely human in shape. Vaguely aquatic.

<Okay a rescue crew?> Marco wondered.

<From where?> I said.

The five creatures surrounded the Sea Blade. Attached ropes or pulleys of some sort to the ship.

WHHHOOOSSSHHH!

And then, with an impossibly swift motion, the creatures, whatever they were, drew the Sea Blade through the narrow opening of the sea cave!

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation


Ifi: I like how you can identify the point where the author started taking hits of acid.

<Well, that was weird,> Rachel said.

<Not to mention impossible. How'd they do that?> Marco.

<I think the bigger question is who did that?> Tobias said. <They definitely weren't human.>

<Whoever they are, what do they want with the Sea Blade?> Cassie added.

<Prince Jake?> Ax said, questioning, prodding me to decide.

I was feeling like I'd made too many decisions in the last hour or so. Too many bad ones. And yet...

<We follow,> I said. <Whatever those were, they could have been some new Yeerk host body or whatever. That may be some kind of Yeerk facility.>

<Yeah, either that or Atlantis,> Marco said with a laugh.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Also
Ifi: WTF is up with Jake's characterization today?
Ifi: Everytime someone asks him what to do, he just goes, "Derp. Idklol."
Adam: He's stuck narrating the Atlantis book. It's clearly an off day for him.
Ifi: Cheer up Jake. At least it's not the Australia book.
Adam: Oh heavens. We will get to that one later.

Adam: So, in spite of their better judgment, they follow the fish people inside

I looked at us, bobbing in the midnight ocean.

My best friend. My cousin. My girlfriend. A nothlit and an alien.

My friends.

Bedraggled. Wet. Cold. Incredibly tired.

Hair plastered to their heads. Lips blue. Bodies shivering.

And I was asking them to do it again. Again!

For the third or fourth time in less than an hour.

To morph and dive deep, deep into the chilling dark ocean. To hunt down the Sea Blade.

Sometimes I hate my life.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Who are you and what have you done with Jake?
Adam: Yeah, he never outright refers to Cassie as his girlfriend.
Adam: Unless he was talking about Marco.

<Whew! What is that—smell? Taste?> Marco said. <Fuel?>

<Great. We're following the equivalent of a fleet of Greyhound buses down here.>

<At least it means we're on the right trail,> I said. <The fuel's got to be from the Sea Blade.>

<Probably not fuel,> Ax said. <This is not a human submarine. It is very unlikely to be powered by the incomplete combustion of the liquid remnant of decayed vegetation. That smell/taste is most likely coolant.>

<Ah.>

<Or possibly the waste from the onboard sanitary facilities.>

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Augh!
Ifi: Shut up Ax! Just shut up!
Adam: The last thing we need in this book is more alien toilets.

Ifi: So they finally get inside weirdoland

A few dozen yards away was a ship, A wooden ship. It had three tall masts. A single deck of gunports, eighteen in all, all open, all revealing the blunt snouts of old brass or iron cannon. The sails hung limp from most of the yards. The ropes and cables sagged. But nothing was as rotted as it should be. After all, no ship of this type had sailed in almost two hundred years.

It rested in dry dock, on a massive cradle made of carved coral.

"Coral?" Cassie said. "There's no coral near here."

Marco gave her a look. "That's what bothers you? The coral? There's a whole three-masted frigate sitting there like it just floated in from the War of 1812."

<And a crew,> Tobias said.

"Say what?"

<My night vision's not great, but I see men in the shrouds. And up on the yards.>

"What do you mean, men?" I snapped.

<I mean men. Dead men. Not moving. Not breathing. Just frozen in place.>

"Okay, we're leaving," Marco said.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Jake.
Ifi: Listen to Marco.
Ifi: It is time to LEAVE.


Ifi: Also, the guys know a lot about ships for some reason.
Adam: Well, we were getting semi-obscure geological facts before.
Adam: I suppose everyone does a lot of reading in between having to go kill things

We moved on toward a ship different yet similar to the first. This, too, was a sailing ship. But older. It was rounder, the masts shorter. There was a sort of ornate castle built up on the stern.

<Spanish galleon?> Tobias speculated.

Here, too, the ropes were slack, the sails hung like sheets on a clothesline on a dead calm day. And here, too, Tobias reported on bearded faces, empty eyes.

"Look, I don't know about anyone else, but I believe in listening to my instincts. And my instincts are saying, 'You've done enough, Marco. Go home. Play with the stupid poodle. Do some homework.'"

"I get the same feeling, Marco," I said. "But we almost got killed trying to take out the Sea Blade. I don't want a rematch. I want it sunk. I want to know it's sunk."

<And this is certainly a fascinating phenomenon> Ax added.

We walked past the galleon. And yet another ship waited for us. Smaller, sleeker.

<PT boat,> Tobias said.

[…]

<It's an aircraft carrier. It's an entire aircraft carrier. Japanese. There's a Japanese flag. That is an entire, World War Two, Japanese aircraft carrier. Impossible!>

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Adam: How the heck do they manage to drag these things so far?
Ifi: Science!
Adam: Well, there are few things in life that can't be solved through science of the mad variety.

Ax pushed open a second hatch and stopped. He said nothing. Just stared with all four eyes.

I leaned over him.

It was a fairly large room. At one end a low, raised platform. A map was on the wall. A chart of some sort.

Facing the platform were seats, like the seats of an old theater. Several rows. Perhaps two dozen seats in all. And in each seat, facing forward, dead men.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Augh!
Ifi: I WANT TO GO HOME.
Adam: Well, at least they don't turn to look at you when your back is turned...

<They are dead humans,> Ax stated. <They have been preserved. Stuffed with a substance I cannot identify without further, more detailed examination, and sewn up the back with a stringy vegetative material.>

"I am so out of here," Marco said. "Jake, we have to go. Now."

"Marco? Shut up," Rachel said, but more like she was trying to quiet her own fears.

"Mummies? Like, what? Like Egyptian mummies?" I asked, feeling stupid.

"Sewn up the back," Marco muttered. "Who cares what style? Dead is dead."

"The bodies are in remarkable condition," Cassie said, sounding like she was talking from some other place, not connected to her own body.

<I am unable to identify the culture or people responsible for this, Prince Jake. This is so irrational and strange that I assume it must involve humans.>

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Dude. Jake. Dude
Ifi: Listen to Marco.
Ifi: Listen to him
Ifi: IT IS TIME TO LEAVE
Adam: It's funny, because everything probably would have worked out much better for them if they had just turned and gone home.
Ifi: Even if the Animorphs left right now, and if Visser Three managed to get out of here alive with the Sea Blade and then managed to find the SS Snoopy, he wouldn't be able to do anything.
Ifi: That ship kicked ass.
Ifi: So really guys.
Ifi: Go home.
Ifi: The Pemalite ship is more than capable of taking care of itself.
Adam: Well, not really.
Adam: But I will get into this later on.
Adam: So, they keep looking through the museum exhibit.
Adam: And then...

SCREEEEECCCHHH!

Instinctively, I ducked.

A seagull! The bird swooped only inches above our heads and landed on the metal railing bordering the deck.

"Look at the eyes on that thing!"

The creature I thought was a seagull was not a normal seagull. Its eyes were enormous. They covered the entire sides of its head and touched over its beak. And unlike a normal seagull's eyes, this bird's eyes were bright blue.

<Eyes adapted to a perpetually dim environment?> Tobias guessed.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Augh!
Ifi: Author!

Adam: AHHHHH

Adam: AHHHHHHHHH

Adam: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Adam: Kill it!
Adam: Kill it with fire, and then kill it again!
Ifi: The eyes
Ifi: TOUCHED OVER ITS BEAK
Ifi: WTF
Adam: It reminds me of that comic where a mad scientist tried to surgically engineer an anime character in real life.


A few minutes and we were off again. We followed the river further into this macabre underwater world.

Hundreds of ships for countless square miles!

German U-boats. A 1930s vintage tramp steamer. Pieces of junked motorboats. A Polynesian raft. Rows of periscopes. Broken hulls. Propellers. Ships' wheels. Rudders and radar equipment. Deck furniture from luxury ocean liners.

And bodies.

Preserved pilots and passengers. Eighteenth century European crew and twentieth-century tourists. Whalers. Fishermen.

<It looks like a collection,> Cassie said. <AImost orderly. Deliberate.>

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Jake sees all this and still doesn't want to go home
Ifi: Dude
Ifi: You are fired
Ifi: You are no longer the president of the Animorphs

<Prince Jake? Ahead. On that—corner. Creatures. Beings. Not,> he hastened to add, <any species with which I am familiar.>

<The people who stole the Sea Blade,> I said.

They were approximately human in size and shape. Two adults and one child. Wearing loose, simple garments. Kind of old-fashioned for Earth. Like togas. Like something the ancient Romans wore. And…

<Their skin is blue—not that we haven't seen that before,> Rachel said, glancing at Ax. <Kind of cool, actually,> she added. <But I have to give a "thumbs-down" to the oily look.>

<Jake?> It was Cassie. <Look at their necks. They're…they're gilled.>

<And webbed,> I said grimly. <Feet and hands.>

<And the eyes. They're oversized, like the ones on the seagull,> Tobias noted.

<Not a bad body on that one,> Marco said.

That earned him stares from all of us.

<What? What? I can't compliment a fish girl?>


----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Adam: …Marco, what are you doing?
Ifi: LSD.

Adam: So apparently they are all:


Ifi: Minus the naked

<Hork-Bajir,> I said. <Look.>

Emerging from the Sea Blade was a line of seven-foot-tall Hork-Bajir. Twenty-five or so. Being herded along by about ten of the blue, gilled creatures wielding a motley collection of primitive spears and new, automatic weapons.

Hork-Bajir. The visser's crew. Manacled to each other, ankle to ankle, shuffling along, heads bowed. Hands tied in front. Being led into the base of the stone pyramid structure.

<No Visser Three?> Tobias said.

<Not that I can see,> I answered grimly. <He may not have been aboard.>

<Or maybe he's already a prisoner,> Cassie suggested.

<Maybe he escaped capture,> Rachel countered. <Morphed to something small and slipped past the B.G.'s. We've done it often enough.>

<B.G.'s?> Ax wondered.

<Blue Gills. B.G.'s.>

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Ok.
Ifi: What?
Ifi: How did these wimps overpower a whole crew of Yeerk-controlled Hork-Bajir?
Adam: They have WWI era rifles and samurai swords!
Adam: But yeah, the Nartec are pretty much absolute masters at capturing people offscreen
Ifi: And onscreen

<Just demorph everyone.>

Within minutes we were four kids and an Andalite. Balanced precariously—especially Ax on the shifting floor of seaweed. About to morph again to owls and join Tobias above. About to fly out of this place, this hidden nightmare.

<Jake! Watch out!>

"What the…!"

A heavy weight like a prickly blanket was thrown on my head and shoulders and back.

I fell to my knees. My body rocked and bobbed as if I'd been tossed on a waterbed.

"Jake!" Cassie cried. "What's happening?"

We'd been captured! Netted! The five of us, a tangled mass of arms, legs, hooves, and tail.


----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: "Jake, let's do battle morphs and kick some ass."
Ifi: <Yeah I can cut us out with my tail-blade.>
Ifi: "No."
Ifi: <What?>
Ifi: "No. I want to be captured."
Ifi: <...why?>
Ifi: "DO NOT QUESTION ME!"
Adam: Jake, what are you on this book?
Ifi: LSD
Adam: That's your answer to everything.
Ifi: Ax even offers to cut them free and Jake tells him not to!
Adam: Because of perfectly sensible reasons.

Across the field of bobbing seaweed. Back into the heart of the city. Across the splintery wooden dock. To the large doorway at the base of the pyramid structure.

Dragged like a sack of potatoes. Or garbage.

[…]

From somewhere in the distance I heard a shrill cry. The voice was Hork-Bajir. In pain.

"Is that…"

"Yeah," I whispered.

I was now pretty sure I'd made the wrong decision.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Ok great. Now that Jake has finally figured this out, NOW can we go home and pretend this never happened?
Adam: Jake has always wanted to be a statue
Adam: It is a lifelong dream of his
Ifi: So they are taken to the queen!
Adam: At this point it completely turns into


Ifi: No. Atlantis was a pretty good movie.
Adam: Mike Mignola did the art direction on it.
Adam: And that pretty much prevents me from disliking it.

Ifi: So the fish people are called the Nartec.
Ifi: The Queen is named Soco and she is a crazy bitch.
Adam: They are all a bunch of sociopaths.
Adam: And for some reason they are all omniglots.
Ifi: Languages are not a thing in this series.
Adam: It is and isn't.
Ifi: Anyway, they are invited to dinner and the queen tells them how their island sank and they became fish-people.

"And, of necessity, our bodies changed, too. At an impressively rapid rate. We became amphibious by an act of supreme will."

Ax commented privately. <Even without the necessary experimentation, I am fairly certain the light produced by the "narna" rocks Queen Soco mentioned is radioactive. No doubt this radioactivity hastened the rate of the Nartec's mutations.>

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: So the Nartec are all a bunch of radioactive mutants
Ifi: Though would that really create the uniformity in species that we see with them?
Adam: That doesn't...
Ifi: Yeah I thought not.
Adam: Okay
Adam: No.
Adam: Even if the low level radiation causes an increased level of mutations, the evolutionary process can only move as fast as each generation lasts.
Adam: So unless the Nartec all have a year lifespan, that is just not going to work.

Ifi: Anyway, Queen Soco happily tells Jake about how all humans are stuffed and placed in the museum once they run out of things to teach the Nartec.
Ifi: She also shares her plans to conquer humanity with the Sea Blade.
Adam: For whatever reason, they do not immediately go into their battle morphs and fight their way out.
Ifi: I think the way you become Queen of the Nartec is by having superior exposition skills.
Adam: Honestly, that makes just as much sense as anything else in this book.

"I'm not happy about bailing without having found the visser," I said grimly. "Or destroying the Sea Blade. Queen Psycho may have delusions, but she could still do a lot of damage with the Sea Blade."

<The Yeerk vessel could sink any human vessel,> Ax agreed. <It could also carry out Dracon attacks on Earth's coastal cities. However, eventually human defenses would be able to crush it by sheer weight of numbers.>

"Cool. So we leave it to the navy, and we book out of this nightmare," Marco said.

But then I saw his eyes cloud. He looked disturbed.

"What?" I asked him.

"I was holding a mug from an old Soviet nuclear sub. They may have more than Dracon beams to play with."

"You don't think the missiles survived?" Cassie demanded. "Aren't they protected with all kinds of computer codes and so on?"

Marco nodded. "Yeah. Absolutely. And the Nartec probably can't beat the security measures."

<Probability is not certainty,> Ax said grimly.

"Great. So Queen Psycho maybe has nukes. Wonderful."

"And what about Tobias?" Rachel demanded. "We're going to leave without him?"

I shook my head. "No."

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Guys.
Ifi: GO THE FUCK HOME
Ifi: Seriously what is wrong with you?
Adam: Because if they just went home, then we wouldn't have this lovely book to read
Ifi: The thing with the nuclear missiles, btw? Never mentioned again.
Adam: Not at all.
Adam: Also, apparently the Nartec are slowly dying, and have been using captured humans as sources of…ahem…genetic material.

<Yes. The high levels of radioactivity have allowed them to undergo accelerated rates of mutation. But now the destructive mutations are beginning to pile up. And they have insufficient sources of new genetic materials.>

"Why?" I asked.

Cassie had the answer. "Fewer ships sinking. They must have been breeding with limited numbers of surface humans, survivors of sinking ships."

Ax nodded. <It would be at best a short-term and dangerous fix. The new breeding stock would no doubt have resulted in a relatively large number of Nartec born without their unique adaptations: gills and webbed feet.>

"So their dreams of conquering Earth are—"

<The desperate act of a race that knows itself to be doomed.>

"How horrible," Cassie said. "An entire people—gone."

"Oh, yeah, I'm weeping over here." Marco snorted. "These people are planning to mummify us. After killing us. And if those Hork-Bajir screams are any indication, after torturing us. As far as I'm concerned," Marco added, "the Nartec can just devolve to extinction right now."

Cassie coughed and looked embarrassed. "Actually, Marco, they may try to breed with us first. Or at least extract our DNA, if that's possible with their technology."

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: AUGH
Adam: Ewwww
Ifi: GO
Ifi: HOME
Ifi: YOU
Ifi: STUPID
Ifi: IDIOTS
Adam: How the heck do the Nartec have enough genetic commonality with normal humans in order to be able to breed with them?
Adam: They have gills, for Whalesake.
Ifi: So instead of running away screaming and leaving Tobias to find his own way home, the Animorphs take a tour of the city!
Adam: And now we get an inferior rehash of book 26!

No signal had been given, but I was sure the trailing guards were moving closer. Sure that fingers were closer to triggers. Hands tighter on the hafts of spears.

"Not necessary," I said tightly. "I'm sure it's a great hospital."

"But it is a great scientific treasure of our people," Naca insisted. "Queen Soco would be mortally offended if—"

"I don't like hospitals," I said.

No illusion: The guards were moving closer. But they could only get two abreast onto the causeway. Ax had drifted back to bring up the rear. Ax would take down both guards before they thought about squeezing a trigger.

I shook my head, feeling fairly secure. "I don't think so, Naca."

What happened next happened so fast I had time for only one thought, one last stab of regret.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Adam: Jake, this is why you just go home
Ifi: A) Morph to bird. Fly away. B) Morph to fish. Swim away. C) Morph to tiger. Eat everyone.
Ifi: You had a lot of options here.
Ifi: But you picked D)
Ifi: Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp
Adam: D is for Derp.
Adam: That's good enough for me.

"Do not squirm or resist, it will accomplish nothing," Naca said. "Soon you will be injected with a concentrated liquid from the ablata weed. It will render you peaceful and compliant."

His bug-eyed face loomed over me. Two new Nartec faces as well.

"And then what?" I asked.

"And then we will make an incision from the top of your skull, down to your buttocks, then down along the back of each leg. Your ribs will be removed, then your internal organs, and eventually the rest of your tissue."

"What are you doing this for?" I demanded, a little frantically.

"Your organs and tissue will be processed to extract the helical molecule that controls heredity and later employed to augment the development of—"

"There are easier way to get new DNA, you idiot!" Marco yelled.

Naca continued unperturbed. "Then, your skin and bones will be stuffed and preserved to be used in our educational facility."

"Okay," Rachel said. "Jake? Now can we kick these guys' butts for them?"

The answer was yes. But I couldn't say it. Couldn't say it because something had happened to my mouth. My lips were rubber. My face was frozen. My hands were tingling.

The injection!

I couldn't move. Couldn't...but it really didn't matter. What was I getting so tense about? No need to get all worked up.

"Jake...I..." Rachel said. Then, slowly, from far away... "Never mind."

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: And everybody died
Ifi: The end.
Adam: Yaaaay
Ifi: No, no
Ifi: Don't be silly.
Ifi: That would be a terrible way to end this series.

A new face. New Nartec. Carrying a mace, an ancient, medieval club. Like Sir Fishalot.

Hah-hah-hah…what?

He looked at me.

Then he slammed the butt of the mace into Naca's ribs. Naca went down, sinking with magical slowness past my face.

A dreamy, upward swing caught the next Nartec on the chin. The third one turned and ran.

I heard a door slam. Heard a wheel spin.

Then the mace-wielding Nartec was back. He was back, but not the same, anymore. His rubbery, blue skin was now covered in a spreading pattern that looked a lot like feathers.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Good job Tobias. You get a cookie.
Ifi: Though nobody would have blamed you for just going home.
Adam: Tobias is the only competent one in this book.
Adam: He was pretty much ready to go as soon as they got here, and only stayed so that he could save their asses.

<Hey, you try finding your way around this nuthouse. Those Nartec morphs are weak, slow, and easily tired out of the water. They're much stronger in the wet. But probably not ten percent of the population is strong enough dry to go on a long walk. This Naca guy is one of the lucky few. Like the guards they let you see. My morph was not so good.>

I nodded toward the closed and locked steel hatch. "Bad guys out there?"

<Yep. Lots of them. One by one they aren't too tough, but fifty of them, armed, is another thing.>

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Seriously.
Ifi: How did they beat the Hork-Bajir?
Adam: I DON'T KNOW
Ifi: Is it a rock paper scissors thing?
Ifi: Hork-Bajir beat Humans. Humans beat Nartec. Nartec beat Hork-Bajir?
Adam: Well, the Nartec would obviously be water type.
Adam: So the Hork-Bajir are ground type, and Tobias is flying type?
Adam: I dunno
Ifi: SCIENCE
Adam: What is more scientific than pokemon?

"I screwed up," I said. "I forgot they were amphibious. That's how they surprised us on the causeway. But they don't know we can fly." I pointed at the round, open porthole. "They'll get in here soon. Let's be somewhere else."

We morphed. The Nartec broke down the door just as the last of us cleared the porthole and took to the air.

<Where to?> Rachel said.

<The Sea Blade. Visser or no visser, I've had it. We're taking that ship and getting out of here. Tobias? Can you get us back?>

<Oh, yeah. I've gotten to know this city pretty well in the past few hours.>

<I'm glad you're okay, Tobias,> Rachel said. <I hate it when you don't get taken prisoner with us.>

<Yeah, well, I was worried about you, too.>

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: FINALLY WE CAN GO
Adam: Of course, because it is finally established canon that Visser Three is physically incapable of delegating, he has been waiting on the Sea Blade this entire time.
Adam: Even Visser Three is more sensible in this book than Jake.
Ifi: Dude, my advice goes for you as well
Ifi: GO HOME
Adam: Hey, at least he stayed put in a safe place.
Adam: This is the guy who thought it was a good idea to glue gill onto his soldiers so they could function underwater.
Ifi: True
Ifi: Comparatively speaking he did very well

Ifi: So we finally get onto the Sea Blade

<Oh, God…> Cassie gasped.

Mummified Hork-Bajir.

Sitting upright in the various chairs for pilot and other crew. Standing at a video display screen. Leaning over a radar map.

I swallowed hard to keep the bile from rising in my throat. <Forget them,> I snapped. <Work around them. Push them aside, we have no time.>

Though the mummified Hork-Bajir weighed considerably less than they had alive—with bones and blood and muscle—it still wasn't easy to remove their stiff bladed bodies from the crew's stations.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Augh!
Ifi: Poor Hork-Bajir.
Ifi: They're like little kids!
Ifi: How could you do that?
Adam: So now they have to toss a bunch of corpses overboard.
Adam: Fun stuff

He fluttered over and looked outside. <Not good, Jake! We've got a crowd gathering. And it's not happy. Maybe a hundred of them out there. Armed.>

I ran over to look out the porthole. It was as he'd reported. A crowd of Nartec armed with spears, rifles, flamethrowers, machine guns, swords, clubs, grenades, and longbows.

The crowd was on the move. Coming for us.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Oh no
Ifi: not longbows
Adam: You could have avoided all of this if you just left earlier.

Ifi: Luckily, the Nartec line up single-file and attack one at a time

<How are we going to dive with a blown hatch?> Rachel demanded.

<Ax? Stay on it. Tobias, rear guard. Everyone else, with me!> I ran toward the outer hatch. That was the place to stop them.

I reached the hatch and waited, braced for the onslaught. It was quick in coming. A body of Nartec came swarming. But a swarm can't move through a hatch designed for Hork-Bajir in single file.

A spear lanced by my head, and shredded my left ear. It was followed by the Nartec who had thrown it, wearing at least three other crude weapons on his body.

I backed up, waited till he was framed in the hatchway and leaped. I hit him, paws out but claws retracted. The impact knocked him back into his brother Nartec. A Nartec warrior nimbly leaped over his fallen friend and I batted him down in mid-leap.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Are the Nartec soldiers even sentient? The way they mindlessly attack even after the comrades have been slaughtered suggests they are more like drones.
Adam: Years of genetic deterioration and working under a deranged queen does wonders for motivation
Ifi: Luckily, Visser Three comes waltzing in

A massive blast of heat and light from the corridor!

Ten, twelve Nartec at the mouth of the hall fell to the floor, their skin smoldering. They crawled away, desperate to escape.

<What the heck was that!> Marco yelled. He held up his right arm. The dark coarse hair was singed from sturdy fist to shoulder.

<The visser!> Ax hissed. His stalk eyes were turned back toward us, his main eyes still glued to the computerized control board.

<How can you tell?> I demanded.

<It is the Luminar. A beast from a moon of the planet Slegabb Five. What else but the visser in morph!>
Into the control room came the Luminar.

A blinding glow!

Blasting heat!

Heat emanating from the very skin of the beast. Seven feet of blowtorch!

Two short arms and two stubby legs protruded from a bulbous body. Sausagelike fingers. A wide smile, crackling with electricity.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Adam: How the heck did he manage to acquire this thing?
Ifi: Subdued it with drugged steaks?
Adam: Drugged steaks covered in liquid nitrogen
Ifi: So they decide to team up with Visser Three because Ax can't get past the security protocols on the Sea Blade
Ifi: Wait
Ifi: Ax can't get past Yeerk security?
Ifi: WHAT?
Ifi: No!
Adam: Well, this craft is a brand new model
Adam: So it isn't unreasonable that they would have improved their security protocols
Ifi: Yeah but you can bet the next time Ax needs to hack something, he'll be able to.
Adam: Shhh
Ifi: Ok so the Animorphs and Visser Three work together to escape, but the Animorphs have a plan!

We were alone in a Yeerk ship with Visser Three.

<Jake!> It was Cassie. <They're coming after us!>

<German U-boat,> Tobias added.

<Andalite! Fire!> the visser roared.

Ax said rapidly, <Rachel, you can target the pursuing ship's rudder without damaging the ship itself,> He gave her instructions. Rachel stabbed at the controls with her Trent Reznor nails.

<On my command,> Ax said calmly. He put the Sea Blade into a sudden starboard turn.

The U-boat was at an angle to us, baring her stern.

TSEEEEEW!

We fired. The U-boat stopped, dead in the water.

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Also lots of things blow up


Adam: This last bit is basically something out of a Zack Snyder movie
Adam: And so after Visser Three is kind enough to save their butts, they unceremoniously toss him out of the doorlock.

<Torpedoes!> the visser cried, seeing the display. <Three minutes to impact. We can easily outrun them. Maximum power, Andalite! We'll be in the open sea within seconds.>

<NO!> Private thought-speak.

<Jake! You okay man?> Tobias said.

<I'm fine, buddy. Ax. Kill the engines. Marco? Open the hatch.>

<Oh, man,> Rachel moaned.

The engines suddenly quieted.

The visser turned violently away from the control board. <You betray me?!> he roared. <I will incinerate you!>

Just then the wave of seawater exploded through the doorway and flooded across the bridge deck. The visser's burning feet were suddenly mere flesh.

<Interesting morph, Visser,> I said. <Does it work underwater?>

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Spoiler: It does not.
Adam: Don't give it away!
Ifi: The torpedoes hit, which tears the ship in half and somehow the water pressure does not kill everyone.
Adam: And then they all go home, and decide to never mention this to anyone ever again.
Ifi: The ending lines are weird.

Rachel was silent for a while, then she said, <Okay, fair enough. But you know what? We win this war someday, get rid of the Yeerks, and everything comes out and all? We need to go back, show people what's down there, get busy.>

<Start a whole new war?> Cassie asked.

<No. Not to fight,> Rachel said softly. <To bury.>

<Amen to that.>

I said, <Let's get out of here.>

----Book Thirty-Six, The Mutation

Ifi: Uh
Ifi: Okay you know what fine whatever I dont even want to talk about this anymore.
Adam: Well, I agree with the very last line.

Adam: Okay, so, closing thoughts.
Adam: This book was stupid.
Adam: Infamously stupid.
Ifi: If the Animorphs had just minded their own damn business, the Nartec would have probably killed Visser Three
Adam: And probably have destroyed the Sea Blade in the process, anyway.
Ifi: If Ax couldn't hijack the Sea Blade, there is no way the Nartec could have done it
Adam: Well, he said he could hijack it, he just couldn't do so in under 30 seconds.
Ifi: That doesn't change my main argument, which is that this book was dumb
Adam: To be totally honest, I kind of enjoyed reading this book on some level though.
Adam: It manages to fit into that nice niche of enjoyably stupid.
Adam: Which is not at all what a good Animorphs book should be like.
Adam: But I can still sort of appreciate it on some level.
Ifi: I can appreciate the parts of this book that worked
Ifi: I had no major issues with the first act
Ifi: and if this book had chosen to go in a normal direction, it could have worked
Adam: I still think that trying to make amphibious Hork-Bajir was a dumb idea, but if they treat it as such in-universe it might have worked.
Adam: Any other thoughts?
Ifi: No.
Ifi: Only remorse.
Adam: Go have some cake

37 comments:

  1. Nartecs had clearly become amphibious because of Coke, like in that episode of Futurama with merpeople. Because SCIENCE, obviously.

    Well, jokes aside, this book was BAD. Well, yeah, it was admittedly "so bad it's good", but still bad. The mission was a totally waste of time, everyone - except maybe Tobias and Marco - was way out of character... and, yeah, maybe the idea of a quasi-Atlantean society could potentially be interesting, but the book itself was really sloppily written.
    I mean, it was a book so stupid that with hindsight I'm surprised this wasn't a Cassie one (like the Australian one will be. I mean, that's the third book where Cassie is sent somewhere all alone because of reasons... But it didn't have Aftran nor an amazing brain operation).

    Also, +100 points for the Franken Fran reference.XD

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    1. Franken Fran is pretty much the greatest thing to ever exist.

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  2. My biggest complaint about the book was that the narrative voice did not come across like Jake. The other characters had vague suggestions of their personality traits, but acted them out in different ways. Like Marco's caution/wariness. He kept wanting to go home, but real Marco would have made more stupid jokes about how they were going to die and referenced horror movies like he was, I don't know, Adam & Ifi or something.

    I liked the idea of the Nartec, and IIRC, the ludicrous evolution thing is only the theory of a juvenile frequently-distracted student. Maybe the Nartec had genetic engineers or met some aliens who offered to change them into water-adapted humans or something. Also, if I were the Animorphs, I'd go back for their nukes, maybe with some Chee force-fields & holograms for backup. Hell, I'd use the Chee for a heck of a lot more than body doubles.

    This review pretty much nails it as a stupid book that was still fun to read. It was just badly placed after all the issues & status-quo-affecting events of the more recent books. Also, there is not a worse-written two-book streak than this one and the next book. And both were good ideas at the core, featuring very OoC narrators, blue aliens roughly based on superheroes, and the deliberate targeting of Visser Three for the mission, only to end up helping him out at the end and saving him from the creepy blue new guys. And written by hacks with only the roughest familiarity with the series.

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    1. Also I forgot: IIRC, there was a point in the initial fight with the Sea Blade where Tobias & Rachel were in sperm whale morphs, or referred to as such. The author lost track of the morphs the characters were using in the battle he was writing.

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  3. I'm going to go ahead and assume that the entirety of the second half is just some weird hallucination that Jake had after ramming the Sea Blade. Because, seriously, the majority of the book is hilariously bad and nonsensical.

    The opening, with the Fish-Bajir, makes just as much sense as you point out. Shouldn't the Yeerk Empire have some leftover Leeran-Controllers that could be dispatched, or the previously infested shark-Controllers? And the last time Visser Three went aboard the Pemalite ship, he got down there just fine anyways. Why didn't he just go aboard the same submarine from last time without building a giant subaquatic battleship and alerting the Chee by doing so?

    Also, if this book actually happened in Animorphs canon, you'd think that Visser Three would tell ''somebody'' "hey, there's a big civilization of aquatic mutants off the coast of California, maybe we should infest some of them."

    But argh. Worst. Episode. Ever.

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    1. - The Shark-hosts were rendered non-funcitonal by the destruction of their home base
      - Obviously, they are losing Leera, and all humor aside, Ifi's portrayal of the high-ranking Yeerks to the presence of a Leeran-controller is probably not without factual basis. Also, they are not much more combat capable than Taxxons
      - Last time Visser Three went aboard the Pemalite ship, he got kicked out by said ship. He has also failed to dispatch the "Andalite bandits" in underwater combat on more than one occasion. Can you blame him for wanting armor & guns this time?
      - He doesn't know about the Chee, or about the Animorphs' intelligence sources. If he did, they'd be even less use to the Animorphs, wouldn't they?
      - Why would they want hosts that are even weaker than humans?
      - Wait until next week.

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    2. I like your hallucination theory. I will ascribe to it as well.

      Delete
  4. Thanks for reminding me this happened.

    Well, no, I sort of vaguely recall this plot. I just didn't remember it was from Animorphs.

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  5. I'm with Cannoli. This book does not seem like Jake at all. Some characters were exaggerated, some were barely used. Where was Rachel? She would have wiped out the Nartec already. And Ax. The arrogant Andalite was exaggerated. Hey, look at this:
    "< Yes, well. > Ax straightened his shoulders in a way that made it clear dealing with lowly humans was a sacrifice for a lofty Andalite."
    Ax always came across as, < Right, humans haven't gotten there yet > and then explaining. Here, he's like, < UGH FILTHY HUMANS >. I do like the part where Soco called him a pet.
    By the way, does anyone like that name? Soco. It reminds me of sock.

    This book was fun to read though. I do like it, even if it's not very Animorphs, like Ifi said. I really like the cover. I fought someone for this book back in 6th grade. Well, as much as you can fight in the library. It's weird, my copy is all water-damaged, but it was kept with all my other perfectly-kept books.

    Oh, and before I forget: some guy messaged me on deviantART about his latest project for humanity, Earth, and the entire solar system, which he claims belong to the great, mighty, and noble humans, who are the most wondrous beings in the entire universe. Fun Link! (His entire gallery is like that)
    Oh hey, HTML works here. I did not know that!

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    1. "No retreat, no surrender. That...is Human Law."

      I wasn't aware we'd merged into a single world government.

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    2. Woah. I can link in the comment section? This changes everything...

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    3. He's the president/CEO/spokesperson for humanity too.

      Delete
    4. I like how half his gallery is flags for when the UN takes over the world and the other half is Starfox fanart.

      Delete
  6. AHHHHH! AHHHHH! Holy (bleep)ing (bleep) on a stick! I read these on my phone in bed when I wake up. That (bleep)ing seagull... High Octane Unleaded Nitrogen Enriched Nightmare Fuel. You monster. I hate you so much right now. Kill it with fire indeed!

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  7. Di anyone else get the feeling that the ghostwriter just sort of ...forgot about Rachel for the entire book? The most egregious example was when the normal orca bot blown in half, and jake was like "everybody check in"
    and Tobias checks in
    then Cassie
    then Ax
    then Marco
    Well Ok! That's everybody!

    Also, y'know, WTF?

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    1. Rachel's too much work to write. Let's just leave her out of this one, even though she's the noisiest cast member next to Marco, especially in situations like these.

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  8. Oh, and... that is a wonderful seagull. Congratulations. That was the best thing ever.

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    1. I had so much fun drawing the seagull, you have no idea.

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  9. AND SORRY FOR COMMENTING SO MUCH, BUT I FORGOT TO ASK THIS BEFORE.
    Where on earth is that manga page from. It's creepy as hell. I want to know more.

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    1. It's called "Franken Fran" and it is pretty much the greatest thing ever put to paper. (Very NSFW at times though, so be warned.)

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  10. The seagull reminded me of Journey to the Center of the Earth.

    Actually this whole book reminded me of Journey to the Center of the Earth. Only, not quite as..scientific. And with more explosions...

    Wow, this book makes no sense.

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  11. New Summary: Angst and idiocy and boom booms and weirdness. The end.

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  12. Never read or even heard of this one before!
    LOve that seagull.

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  13. I'd completely forgotten the plot of this one. After I'd finished reading it, I realized this was because my brain had been attempting to save me. Sorry, brain. I should have trusted you.

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  14. I think you are being too harsh towards the Yeerk-scientists. The whole "graft gills on" was probably Visser 3's idea in the first place. He probably walked into their lab one day and said "FOOLS, I, YOUR VISSER, HAVE BESTED YOU ALL AT YOUR OWN CRAFT! Merely graft gills onto the Hork-Bajir!" and then the scientists had to just nod their heads because the penalty for telling the Visser something is impossible is death.

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    1. This is true. There was probably some poor scientist there frantically trying to figure out a way to reroute a hork bajir's blood supply through a pair of gills without killing it, and then being eaten because he was taking too long.

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  15. I gotta agree, some of the content in this book just made no sense, though it was still amusing to read. Until now I never really did catch on to Jake acting like a moron in this book.lol

    It's definitely ghost-written, and by a horrible writer at that, I wonder if the re-published book will still have good 'ole Derpy Jake.

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  16. I love Franken Fran.
    Why did it have to end?
    :(

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  17. This is my least favorite book bar none. Give me anything else Animorphs and I will be happier, even the dumb first Alternamorphs.

    It does kinda make you wonder about the Yeerks, though. I mean there they were trying to invade Leera, going so far as to biologically modify sharks to be controllers so that they could use them as underwater shock troops, and absolutely NOBODY had the idea for making amphibious spaceships that can function in the air as well as the water until a megalomaniacal psychopath with a chip on his tail blade came along and decided he needed one to back up the hork-bajir he'd just glued gills to?

    ... Really, guys?

    Seriously though, if they'd used this technology on Leera the war would have gone differently. Leerans decide they don't need the continents, so they effectively tell the yeerks to do what they want with them because they don't care. They could have just taken their amphibious ships for a dip, shot a few towers off of one of their underwater cities, and said 'all right either you give up right now or we'll kill everybody.' Land isn't even NECESSARY.

    The real reason Visser Three was given Earth clearly was his powers at lateral thinking. He's the weirdo who comes up with ideas that nobody else does and nobody knows quite what to do with, but they're interesting and hey the invasion is already underway and well if they NEED him to blow things up he's right there waiting, so they stuck him on the planet. Now with all this extra time on his hands he just lounges around on his couch with his 30 odd cats and his hoof in a bucket of Dr Pepper going

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  18. <Man, you know what would be awesome? A chemical that takes away free will. And a beam that you can zap Andalites with to make them demorph. And a spaceship that can go underwater. SOMEONE GET ME A SCIENTIST, THIS STUFF IS GOD. WE NEED TO START DEVELOPMENT RIGHT NOW.>

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  19. ... or, er, gold, even >_>

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    1. It's still an interesting spin on the

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    2. character, no matter how many posts it takes to spit it out.

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  20. The death of Hahn the Hork-Bajir really bothered me (yes I know, THIS is the thing that bothers me from this book?) because he was right there in Cassie's barn. Give him the morphing power, allow him to acquire anyone or thing, talk him through his first morph, get him to demorph, and blammo! Another healthy free Hork-Bajir. Ghostwriters in this series far too often forget that the characters have access to a magic healing technology. Every time an Andalite in the series was described as having battle scars or missing an eyestalk or something I winced, because they could simply heal it through morphing. Unless they thought the scar looked cool, I guess.

    The most egregious example of this for me is book 41, where Rachel is depicted as a wheelchair-bound war veteran. It's like the ghostwriter simply didn't understand that this was a war with no physical scars for our heroes, but mountains of mental ones instead. But we'll get to that when we come to it.

    I think that's my main beef with this story because my brain very quickly shut down and coasted through the rest of the book going, "sure, whatever." Also if they can build new ships on Earth so easily, why is there still only one Blade Ship?

    Final thought: is there any reason they didn't give at least Toby the morphing power at some point in the series? That would have been AWESOME.

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  21. Ifi: "Tomorrow I plant seed in paper cup and see what happens. Science!"
    Ifi: "Why you doubt me? I am scientist! See my lab coat? SCIENCE!"

    http://i.imgur.com/5RL82DG.png

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