Saturday, June 16, 2012

Book 37: The Weakness


The Summary
Jake is on vacation for a few days, and the Animorphs don't plan on doing anything until he gets back. But when they find the location of Visser Three's new feeding grounds, they know they have to take advantage of the information. Using cheetah morphs, they go to kill Visser Three once and for all, only to be stopped by a new alien called a Garatron. The Garatron-Controller is a representative from the Council of Thirteen, sent to inspect Visser Three's progress on Earth.

Rachel is elected temporary leader of the Animorphs, much to Marco's dismay. She comes up with a plan to make Visser Three look really bad. The Animorphs will attack known Controllers all over town so it looks like Visser Three has no control over the situation. It works, until Cassie gets captured. Rachel blames herself, and in the ensuing drama, she makes up with Marco. Then the Animorphs steal an airplane and crash it into a building to get into the Yeerk pool. I am not even joking.

Cassie is rescued, and Visser Three tricks the Inspector into attacking the Animorphs. Marco bites him in cobra morph, and the rest of the Controllers stand around and watch while he dies. Everyone runs away. Jake comes back a few days later and asks WTF.

The Review
Adam: The cover on this one is pretty decent
Adam: I find the color scheme kind of bland, but I like how Rachel is turning around and then jumping at the reader.
Adam: Very dramatic
Ifi: Yeah, plus it is an inherently cool morph
Adam: This really seems again like one of those morphs that they only acquire so they can have something new for the cover image
Adam: The inside cover is pretty cool, though.


Ifi: Psst! Rachel! You're going in the WRONG FUCKING DIRECTION.
Adam: Shhh
Adam: Let her mug for the camera if she wants.

Ifi: Right so
Ifi: This book
Ifi: This fucking book.
Adam: I dunno, this book doesn't really stand out to me at all.
Adam: I don't think it was a particularly bad book.
Adam: But apart from introducing a really cool alien that is never mentioned again, I can't really think of anything that made it particularly stand out.
Adam: It is just one of those mid-series filler books.
Ifi: Well let us take a look-see.

Ifi: Jake has gone on vacation for a few days
Ifi: And in the meantime, the others have learned where Visser Three's new feeding grounds are
Adam: And they come up with what is honestly a legitimately good assassination plot.
Ifi: The others are hesitant at first, but they eventually realize that they can't pass up this kind of chance
Adam: They decide to ambush him as cheetahs, because hey, that's what's on the cover this week.
Ifi: And guess what animal The Gardens got just this week?
Ifi: (Sidenote: The Gardens must have a pretty high turnover rate)

Ifi: Oh, and remember how last week, we complained that the scene where they acquired the orca was left out?
Adam: They do it again!
Adam: Though honestly, I feel it was better done here.
Adam: Since the first thing in the book is them using the morph, it doesn't feel like they're missing a chapter here.
Ifi: I still want to know how the hell they did it!
Adam: Especially all at once.

Adam: So, all things considered, it looks like this plan is going well

Through the eagle's incredibly keen eyes I saw the visser's Blade ship. The cloaking device that had kept it hidden on its journey to the valley was lifting, revealing the grim, battle-ax shaped vehicle, its two huge scimitar like wings flared out behind the main body. The ship fairly oozed a sense of dark and evil.

<I'm going on record that I so do not like this> Marco said from across the valley.

<Tough. Everybody, demorph!> I demanded. <We are going to take him down.>

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: Well Marco is more of a whiny bitch than usual.
Adam: And Rachel is unusually bloodthirsty.

<Wait until he's, like, ten, fifteen yards away from the ship,> I said. <Then we hit. One right after the other. First me. Then Ax. Then Marco. Then Cassie.>

<Okay, Xena,> Marco said. <You want to run this show, fine.>

<This morph wants to break out,> Cassie said. <I'm ready.>

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: Excuse me Marco? She just came up with a plan.
Ifi: Did you have a plan?
Ifi: No?
Ifi: Then sit the hell down.
Adam: So, they charge forward, and for a while actually seem to have Visser Three on the ropes
Adam: But then.
The thing made me think of pulled taffy. Or of a cartoon depiction of speed. You know, where the cartoon character's skin stretches as he strides faster and faster—until his skeleton runs right out of its skin suit. That's where this thing belonged. In a cartoon. Where the impossible is possible. An impression. A flash. A blur.

[…]

It was a creature. Now I could see that clearly. Not a machine but flesh and blood. A bizarre creature able to zip across the grass like a high-speed insect.

Like a bullet fired from a thirty-thirty. A hunting rifle. Only about as tall as a gazelle. Four lanky, skinny legs. A thin but strong-looking tail, as long as its body, that flicked and twitched even when the creature's legs weren't moving. A pigeon chest, high and rounded. A head shaped like a custom-made aerodynamic bike racing helmet. Tight curved face, like half a smooth ball.

Skull that swept back from the rim of this ball into a pointy triangle. Like an ice cream cone on its side. Except the cone was flattened. But what really caught and held my attention was the fact that this thing was covered in blue fur. And had no mouth. And sported two thin, weak-looking arms. Like an Andalite. Like Ax.

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness


Adam: Say hello to The Inspector.
Adam: I honestly really like this guy.
Adam: His host body is one of the coolest things in the series.
Adam: And he gets lots of amusing bickering with Esplin.
Ifi: And like most cool things in this series, it is seen exactly once and never mentioned again
Adam: I really want to know what sort of environment the Garatron live in that would have caused them to develop such ridiculously physics-breaking speed.
Adam: And for that matter, how the yeerks are managing to capture them
Ifi: Elaborate comical traps that involve candy left under boxes propped up by sticks
Adam: That would not be out of place on a planet occupied by this sort of creatures.

The words became clear a beat after the creature had stopped speaking. A time delay between sound and meaning. Kind of like when you talk on the phone to someone in Europe. Or any other continent, I guess.

<Apatheticdisplay,VisserThree.Youarechaseddownonaplanetyoushouldlongagohaveconquered.Thiswillgoinmynotesyoucanbesure.>

<You, too, failed to capture the Andalite bandits, Inspector> the visser sneered. Loudly.

<Depriveyouofwhatisyourdutyandresponsibility?Andmyenjoymentinwatchingyoufail?Finally, youwilladdressmeasCouncilorThirteen,Visser.>

<You're not a member of the council, yet. Not until you have received final approval> the visser stated flatly.

The inspector made a sound that could have been a laugh. High and trilling. A sound that sent chills up my temporarily human spine.

<lhavebeengivenaspecimenofournewestandmostcapablehostspecies.TheGaratron.Iwillnotfailtobepromoted.>

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: <HEY! Nobody insults my host! He is the best! YOUR HOST SUCKS!>
Adam: Well, this dialogue certainly isn't going to be annoying to read at all, no sir.
Ifi: I just hope it doesn't break the html when it comes time to post this review
Adam: We can only hope.
Adam: Actually, I have a theory.
Adam: To be able to accelerate and decelerate in such a way does not really make any sense. So I am working under the assumption that Garatron actually have some sort of innate temporal manipulation ability.
Adam: That is my fanon, and I am sticking with it.
Ifi: It doesn't even particularly stick out in this series

Ifi: So despite being awesome, cheetahs have no endurance. So everyone runs away.
Adam: Everyone runs away, despite no endurance.
Ifi: Oh yeah.
Ifi: Uh...
Ifi: Hmm.
Ifi: Moving on!

<We're missing something here,> Tobias said. <I don't know about other Garatrons, but the inspector, the Yeerk, is very intelligent. That much was obvious. And he and the visser were antagonistic. That was clear, too. The inspector mentioned notes. I'm betting he's here to observe Visser Three. Make and submit a progress report on the invasion of Earth.>

I thought about what Tobias had said. It made sense. But what did it mean for us? And how could we exploit the visser's being under a microscope? Later on we could deal with the implications of yet another gifted Yeerk host species. Maybe when Jake came back. And then I grinned. "This is so perfect. This is another opportunity."

Cassie looked up from the droppers of milk or something she was preparing for the squirrel babies. "To do...?"

"To discredit Visser Three. Embarrass him in front of the inspector. Show the inspector what an incredibly lousy job the visser's doing. Get him kicked off the job."

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: This is a great idea, but Rachel, I don't think you even need to bother
Ifi: He can prove that he's doing a terrible job all by himself
Adam: Does Visser Three have any political allies at all?
Ifi: Visser Two wants to marry him.
Ifi: Other than that, not really
Adam: It is kind of impressive that he has managed to get this far when everyone else in the universe wants to punch him in the face.

Marco raised his hand. "Wait up. And what happens when Visser Three is gone? Assuming, of course, we succeed. What if the council replaces him with someone far more dangerous?"

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: Unless the replacement is Crayak, I really do not see how that is possible
Adam: They mean someone competent.
Ifi: Ohhh
Adam: This is after all, the plot of every story where someone goes back and time and kills Hitler.

"Simple," I said. "A kind of smear campaign. We strike hard and fast. Continuous pressure. Make it look like there's five hundred Andalite bandits fighting this war. We hit every known Controller in town. Everyone in a position of power, anyway. And we hit in public places, wherever there's a Controller in charge. We want coverage. We want the inspector to know what's going on. And we do it now. We don't know how long the inspector is going to be here. We start today!"

"I say we wait," Marco said abruptly. "When's Jake getting back? Two, three days? We wait. I like the idea, Rachel, but this mission is potentially too dangerous to do without him."

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: Jake is gone and the others are incapable of doing anything.
Ifi: Jeez guys. What will you do if he dies?
Ifi: Just sit around feeling sorry for yourselves?
Adam: He died in Megamorphs 3, and they managed okay.
Ifi: In this book, Jake is treated as like this supernatural assurance that the plan will work out and now that he's not here the best thing to do is sit on our hands until he comes back
Adam: The other group members have functioned perfectly well when forced to work autonomously dozens of other times.
Adam: But here for some reason they just decide to bicker nonstop.

"I agree with Marco and Tobias," Cassie said, opening the door of the squirrels' cage. "It's a good idea. But for a fast series of relentless attacks we need someone calling the shots. And Jake does that better than anyone."

"Jake's not here," I grumbled.

"And look what's happening," Cassie went on, over her shoulder. "We're wasting time arguing. Without a leader, nothing gets done."

"My point exactly," I said. "So let's choose a temporary leader. Look, we're agreed we can't go into a mission arguing over who's in charge and when. So..."
[...]
"And Rachel's also saying she wants to be in charge, right?" Marco. "I mean, that's what this is really all about, right?"
----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: Marco what is your problem. She is clearly the most natural leader of the group after Jake.
Adam: Well, she does go sort of crazy in this book.
Ifi: Not until a little later, but Marco acts as if she already has, which leads me to conclude that this author is a complete idiot
Adam: Or…Marco is psychic!
Ifi: Rachel and Marco bicker over who gets to wear the crown
Adam: Note that Rachel does actually refer to herself as a king later on.
Adam: It is really surreal.

"So who's left?" I challenged. "You?"

"Possibly."

"Not likely. I'm the one who does hard and fast. And relentless."

"And reckless," Marco shot back.

"While you want to sit around and think every stupid little step to death," I spat. "You've got a Hamlet complex, Marco."

"Yeah and there's a method to my madness. Which is more than I can say about your finer moments."

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: That’s not the name of the complex Marco has.
Adam: I think a Hamlet Complex is the obsession with avenging a relative.
Adam: In which case it would apply to half the group.
Ifi: Hamlet complex is "indecisive"
Ifi: "To be...or not to be?"
Ifi: It's when you wander around stage for three acts tearing at your hair and freaking out your girlfriend

Adam: "Oh Skull, no one must ever know of our forbidden love."
Ifi: ...that is not what Hamlet is about.
Adam: Shhh
Adam: Shakespeare is about whatever we interpret it to be about.
Adam: In this case, it is about teenagers fighting super-speed aliens and eating cinnamon buns.

[L]ast month in English class we studied a few Greek tragedies. Like Oedipus Rex. Written by a guy with an equally unpronounceable name. That's where I first heard the word "hubris." Hubris is like a disease. It means excessive pride. Over-the-top self-confidence. The belief that you can do anything you want, better than anyone else. Because you know best. Because you're special. Because you're you. The problem is, hubris usually results in some extremely nasty payback. Like being so horrified when you learn that something you did was really, really wrong that you pluck out your own eyes. It kind of scared me, reading about those heroes and warriors and kings. It also kind of reassured me. Made me feel like I was part of a special club, one that's been around for a long time. An exclusive club. A club for people like me who know they can do great things and do them. And then get punished for doing them.

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: Uh.
Ifi: What the fuck.
Adam: Author
Adam: Don't
Adam: Don't try to make classic literary allusions.
Adam: This is really not the place for it.

Trouble was, I was confused. And majorly worried. Being the leader is mostly about other people. Being the kind of hero I was born to be—the kind of hero I'd discovered myself to be since this war started—was a lot about me. I was smart enough to have figured that out. So I was worried.

[...]

And I definitely couldn't afford to show it. I was the hero, the warrior, the king! The doer of great deeds! Right? And in order to do the great things, in order to win wars and build cities, or whatever, you've got to have pride and confidence. You've got to be just a little bit arrogant. Sometimes a lot arrogant. Pride and confidence and arrogance equal courage. At least it was that way for me. If we—we heroes and warriors and kings didn't do the grisly but necessary stuff, the in sanely brave stuff, who would?

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: What the fuck, again.
Adam: Dude. If Cassie can go and successfully complete a mission on her own, then you sure as heck can.
Adam: Argh

"Tobias?" I interrupted. "Do you think we're doing the right thing? Rapid strikes I mean? Make the inspector think we're all over the visser's butt? That we're stronger than we really are? It's a good strategy, right?"

Tobias fixed me with his intense hawk stare. <Stealth wouldn't get us anywhere right now. We don't know exactly how long the inspector will be here. So if we're going to act, this seems the way to do it.>

"So, you think I'm right," I pressed. "That I'm the one for the job. I'm the one, right?"

Nothing.

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: Tobias wtf man
Ifi: Who else would be the leader, if not Rachel?
Ifi: I just
Ifi: don't
Ifi: BOOK
Adam: Tobias could prolly do a good job if he were more inclined to take charge.
Ifi: He stated that he didn't want to do it.
Ifi: So did Cassie.
Ifi: Ax doesn't know Earth well enough for this mission.
Adam: So it came down to Marco vs Rachel. And Marco realized that he would lose if it were put to a vote, so he dropped out.
Adam: Anywho, this is fortunately a mission very well suited for Rachel's MO.
Adam: IE: pointless destruction.

"Battle morphs," I said.

Marco stood. "Hold up, General Patton. How about step one, first?"

I scowled. "Am I the leader here?"

<Let's hear what Marco has to say,> Tobias said neutrally.

"Infiltration. None of us has ever been inside this place, right? We check it out in some small morph, get the layout, then if it looks safe, we do battle morphs."

I shook my head. "No. Not a good idea. That means we'd have to go human inside. Too risky."

"Unless we did flies. Something small, at least. Went in, scoped out the place, bailed, demorphed, remorphed to battle morphs, and went back in," Cassie said.

"Why don't we just put off the mission until, say, next week?" I said nastily.

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: Now, class, here we can see the devolution of a character.
Ifi: Marco, and now Rachel, are rapidly being reduced to a simplistic interpretation of their most prominent traits.
Ifi: From this, we can probably conclude that the author is an idiot.
Adam: You have this down to a science, don't you?
Ifi: English major.

CRAASH!

The seat flew into the wall, knocking down a chunk of plaster the size of a truck tire.

Then, "Oh, no!" A vague voice from the cluster of onlookers. "Someone, help!"

And, "Grandpa!"

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: That just happened.
Adam: Wait.
Adam: Is this really the first time that there have been innocents caught in the crossfire in one of their missions?
Ifi: No way.
Ifi: I mean, even ignoring property damages.
Adam: There are all those innocent host bodies, for starters
Ifi: *hands over ears* I CAN'T HEAR YOU I CAN'T HEAR YOU.

"Somebody grab me a Laa-Laa doll when we're inside, okay?" Marco said. "I really like that little yellow one."

I gave him a look. You know the one.

"What?" he said defensively. "I'll send the manager a check tomorrow. Even though he's a Yeerk. It's not like I'm going to steal it or anything."

"Uh, Marco, you do know Teletubbies are for preschoolers, right?" Cassie said.

<"Eh-oh, Laa-Laa,"> Ax said. <"Big hug.">

<Okay, that does it, Ax,> Tobias grumbled. <We need to think about turning off your TV.>

<Remember,> Tobias said, <careful of the civilians. This time of day, should be mostly empty. But—>

I deliberately interrupted him. "We're in and out in five minutes tops," I reminded everyone. "Just like the studio. Five minutes of rock and roll. Ax? You keep us honest, okay?"

<Of course. But I was not aware that we would be involved in perpetrating a deception.>

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: Oh Ax!
Ifi: You make this book worth reading.


Adam: I am totally unashamed to admit that I watched a bunch of Teletubbies back when I was way past the targeted age for it.
Adam: …I didn't have cable, and sometimes I got bored on weekends.

"Look, Mommy!" I whipped around to see some little boy yanking on his mother's jeans and pointing at Marco. "It's Curious George!"

<Hey, little dude, I'm a gorilla. Curious George is a monkey. Lady, you should buy your kid an encyclopedia>

Marco picked up a slightly smashed box from the floor. <How about investing in a CD-ROM version? Zillions magazine, the Consumer Report, for kids' rates...>

"WAAAAAAH! Curious George is mean!"

The kid's mother dropped to her knees and threw her arms around her howling son.

<Oh, man. Sorry,> Marco said, sounding genuinely contrite. <I didn't mean to scare him.>

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Adam: Actually, Curious George lacks a tail.


Adam: So he's a chimp
Adam: Which is a fair bit closer to a gorilla, and I can understand a small kid making the mistake.
Ifi: I assumed the lack of a tail was just an animation oversight or something
Adam: …It was a book series first.
Adam: And by "first" I mean in the 1940's.
Ifi: The thing is, I am pretty sure he is referred to as a monkey in his promotional materials
Ifi: So maybe the artist just didn't know anything about monkeys
Adam: Maybe he was in a terrible accident and lost his tail
Ifi: That makes sense he lived in the wild originally
Adam: Well, the original concept was written in Nazi occupied France, so maybe their research material was limited

"Next stop, Style-a-riffic!"

"What's that?" Cassie, of course.

<Style-a-riffic is a place where women...>

"And men," I pointed out.

Ax inclined his head. <Where humans go to have their hair cut, teased, treated with chemicals, or tortured into an updo. Liquid acrylic is applied to the delicate human fingernail and dried in a cancer-causing machine much like your microwave. Hair from above the eyes is torn out by the roots. Skin from the feet is sliced off with sharp metal instruments. Hair from the legs, however...>

Cassie held up a hand. "I get the picture, Ax."

"TV commercial?" Marco guessed and Ax nodded.

"So, why Style-a-riffic?" Cassie asked. "What's the Yeerk connection?"

"First, it's the largest beauty salon in town," I said. "Second, Tobias learned that Mrs. Chapman is their best client—and co-owner. You tell me there's not a Yeerk running the place."

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Adam: So now they are going and blowing up a hair salon.
Adam: For…reasons, I guess.
Ifi: I think they deserve to have some fun.

"You're enjoying this, aren't you?" Marco asked me.

"Yeah. I am. We've taken it and taken it, and barely fought back. Now they're scared. And they'll be more scared, soon. Should have done this a long time ago."

"Yeah, well, we didn't have the mighty Warrior Princess In charge before?" Marco said.

I heard the tone of sarcasm. But I didn't care. That's right, I thought, but now I am in charge, and now the Yeerks are going to pay. Jake would be proud of me when he got back. Or maybe a little jealous. Maybe even a lot jealous. That was okay, too. Things changed. People changed. Situations changed. Jake had been the leader for a long time. Maybe it was time he took a well-deserved rest.

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: Here, we can see the character has completed her devolution and is now being built back up into a new, completely unrecognizable person.
Adam: Did she morph a seastar and get cut in half again without us realizing?
Ifi: Anyway, next they hit a sporting goods store, and then a bank
Ifi: I really don't think the bank was a good idea but that's just me

<Was that Chapman-going into that cigar store?>

<Doesn't he know smoking is bad for him?>

Tinkle tinkle tinkle tinkle! The plate glass window was gone! I shook a few shards out of my shaggy brown fur and stepped up into the tobacconist's shop. CRUNCH! Glass compacted beneath my feet. Whatever. Tobias soared in after me, flared, pulled up, and dove for Assistant Principal Chapman.
[...] 
Chapman fell back into an overstuffed armchair, the kind Bruce Wayne and rich old men in smoking jackets are supposed to laze around in. Lines of bright red blood trickled down his cheeks. The owner bent and grabbed something from behind a counter.

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Adam: Jeez
Adam: You already tortured the guy
Adam: Give him a break already

After the cigar store we hit Fred's Fitness Center on Peach Street downtown, where at least two of the most popular trainers were Controllers. Maybe some day Kirk and Kristen will get over the embarrassment of Ax's slicing off their gym shorts in front of their worshipful yuppie clients. Maybe.

Two blocks away, we rampaged through Kinko's. The manager was a kid I recognized from around. He went to the local high school now. A seventeen-year-old loser who'd joined The Sharing to get a life.

What he'd gotten was a Yeerk in his head. And now he was Mr. Career Path and all, Mr. Responsibility, Mr. Self-importance in a pathetic short-sleeved white dress shirt and clip-on tie. Please. I thought it might be interesting to make a photocopy of his butt. Send it to his boss. Tack a second copy up on the break room bulletin board. So I did.

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: And now it's just getting dumb.
Ifi: Also, Rachel? Andalites don't do that.
Ifi: They just don't.
Adam: Unfortunately for Visser Three, the Andalite bandits who have crash-landed on earth also happen to be a bunch of drunken frat boys.
Ifi: Maybe that's how the Controllers eventually explained this very weird day to each other.
Ifi: "The Andalites...got really drunk..."
Ifi: "And started a fraternity?"
Ifi: "Yeah...yeah that makes sense..."
Ifi: "Yeah..."
Adam: "And this girl on the internet with pink hair wrote a story about it…"
Ifi: Do I know her?
Adam: It is possible.

Ifi: They hit like a dozen other places, causing insurance rates in this city to spike higher yet.

They did. Just a few grainy flashes as cameras tumbled and then nothing as cameras broke. And then they showed something else. Across the bottom of the screen, in medium, white letters. The words: One man dead in attack on WKVT. Visiting his grandson from Kansas, heart disease patient succumbs.

My own heart stopped. No. No.

Oh, God. No.

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: Rachel takes this way too hard.
Adam: Seriously.
Adam: I can fully understand feeling guilty.
Adam: But this can't possibly be the first civilian casualty they have ever had.
Ifi: They write people off all the time, because saving the world is more important than one or two people here and there.
Adam: And honestly, I would consider that justifiable.
Adam: It isn't the nicest thing, but I can understand the logic behind it.

<Look,> I said, the inevitable pre-battle excitement building in spite of the lack of enthusiasm and support the others were showing. <This is going to be fantastic. The last raid of the day. We'll leave the Yeerks with an experience they'll never forget.>

I looked around my wary group of feathered warriors. Imagined a hugely grinning, glittery eyed, adrenaline-soaked look on my own human face. And said, <If you guys are really that worried, we'll go in with maximum firepower. We all go in as polar bears!>

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: I
Ifi: what
Ifi: no
Ifi: why
Ifi: You're in coastal California
Ifi: Polar bears are...
Ifi: You
Ifi: No.
Adam: Now, honestly it would have made more sense to switch up their battle morphs here
Adam: Since they are trying to give the impression that there are more andalite bandits then there actually are
Adam: But still
Adam: Polar bears is not the best choice
Adam: There is a reason why you have used them so little so far
Ifi: And all five of them should not be the same thing!
Adam: Variety is the spice of life
Adam: Or maybe that is melange.
Adam: Same difference.

Ifi: Next, the Animorphs attack the community center
Ifi: The same one that Tobias was tortured in
Adam: How very thoughtful of them
Ifi: Rachel states that this is the last one of the day, so you know something is going to go wrong
Adam: And indeed it does.
Adam: Hello again, Mister Inspector.

<Rachel! Behind you!>

ZZZZZZZiiiiSSSPPP!

Blindingly fast! A blue blur...

The inspector. The Garatron. Had to be. Nothing else moved like that. A blur and Marco's head jerked to one side. His knees buckled. THWAP! Marco was down, moaning. <Jump him!> I ordered.

<Can't see him!> Cassie yelled.

Insane! Tobias threw his huge body at the inspector. At the point in space where the inspector had been. Less than a half second earlier. Thunk! Tobias was facedown on the floor. The inspector circled and spun like a whirling dervish around Cassie. Jim Carrey in The Mask. The Tasmanian Devil in a whirlwind around Yosemite Sam. Futilely she slapped the empty air with her paw, over and over again.

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: He beats everyone up

My head jerked violently to the left. I could hear the bones in my neck crack and creak. Pathetically I raised one front leg—and stumbled to the ground.

The room spun! Bodies, human and alien. Flailing. Falling. The flash of gunpowder. The clashing of blades. The hissing growl of polar bears, growing weaker. I had to get up, get back into battle! Slowly, painfully, I raised my bruised head. And saw the blue blur come to a dead stop about twenty feet in front of me. Speak to a blue deerlike creature with a bladed tail who stood just inside the door.

<Ihaveseenenough.Ileaveyoutocleanupthemess,mydearVisser.>

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness



Adam: Seriously, this guy is wasted on this book
Ifi: So Visser Three morphs something predictably horrible to finish everyone off, because it worked so well the last thirty-six times.
Adam: This time he turns into some sort of smelly goo monster
Ifi: It reminds me of something horrible out of a children's show, but I can't place it.
Adam: I was thinking this:


Ifi: In any event, Rachel tells everyone else to run because she is going to single handedly take it down
Adam: But oops
Adam: They forgot Cassie

<Marco! Ax! Tobias! Where's...>
I didn't finish the question. Because the look on Marco's face, the set of Ax's shoulders, and the way Tobias turned away gave me my answer. Cassie was still inside.

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: Jesus Christ, Cassie!
Ifi: AGAIN?Ifi: WHY IS IT ALWAYS YOU, CASSIE?
Adam: A lot of the time it is Jake

"This is just fabulous. This is just perfect!" Marco raged. "In less than two hours Cassie's going down. One way or the other. Infestation? Maybe. Torture? Why not. Life as a gigantic fur ball? Possible."

<Marco.> Tobias's voice was emotionless. <Stop. I'm sure Rachel feels bad enough...>

"And she should!" Marco whirled to glare at me.

I lowered my head and the tears spilled faster.

"Nice, Rachel," Marco spat. "The 'Don't-be-mean-to-me I'm-a-girl' thing is pathetic."

<Marco!> It was Ax. <That is enough. Unproductive. And enough.>

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: So, whose character do you think got the worst 'interpretation' in this book?
Ifi: Rachel or Marco?
Adam: Rachel
Adam: Marco raises some legitimate complaints from time to time
Adam: Whereas Rachel is largely just a caricature of herself.

I shook my head. "No. Ax..." I swallowed hard and looked to Tobias. "And Tobias. Thanks for the loyalty. It must be hard, pretending to have faith in me. And Marco? Thanks for the honesty." I laughed a forced, sick laugh. "It's ugly but I deserve it. But...I'm going down to the Yeerk pool alone. It's the only way."
[...] 
<It would be suicidal,> Ax said. <I cannot imagine Prince Jake approving of such an action.>
"Yeah, well, Jake's not here," I snapped. Even to my own ears I sounded like a petulant child. "And if he had been I guess none of this would have happened."

<So, it's Jake's fault?> Tobias said harshly. <That he trusted us to handle situations while he was away? That we chose you as interim leader? That you made a mistake and now want to bail on us? I don't know, Rachel. Maybe you really don't deserve to be leader.>

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: Oh my God everyone just SHUT UP
Adam: Guilt guilt guilt
Ifi: So Rachel throws up her hands and quits
Ifi: Luckily, this is what it takes to get Marco to start being useful again

Marco grabbed my arm. I jerked it away. He looked as angry as I was. "Listen to me, you mall-crawling psycho, we have one hour and ten minutes to get Cassie out of the Yeerk pool. Now, I can come up with a clever plan. I can work all the angles. I can see the perfect solution. But all that takes time. We don't have time, Rachel. We don't have time for clever and subtle. We need reckless. We need impulsive. We need dangerous. We need out-of-your-mind, pure adrenaline, butt-kicking, total out-there insanity."

He stabbed his finger in my face. "We could have used me, back at the Community Center. But right now we need you. We have an hour to save your best friend, Jake's girlfriend, and the entire human race. You got us into this, now get us out."

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Adam: Why did Marco have to wait so long before going and channeling Patrick Stewart?
Ifi: Rule of drama
Adam: So, they develop a plan to get inside the Yeerk Pool
Adam: And...
Adam: Oh
Adam: Oh dear.

"Okay, Rachel. This is insane. I mean, genuinely insane. How are we going to get to that plane without getting shot at or eaten by German shepherds?"

Okay, so the situation looked a little grim. Morgan Airport. For small jets, both corporate and privately owned. Even though the sun hadn't yet set, too-bright white lights illuminated the airfield, which meant no convenient shadows in which to lurk. Flat, open terrain, which meant no natural cover. High fences. Some of which just might deliver a nasty shock to anyone attempting to scale them. And if a jolt of electricity didn't get the intruder, rows of barbed wire would. That or one of the eighty-pound, highly trained guard dogs. Human guards posted at every gate. Guns in low-slung holsters at their waists but lazy looking, and wearing sunglasses—behind which they were probably dozing. But I was through making risky assumptions. At least, for the moment. All these safety measures to protect the private jets of the rich and famous. And we were about to hijack one of them. I wondered if the owners had insurance. And then I spotted the corporate logo on the jet we'd targeted. And on the one next to it. Philip Morris. Oh, yeah. The owners of these babies had insurance. Lots of it.

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Adam: They are going...
Adam: *stops to breathe*
Adam: They are going to hijack a commercial airplane and crash it into a building.
Adam: ...
Ifi: ...
Adam: ...
Ifi: ...
Adam: Well said.

"Tobias, make sure the door is secured. Tight. Ax, can you fly this thing?"
"Without a doubt. But first I will demorph in preparation for throwing myself out at the appropriate time..."

"If not sooner," Marco muttered.

I growled. "You guys are not helping."

"I am," Marco said suddenly, turning from a window on the far side of the plane. "I'm telling you there's about, oh, ten guys with guns and nightsticks, ready to beat the crap out of us. Once they shoot their way inside, of course."

<I am ready, Prince—well, I am ready.>

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: That's Princess Rachel to you, bitch.
Adam: Does she get a sparkly tiara?
Ifi: I hope so.
Adam: Seems like a ripoff otherwise.

<It is time,> Ax said. <Do you recall the instructions I gave you?>

"Yeah," I said. "Get on with it."

Szwooooosh...

"Holy..."

A ninety-degree dive! Nose down, hurtling straight for the roof of the Beane Tower! A roof that looked pretty seriously solid right now.

"Okay, Ax! Give me the stick!" I shouted over the roar of the engines and rushing wind. "Morph! Then the three of you bail!"

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: What if I told you that this is not the last time the Animorphs steal an airplane?
Adam: Oh…oh Applegate.

It hit the roof of the Beane Tower and plowed through the roof that had not retracted. The jet exploded on impact, tearing a massive hole through the roof.

Whooooosh!

A fireball! Of amazingly enormous proportions that I, half-morphed and falling, speeding through the air, could not fail to see, hear, feel. Blast after blast of intense heat! The air around me shimmered like the surface of a clouded, rippling lake. Then black, acrid smoke billowed up from the Beane Tower. And I was falling, falling into the inferno! A feathered human now with the eagle's keen eyes. Better to see my own destruction rising up to meet me...

"Ahhhhhhhh!"

Had I cried out? Or had I screamed in my head? And what did it matter? The shattered roof, so close! Jagged pieces of metal and broken glass, sticking up at crazy angles. All around the edge of the hole. Like ragged, dangerous teeth, ringing the gaping maw of a beast.

The flames!

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Adam: Well.
Ifi: There is no way they can keep this in the reprint.
Ifi: They just can't.
Adam: They are going to have to rewrite a third of the book from scratch.

Down through the opening! The plane falling, spiraling down from the high-domed roof of the Yeerk pool! Through the thunderous rushing of sound that accompanied the hurtling jet I could make out the harrowing cries of involuntary hosts. A cry far too familiar.

"GHAFRASH! WATCH OUT!"

Could hear the stunned, panicked shouts of Hork-Bajir Controllers. Could see them, barely, herding hosts back and away from the edge of the lead-colored pool itself. Away from the jet. SPLOOOOSSHHH! SZZZZZZZZZZ! Into the pool! The still-flaming body of the jet tearing through the dull gray surface of the Yeerk pool. Disappearing for a moment. The contents of the pool sizzling and sloshing and churning. Spitting up pieces of twisted metal that bobbed to the slimy, fiery surface. Hundreds, maybe thousands of Yeerks were in that pool! How many were dead? How many had just been killed?

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: The little-known successor to Operation: Dump Heroin in the Yeerk Pool was entitled Operation: Dump an Airplane in the Yeerk Pool and is considered by historians to be wildly successful.
Adam: So, they find Cassie pretty quickly.
Adam: For some reason, the Yeerks are just content to prodding her with sticks, and have made no attempt to infest her.
Ifi: Visser Three shows up, with the Inspector

<Because you seem to think it is so easy a task to eliminate these enemies of the Yeerk Empire> the visser went on, <I challenge you to destroy these two pitiful samples. Right here. And right now.> He waved an arm broadly around, encompassing the pool. <I think it would be an inspiration to our brother Yeerks.>

<TokillthesepatheticEarthcreaturesisnochallengeforacreaturewiththespeedandskillofaGaratron,> the inspector answered.

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: Hey, do you think the Council sent the Inspector to earth because they were sick of listening to him brag about what a great host he had?
Adam: I have heard less likely theories.
Adam: Also, Visser Three is totally awesome all of a sudden.

Visser Three chuckled. A very disturbing sound. <My dear Inspector! Are you saying that you decline my challenge? I don't understand. You berate me for not having been successful in permanently subduing the Andalite bandits. And yet, when offered the opportunity to do so yourself, you refuse? I'm afraid I must take your refusal to mean an admission of...>

<Iacceptyourchallengethatisnochallenge,> the inspector spat.

<Cassie, getrea—>

ZZZIIISSSPPP!

A bluish blur that seemed to shoot through the air over the Yeerk pool.

The creature ran on water!

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: Did...did Visser Three just successfully commit an act of deception?
Ifi: Holy crap!
Adam: It seems that he is the one who ended up with all the competence in this book.
Ifi: It had to go somewhere.
Adam: The law of the conservation of competence.
Adam: It is science.

From the arched roof of the vast underground space that is the Yeerk bastion...

From what seemed to be the very center of the high dome, past the steel supporting beams, down, down past the high walls of dirt...came the cavalry.

A red-tailed hawk.

A northern harrier.

And in the talons of the hawk and the harrier—a cobra!

Fast, muscular, crushingly strong. A body that was nothing more and nothing less than a long and powerful whip.

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Adam: Poison attacks are super effective against Garatron

<Aha!> Visser Three. <Why, here are a few more Andalite bandits coming now,> he boomed. <Are you feeling up to the challenge, Inspector?>

<YoumustcallmeCouncilor.>

<Oh, I will, you may be sure,> the visser said, his tone taunting, his voice thick with false emotion. <I will be honored to call you Councilor once you kill, eliminate—these pesky traitors to the Yeerk cause.> With a weak Andalite arm, the visser gestured grandly.

Dramatically.

Mockingly.

<I promise on the lives of the Council of Thirteen,> he went on, <that the glory of the bandits deaths will be yours. In fact, so grateful will I be when you succeed in this mission at which I have so miserably failed, I will voluntarily resign my post as Visser Three, leader of the Earth invasion, and throw my considerable support behind your ascension to the councils. The inspector said nothing. <And you will succeed in killing the bandits won't you, lnspector?> the visser said, his voice suddenly flat and cruel.

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: Look at you, Visser Three.
Ifi: Doing big kid things like planning ahead
Adam: Why can't he be this way all the time?

Marco launched!

For a brief moment I saw more of the inspector than just a blue blur as Marco held one of his legs with his fangs. As he pumped killing poison into the Garatron's unsuspecting alien body. Marco had struck the Garatron while he was moving at full speed. Like snatching a bullet out of the air.

<You're fast, Yeerk,> Marco said. <I'm faster.>

And then Marco released his victim, slithered, coiled, uncoiled, and stretched off behind the confused Hork-Bajir.

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: It was a cool host.
Ifi: I am sort of sad to see it go.
Adam: Well, there are still thousands-millions of other ones out there in space.
Adam: I'm sure more of them will show up again in a later book.
Ifi: Just like the Howlers.
Adam: Well, the Howlers were at least mentioned in more than one book

<Inspector!> he cried. <Look! The Andalite bandits are getting away! You must go after them!>

<I...I cannot...move...> the inspector responded weakly, haltingly.

<Yes, and very, very soon you will not be able to breathe,> Visser Three said matter-of-factly. <I will be sure to pass along your farewells to the Council. My dear Inspector.>

----Book Thirty-Seven, The Weakness

Ifi: You know who Visser Three reminds me of here?
Ifi: Visser One.
Ifi: This is totally her style.
Adam: Maybe they decided to switch hosts for the day
Adam: It is one of the Council of Thirteen's mandatory trust exercises
Ifi: That. Is. Brilliant.
Adam: Yes.
Adam: Yes I am.

Ifi: And then it is the end.
Ifi: Rachel is weird and creepy and talks to the family of the old dude who dies
Adam: They wonder who this creepy stalker girl is.
Ifi: Jake comes home and says he heard that wild animals tore up the city and then a jet crashed into a building what the fuck, guys?
Adam: And he promises to never go on vacation again, because this is the sort of shit that they will pull in his absence.


Adam: The End.
Ifi: The goddamn end.

Adam: This book is fairly dumb at points, but all in all, it wasn't that bad.
Adam: It wasn't good, exactly.
Adam: But I enjoyed going through it well enough.
Adam: And, I mean, the Garatron was cool.
Ifi: The writing, from a technical standpoint, was very poor.
Ifi: Any given segment has a sentence fragment in it.
Ifi: The author does this to heighten. The drama. But. It gets very. Choppy. And irritating. Silly, also. And you do not. Always. Need to write in such a way. Need to inflict such a thing upon your readers. Really.
Adam: Darnit, now I am going to have to reread this whole damn thing again to try and pick up on that.
Ifi: It's ok I am probably the only one who even noticed
Adam: Probably!
Ifi: The end. For real.

55 comments:

  1. If this book were a Friends episode, it would be titled "The one where Rachel destroys everything". And that's all I have to say about it, because it wasn't that great nor memorable of a book (except for the kinda-awesome WTFery that was the plane crash scene).

    And the drawing of the Inspector is really cool, Adam, kudos! The alien in itself reminded me a lot of XLR8 from the first series of Ben10, by the way.

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3011/2560031481_057bd12805.jpg

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  2. One thing you forgot to mention is that this book has pretty much the absolute best cover of any Animorphs book. It's just done really well, the colours are good, and it has, you know, a CHEETAH on the front. The cover for 26 is good too, but this just takes the cake.

    Am I the only one who actually really liked this book? The characterisation was, admittedly, terrible, but it was very interesting plot-wise and the plane plan was excellent. In the series they actually use some hilarious methods to gain access to the Yeerk pool, and this is right up there with digging a 50-foot hole.

    It's just a shame that they'll almost definitely edit it out in the rerelease.

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  3. Well.

    I'm going to go ahead and say that 36 is still worse than this book; at least this one actually had things related to the Animorphs concepts like the Council of Thirteen and a Yeerk invasion, as opposed to psychotic rapist fishmen who live underneath California.

    Still, the book is hilariously terrible as is outlined, and owing to the whole plane incident it will probably never, ever, see the light of reprinting again. There are a couple of other questionable things that happen in other books- in 41, for instance, the World Trade Center plays a relatively major role in the book, IIRC, and in book 52 there's a disturbingly detailed and implemented plan that involves subway bombings.

    As for the Inspector- as much as I like the -concept- of the Garatrons, I thought that the author was being kind of lazy by making them look almost exactly like Andalites. Plus the ability to run faster than the speed of sound or whatever is kind of ridiculous, like the ghostwriter had to make him totally amazingly awesome and better than every other alien in the series.

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    1. Well, biologically, it isn't too uncommon to see cases of convergent evolution, where two unrelated species fill similar ecological niches and end up looking very similar. (The thylacine and the wolf, just to give an example.)

      Also, this may just be me looking too much into things, but I always took the Garatron as sort of a subversion of the Rubber Forehead Aliens trope. Instead of resembling a human with some weird prosthetics, it looks like a largely inhuman alien with some weird prosthetics. It's basically a creature you would get from an andalite science fiction program.

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    2. Seems possible, as Applegate occasionally likes to do things like that. I assumed the Garatron was invented merely for the fun of irritating Ax with his existence. Irritating Ax's Andalite sensibilities is always fun.

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    3. It is now my headcannon that the Garatron is actually from an alternate universe where an Andalite Sci-Fi show is real. It feel through a wormhole or something, or maybe Crayak made one, who knows.
      This explains the impossible speed and gives added depth to why Ax is so ebmerased, he knows that he is fighting a fictional creature. He doesn't mention this because the Andalites Sci-Fi shows are frowned upon by mainstream society and he doesn't want to admit that he likes them.

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  4. Regarding their original plan to ambush V3's feeding grounds, didn't they do this already in Book 8? They used a snake to poison him too. It seems like they're just realizing that they had a good plan the first time, so they're going to do the same thing again and assume V3 hasn't learned from the experience. Which is a fair assumption, but still...

    Also, I can't help but feel like the moment Inspector Garatron (I typed that out as Inspector Gadget three times) showed up, priority one should have been to acquire that morph. They can't do it when V3 morphs something awesome because you can't acquire a morphed creature (had to look that one up), but the Garatron is just a controller. Cassie might have a problem with the ethics of it, but the others would just say "STFU Super Speedy Go!".

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    1. ... not "Go Go Morph, Garatron!"? :p

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    2. It's Morphin' Time! Quite literally, in fact.

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    3. Well, how exactly would they acquire it? They only see it three times, at the feeding grounds, the community center, and the geek pool. Great places to go human, walk up, and touch a controller. It wasn't really something that would be possible to acquire.

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    4. Well, how would they have acquired it? They come in contact with the thing three times before he is killed, and all three times Visser Three was there, as well as various other controllers. Plus, it ran faster than sound. There just never was a chance to touch it directly and acquire it.

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  5. The Garatron really was one of the few good things about this book, but I loved him. He is what I remember the book for.

    You know, I wish that Applegate would just sit down and write an encyclopedia of all the aliens in the animorphs universe because that would be AMAZING, there are just so darn many interesting species that we never learn anything about.

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  6. Evidently Rachel had a nervous breakdown right before this book, and thus had to spend all of this one patting herself on the back and having delusions of grandeur.

    I never thought Rachel saw herself as a hero- and I still don't because this book was clearly not narrated by her.
    It' was quite nice to see Visser Three acknowledge the competence of the Animorphs...I would have liked one of them to thank him for the implied compliment:P

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  7. Oops forgot to pick name/URL.

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  8. My goodness... I have no recollection of this book or its cover. Must not have been one of the ones I read over and over until I had to tape the cover back on.

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  9. I always thought that the first half of this book was essentially the Animorphs being a G-rated version of a death squad

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  10. This honestly seems like something that one English teacher I had would write. Y'know, if she had a teacher's guide to help tell her what to do next. I mean, I know you don't know this person, but I just kept thinking that throughout the whole review and had to share.

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  11. As I was reading this post, I kept noticing all the sentence fragments in the quotes. Glad to know I'm not the only one who noticed.

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  12. My brother was very freaked out when I read this book. I went around screaming at Rachel and kicking things over.
    Rachel never seemed like the kind to want the power and glory of leadership. She was always pretty content with the power and glory of butt-kicking, while following Jake's plans. So this characterization of her threw me off, and I was very angry at it. So I kicked things.

    I can't get rid of the image of Rachel with a sparkly princess tiara though. SOMEONE DRAW THAT, OR I WILL. I drew Rachel once... my dad actually liked it. Anyway. I also feel that the rest of the cast, except Rachel and Marco, was just a prop. Tobias and Cassie were just like, "Uh huh, yeah, idk, maybe" in general. Ax got a decent characterization, but he kept his mouth shut most of the time. (Throughout the series, Ax is the only one who gets a good characterization almost every time, especially when everyone else is botched up. Is it because he's easier to write or more fun to write? I wonder.)
    This book was very Rachel vs Marco, and they antagonized each other way more than they usually would, and more violently. And the plane-jacking was done better next time they steal a plane.
    Yeah, I didn't like this book. The Garatron's speech pissed me off. How is he moving up to Councilor? By logical progression, Visser One would go up to Councilor, but no, some dude goes instead.

    OH AND BECAUSE I JUST THOUGHT OF THIS, EVEN THOUGH IT'S ABOUT BOOK 36:
    The Chee hid the Pemalite ship somewhere too deep for most things to go, so that no one would steal it. So that's why Visser Three's building a custom ship, instead of using human subs.

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    1. I think the Vissers are still on some sort of probation from the trial. Also, they have incurred the suspicion of the Council as potential internal rivals who could threaten the current councilors' dominance. That's my theory on why they took Visser 1 from Earth and gave the subtle stealth invasion to a guy who's good at brute combat. They were trying to keep either one from being too successful and gaining enough prestige and support to take over the Empire. The Garatron Inspector is being invited to join the Council because the other councilors don't see him as a threat to their own positions.

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    2. Wait. A few books ago the Council of Thirteen had exactly 13 members. So unless one died or went senile in the past two books, Mr. Inspector Garatron is about to usurp someone's claim to a Yeerk throne. If the Council is after protecting itself, then that's a really stupid move no matter what, unless something DID happen and they really don't want the two ambitious Vissers to get in there with them.

      I'm going to assume the Taxxon Councilor blew up. Spontaneous Taxxon combustion.

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    3. It was never stated that Council membership was for life. Maybe one of them is stepping down.

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    4. I thought about that, but they all seem so hellbent on not budging off their power-seats that it seemed super unlikely. Of course, it could just be that they don't like the two most ambitious Yeerks in the empire, but now it seems that they just get to kinda pick and choose who's next.

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    5. One of the Taxxon councilors probably got extra peckish and ate himself.

      (It was the Ifi one.)

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    6. "Oh... My... God! I'M DELICIOUS!"

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    7. Didn't two of the council members disappear during their private deliberations in VISSER? The implication was that their discussion of the Vissers' fates degenerated into a fight, leaving two of them dead. So there would have been openings. IIRC, one of them was a Taxxon. I think Edriss even makes a snarky comment in her narration that they are now the Council of Eleven.

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    8. I can't find my copy of Visser, but from memory I think you're right about that. Yeerk politics must be... interesting.

      However, I prefer my initial theory. Mostly because Rocky IV's line is too funny for me to accept any other version of reality.

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    9. It doesn't say HOW the Taxxon councilor ended up dead, so maybe that is what happened in the jury room.

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    10. Here's the passage, from the last chapter:

      "At last the hologram glowed again. The scene had changed. It took me a moment to notice it, but it had changed: One of the Taxxons was gone, and one of the Hork-Bajir as well. The Council of Thirteen was, as far as I could see, the Council of Eleven. Visser Three’s stalk eyes swiveled to see my reaction. I nodded slightly. Yes, there had been quite a debate among the Council members."

      And boy, how this setup paid off! Maybe these two were the Emperor and a close supporter, and Garoff used the final deliberation as an excuse for a coup. I am pretty much basing this on nothing but a fancy. Maybe the Council just had an ordinary row and the two of them staged a walk-out.

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  13. Accepting all the writing flaws and bad characterization, this was an all-too-typical-of-the-late-series "dump on Rachel" day, when she really did nothing bad or wrong, but they more or less spend a lot of time spitting on her. It's not like the old fart got hit by a stray bullet or anything. And I always thought Cassie's capture was more on Cassie than Rachel. I mean, this is hardly their first rodeo, and the leader should not have to do a head count to make sure everyone got out, like a 3rd grade field trip. And she went back to get her, a gesture I'm sure Tobias would have appreciated on their first trip to the Yeerk pool.

    As for the choice of a polar bear morph, maybe Rachel knows something the rest don't about their capabilities. It will be a polar bear morph that kills her after all, and during that fight, she was trying to concentrate on getting rid of the bear, while Jake kept whining about Tom and distracted her.

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  14. Oh and, as far as I am concerned, Rachel saved the universe in this book, because screw Marco.

    Book 37 Without Rachel (in Cannoli's head-canon)
    As our intrepid reviewers pointed out, it should be really easy to gather damning evidence on Visser 3. Crayak and/or the Drode arranged for Jake to go on vacation the week the inspector was due, just because they wanted the Animorphs to lie low.

    Without Rachel's embarrassment campaign, the Garatron would have done his review peacefully, gone home unimpeded, joined the Council and then moved to oust V3. As noted in the review, he has few friends and powerful enemies, and is already under a cloud from Visser 1's trial. So he gets fired, replaced or demoted. In order to wrap up the Earth stuff, they bring in his arch rival, whose star would necessarily rise with his fall.

    Visser One would return to Earth, but once she was given the assignment, would suppress all news of her return, or at least put it about that she's not coming for a while. She'd get there and her very first move would be to grab Peter and slip a Yeerk into Marco's ear while he sleeps, if not crawl in herself.

    With Marco down, his knowledge of the other Animorph's identities, plus the location of Ax's scoop means they all are snapped up quickly, with maybe Tobias going down fighting, because it's harder to sneak up on a hawk to grab & infest him. They also now have access to the free Hork-Bajir, and they are quickly retaken, with the bonus of Seer host as well. Plus, the protected valley makes a good secret base. They also get the Chee, the Pemalite ship, the Escafil device, the Yeerk peace movement, and EVERYthing the Animorphs have learned and are hiding from the Yeerks since day one.

    Within months, Visser One has Earth firmly under her control, and controller-Ax feeds the Andalite command a rosy picture of reduced Yeerk activity, until it is too late.

    With the crippling of the Andalite fleet in the Anati ambush, and five billion humans to build Nova, Blade and Pool ships, plus access to the resurgent Hork-Bajir resistance on their homeworld, Visser One is powerful enough to crush the Andalites for good, then overwhelm the Leerans, who then render the Andalite resistance futile, as morphing no longer fools anyone.

    Instead, Rachel’s public embarrassment campaign tempts the Garatron with a big showy failure he can pin on Visser Three, he gets involved with the defense against the “Bandits” in order to show up the Visser, and eventually ends up dead. Visser Three’s enemies on the Council are left without a case against him, and he is able to hold on long enough for Visser One to fall, and leave a vacancy at the top. With their top general and their potential council member both gone, the Yeerk leaders have no choice but to promote Esplin 9466, and let him fight the war his own way. With an arrogant thug in command for the last days, the Animorphs are able to exploit his disloyal subordinates and his ego and win the war.

    All because Rachel didn't listen to Marco or Cassie.

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    1. Even if we do not accept your far-fetched scenario, you should know that Rachel's strategy is exactly what the Viet Cong used for the Tet Offensive in 1968. Even though the Vietnamese gambit failed on the battlefield, because they did very little damage and suffered horrendous casualties, it still succeeded because it demoralized the politicians in America. Walter Cronkite famously reported that it looked like we had no hope of winning, and when the President heard that, he got really worried. He lost the next election to a guy who promised to end the war.

      So Rachel did the same thing that the Vietnamese did to win the Vietnam war, and she did it better. The only difference is the Yeerks were more ruthless, and the Americans didn't kill reporters to keep it a secret, like Visser 3 did with Inspector Garatron.

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  15. Something I noticed about the inside cover. There are four cheetahs, an Andalite and a Hawk. Since Jake is gone is gone that leaves only five Animorphs, making the Andalite Visser Three!

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    1. ...Well, yes. The opening scene is them ambushing Visser Three at his feeding ground as cheetahs.

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  16. Sophocles, Rachel. Sof-oh-klees. It's not hard.

    Also that is not what hubris means.

    Not that anyone ever listens to classics majors...

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  17. Also, Visser Three totally morphed into a Muk from Pokemon in this book.

    Just tossing that out there.

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  18. You know, overall, this was always my least favorite book. Rachel and Marco were (and probably always will be) my favorite characters, seconded only to Ax, and the just... blatant destruction of their characterizations makes me cry.

    The thing was, this had so much potential, even as a filler book. Given how Rachel's story ends, this would have been a perfect opportunity to build more on that part of her, as a leader willing to sacrifice whatever she needs to to get the job done. And Garatron would (and should) have caused a lot more problems, in this book and later on. The whole "the Andalite bandits are going to start destroying random buildings at random times" would have been interesting too. Even the old man dying and Rachel feeling that terrible could have been useful or interesting later on, had any of those things been handled by a competent writer.

    As odd as this sounds, this is probably the most pointless filler book in the series. They pretty much destroy half the city, kill someone, gain a new enemy, and none of it is ever mentioned again ever.

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    1. Agreed. This book had so much potential (on paper it all sounds pretty good!) but it was all wasted, and I think that's why people hate it so much.

      Because like you said... it could have been done in-character. The guilt that Rachel over the old man, especially, could have been a big part of her character development. And I can see her liking the idea of being leader until she actually has to step up to the plate, but the writing was just off. It's sad.

      Delete
    2. Agreed. This book had so much potential (on paper it all sounds pretty good!) but it was all wasted, and I think that's why people hate it so much.

      Because like you said... it could have been done in-character. The guilt that Rachel over the old man, especially, could have been a big part of her character development. And I can see her liking the idea of being leader until she actually has to step up to the plate, but the writing was just off. It's sad.

      Delete
  19. I notice that Applegate tends to do that sentence fragment thing, too, so maybe the ghostwriter was just trying a little too hard to emulate her.

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    1. But hers sound like a kid talking. This just didn't hit that feeling right.

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    2. That's definitely part of KAA's style. I've noticed a lot of fanfic authors trying to emulate it for the same reason (myself included). This author went way too far with it, though.

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  20. I sort of have this theory that the Garatron homeworld is kind of like Planet Krypton, and when they're on the homeworld, there's a heavier gravity that keeps them from going as fast, but it's lighter on Earth, so that's why he's able to run faster. Not too sure if it really explains anything rereading it, but I could get behind the idea just for fanon's sake.

    The whole thing just makes me wish the Animorphs actually did try to attack him as cheetahs, just for the epic speed fight.

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  21. Although I realize it couldn't be done in a children's book, they really should have just shot Visser Three. Whether with a regular ole gun or a stolen Dracon.
    Fly to the clearing, 1 of them morph Hork Bajir, bam, major antagonist dead.
    The 'we'll kill him with cheetahs!' thing was so random and silly.

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  22. I had largely forgotten about this book, but thinking back now. Wow. So poorly written. All those awful sentence fragments. I have trouble rereading a lot of these anyway, since they were originally written for elementary school kids (and because I've been reading Song of Ice and Fire lately), but that is just unacceptable.

    Also, despite the fact that I'm 95% sure they just won't reprint it, having to rewrite the last third to accommodate post-9/11 America would be a great opportunity to make it not shitty.

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  23. To be completely honest, I didn't even notice that Marco was so badly written unil now because I was reeling from the horrible characterization of Rachel.

    However, I always saw this book as a rehash of how difficult it is to be a leader etc etc that Jake is always emphasizing. Except the perspective of how difficult it is to be a leader is Rachel's and not Jake's. I think the author was trying to show that it is easy to act alone, like Cassie did in #29, but harder to act as a group without someone leading, but that the job of leader is way more complex than someone like OOC Rachel could comprehend at the time.

    On the other hand, I loved Visser Three's plan at the end to get back at the Garaton. I am also a huge fan of your picture of the Garaton, Adam.

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  24. Hey! The inside cover has one hawk, one Andalie, and four cheetahs. Jake wasn't there! ERROR

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  25. Basically the only reason I liked this book was because of the cheetahs. Cheetahs are awesome. Having said that, I want to point out that Cassie obviously didn't know a thing about cheetahs, aside that they are fast. Cheetahs are terrible battle morphs. They have no endurance, their claws aren't sharp, and most importantly they have no power in their jaws. Most big cats kill their prey by snapping their necks - you know, because their strong enough to do that. Cheetahs have to strangle their prey for like half an hour.

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  26. I love the picture of oblivious Visser 3 as the cheetahs and Tobias are so close they can taste him. Not even a stalk eye glance. And what's the deal with running in human form? Jumping the fence? I know time was an issue but they couldn't just swoop down as birds or something right onto the plane? That scene was retarded to me. Anyways, thanks for the review!

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  27. So Poison-type moves are super-effective against Garatron? Grass-types aren't exactly known for their blazing speed, although there are some (even among non-legendaries) that are surprisingly quick.

    ...This was all set up to be a joke about Garatron being a Fairy-type, but it turns out the fastest Fairy-type in existence is...Whimsicott, a Grass/Fairy dual-type, and only the second-fastest non-legendary Grass-type. (Well, okay, I guess technically the fastest Fairy-type is Arceus with a Pixie Plate, but 1. Arceus never counts in these discussions because it can be any type, and 2. legendaries.

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