Saturday, June 30, 2012

Book 39: The Hidden

The Summary
Herp derp derp

The Review
Ifi: That fucker right there is a Cape buffalo. It's from Africa and it is not really related to modern cows. It cannot be domesticated. It will fuck your shit up. 
Ifi: It would actually make a better battle morph than the wolf
Ifi: in my opinion
Ifi: Cassie should have used it more often
Adam: It's difficult to control though, which seems like a fair reason not to use it.
Adam: Anywho, I really like the color scheme for this cover.
Adam: Cyan and light purple together is not something I would have normally thought of.
Ifi: Cassie's first pose is so freaking weird. Even for these covers.
Ifi: Maybe she has cramps.
Ifi: Actually yeah
Ifi: that makes sense
Adam: She's about to start dancing.

Ifi: This was the worst book ever.
Adam: Really?
Adam: Everyone has been going on nonstop about how terrible it is.
Adam: And sure, the plot is driven by Cassie being overly Cassie-ish.
Adam: But otherwise, I thought it was an overall interesting concept.

Ifi: So once upon a time Cassie was sitting in her barn eating dirt or whatever.
Ifi: Then Erek turns up and tells her that the Yeerks have repaired the Helmacron ship (though I have no recollection of the Yeerks capturing it) and can now trace morphing energy
Adam: What happened to the Helmacron ship since we last saw it? I don't remember offhand.
Adam: Well, Visser Three was onboard, so he would have known its location.
Ifi: What?
Adam: The Helmacron ship.
Adam: They had shrunk him down too, so he was right by it when they finally took it down.
Ifi: I'm going to look it up because I am 100% positive this is incorrect.
Ifi: Ok I found it. Ship #1 was fried by a dracon beam. Ship #2 was taken back by the Helmacrons, and they flew home in it.
Ifi: So the Yeerks somehow reconstructed alien technology the size of a child's toy
Ifi: After it was seared by a phaser
Ifi: So yeah. Calling BS on this.
Adam: Well, we never know how advanced Yeerk nanotech is.
Ifi: So advanced that they never use it again because it would give them too much of an advantage and they like to play fair. Obviously.
Adam: Well, you know their track record for re-using plots.
Ifi: Anyway, if they wanted to hide the cube, Erek could have taken it down to the bottom of the ocean. There's no way the sensors could track it so deep. And even if they could, the Yeerks have been proven to not have the technology to pursue.
Ifi: But that would be smart, so obviously we can't do that.
Adam: Instead. Cassie takes the box and drives around with her mom.

"Cassie?" my mother said, from the doorway. "I'm off to The Gardens. I have animal transports to oversee and—"

"I'll go with you!" I blurted, while giving the barn a quick once-over for Erek. Was he that bucket? That bale of hay? The Chee were extremely good with holograms.

The sunlight behind my mother shimmered and for an instant, Erek was Erek again and not a hologram of a brightly lit barn door.

I looked at my mom. "Let's get going."

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Ifi: I have nooooo idea why she even chose to go with her mom.
Adam: It made her feel better to have some company?
Adam: I dunno
Adam: It was a dumb idea.
Adam: Cassie, you are unnecessarily putting innocents in danger, you realize?
Ifi: Imagine if the Yeerks determined the signal was coming from their car and fired an air-to-ground missile at it.
Adam: Why would they do that? Visser Three would have eaten the entire invasion force if they had accidentally blown it up instead of gotten it.
Ifi: Why do the Yeerks do any of the things that they do?
Ifi: I'm just saying use your imagination
Adam: I am, I am using it to subvert yours.
Ifi: Ignoring you now
Adam: =D

Ifi: So this is just like that first Megamorphs book, except this time they know they can't morph without attracting attention, so Cassie just runs around trying not to get caught
Ifi: Everyone else gives her advice from the air because apparently they're allowed to morph but she's not

I yanked again. Saw the pin. Pulled it out and pulled the door open, scrambled up into the back of the heavily fenced transport truck, and quietly closed the door behind me. Doubled over, panting, heart racing.

I had made it.

That's when something very large bellowed very loudly.

I shot up and staggered back against the wall.

There, looming in front of me, with its huge, broad head held low and its massive, curved horns, stood almost a ton of solid, muscled African Cape buffalo.

Aka the widow-maker.

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Adam: So, meet today's star.



Ifi: This thing is a badass and the only way Cassie can calm it down is to acquire its DNA
Ifi: Luckily this actually works and Cassie does not die
Ifi: Unfortunately, the Yeerks now know exactly where she is

"I'm telling you, don't open that! I'm hauling African Cape buffalo here, mister, and I don't think you want to—"

"Never attempt to think for me." A cold, sinister voice. A voice I had heard before. A voice I would never forget.

Visser Three.

My morphing had stopped when I'd lost concentration.

I refocused. Fast.

Schloop! Schloop!

My ears elongated. Sort of stretched out, drooped, and grew fringed hair.

The latch on the double doors clunked open.

"I'm telling you guys, don't do this!"

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Adam: They don't have a tranquilizer or anything?
Ifi: You'd think the transport dude would have one in every sleeve
Adam: This really seems like the sort of thing you'd need to prepare ahead for.
Ifi: Also, after all this time, Visser Three has STILL not learned to listen when the humans are trying to tell him something about the local animals
Adam: Dude has no patience whatsoever.
Adam: He'd make a terrible doctor.
Ifi: Was that a pun.
Ifi: Was that supposed to be a pun.
Ifi: Do you think you are funny?
Adam: Yes.
Adam: I don't think, I know.

I turned and saw the Cape buffalo I'd acquired pounding out of the truck, charging people with its horns and growing more agitated when it missed them.

Then it whirled and stampeded straight for Chapman. The assistant principal of our school. Member of The Sharing. And a high-ranking Controller.

THUD!

Chapman flew through the air and hit the ground with the same dull "whump" a watermelon makes when you drop it.

<Come on, Cassie!> Tobias yelled. <Get the cube and get moving!>

I ran back toward the truck. Stopped. Powered up my short, stocky legs and body-slammed Visser Three's limo with everything I had.

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Adam: Chapman
Adam: Can the poor guy ever take a break?
Ifi: Visser Three is really attached to this limo and I really have no idea why.
Adam: And who doesn't like limos? Even if you an alien conqueror, you still want to travel in style.
Adam: Especially if you're an alien conqueror.

"What?" I said, huffing a little as I jogged toward him. "What, Tobias?"

And then I broke into the clearing and I saw for myself.

The Cape buffalo stood there, quivering. Twisting. Its eyes bulging with panic. Its mouth gaping in a silent scream. The scene was pretty bizarre all by itself. But in our world things always had to be slightly more than weird.

See, the Cape buffalo stood there, but instead of a Cape buffalo head and face was our assistant principal's.

Chapman.

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Ifi: ...
Ifi: I am already having a bad night as it is and now I have to talk about this.

 
Adam: Everything bad happens to Chapman, even if it is not actually Chapman.
Adam: So now we have this horrible uncanny valley creature following everyone around.


Ifi: So, despite the fact that it has been explicitly stated twice that the escafil device must be activated by thought-speak command, the buffalo somehow managed to touch it and gain the morphing power.
Adam: Buffalos are secretly psychic.
Ifi: Not only did he do this, but he managed to acquire Chapman's DNA despite the fact that he was only touching the man for a few seconds, and to acquire DNA one must be focused on ACQUIRING DNA
Adam: They keep it hidden to all humans
Ifi: When the buffalo was touching Chapman, he was not thinking about acquiring DNA. He was thinking, "I am going to kill this human with my face." Except he is a buffalo so it was probably more like, "WHAAAARBLSADIKSAJKLDSAJ."
Adam: He was thinking "I am going to hit this human with my face, and absorb his genetic code in the process."
Adam: "Then I will proceed to stalk this preteen girl for the next few days. This is clearly the best option."
Ifi: And, what's more, morphing is shown to be a voluntary thing, except under silly celebrity-related circumstances. To morph, one must be actively attempting to morph. Why was this buffalo attempting to morph?
Ifi: It makes no sense.
Ifi: Who wrote this book
Ifi: This is a bad book
Ifi: written by a bad man
Adam: The ghost writer is female.
Ifi: a bad woman

Adam: Anywho, the theory I am running under is that the morphing process is normally supposed to be activated by concentration, but a certain amount of random synapse firing in a creature incapable of normal concentration is enough to activate it.
Adam: It makes no real sense, but it is that sort of book

A freak of nature.

So help me, that's the first thought that swept into my mind, as I watched the buffalo stumble and squirm.

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Ifi: Cassie, animal rights activist
Adam: The uncanny valley can do weird things to your thought process.


Adam: Seriously.
Ifi: What does the uncanny valley have to do with this? This is just something weird and gross. The uncanny valley is when people try to make robots and fuck it up so they wind up looking like corpses.
Adam: The uncanny valley is something generally human, but is just slightly off in some fashion, which makes it appear unsettling as a result.
Adam: In this case, we have a creature that looks human, but whose actions and behavior and even small character ticks are clearly not, and it is very disturbing to look like as a consequence.

Ifi: Cassie wants to take this thing home and name him and braid ribbons in his hair or whatever
Ifi: And she is convinced that he is now sentient because he copies her whenever she morphs or demorphs


Adam: Cassie…oh Cassie...
Adam: What are we going to do with you?

Ifi: I think, given the circumstances, Tobias was incredibly patient with her

<Cassie! We have to leave him here. The Gardens search team'll find him sooner or later!>

<What, as half-Chapman, half-buffalo? That's insane! We can't leave him! He doesn't even understand what's happening to him!> I cried.

I was frustrated because what Tobias said was absolutely true. We did need to go, but how could I have created such a mutation, even by mistake, and then abandon it—him? I felt a little like a twenty-first-century Dr. Frankenstein and it was not a good feeling.

<Cassie, if we wait any longer…> Tobias warned.

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Adam: They're all used to this sort of thing by now.
Adam: I mean, this is the girl who felt bad about killing a termite queen.
Ifi: I am convinced that none of this actually happened. Cassie is tripping out. She fell off her horse and hit her head and now she's hallucinating because I refuse to accept any of this as canon
Adam: That's your headcanon for everything.
Ifi: No, sometimes it's battle injuries and sometimes it's illegal drugs
Adam: Either way, its always hallucinations.

In morph I was sending a stronger signal and the helicopter could keep an easy lock on me. If I quickly demorphed back to human—besides that one fast burst of energy—I'd be giving off no signal except for the energy from the cube, and maybe I could lose them again.

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Ifi: I thought it was established in Megamorphs 1 that morphing energy is only given off during the actual morphing process?
Ifi: Once you lock into a form, it stops.
Adam: Well, the way they tracked the animorphs in that was different.
Ifi: Mehhhh
Adam: The Helmacron sensors are probably much more sensitive then whatever means the Veleek could follow energy signatures by.

Ifi: Anyway, Cassie gets away, but the author has not had enough of the buffahuman thing yet, and decides to inflict it upon us some more

<Tobias told us that this mutant learned to stand by observing you,> Ax continued. <And if he learns to speak, he will, most likely, be able to identify you.>

"Forget learning to speak," I interrupted, realizing what I hadn't realized before. "He's seen me morph! If the Yeerks infest him and are able to tap into his memories..."

<Human or buffalo,> Tobias added quietly. <It's seen you morph while it was in both forms.>

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Adam: So, this thing isn't just a pitiable monstrosity, its also a massive potential security threat as well.
Adam: Any reason why they haven't made hamburgers of it yet?
Ifi: Because this is a Cassie book
Adam: Of course.
Adam: That said, I am legitimately curious as to what the psychology of this creature would be like
Ifi: It mostly seems to be, "AM ANGRY. SMASH THING. TIME TO CHANGE. AM HUMAN NAO. SMASH MORE THINGS."
Adam: Well, when it morphs a human though, it would have a human brain
Adam: So it should have a greater learning capacity
Adam: But only when in human morph
Adam: So how much memory would it be able to retain between morphs, realistically speaking?
Ifi: I'm going to assume it would be on the same level as your average youtube commenter
Adam: Hey, the poor creature has been through enough in this book. Let's not insult the thing to boot.

<And don't forget about the buffa-human,> Tobias said.

"That one's easy," Rachel said dismissively. "We just have to get rid of it."

"But he's already acquired human DNA," I protested.

“So what? You're saying if we kill it, it's murder?"

Rachel asked. "Come on, Cassie, it's not a human any more than I'm a bear or you're a wolf —"

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Ifi: You guys have killed people. Human people, and Taxxon people, and Hork-Bajir people, and even Yeerk people. Why are we getting all hyped up about a buffalo?
Adam: I am really not getting your argument.
Adam: If a person receives some DNA from another creature, it suddenly becomes that creature?
Ifi: Luckily Ax agrees

Ax swiveled an eyestalk in Jake's direction. <Prince Jake, Marco and Rachel do make a valid point. I, too, have acquired human DNA. Does this make me a human rather than an Andalite?>

Silence.

"I hate these kinds of questions." Rachel. "There are never any concrete answers! I say we do whatever we have to do to protect ourselves and if that includes killing a buffalo, well, too bad. We know firsthand that cows die every day to make hamburgers—"

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Adam: does that mean that people who have heart transplants are bacon?
Ifi: I
Ifi: what
Ifi: Bacon?
Adam: They give people who need heart transplants pig hearts.
Adam: By Cassie's logic, those people are now pigs.
Ifi: That...that's an urban legend...
Adam: What? No it isn't.
Adam: Pigs and humans are internally similar enough for that.
Ifi: Oh god
Adam: That's why cannibals always say that human tastes like pork.

Ifi: Well, if the Animorphs are too pathetic to kill a buffalo, they could just point it at the Yeerks.
Adam: I'm telling you.
Adam: Hamburgers
Adam: So, this book is basically just Cassie running around in the woods while being chased by the Yeerks and Buffaloman.

"So, you're saying we do a suicide run?" Rachel said.

"Well—" Jake began.

"No," Marco interrupted. "Not a suicide run, a cartoon run! Oh, man, I am so good! Listen, what does Wile E. Coyote do when he wants to squash the Road Runner?"

"He straps one of those Acme rockets to his back," Rachel said. "Dive-bombs him or something."
Marco slapped his forehead and groaned. "Noooo! Come on, am I the only one educated in cartoon combat?"

We all stared at Marco. "Oh, for. . . He drops an anvil on him! Don't you get it? We need to drop an anvil on the helicopter!"

"Ahhh," Jake said slowly. "Okay, yeah. It's perfect. We can't do it over the woods, though. The last thing we need is to cause a fire or something."

Everything was falling into place. "We lure the helicopter out over the ocean. And then we drop the anvil," I said calmly.

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Ifi: Oh, so we have now dropped all pretenses of this not being a shameless rip-off of Megamorphs 1
Adam: Needs more horrifying tentacle monsters.

Ifi: The Animorphs get themselves cornered in a cave, attacked by Hork-Bajir and Taxxons and there is blood and screaming and blood
Adam: Fortunately, Mr. Buffalo is there to save them.


<Prince Jake, we have to stop,> Ax said grimly, lopping the head off a slavering, chittering Taxxon. <We are severely outnumbered—>

That's when I heard the familiar bellowing. The enraged bellow was fresh and furious.

<It's the buffalo, Cassie!> Tobias shouted. <The Yeerks didn't get it!>

I sucked in lungfuls of air and let out a resounding, answering snort.

The buffalo went berserk. It was a whirlwind of destruction. Trampled, pierced, gored, and gouged huge, gaping holes in the Taxxons. Battered the Hork-Bajir.

We all went a little crazy after that, on some kind of sick, bloody rampage spurred on by the African Cape buffalo who annihilated the Hork-Bajir ranks with sheer savagery. And finally, sent them howling, bent and broken, into the forest.

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Ifi: What the actual fuck
Adam: Buffalos be crazy.
Adam: So once again, the buffalo is with the group.
Adam: I will note, it is following them around in the form of their naked assistant principle.
Adam: Their very hairy, naked assistant principle.
Ifi: …trauma is for EVERYONE
Adam: It is that sort of book.

"That's different," Marco said. "We morph consciously. This buffalo's just mimicking what it sees. It doesn't know what the heck is going on."

"But what if it could learn?" I said. "What if now that it has a human brain, he learns to use it? What if it learns how to reason, or—"

"Nuh," the buffa-human grunted. "Guhhrnuh."

It looked up at me and blinked.

"It's learning to talk," I said, feeling a mixture of hope and nausea.

"No way," Marco shot back. "That was just some kind of weird, random firing of neurons in the speech part of its brain."

"You're wrong," I said, stepping slowly toward the buffa-human, who went very still. "Hi. I know you can't understand me yet —"

"Nuh," it grunted, tossing its head. "Uhhhhnnn."

"Hi," I repeated.

"Heeeeehhhhh," it said, looking puzzled.

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Ifi: How did we even get to this point?
Ifi: I just
Adam: Um
Adam: Even if it can possibly learn, there is absolutely no way you can keep this thing.
Adam: So deliberately teaching it is just going to make it increasingly more immoral when you are eventually forced to euthanize the poor thing.
Ifi: If Cassie had her way, she'd be enrolling it in school first thing in the morning
Adam: Chapman would be teaching himself as a buffalo.
Adam: There's a sitcom in there, I'm sure of it.
Ifi: They could pass it off as his identical twin brother. Nobody's seen him since the Andalite Chronicles anyway.
Adam: They would spontaneously develop a laugh track
Ifi: There would be all sorts of wacky antics
Ifi: Cassie would get him registered as a US citizen, and he would be called for jury duty
Adam: And there would be a wacky neighbor who would always try to expose him as a buffalo.

Ifi: So more stuff happens, including them throwing the morphing cube across a road for some reason
Adam: Reasons
Adam: Perfectly good reasons.
Ifi: Also they try to get rid of the buffalo but he is in love with Cassie or something
Adam: …Well, now I have a new OTP.
Adam: So, she manages to convince them to go rescue it.

We were going to have to destroy the buffalo.

If we we're closer to home, we might have been able to do it humanely, to euthanize it using my father's vet supplies. But I wasn't home. And now I didn't know when the chance would come, or what morph we would use to destroy such a powerful animal, but my stomach turned at the thought of pitting buffalo against buffalo.

<Cassie? I am sorry. But we cannot allow it to be captured,> Ax said quietly.

<Okay,> Jake said wearily. <Let's go rescue a buffalo.>

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Ifi: I don't even want to read this book anymore it is so bad.
Ifi: It is an insult to my intelligence, and to the series
Adam: So, next the buffalo somehow manages to acquire Alloran.
Adam: And it beats Visser Three in one on one combat.
Ifi: Speaking of insults to my intelligence

<You have caused me much inconvenience this day. Now, let's make this simple, shall we? Where is the device?>

He stepped up to the buffalo and jabbed a slender finger down into one of its gaping wounds. <Answer me, Andalite!>

The buffalo snorted and swung its head, its horn narrowly missing Visser Three. The visser moved away slowly, his main eyes half-mast. Almost as if he were drugged.

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Adam: …I changed my mind, this buffalo is more competent then the rest of the team combined. They clearly need to keep it around.

<Prince Jake, the buffalo is morphing,> Ax said urgently. <lt acquired the visser!>

<Oh, man, this is too good!> Marco crowed.

While the real Visser Three was raging at the Hork-Bajir for not finding the cube, the buffalo was turning blue, growing eye stalks, and thin, almost graceful arms. Turning into an exact replica of the visser's stolen Andalite body.

Including a curved and lethal Andalite tail.

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Ifi: I'm just going to
Ifi: beat my head against this wall
Adam: You do that.
Ifi: until my brain stops hurting
Adam: k
Ifi: Like I just
Ifi: cannot
Ifi: handle this level of stupidity
Adam: Eh, we've been through worse.
Ifi: Worse than a random buffalo acquiring Alloran's DNA without Visser Three realizing it, morphing to Andalite, and beating him in tail-combat?
Adam: Andalite toilet.
Ifi: In literature, there are different types of horrible. The Andalite toilet was horrible, stupid, and childish, and it ruined the mood of the story.
Ifi: Whereas this doesn't even get that far because I cannot suspend my disbelief in the first place.
Adam: Honestly, I think the idea of a non-sapient animal with a sapient morph an interesting enough idea for this book to not be totally ruined.
Adam: It could have been pulled off a heck of a lot better, obviously, but it still is a factor in this book's favor for me.
Ifi: Except the idea of the buffalo somehow working up the brain power to morph doesn't fly for me
Ifi: Even if we assume Ax left the Escafil device turned on by accident somehow
Adam: Agreed, it is one of those things where the plot basically only functions because of a plot hole
Adam: Ah well.

The buffalo bellowed in open thought-speak and charged. Slapped and whipped its tail with little skill but with major fury. Drove Visser Three back.

The Hork-Bajir and human-Controllers milled in helpless confusion, not daring to attack the wrong visser.

<Now, now!> Jake yelled, charging into a knot of Hork-Bajir and plowing open a huge hole. He ran into the woods with us behind him, trampling anything that got in our way.

I wished I could call the buffalo after me. It had actually helped us fight and I didn't want to leave it behind to be killed. Or worse.

FWAPP! Visser Three's tail lashed out again. One of the buffalo's eye stalks fell to the
ground.

The buffalo's tail jerked forward, more of a pain reaction than anything, and the dull side of his tailblade whacked Visser Three on the side of his head.

He dropped like a stone.

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Ifi: On second thought, Cassie might be right. Let’s make the buffalo an animorph
Adam: Like I said
Adam: He's accomplished more in a day then they have in years.
Ifi: Instead, Cassie leads him off a cliff
Ifi: But instead of letting it die, she urges it to demorph to heal its injuries
Adam: Yep, clear intelligence right there.

How could it have survived that fall?" Marco asked, glancing pointedly at the buffahuman and giving me a hard look.

"It was pretty bad," I admitted, avoiding his cool gaze. "It saw me demorph, though and mimicked me. I guess that saved it." Sure. I guessed.

How about I knew?

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Ifi: Cassie why the hell are you lying to your friends?
Adam: She and the buffalo, they bonded.
Adam: Now they are sworn buffalo brothers for life.
Adam: One cannot simply defy the buffalo brotherhood.
Ifi: But wait there's more

It was an ant, antennae waving and pincers snapping.

And it was getting bigger.

Two feet high. And counting.

Demorph, I thought frantically, trying to scrabble away from the ant's sharp, snapping pincers. Demorph!

And the ant was still growing, its arms and legs waving, hair sprouting from its bulby head—

Hair?

The tips of its top pair of legs swelled and fingers erupted. Its segmented body melted and ran together, reshaping into a sturdy, human form. Wide, human eyes popped out of its head, flanking a strong, familiar-looking nose.

SCHWIPP! SCHWIPP!

Its pincers were jerked halfway back into its head, leaving the lethal tips spasming, and in between them, in some horrible, terrifying morphing disaster, the ant's face split vertically and lips formed.

Opened wide in a silent scream as gleaming, white teeth erupted from the pink gums.

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Ifi: God no
Ifi: why
Ifi: why
Ifi: why
Adam: So is Cassie going to have a talking ant follow her around now?
Adam: Nope, 'cause bugs are gross.
Adam: Man, such a double standard here.

But it wasn't really triumph, because instead of dying the ant-Cassie was shrinking. Demorphing into a vile jumble of ant and human parts.

Growing tinier and tinier.

"No," I croaked.

I staggered over. Stomped the ground.

Stamped and crushed everything and everywhere.

Slammed my bare feet down again and again and again until it had to be dead because such a hideous abomination could never, ever be allowed to live.

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Ifi: Moral compass of the group
Adam: Aw, I like insects.
Ifi: This reminds me of the intro scene of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, where whatsisface realizes it's a baby and is like, "What? Shit, now I feel sort of bad." And then he sees it's ugly and goes, "Oh, never mind, I will throw it in this well."
Ifi: Except this is the hero of the story doing it.
Adam: I would totally read a book with Frolo as the protagonist.

<I have to go now,> I said, knowing it couldn't understand me. <Thank you for saving my life.>

The buffalo's ears twitched.

And then I knew what to say.

<You are good,> I said softly.

Its ears came forward and it made a soft, almost friendly sound.

The helicopter buzzed into sight.

TSEEEEEW!

And then the Dracon beam blew up the buffalo.

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Ifi: Oh
Ifi: Uh
Adam: Oh
Adam: Well
Adam: I guess that solves everything, then.
Ifi: That didn't come right the hell out of nowhere or anything.
Adam: That said, "And then the Dracon beam blew up the buffalo." is one of the best lines I have ever read.
Ifi: "And then the author got sick of this gimmick and threw it away."

Adam: So, we still have to rehash the ending of Megamorphs 1, so they head to the ocean to drop a whale on the helicopter.
Ifi: I guess the author felt guilty about such blatant plagiarism, because she did mix it up a little
Adam: To put it concisely, the plot fails horribly, and Cassie nearly gets Julienned.
Ifi: Julie Ann'd

I wasn't going to make it!

I wasn't big enough and I wasn't going to be by the time I hit the helicopter.

I was going to be sliced up like deli lunchmeat and flung far and wide across the ocean to feed the sharks.

That's when a movement caught my eye. At first I couldn't tell what it was. Then I realized it was just one of a few of the gulls frightened by the helicopter's downwash. And then the helicopter pilot below me glanced up. His eyes bulged and with one swift jerk, he yanked the helicopter out from under me.

I was going to miss him! Even at my ballooning rate I was still going to miss him!

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Adam: And then everyone died.
Adam: The End.
Ifi: No, Jesus-gull is here to sacrifice himself for your sins

SCHWOCK!

I couldn't believe it.

One of the gulls had been sucked into the helicopter's powerful, jet engine intake like a hairball into a vacuum hose.

KA-BOOOOM!

The helicopter exploded in a raging ball of fire.

----Book Thirty-Nine, The Hidden

Ifi: What
Ifi: I mean
Ifi: just
Ifi: what

Adam: To be fair, this was foreshadowed earlier in the book.
Ifi: Yeah, there was one random throwaway line about birds sometimes being sucked into jets
Ifi: but
Ifi: still


Adam: So, we get a big explody thing, and that is the end.
Ifi: Good
Ifi: finally
Ifi: let's go home
Adam: And ultimately they aren't even absolutely sure that the Helmacron ship was fully destroyed.
Adam: Happy end!

Ifi: What a waste of paper
Adam: Eh, I didn't really mind it all that much reading through it.
Ifi: I am pretty sure you are the only person in the universe who feels that way, but ok
Adam: I feel special.
Ifi: You should feel like you have incredibly low literary standards
Adam: Yaaay
Adam: Well, I should probably get started on that Fifty Shades of Gray fanfic, then.

82 comments:

  1. Andalite bad boyJune 30, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    And then the dracon beam blew up the book and it was nevver read again!

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  2. And then i went into Andalite BB's room and set a mouse trap on his keyboard because mom said he was grounded and couldnt go online because he stole an andalite fighter and crashed it into the house because he forgot how to apply the brakes

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  3. I had no problem with the Andalite toilet book, but this one was just terrible. None of it made sense. NONE OF IT. There is no way they wouldn't have all sorts of morphing insects running around if acquiring the abilitywas that easy.

    I gotta way I do love the bit where Visser three is so incompetent he's defeated by accident by a buffalo, though.

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    1. Forget Andalite toilets, next week, it's time for Andalite marijuana, and the revelation that Ax is both a pot-head and that he invented the DVR. Or KAA/ghostwriter thought it up, in Jules Verne fashion.

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  4. I don't know, I think the book had potential, but this particular ghostwriter overutilized at some points, and underutilized it at others. If a better writer had done this, it would be a million times better. But the Cassie-Ant was really just thrown in there just to make you think the buffalo wasn't a fluke, but it would be better if it had been a fluke. Otherwise, it gives you the impression that there are millions of morph-capable vermin and crittets running around.
    (Realizes what I just said I just said)
    IFI FANFIC NOW!

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  5. Just want to say before I read this, I hope that summary is staying that way and not just a placeholder because I already can't stop laughing.

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    1. Yeah every time I tried to outline the plot I realized this book has no plot, it's just stupid things happening randomly.

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  6. Domestication is a multi-generational process that obviously cannot be done to one individual of a species.

    I think you meant 'tame'.

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  7. This book gave me nighmares when I read it the first time. Incidentally, the buffalo always scared me way more then the ant-thing. It just had way too many weird as hell implications.
    Also, this book was stupid.

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  8. I would like to express utmost gratitude that you didn't draw a picture of Ant-Cassie. I still see the mutant seagull in my nightmares sometimes. D:

    I actually do buy the fact that Buffa-Human would be able to beat Visser Three in a straight-up fight. It's already been established that when you morph an animal, you inherit a certain amount of the animal's inherent instincts. Some animals are harder to control because the instinct can be fairly powerful, but a strong mind can withstand it. In this case, the Andalite instincts may not be as strong, but since the Buffalo is fairly weak minded, it still worked out. It just thinks "I really want to kill this guy. What do I have that will let me do that? Oh, a tail with a stabby thing on the end. That will do." Visser Three was treating it like a duel between Andalites, with strategy and skill, while the Buffandalite was pure offense. Lose an eye stalk, oh well, stabby time.

    As for the helicopter plan, I'm still amazed that after so many years of fighting Yeerks, the Animorphs have never gotten their hands on a Dracon beam. Seems like every Controller has access to one, and that would have solved the problem pretty quick. Cassie can morph Whale, Marco can morph Gorilla or something with a usable hand, stand on Cassie and shoot the chopper.

    But then I would be adding logic to this work of surrealist art.

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    1. This is a children's book. For children.

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    2. Rachel totally got her paws on a dracon beam that one time. I think it was the oatmeal book. I even drew a picture. IDK why she didn't keep it.

      Remember kids, guns are awesome!

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    3. Remember the fourth book, Ax had a shredder and the whole time I was screaming, "Keep it, all of your morphs are capable of carrying it, keep it!!"

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    4. Was that in his underwater Dome where he had the Shredder? Would YOU want to carry that in your mouth underwater? Not to mention, it would have also deprived him of his primary means of combat in his aquatic morph (teeth - he was a shark which doesn't even have bones to help it win a body-slamming fight).

      Rachel probably lost her Dracon beam in the ceiling collapse she used it to trigger. They had to morph to mole to get clear of the cave-in, which means she probably couldn't drag the gun through the tunnel with her.

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    5. Marco is the one who had it, not Rachel (she handed it to him because the elephant couldn't shoot with it) but they would have ditched it no matter what, because the Yeerks have methods to track down non-human materials, so they would locate it. It also answers my question, but it opens the problem of how the when our heroes steal the Z-space transponder (book 5) the Yeerks could have tracked the Animorphs down.

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    6. ADAM WHY DID YOU DRAW THAT AND WHY DID I CLICK ON IT.

      Why would you... why?!

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    7. And Rachel took it back, because Marco's a ginormous pussy.
      As their conflict in the last Rachel book demonstrates, you can't ever turn to Marco to do something as balls-out and badass as evade your enemies by dropping an underground tunnel on your heads.

      And that's when it hit me. "Give me the Dracon beam"
      ...
      I didn't have time to argue, I snatched the Dracon beam from Marco.
      ...
      And I raised the Dracon beam...Aimed it...and squeezed the trigger.
      - Book 17, The Underground. Narrated by Rachel. Never doubt Cannoli.

      Who says they can track down non-human materials? They would have nailed Ax a long time ago, unless you think Andalite physiology is man-made. They would have long since found the blue box, since the David episode clearly demonstrates their interest in acquiring it. What they might be actually doing is tracking the energy signature of these items when used. So they can track the transmitter when it is active, or the Dracon beam while it is firing (but the Animorphs would only fire it at Yeerks, so they'd know anyway) and in this book, they are only able to track the cube through exclusive Helmacron tech that they stole & repaired. They were actually using the Helmacron ship, rather than a Yeerk device reverse engineered from Helmacron tech. The few times they have tracked the Animorphs by their use of the morphing power, it has only worked when they morphed between forms.

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    8. Read book foutern.

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    9. Book fourteen says so, and I mean materials like plastics and metals. How dare you doubt me.

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    10. The Poop Joke book? THAT is your evidence, for, like, ANYTHING?

      So how come they never found the morphing cube in the construction site for all that time? Or never tracked it to Cassie's place?

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    11. Agh, Adam!! Are you trying to give us nightmares?! Seriously, though, that is the most creepy-awesome piece of art I've seen it a long time. You're really talented.

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    12. Cannoli: Yeah, that's how the Yeerks found out about the porta potty, the materials aren't from earth.

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    13. The fact that they couldn't track the Morphing Cube does put a hole in that theory. Plus, if they were constantly tracking all non-Earth materials, they'd likely be breaking into museums and people's homes to steal their souvenir meteorites.

      I guess the real reason is that a bunch of kids with guns likely wouldn't please Scholastic, so they had to stick to animal powers. If you're a five year old playing with your friends, do you honestly go: "I'm an Animorph! Bang bang, you're dead!"

      Well, I did, but I was a dumb kid. If my friends and I had been roleplaying accurately, we'd just sit around being all sullen and paranoid. That didn't happen until high school.

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    14. RE: Book 14: My guess is that the scientists at pseudo-Area 51 kept flushing the thing when they were trying to figure out what it was.

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  9. Cassie's whining about killing a creature with human DNA is pretty much the corollary to the David rule about only killing humans in morph. Either you are what you are, regardless of what morph you are using, or else you are your morph. Either David is right for saying it's okay to kill humans in morph, or the Chap-buffalo is a cow no matter what shape he's in, and killing him has no more moral ramifications than eating a hamburger.

    Also, while re-reading this, I could help but recall all the times you guys have pointed out Cassie trying to bite or eat people & animals in morph. Is the Cape Buffalo that hard to control or does Cassie just really suck at controlling morphs? I mean, Yeerk, eel, termite, squirrel, Tyrannosaur, buffalo, race horse, dolphin have all gotten out of her control at one time or other, and there was that time she lingered for a snack of Aftran's brother.

    My theories:
    1. Deficiency that balances whatever special quality makes her an estreen

    2. She is so "close to nature" and has so much empathy for animals that she dives too deeply into the morph when she changes. (I am personally skeptical about this, since her polar opposite who is the most addicted to his humanity & human comforts is Marco, and he's the next most likely to try eating other creatures in morph)

    3. A strong case can be made that she's the least overtly intelligent, or has the worst-trained/educated mind. Except for animal trivia, she tends to have the least knowledge of the Animorphs, as well as making the fewest decisions by a purely rational or intellectual process, and as a result, is the most susceptible to a mind that operates on instincts.

    Anyway, nice review. The worse the book, the more humorous the review tends to be, IMO.

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    1. I would buy either of the first two, but I don't know where you're getting the last one from. What basis do you have for concluding that Cassie isn't intelligent?

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    2. I didn't say she wasn't intelligent, just that the other members of the group are more intelligent than she. Rachel is the most academically accomplished, Marco is generally cited as having the most brainpower and best analytical mind, Jake's leadership role necessitates a certain amount of quick-on-his-feet decision-making, and Tobias is the best solo operator, which relies on possessing a number of the others' strengths to one degree or another. Cassie also comes up with actual knowledge or tactics the least, and most of her mental contributions or plans are based on her feelings, preferences, or emotional empathy. If nothing else, her contributions come from her heart, while the others' come from their minds. In other words, the part she uses to make choices and govern her actions is something most animals possess to a degree, while the others go more on their intellectual or rational faculties, which are different from their animal brains, and thus might be better able to make choices independent of animal instincts.

      Cassie is the one who operates the most on an instinctive and intuitive level, which is not necessarily a less effective or valid process (except, based on Cassie's performance, in her case it IS), however, it seems like it would make her more inclined to go with the flow of an animal's non-rational decision-making process. The others, who are more abstract or rationalistic thinkers, would be less likely to let that kind of stuff make the call.

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    3. I don’t know…. I think they all have different intellectual strengths. Cassie is incredibly good at reading people, understanding what they’re thinking and feeling, and predicting how they will act in different situations. And she’s good at solving disputes and easing tensions within a group – that requires a kind of social intelligence.

      She’s also good at looking at problems from all different angles, and seeing out-of-the-box solutions that the others might have missed. Examples: In book #5, they’re all trying to figure out how to break into Chapman’s house. Cassie is the one who’s like, hang on, we don’t necessarily have to go through the house to get to the basement. In #10, they’re all coming up with elaborate plans to spy on Erek and figure out where he lives, until Cassie is like, duh, let’s just look him up in the phone book. She comes up with a creative plan for acquiring the guy as mosquitos in #18 by thinking about the acquiring process from a different angle. She’s the one who realizes that, if they’re looking to make new Animorhs, disabled kids are their best bet.

      So yeah, you could argue that, when it comes to reading people, and thinking about problems in different ways to find out-of-the-box solutions, Cassie’s actually the brightest in the group.

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  10. Oh, Adam is fucking with you, pig hearts aren't used in human transplants.

    Yet.

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    1. Aw. Am I mistaken here?

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    2. Immune system rejects it. They ARE very similar, and there are possible treatments in the pipe to make them viable transplants... but it hasn't happened yet.

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    3. I think it's theoretically possible. But I don't know if people actually do it or not.

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    4. My uncle got one. He did die three weeks later, but he still got one, and it pumped for a little while, but nowadays they use artificial hearts or other human hearts.

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    5. It's not entire hearts, it's valves.

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    6. Yeah - you can use pig or cow valves, because valves don't need living cells to work. You can kill all the cells and implant the collagen skeleton of the valve, and you'll have a piece of perfectly shaped dead collagen that works for about ten years, and then starts to leak and needs to be re-replaced because, without any living cells, it can't heal.

      That's why they mainly use organic valve replacements in old people, and young people with valve problems get the nasty metal ones that mean you need to spend the rest of your life on heavy-duty toxic blood-thinning medication.

      But no, live pig tissue definitely doesn't work - the immune system would kill it - and we're not all that close to making it work. We're much closer to developing mechanical hearts - heck, we already have mechanical hearts, it's just that they're dangerous and ineffective enough that their current use is "keep this person barely alive a few more months till they can get a transplant" rather than "Heart failure? No probs, we'll just make you a cyborg."

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    7. KoalaKoalaPANDAMUAHAHAHAHAHJanuary 8, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      It was a good metaphor or whatever, though!

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  11. "And then the Dracon Beam blew up the buffalo."

    I like to imagine KAA just wrote that sentence and told the ghostwriter "make a story around this."

    I could buy the inconsistencies in the morphing process in this book if they wrote it off as some kind of programming bug. Maybe something specific about this one specimen's DNA conflicted with the morphing cube's programming in some weird, inscrutable way and made everything go haywire.

    Not that it'd excuse the stupidity of this book.

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    1. "I like to imagine KAA just wrote that sentence and told the ghostwriter 'make a story around this.' "

      That makes way more sense than any other explanation for this book. Except maybe Ifi's theory that Cassie just fell off her horse and is hallucinating this entire thing.

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  12. Huh, I thought this was the Australia book. I guess that's a later Cassie book.

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    1. Australia book has a fucking kangaroo on it.

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    2. Like, literally?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ug9Ynl9jjiU

      :D

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  13. Well, I guess that'll make it pretty obvious when it comes up.

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  14. ...what the fuck?

    Okay, so, random animals can morph. Ants can morph, if exposed to the blue box. So I have to assume there are hundreds of morph-capable insects and maybe a few rodents running around California, from all the time they left the box unattended in the construction site. From there... imagine the possibilities!

    A morph-capable mosquito would actively seek out and acquire humans, in the same way as they were planning in #18! A morph-capable mouse might escape a bird of prey by putting it into an acquiring trance when it got grabbed! Ooh! What if someone's pet cat found the box?

    Wait, it just occurred to me that the two most competent characters in this book - in terms of what they accomplish - are the buffalo and... the seagull! The dracon beam DIDN'T actually blow up the buffalo - Cassie THOUGHT so, but when the dust cleared, he was only wounded! He managed to heal himself by morphing to human and back, then acquired a seagull and went on to make a noble sacrifice to protect his buffalo-brother, Cassie, and save the day!

    ...I wonder if microbes can gain morphing powers? Sneeze on the Escafil device, wipe it off with your hand, and... INSTANT NIGHTMARE FUEL!

    Adam. Ifi. You know what you must do.

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    1. For the love of whatever you worship as divine, Ifi, I am begging you to ignore this crazy person and leave these insane ideas out of your fic.

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    2. (I honestly think that the microbe thing would be pretty interesting - a lot of people have suggested that the ethical themes in *this* book would be a lot of fun if they'd been handled by a competent author, and the 'psychology' of a bacterium or other microbe put in control of a human body seems like something you could get quite clever with - but for the sanity of all concerned, yes, you should probably pay attention to AAA here)

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    3. Hey, if you don't want to read it, don't read it. Ifi please write it.

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    4. Ifi takes requests?!

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    5. I don't take requests.

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    6. I imagine that you need at least some degree of mental intent to morph. Not so much self-awareness, but at least the ability to think and act. Buffalo and ants can do those things, microbes can't. They might not be fully conscious of what they're doing, but if the mind is simple enough, the mental command to initiate morphing would probably be just as simple, like the human equivalent of thinking about the color Blue.

      Imagine if Jake gave his dog Homer morphing powers. He'd probably run around the city peeing on hydrants, humping people, and chasing cars. Or he'd be catatonic, equal chance really.

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  15. You are wrong, Ifi; I didn't mind this book too much either =P Sure, it was pretty stupid, but I think there are others which were worse.

    That ant-Cassie was some serious nightmare fuel, though.

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  16. A large, angry Cape Buffalo will not necessarily go down with one (or two) tranq bullets. And too many could kill it. Visser Three is being a total dumbass. And why is the Gardens getting a Cape Buffalo anyway. That's dangerous.

    this book is... Cassie, you're dumb. Was it Rachel that said that she wouldn't be able to look at Chapman the same way again? I remember someone saying that.

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  17. The Andalite toilet book was boring to me. This book, albeit dumb, was at least interesting. Although it's not my favorite, I remember loving it as a kid because it was just so WEIRD.

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  18. I feel as though the author of this book had great plans to write a poignant, heartbreaking science fiction novel that addressed the issue of What Measure is a Nonhuman. And tragically, she was confined to the format of an _Animorphs_ novel. So instead of a full exploration of whether a non-sapient creature who transforms into a human and very suddenly finds himself with a big giant brain and hands and the ability to speak and use weapons and tools, we get _The Totally Mental Mis-Adventures of Cassie and Chap-Man-Allo_.

    The only other novels I can think of that has ever treated the question of what happens when an animal changes into a human with semi-seriousness are Peter David's _Howling Mad_, which centers on a reverse-werewolf, and Meredith Anne Pierce's _The Woman Who Loved Reindeer_, which centers around creatures who are wild animals that can appear as humans for... reasons... And it's been a while so they may not be as good as I remember.

    By the way, hate to point out another uncomfortable plot hole in a book full of them but, how the hell did Chap-Man-Allo know enough to avoid getting Mode-Locked? Dammit, Applegate, where is our book that explains how Morphing even works?

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    1. Witches Abroad, by Terry Pratchett also features a deconstruction of fairy tale creatures, in particular a wolf given human form that is basically this horrifyingly pitiful creature that is unnatural in its own skin and ends up begging to be killed.

      This is certainly a theme that has been done before, and better.

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    2. There was also a reverse werewolf in Reaper Man, who was dating Mrs. Cake's more traditionally werewolf daughter. IIRC, they would hook up in their transitional phase.

      I don't think the buffalo DID know about the time limit? Just because he never broke it doesn't mean he would not have randomly known and gotten stuck one day. Hell, did he even live for two hours past his getting the morphing power? Sometimes I lose track of how much time passes in a book.

      Aside from hiding, surveillance and long-range travel, there generally is no real reason to stay in a morph for close to two hours. Unforeseen delays in travel are responsible for most of their close calls.

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    3. "This is certainly a theme that has been done before, and better."

      And of course I missed the example that is so blindingly obvious I should just turn in my Fantastic Fiction Fan Card (subtle spoilers for a book and film that are older than I am): _The Last Unicorn_.

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  19. *Cracks Knuckles*

    Marco being agitated caused him to morph uncontrollably. The Cape Buffalo is constantly agitated. Since it only has the one morph it ca do the combined form thing. Chapman and the buffalo could have had more prolonged contact off screen and, after morphing human it retained just enough awareness to learn how to go back and forth between forms.

    Where's my damn no-prize?

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    1. Actually, it didn't make him morph uncontrollably. It made it so that when he tries to morph his morphs are part what he tried to morph and some completely random animal.
      You lose your no-prize.

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  20. This is one of those books that I thought was kind of cool as a kid but reading your review made me never want to read it again.

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    1. Aw, normally I would hope for the opposite reaction.

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  21. I just realized just how many duds in the Animorphs series there are. Guess I sort of forgot them after finishing the series.

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  22. hmm. Theres actually quite a bit in here i missed the first time around reading them. This is one of those books. o.e

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  23. I still don't understand the extreme hate for this book. It is 500% better than the alien toilet one.
    The only problem with it is it's narrator.
    Cassie is moronic, the buffahuman would probably make a better animorph. Not only is he badarse, carving through the Hork Bajir ranks, tough (surviving that jump off a cliff) he also manages, on his first day, to acquire Visser Three. Something they all should have done in book 8.

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  24. This sounds like a book that has a lot of potential as a concept, but didn't really deliver upon it.
    Not unlike a LOT of mid-series Animorphs books, really...

    Still, I'm sure I'm in the minority, but I'd love to see them teach the buffa-human to be a person, and induct into the Animorphs. It could be The Big Guy, and have a rivalry with Rachel, and sort of become an ambiguously sapient cartoon animal.

    The idea of an animal gaining morphing powers, I daresay, could hold its own series. It could be a spinoff about an animal who gained the ability to morph and is now hunted by the yeerks, losing most of its memories every time it demorphs, being forced to relearn the same things again and again, forced to try and retain pieces of its expanded mind as the story goes...

    Okay, that's totally ridiculous. But I'd read it!

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  25. Cassie's moral inconstancy is usually pretty bad, but did it seem worse to anyone else in this book? The Animorphs had all planned to kill this thing, and they could have done it humanely. But Cassie pitches a fit because "that's not right" and the poor thing ends up being tossed off a cliff and then blown up. And then she goes and stomps a bunch of ants for the same reason the Animorphs wanted to kill the buffahuman. Like... what even?

    Over-all, the story wasn't /terrible/. Had a more competent writer done it, it would have been awesome. And had anyone other than Cassie narrated it, it would have been enjoyable.

    Tobias or Ax would have been a pretty awesome choice for a narrator. It would have been interesting to see how a human-turned-predetory-bird, or warrior Andalite viewed the whole "is it human, do we kill it?" debacle. (Then again, if Ax or Tobias narrated it, the whole "buffalo acquires a human" thing would have been a non-issue because neither of them would have been careless enough to let that happen. Or stupid enough to go inside such a dangerous animal's enclosure alone with something so valuable.)

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    1. Cassie's morals are all over the place so often because a lot of the ghostwriters have absolutely no idea how to write her. Hence why she gets a lot of stupid stories instead of more cool, substantive ideas, like a stronger focus on the Yeerk Peace Movement. After book 29 and having Aftran go whale-nothlit, Cassie really should have been pushing to use morphing as a bargaining tool through the Peace Movement, trying to get a revolution going under Visser Three's nose. It wouldn't have been hard really. "Hey Yeerk, wanna keep enslaving another sentient being just to have access to decent senses like other races? Oh, and run the chance of being beheaded at any moment by Visser Three in one of his mad rages? Or you could turn into a dolphin forever. Or hell, turn into a Hork-Bajir and join the free Hork-Bajir!"

      It's stuff Cassie should have been constantly thinking about, the ultimate peace solution. Instead it's left until book 50 where she makes an extremely controversial snap decision seemingly out of the blue.

      That's just my opinion though.

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  26. Hated the book, loved the review. That is all I have to say.

    Oh yeah, and Happy 4th of July everyone!

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  27. Cassie's morals and the fanaticism to which she holds them seem to wildly vary depending on who's writing the bok. In most of the early KAA books, she seems willing to do what it takes to save the Earth, but not willing to give up her decency in the process. In some of the later books, though, like this one, Cassie refuses to do anything that could have potentially helped the situation, and/or put the poor confused buffalo, who's probably scared beyond belief, out of its misery.

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  28. I wish I had found this for book 27. It's totally irrelevant to this book. But Adam hey, look at it.

    Oh, and this too.

    I swear, this is the last one.

    I know Adam likes cephalopods too, so I'll quietly leave it there. They're just too cute, even if they don't relate to anything. :D

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    1. Normally I would be opposed to posting things this off-topic, but I am going to let it slide just this once, because d'aw, cute tentacly things.

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  29. B-b-b-b-but . . . I liked this book! What . . .

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    1. People have different opinions on things. That is part of what makes the world interesting.

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  30. I liked this book. Not because of the plot, but I guess it was just interesting reading about a morph-capable buffalo. I've heard about the Ant-Cassie thing before I read this, and I was looking forward to a book all about that. The way it was thrown in there though, was disappointing and stupid.

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  31. I also liked this book. Yes, the plot was a rip off of Megamorphs 1. Yes, the buffalo acts just a little too smart. But I have a theory on Cassie's moralizing. First is that I don't think she really hesitates to kill the buffalo because its less moral than killing a Hork-Bajir Controller. It's just that the buffahuman is sort of her friend who continually saves her but, so she feels loyal to it. This is also why she doesn't hesitate to kill the ant-Cassie - it just tries to kill her (although she could at least feel sorry for it). I also think that the idea of an Ant-Cassie is extremely interesting.

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  32. I know that this blog is concluded with the series, but....

    Maybe they forgot to shut the cube off after the first encounter with the helmacrons?

    also, mayhaps, when confronted with the vastness of space, the second helmacron ship simply turned around, considering it to be a brilliant and tactically sound maneuver (Kick 'em while they're not expecting us? We are too superior to get soundly trounced AGAIN, right?) Tragically, they ran into Chapman, who tricked them into a tea kettle, and then boiled them out. Or something similarly silly.

    How does that do for plugging the plot holes?

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  33. Its ironic that the book is called The Hidden. That's exactly what should be done with it. Away from any human, buffalo or buffahuman

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  34. "You wear a disguise to look like human guys, but you're not a man, you're a buffahuman."

    Also, forget "Andalite toilet". What about "instant maple-ginger oatmeal"? About the only thing redeeming about that idiotic plot was that by the time it ended, KAA had realized just how stupid it was and had Jake comment on it.

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  35. "Ifi: There would be all sorts of wacky antics
    Ifi: Cassie would get him registered as a US citizen, and he would be called for jury duty
    Adam: And there would be a wacky neighbor who would always try to expose him as a buffalo."

    This reminds me of the recently released Octodad game on Steam. "Buffadaaaad! No body suspects a thing!"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHixkrPz7Wg

    Basically an octopus poses as a human, and you have to help him keep his cover through extremely loose QWOP-like controls. Hilarity ensues.

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