Saturday, June 2, 2012

VISSER

The Summary
Edriss is on trial before the Council of Thirteen because of reasons. She has to tell the story of how she discovered humans and became Visser One and all that and also convince the Council that she is mostly innocent.

Back in the day, Edriss received a report from whoever was on the Taxxon homeworld when Loren and Chapman showed up. She decides that she needs to track down this species, but she is transferred to somewhere else, so she steals a ship and a guy named Essam and they run off to find Earth.

At the trial, Visser Three lets a tiger and a bear and two Hork-Bajir loose in the room, passing them off as the Andalite Bandits. He kills them, and the Council is impressed even though it's pretty obvious to Edriss and the readers that he just robbed a zoo. So she calls Marco and tells him that they need to put in an appearance so the Council will know Visser Three lied.

Back in 1991, after doing some cocaine, Edriss infests a human woman named Allison and Essam infests a human man named Hildy. Edriss falls in love with Essam and Allison falls in love with Hildy and they have twins, a boy and a girl.

In the present day, Visser Three reveals that he has Allison's son, Darwin. He's a controller, nine years old, and Edriss has to kill him to prove that she doesn't care about him. It's pretty obvious that she sees herself as his mother, so she's not able to do it, but the real Animorphs attack. The thing with Darwin is forgotten about and Edriss continues her story.

Edriss and Essam's portable Kandrona is starting to wear out, so Edriss says it's time to go back to the empire. She calls home with the news of five billion new hosts, anticipating every promotion ever. Essam is mad about this because he doesn't want humans to get conquered, but Edriss starves him to death and kills Allison.

The Council sentences both Edriss and Esplin to death, but then suspends the sentences. Esplin is told that he needs to conquer Earth already, and Edriss needs to go to the Anati homeworld to distract the Andalites. The two exchange high-fives.

The Review
Ifi: This is one of the most misleading covers ever
Adam: I was just about to say.
Adam: It is certainly a very nicely drawn cover. And it is nice that we now have a full picture of Visser Three to look at.
Adam: But yes.
Adam: It would have been appropriate FOR A BOOK ABOUT HIM.
Adam: I suppose a cover depicting a middle aged housewife peering ominously would not have the same impact.
Ifi: I guess that is true, I never thought of it that way
Ifi: I believe the official story is that Applegate wanted the book to be about 1 and 3 equally, so they did the cover with him on it
Ifi: and then when she actually wrote it
Ifi: it came out different
Ifi: so
Adam: That make some sense.
Ifi: I think in terms of design, this is one of the most distinctive books in the series
Adam: Books featuring a character that is staring at you are always very striking.
Ifi: Plus I love the dark background, it looks so neat
Adam: Also, something silly is the back cover


Adam: You can see Alloran from both sides
Ifi: *facepalm*
Ifi: Forgot about that.
Adam: Here's a weird little nitpick.
Adam: His right stalk eye?
Adam: It is facing both forwards and backwards at the same time.
Ifi: I don't mind it because I think it's meant to be like a Mona Lisa thing.
Ifi: You turn the book over and his eye has followed u!!!!!!!
Adam: It still weirds me out.
Adam: It gives me the impression that he has an eye on both sides of the stalk.
Ifi: Also someone abused the hell out of the glow effect.
Adam: Well, gaussian blur effects are pretty fun.

Adam: So, VISSER.
Adam: Not "The Visser Chronicles"
Adam: Just "VISSER"
Adam: All caps
Ifi: Yeah weird choice.
Ifi: Shouldn't it be The Yeerk Chronicles?
Ifi: Or That One Time Edriss Just Ran Off and Partied For Like Two Years
Ifi: Chronicles
Adam: Well, a third of The Hork-Bajir Chronicles was already The Yeerk Chronicles.
Adam: I think it is the same sort of choice as why Alloran is on the cover.
Adam: Flashiness over following established patterns.
Ifi: This is a very flashy book.
Adam: Quite so.

Ifi: Ok so we open with a flashback, the night Edriss fakes Eva's death.
Ifi: It's nothing special, just her walking out of the house while Eva screams obscenities.
Adam: Lil' Marco has a fever.
Adam: Poor guy.
Adam: I feel that part of the impact of his mother leaving was caused by him not actually remembering it all that well.
Ifi: That makes sense

Ifi: In the present, Edriss is on trial for that whole big mess when she allied herself with the "Andalite Bandits"
Ifi: And apparently some other stuff that they've been overlooking until now.

In the Council's chamber the computer read the charges against me. "The Yeerk, Edriss-Five-Six-Two, holding the rank of Visser One is charged with the following crimes: treason by incompetence, which carries a sentence of death by Dracon beam; treason by violation of established procedure, which carries a sentence of death by Dracon beam; treason by sympathy with a subject species, which carries a sentence of death by Kandrona starvation; treason by contact with the foul Andalite race, which carries a sentence of death by torture; treason by murder of subordinate Yeerks, which carries a sentence of exile to punishment duty."

----VISSER

Adam: Esplin is guilty of at least half of these as well, but he's just gloating and enjoying this.
Ifi: Also, we get to see the Council of Thirteen.
Ifi: Which seems to be going out of its way to be ominous.

I spoke to the holographic representation of the Council. Thirteen Yeerks in various host bodies: Nine Hork-Bajir, two Taxxons, and two whose host bodies were so concealed that I could not guess at their form.

They were dressed in dark red robes, so dark that they were almost black. They stood, motionless, held in place, suspended by gravity-neutral fields, fed by a continuous refined current of Kandrona rays.

The Hork-Bajir-Controllers wore a lightweight mesh beneath their robes to keep the wrist and arm blades from slicing through the robe's fabric.

The two Taxxon-Controllers were bloated, monstrously inflated versions of the great centipedes. Both were attended by Gedds, ready with freshly killed meat to feed the eternal hunger that not even a Yeerk inside that feverish brain can control. Their ceremonial robes were as large as sails, wrapped around the raised front third of their bodies.

----VISSER

Ifi: Wait. They can feed inside their host bodies?
Adam: Apparently yes, but it is the sort of technology that must be ludicrously expensive, since it is used only by the Council.
Ifi: They could do a lot of special ops stuff with that.
Ifi: "Whaaat? Me? A controller? No way man! Okay here. I'll stay in this room for three days. Then you have to shut up about this stupid Yeerk thing."

Adam: I really am sort of curious about the type of Yeerk who would deliberately choose to have a Taxxon host body.
Ifi: Someone who loves to eat!
Ifi: I am pretty curious about the Taxxons, too
Ifi: It is pretty bizarre.
Ifi: "Why a Taxxon?"
Ifi: "Well, humans are losers and Hork-Bajir can't hold a conversation. Plus I ate a whole cake in fifteen minutes."
Adam: "Well, I do like cake..."
Adam: Seriously though. I do like cake.
Ifi: Those two guys? They're us in an alternate universe.
Adam: I think I need to sit down and rethink my life.

Adam: So, now we are subjected to the Yeerks' ridiculous farce of a court system.
Ifi: I think the way it works is, the one who can come up with the most insults wins.
Ifi: Also why is Visser Three the prosecution?
Ifi: I am pretty sure he is not a lawyer
Adam: Same reason that Visser One's old college professor is the judge.
Ifi: (and possibly the emperor but who even knows)
Adam: Seriously, Yeerk politics are almost as silly as human ones.
Ifi: "COUNCILMEMBERS! I propose that we resolve this issue with a slapping fight!"
Ifi: "...very well."
Adam: I already drew that.
Ifi: Never gets old
Adam: Indeed

It really doesn't

Ifi: Once upon a time Edriss was Sub-Visser Six Billion. She was stationed on some lame moon base nobody cares about.
Adam: Y'know, eventually I would have figured out that they just made some people Sub-Sub-Vissers or something.
Ifi: No there's only three ranks in this army.
Ifi: Vissers
Ifi: Sub-Vissers
Ifi: and Everyone Else

"And then, there are Class-Five aliens: Aliens who are right for infestation, exist in large numbers, and do not have the power to resist us. That, my fellow Yeerks, is our mission here. To find the real, live example of Class Five.

"If theyrrrr even rrrr-exist" It was one of the Gedds.

----VISSER

Ifi: Edriss does a total Visser Three on this guy.
Adam: How the Yeerks have not descended into total anarchy chaos, I will never understand
Ifi: So Edriss walks along feeling sorry for herself because dead Gedd is probably right, there probably are no class 5 species

"A report. Just in. One of our people, a sub-visser stationed on the Taxxon planet, has just forwarded a report of a new species." Methit caught his breath.

"And?" I prodded.

"And he claims…the report is, that it's Class Five."

I felt my Hork-Bajir hearts jump. "Probably a false alarm," I said blandly. "What is this species called?"

"Humans, Sub-Visser. They are called humans. And…and the report claims that they may exist in large numbers. Not millions. Billions.

----VISSER

Adam: Well, if that wasn't just the most contrived coincidence I have ever heard.
Ifi: Adventure!
Ifi: So this ties into the Andalite Chronicles, though will all the screwed up time travel that happened there, it's hard to say how or why
Adam: Anywho, this places this book as occurring at the same time as The Andalite Chronicles.
Adam: So…just a few years after the Vietnam War.
Ifi: So Edriss begins to track down this new species, only to be transferred to somewhere completely random due to reasons of stupidity.

I could follow my orders, consign myself to the Taxxon home world where my death could be easily arranged by the very person who had arranged my transfer…I could abandon the only Class-Five race known to exist…or, I could violate my orders and go in search of the species that could make us supreme throughout the galaxy.

It was no choice at all. As a loyal Yeerk, I had to defy my treasonous orders. And so I did.

----VISSER

Adam: Yay bureaucracy!



Ifi: She takes with her a guy named Essam-Two-Nine-Three
Ifi: I'll talk about him in a minute.
Ifi: Poor dude.

Ifi: Apparently Edriss backed up her memories at this point
Adam: This is a really cool technology, that like a lot of things in this story, is never mentioned again.
Ifi: So the Council can watch her brainthoughts on TV
Adam: I want to watch brainthoughts!

Ifi: Now Essam. Essam is one of those guys who the universe just hates for no reason.
Ifi: When we join him, he's basically waiting for Edriss to try and kill him to make their supplies last.
Ifi: Also, she failed to mention to him that this mission was not authorized.
Adam: Did Essam just do something to piss off the Ellimist in a past life or something?
Adam: So, they are flying off to Earth, only having a vague idea of where it is, and with limited water and oxygen.
Adam: At one point, Edriss contemplates killing Essam's host, so they would only have to worry about feeding one.
Ifi: Edriss goes through hosts like tissues.
Adam: Isn't an inability to form attachments a form of psychosis?

The third and fourth planets were clearly the most likely to be populated. One was the red of oxidized ferrous metal.

The other, the third planet, was blue.

My heart leaped. I knew. I knew.

And then the sensor data began to explode into the computers and onto the screens. The blue planet was spewing forth radio band signals, X-ray signals, microwave signals in a profusion that simply overwhelmed the computers. The ship's sensors were intercepting trillions of bits per second.

----VISSER

Ifi: Hooray!
Adam: So, they proceed to land right in the middle of the Gulf War.
Adam: Yay!

"Welcome back to Today. In this half hour we'll be talking with our panel of military analysts about the latest developments in Operation Desert Storm. And, in our cooking segment…"

It was bewildering. Absurd. Insane. Too much, far, far too much. Why would there be a need for communications this frequent? The only necessary communications are orders from above, progress reports from below, and basic logistical matters. The entire Yeerk Empire did not generate a thousandth of this data.

"What's in orbit?" I asked Essam.

He interfaced with the computer. "Perhaps a hundred nonnatural objects, all apparently small, automated transmission or surveillance devices."

"No ships? No orbital weapons arrays?"

----VISSER

Adam: No, we keep those hidden.
Ifi: Understandably, Edriss and Essam are like, "Yeah, this planet is ours."
Ifi: And then they land in a war zone
Adam: Yay!
Ifi: Naturally, they get caught in the crossfire

Above these machines were low-flying ships, half a dozen or so. They beat the air with a strange rotary wing, and bristled with what could only be missiles hung on pods and arrayed along either side.

"Sub-Visser! Please come down here!" Essam called. "It's not safe out there."

"No, it definitely isn't, Essam," I said with a laugh.

"Sub-Visser, the engines are down, but I can raise our protective force field. But you'll have to come inside."

"Not yet, Essam. Not yet."

----VISSER

Ifi: Edriss has mistaken this entire thing for a game of football or something
Adam: Explosionball?
Ifi: Hang on I'm gonna write that one down for later

The battle swung away, north, as the leftward force began to run. Essam emerged and climbed up beside me.

"They make war on each other?" he said. "Humans and humans?"

"Yes. So it would seem."

----VISSER

Ifi: So apparently in the Animorphsverse, humans are the only species who have wars with themselves
Adam: Well, the thing about Yeerks, is that it actually makes sense for them to never have waged large scale war against their own species.
Adam: Remember, they were uplifted when they were in their equivalent of a stone age.
Adam: With the Andalites on the other hand…yeah, that makes no sense.
Ifi: So Edriss infests a soldier and decides that Americans are the best.



Adam: And because Hollywood is given most prominence in all of the radio transitions, it is obviously the most important part of America.

I spread further, searching for the real-time auditory input. Searching as well for motor control.

Then I discovered something strange and disturbing. A huge, deep chasm. It seemed to separate the human brain into two halves. And between the halves was only a nerve bundle not much thicker than my own true body.

Two halves? Why? Why would the human brain be divided in halves? It was irrational design. It made no sense. Unless…this was a fully redundant system that would allow the creature to function in the event half its brain was destroyed? Tentatively I reached toward the far side of the brain. I touched it. Made contact.

Fascinating!

It was incredible. This second half of the brain was an almost mirror image, but not. It could have functioned all on its own, if necessary, and yet it was in some ways radically different in its memories, its sensory interpretation, even its will. Two almost entirely functional brains in one skull, communicating across a channel of nerves. Not a fully redundant system, almost a second, different brain!

----VISSER

Adam: Remember in an earlier book, where Tobias morphs Ax and interprets Andalite instincts through a human lens?
Adam: This is sort of the equivalent of this.
Adam: Now, if you think about it, it actually makes some sense that a Yeerk doesn't have an innate ability to second guess itself.
Adam: Because it already has a second brain; That of its host.
Ifi: I can't imagine your average hosts gives much input past "fuck you man"
Adam: Even if the host isn't giving specific advice, the Yeerk could still search their memories for something that could indicate, "Hey, maybe this isn't such a good idea."

Ifi: Then the story takes a little break so Visser One and Visser Three can insult each other some more

"I understand you perfectly, Esplin-Nine-Four-Double-Six. You have the necessary brutality without the necessary subtlety. You are crude and emotional. You've made no progress with Earth. None. For all your grandiose schemes you are no further toward your goal than when you took over."

He started to answer, then stopped. He motioned to one of the Hork-Bajir and gave him some instruction.

<I know that human bodies suffer from hunger and thirst at regular intervals,> he said to me. Moments later the Hork-Bajir reappeared with a glass of water, a head of romaine lettuce, and two raw eggs. I laughed aloud.

----VISSER

Adam: You could probably make a half-decent stir fry.
Ifi: She could tell him to morph that thing that spits fireballs and cook the eggs for her.
Adam: This review is making me hungry.

He paced back and forth slowly, his hard hooves tap-tapping. <I often wonder why we…you and I…did not become allies. I even wonder at times, whether it is even now too late.>

He trained all four of his eyes on me. Waited.

"You want my help?"

<Think of it as a partnership,> he said. <You and I together? With earth and all it holds? The only known Class-Five species? Five billion, on the way to six billion potential hosts? We would command more power than all the rest of the Empire together.>

I froze. Was he suggesting what I thought he was suggesting? I waited, forcing him to commit himself. He moved close, his hateful Andalite face, that smug, mouthless mask inches from me. <Why would we even need the rest of the Empire? Why would we need those fools on the Council? You and I together could subdue Earth and start our own, New Yeerk Empire!> It was so surprising I almost dropped the water glass. The crudeness of the trap was insulting.

----VISSER

Ifi: They're going to be doing this sort of thing throughout the entire book.
Adam: Poor Esplin.
Adam: Dude just wanted to tell her how he really feels.

"Continue Memory Transfer Protocol," Garoff ordered and once more I was plunged back into my own past. Back to the magical, wondrous days when I was taking my first humans.

Back to the days when all the galaxy was going to be mine.

----VISSER

Ifi: The way the flashbacks are written are really nostalgic and sad
Ifi: Back in the narrative, Edriss watches TV while Essam slowly dies of dehydration.

"Faster-than-light spacecraft? Faster-than-light through real space? Impossible!" Essam said, looking over my shoulder. "And armed with beam weapons?"

"How do they manage to get visual records of ships moving at faster-than-light speeds? See, there! The ship is announced to be moving at Warp-Factor Six, which we know from context is a multiple of light speed. And yet there we see the ship from the outside as though the recording device too, is moving at these impossible speeds.

"Not possible," Essam said, his voice rasping, his tongue dry. I had drunk the last of the water several hours earlier.

"No. Faster-than-light travel is an impossibility. Not even the Andalites can do it! That is why we tunnel into Zero-space."

----VISSER

Ifi: Oh you guys
Ifi: You're so cute.


Ifi: I love all the Star Trek references in this series
Ifi: All the other references need to leave
Ifi: But Star Trek can stay
Adam: So what is Yeerk fiction like, anyway?
Ifi: I imagine it's an oral tradition
Adam: Hormone trains left on the side of the pool.
Adam: Or something.
Ifi: Maybe in modern times, you all gather around and tell stories from your host culture
Adam: Well, the Hork-Bajir do have a pretty awesome storytellers.
Ifi: If you have a Hork-Bajir host, you have to deal with everyone badgering you for stories on your off-shift
Adam: It is a shame that it would probably be difficult to get a Hork-Bajir host if you are not a soldier.

I had absorbed much of the English language. I could recognize and interpret the written form of the language. And as I swooped down on the glittering human city below, I saw the letters, high on a hilltop: Hollywood.

It was almost as if the humans had expected to be visited from space and had placed the letters there to guide us.

----VISSER

Ifi: Everything in this series happens in California.

We brushed aside a row of sticks that may have been intended as some sort of primitive defense barrier. Essam ran to the water, knelt down, and plunged his face into it.

Suddenly, from the far end of the pool, a human emerged! A human female wearing a very minimal garment in two pieces.

"Oh, wow!" she cried.

I raised my Dracon beam. Essam jerked up from the water. I thought he was responding to the presence of this unexpected human. But he began to scream and clutch his face.

"Aaaarrrgghh!"

"Oh, man, are you guys, like from the studio?"

"Essam! What is the difficulty?"

He staggered, big Hork-Bajir talons pressed against his face. "It burns! It burns!"

"The pool guy was here, today," the woman said. "The chlorine's always kind of high right after. Um, should I get Lonnie? I mean, Mr. Lowenstein? He's making drinks."

"It burns! It burns!" Essam cried.

----VISSER

Ifi: The universe HATES Essam
Ifi: and Jenny is stupid as hell.
Adam: So, now Edriss has a junkie for a host body.
Adam: This is a great way to get a good impression of the human race.
Ifi: From this, she concludes that humans are dumb and shallow and weak. Essam suggests otherwise, but since when does anyone listen to Essam?

My host's name was Jenny-Lynne Cadwalader. Everyone called her Jenny Lines.

----VISSER

Ifi: My God
Ifi: Her nickname is a drug reference.



Adam: Yeah, this book gets away with a loooot of stuff.
Ifi: Meet Jenny!

Her reaction to the infestation was to whine and complain. She did not scream or rage. She did not threaten. She merely subsided into a corner and occasionally remarked that I was a "total jerk."

Jenny had no occupation, a concept that shocked my Yeerk sensibilities. She considered herself an actressone of the humans who pretend to be people they are not in dishonest TV or movie representations. But though she called herself an actress, she had never acted. From early on in my possession of the host I became aware of the fact that there was really only one thing that interested her. She was very deeply interested in a particular mood altering chemical.

----VISSER

Ifi: "Oh my Gaaaaaaaawd you stole my bodddddddy you are, like, so meaaaaaaaaan."
Adam: So she's Penny from The Big Bang Theory?
Ifi: Essam, meanwhile, got the other human, who is an older man. He is a director or something.

"This host is quite ignorant, I believe," I remarked to Essam once the police were gone.

<Hey! Who are you calling ignorant?>

"Yes, my host agrees that she is quite ignorant," Essam said. "However, my host finds her desirable."

"Desirable? How so?"

"She is considered physically attractive. It is a subjective evaluation based on visual memory and tied to the human's procreative instincts."

I considered. Searching the memory I discovered the location of a device that allows a human to view his physical self in reflection. A mirror behind a shelf that held numerous small glass containers designed to hold liquids.

I walked to the mirror. I looked at the physical body. It did not excite any particular sense of aesthetic pleasure in me. And yet Jenny Lines was confident that she was attractive.

<I'm hotter than half these so-called actresses. I mean, have you really looked at Sarah Jessica Parker?>

----VISSER

Adam: Wow, the Sarah Jessica Parker meme is a lot older then I thought.

Ifi: There is a break in the narration again
Ifi: And guess who shows up?
Adam: A bear.
Ifi: Yeah it was pretty weird.
Adam: So a bunch of zoo animals attack, but Edriss realizes pretty quickly that something is askew.

Four of them: two Hork-Bajir, the tiger, the bear.

Four.

No, that was wrong. There were at least six, not four. Where were the other two? Most of all, in virtually every record we had of the bandits, one of them had usually appeared as an Andalite.

There were all sorts of theories to explain this: This one Andalite did not possess the
morphing power, or else the Andalites felt they needed to keep one of their people in true
form as a way to "show the flag."

I knew, or at least guessed the truth: The always-visible Andalite was a deception to keep us from realizing that at least some of the six were humans.

Where was the Andalite as Andalite?

----VISSER

Ifi: When the bear is killed by a Dracon beam, Edriss realizes that this can't be the Animorphs because, as narrating characters, the Animorphs are completely immune to Dracon beams
Adam: Well, it is more that the bear and tiger start attacking each other, just as much as they are attacking everyone else.
Adam: IE: Acting like actual animals.

What could I do? Try and tell the Council that these were not the Andalite bandits? Try and tell them that Visser Three had merely had a starved tiger and bear thrust into the room? A real tiger, a real bear, and neither in any way an Andalite bandit in morph?

How would I prove that, any more than I could prove that the supposed Hork-Bajir "morphs" were simply Hork-Bajir-Controllers ordered by Visser Three to fake an attack?

I met Visser-Three's gaze. I nodded grimly. Yes, Visser, I thought, this game goes to you.

----VISSER

Adam: Well, you could just show that the two Hork-Bajir are controllers...
Ifi: No Visser Three killed them too
Adam: Ah
Ifi: You know, for being an offense punishable by exile, killing subordinates is incredibly common
Adam: It is one of those laws that exists, but is never really enforced.
Adam: Killing subordinates is the Yeerk equivalent of jaywalking.
Adam: Anyway, the Councilmembers are all dumb enough to fall for this ploy.

"Let us return to the matter before us," Garoff said. "Visser One, you will continue your presentation. I understand that we have a gap between Memory Transfer Protocols?"

"Yes, I—"

<A most suspicious gap,> Visser Three interrupted. <More than a year during which the defendant made no memory dumps, and never once contacted the Yeerk High Command. Fourteen Earth months during which she contacted the Andalites and hatched her conspiracy!>

"Do you have any evidence of this, Visser Three?" Garoff asked calmly.

<Yes. I have the testimony of someone who was close to Visser One during that critical time.>

"A witness? Who?"

<Essam-Two-Nine-Three.>

I tried not to show any reaction. "Surely the Visser knows that Essam is dead."

----VISSER

Ifi: "He died of the universe hating him."
Adam: "Yes, but a little bit of him lives on in our hearts. Or more accurately, a hobo's brain."

The door opened. In walked a human male. He was in his middle years. His dark hair was long and matted. His full steel-gray beard was greasy and stringy. His eyes had a wild look. His clothing announced him as a street person.

None of which meant a thing to the Council members. They had no experience of humans. They did not understand that this sort of human could be found in the alleyway of any large city, drinking alcohol and ranting wildly about imagined conspiracies.

I sneered dismissively. "Visser Three is perhaps jesting. This is what the humans call a ‘street crazy.' A wild man, a lunatic, an alcohol addict. If this is Essam, let Essam withdraw from the host body and show himself."

<No, you are correct, of course, Visser One. The Yeerk Essam is dead. I was having a little joke. But a part of him lives on. Yes, this human is quite mad. But the question is this: Why is he insane? From where came his madness?>

----VISSER

Ifi: Visser Three bribes him with alcohol. I am not even kidding.
Adam: It is now my personal theory that when Visser Three wants to blow off steam, he runs off and hangs around with the homeless.
Ifi: The Sharing is all about social justice.
Adam: Visser Three is Princess Jasmine!
Adam: Or else the guy who is always yelling, "Millennium Hand and Shrimp!"

"Hork-Bajir!" the human said. He pointed here, there, his eyes wide and now brimming with tears. "Real! They're real. They are. See? See?"

<Human, what is your name?> Visser Three demanded.

"Look! They're real, all real. Lady, look!"

<I asked your name. Answer me and I will give you a fresh bottle."

The man licked his lips. His eyes darted from me to Visser Three, to the holograms of the Council, to the Hork-Bajir guards.

"A bottle. Okay. Okay. My friends call me Spacey. Folks all do."

<Good. Spacey. Now I'm going to ask you some questions, Spacey. You will answer me. If you answer all my questions I will give you a bottle. If you attempt to lie I will kill you. Is that clear?>

----VISSER

Ifi: <I will also trade you this knife I made out of a toothbrush for a pack of cigarettes.>
Adam: A like how they can't actually say the contents of the bottle, due to the target audience of this book.
Adam: KA with talking with her editor: "Oh, you know! It's a bottle filled with warm milk! Because Spacey has been out on the street so long, and he could use a good nap."
Ifi: Dying. I am dying.
Adam: I get that a lot.

<Does the name Essam mean anything to you?>

"Yes. Essam-Two-Nine-Three of the Sulp Niar pool."

Several of the Council members muttered. My brain was running at hyper speed. What was going on? What was Visser Three's game? Who was this filthy human?

----VISSER

Adam: How did Edriss lose track of this guy? She's usually pretty good at cleaning up loose ends.
Adam: And when I say that, I mean killing indiscriminately.
Ifi: It's true

<And while you were his host did you know another Yeerk who had the name of Edriss-Five-Six-Two and the rank of Sub-Visser Four-hundred-nine?>

Spacey's face was split by a smile that revealed a row of broken and rotting teeth. "You mean Allison. Allison Kim."

My heart stopped beating. The blood froze in my human veins. Suddenly I saw through the matted hair, the filthy beard, the lunatic eyes. I saw through the years.

"Oh yes, I remember her," the human said. "See, she was Essam's wife. He was in love with her."

Visser lowered his thought-speak voice to an insinuating whisper. <And she, this Allison Kim, this Edriss-Five-Six-Two, this Sub-Visser Four-hundred-nine, she was in love with him as well?>

"Yes, yes, Essam was sure of that. Mostly, anyway. See, if he hadn't been sure he'd never have gone ahead with it."

<With what?>

"The babies. Their kids. See, they had kids. Twins. A little girl and a little boy."

----VISSER

Ifi: Trial's over folks! Everyone go home.
Adam: Your fanfic would have made a lot more sense if I had remembered this plot point from the getgo

Eva, my host, erupted violently, horrified by this news. <You created human children to be enslaved by Yeerks? If there's a hell you'll be there soon!>

I kept my face as blank as I could manage under the assault of my host's emotions. Not to mention my own.

"Yes, Council Member Garoff. It is true that I took a human female named Allison Kim as a host. Essam took a host name Hildy Gervais."

<You'll die, Edriss. I'll watch you die and laugh and thank God for the pain!>

"That's my name," Spacey said. "Hildy Gervais."

"And did you really cause your host bodies to reproduce?" Garoff demanded incredulously.

"Yes."

----VISSER

Ifi: This sort of raises the horrible question of how Yeerks get their host species to reproduce
Adam: I think the "Jake wakes up in the future" book shows that they mostly just use artificial insemination.
Adam: Even if I am mistaken, I am sticking with that theory, because the alternative is just too horrible to contemplate.
Ifi: The Yeerks have a very specific dating site where you fill out one personality test for yourself and another one for your host.
Adam: YeerkayCupid.
Ifi: You made me spit out my cookie :(
Adam: Please do not waste perfectly good cookie.
Adam: Actually, now I am reminded of The Matrix.
Adam: When two people have kids in the matrix, do the machines artificially inseminate the other person so that it lines up with reality?
Ifi: I never even thought about it
Ifi: I...don't know
Adam: Anywho, moving on.

"Allison Kim was different than Jenny Lines. She was not a drug addict. She was not stupid. She was a scientist. Oh, I know, the idea of human science is almost laughable, but she had the disciplined habits of mind, and the imagination to…" I hesitated. Reformulated what I was about to say. "She was more similar to the human Lowenstein than to Jenny Lines or the hapless soldier.

"I took her in the swimming pool. It was a perfect opportunity. Jenny Lines was physically strong when under my control. But she was under the influence of a number of chemicals and—"

Garoff interrupted. "You continued your human host's use of addictive chemicals?"

----VISSER

Ifi: Edriss was a coke addict for a while.
Ifi: That's not even a joke.
Adam: Kids' book, remember?
Adam: But "it was to maintain her cover"
Adam: So it was okay.

I held her head close and kicked my way down to the bottom of the pool. She struggled, but Jenny Lines was younger and stronger and an expert swimmer.

I pressed our ears together and reached out to her. It was Lowenstein's pool, so we had long since dispensed with the chlorine that would have burned my slime coat.

I reached to her across a gap of sun-warmed water. Entered her ear. Pushed with expert ease down through her ear canal. Around the bones and through the membranes till I touched her mind.

All I needed was contact with her motor functions. I found them quickly enough. Tapped into her arm and leg controls. Froze her, paralyzed her.

Then, I began to disengage from Jenny Lines. I withdrew from that empty brain, keeping just one control contact till the very end. Stretched now between the two humans, half-touching Allison, half-touching Jenny, I gave a last instruction to Jenny Lines.

I made Jenny breathe.

----VISSER

Adam: As absolutely horrifying that this is, there is one part that concerns me more.
Adam: Yeerks can stretch enough to be able to connect to two hosts at once?
Adam: How does that work?
Ifi: I think this is the only time in the series it happens.
Ifi: Or maybe you have to be trying really hard
Adam: Well, they are stretchy enough to wrap around an entire brain
Adam: So I suppose it could be feasible.

Ifi: Edriss finally has a host that is not an embarrassment to humanity.

Allison fought me. What a glorious fight she made of it! I used to toy with her, withdraw some small bit of my control, just to see how long it would take her to find the weakness and attempt to exploit it.

Once I surrendered control of a single eye. Just my left eye, nothing more. Allison discovered that she could change the direction of that one eye. And here was her genius: She hid this ability, realized within a millisecond that to use it would be to betray it to me.

She waited. Waited. She knew she could do only one thing with that eye: Close it and eliminate my ability to perceive depth. She waited a week, till I was driving a car on a busy road, going at a high speed. I was driving behind a truck with defective brake lights.

Then, at the perfect moment, she closed her eye. Suddenly I could no longer be sure of the interval between me and the truck that was braking in front of me. I didn't know if it was stopping or maintaining speed.

----VISSER

Ifi: So you CAN hide things from a Yeerk?
Adam: No, Edriss was aware of all of this, she just pretended otherwise for the fun of it.
Ifi: And nearly died.
Adam: This is the same person who stands in the middle of a live warzone because she finds it interesting.

<She had human children! By her own admission!>

"I needed to understand my prey, and family is central to their world view."

<A lie,> Visser Three said bitterly. <I request a live memory dump. Visser One is obviously not worthy of trust. It is clear that she has concealed evidence. I will enter her memory and root out the truth!>

I wanted to scream. My hand clutched at a nonexistent Dracon weapon. It was the ultimate violation. It would make me no better than…than…

<Me?> my host mocked. <Yes, you'd feel what it's like to have someone else controlling your memory, prying into your secrets. You'd see what it's like to have a filthy Yeerk in your->

----VISSER

Ifi: "EVA BE QUIET AND LET ME THINK!"
Ifi: "lolno."
Adam: Eva is a complete badass in this book.
Adam: She really deserved more speaking parts in this series.
Ifi: She is my fave and we barely get to see her.
Adam: It is a shame.
Ifi: So Garoff does the memory thing, and he is actually able to be there with her in her memories
Adam: This is another really cool technology that is never explored again.
Adam: Though it does make sense for the Yeerks to have something like this, since it is basically an artificial extension of their own natural abilities.

<You think you know us. You know nothing. You've seen the world through the eyes of a defeated soldier and a junkie bimbo. You know nothing. We'll defeat you, Edriss.>

It was my nightmare, of course. The fear that I was missing something. Overlooking something. Humans were so different, one from the next. I had seen so small a sample.

Of course Allison knew some of this. She thought she was manipulating me. She thought she was being clever.

Yes, she—

Suddenly, sitting beside me in the car was Garoff. The garb of a Council member was gone. He was a Hork-Bajir, sitting calmly in the passenger seat of a Toyota Camry.

"Are you sure she wasn't succeeding?" he asked me.

----VISSER

Ifi: Edriss you fool! Don't you know that narrating a Chronicles book means you are doomed to go native and eventually lose everything you care about?
Adam: Elfangor, Aldrea and Toomin: "It is inevitable. Join ussss."

"Yes, a bet," I said. "She…my human host, she challenged me. Challenged my knowledge of humans. If I wanted to conquer humans I would have to get inside them, know them, not just the few I could infest."

Garoff shook his head, disbelieving. "You made a bargain with a host?"

"Not a bargain! I was using her. Using her to…"

"Right now, in this memory, you're worried about Essam. You want him to come home from his work. Why?"

"Why? I…I miss him."

"More than that. I see it clearly in your memory, although you never admitted it. Your host finds Essam's host attractive."

"Irrelevant. Humans are prone to all sorts of ridiculous emotions."

"Forward one month," Garoff ordered.

"Ah!" I yelled. The volleyball was heading toward me in a fast, flat arc. I ran, planted my feet in the sand, and stretched out my arms to slap the ball back upward.

----VISSER

Ifi: Yeah
Ifi: She's gone.
Adam: And here we get to that ridiculous "Humans are speshul" diatribe that so many scifi authors are fond of.
Adam: Sorry if that came off a bit angry, but this trope is just a big pet peeve of mine.
Ifi: Don't worry, I hate it too.

The ball flew. A man on the other team slammed it back. Hildy ran for it. I ran for it. Slipped. Fell in the sand. Hildy fell atop me.

Face-to-face. Sudden silence. All the world outside was moving in slow motion.

I looked into his eyes. Knew that those eyes were being aimed by Essam. But knew, too, that Allison was looking at Hildy.

Yeerk looking at Yeerk. Human looking at human. None breathing. No heart beating.

Slowly, strangely reluctant, he pulled away.

----VISSER

Ifi: Weirdest foursome ever.
Adam: I try not to judge.
Adam: On the other hand, the fact that the Yeerks are the ones controlling the relationship does give this all sorts of horrifying moral implications that are only vaguely hinted at.
Ifi: Luckily, the hosts are into each other too
Ifi: This is really weird.
Adam: I am not sure how that would work.
Adam: I mean, they don't get to directly talk to one another.
Adam: Unless Edriss and Essam sometimes let them?
Adam: It is all very strange

Essam/Hildy leaned over the bed, smiling. I smiled up at him, but only briefly. Then, I looked back down at the two very small faces. The boy, my son, had not opened his eyes, yet. But the girl, my daughter, blinked and looked up at me, her mind perfectly empty, receiving its first images. Images of me. Mother. Mommy.

Allison Kim. And a Yeerk named Edriss.

"What are we going to do?" Hildy/Essam whispered.

"I didn't know. I don't know."

"Allison, the shipboard Kandrona generators can not last much longer. We will need to replenish our supplies, if we are to survive."

I discovered I was crying when a tear dropped onto my son's face.

"I love you, Edriss," Essam, Essam himself said. "And I love these small humans. Our children."

----VISSER

Ifi: Ow.
Ifi: Right in the feels.
Adam: You got to keep those feels protected. Darn things can be fragile at times

"At the point where I terminated direct memory contact, Visser One. Of course. Begin by telling us what became of the human progeny of your host and the host of your subordinate, Essam."

<Yes, tell us that, Visser One,> Visser Three agreed. <We would all be interested in that answer.>

I was lost. Confused. My human stomach was twisting. Head swimming. "I…the progeny, the humans?"

<The truth, Edriss. Tell me quickly!>

What? My host was now making demands? Impossible.

<I'll help, Yeerk, but tell me the truth!>

<Visser One seems unsure of which lie to tell next,> Visser Three said.

<They're free! But I can't tell them that! I have to say that I killed them!>

<No!> Eva shouted. <Visser Three is too eager. He can barely contain himself. What if Visser Three has them? What if he has your kids?>

----VISSER

Ifi: Good job Eva!
Ifi: I knew there was a reason I kept you around.
Adam: See? This is what I mean when I say that the Yeerks can use their hosts as a method of second guessing themselves.
Ifi: Edriss realizes that to free herself, she has to discredit Visser Three by bringing in the 'Andalite Bandits'

"This body, this human host requires some moments to perform necessary biological functions. Waste elimination and replacement of fluids and food."

<She doesn't need food!> Visser Three roared, completely forgetting his place. <Let us have the results of Garoff's investigation, let's end this face and get on with the demands of justice! She doesn't need food! She needs to be executed! She doesn't need FOOD!>

----VISSER

Ifi: Dude. Chillax.
Adam: Have we mentioned that Eva has been in near-critical medical condition this entire time?
Adam: I'm pretty sure she could use a snack.
Ifi: So they take her to the cafeteria where the human-Controllers eat, we've seen it before.

Someone's cell phone ringing. A person three places down on my same side of the table. A human woman.

She smiled nervously. "It's…it's necessary for my cover," she explained to Visser Three, to me, to Visser Three, her eyes darting back and forth.

<Then answer it!> Visser Three snapped.

"Hello?" A pause. "Yes, sir. I'm en route to the client now, but I'm tied up in traffic."

Cell phone. It worked from here? From this far underground? They must have installed transponders to allow Yeerks to stay in touch while passing through.

----VISSER

Adam: As it turns out, the Yeerks don't bother to monitor the phone lines at all, and a lot of the Animorphs' secrecy was completely unneeded.
Ifi: Also, someone asked last week how she knew what number to call. It's never explained.
Ifi: Maybe she called information.
Adam: Wait, you're right. Marco's dad did move since he last saw her.
Ifi: Twice.
Adam: Maybe Edriss had been keeping tabs on him?
Ifi: So now we are back where we left off at the end of last book.

"Mar…" My throat was dry. I took a breath. "Marco, if you're there, pick up."

Click.

I breathed again.

"What?" he asked, carefully masking the fear, the despair, he must be feeling. Visser One was calling him. Visser One knew! He must be seeing the end now, feeling the hopelessness of final defeat.

----VISSER

Ifi: Marco does a pretty good job of acting like he doesn't give a fuck.
Adam: Man, isn't a good thing that the Yeerks never put security cameras anywhere?
Ifi: Maybe it's so the higher-ups don't get caught when they do stuff like this.
Adam: Edriss is one of the higher-ups.
Ifi: Yes exactly.

He didn't answer. Instead he said, "Mom, I know you can hear me. I don't know if I can save you. You understand that, right? I'll do what's right. I'll do what I have to do."

It was his only show of emotion. His voice cracked when he said "Mom."

<I know you will. I love you,> Eva said, silent, a prisoner in her own skull.

"Marco, your mother loves you," I said.

But if I'd been expecting him to soften, I got the opposite result.

"I know my mother loves me, Visser," he said. "And let me make one thing clear: There's no deal between us, you and me, Yeerk. I'll kill you for what you've done to her and to my dad. Count on that."

----VISSER

Ifi: "Your kid is a total punk."
Ifi: <I know right?> *so proud*
Adam: Eva's whole family is awesome in this book.
Ifi: So we go back to storytime.

"I contacted the Empire. They threatened me, of course. I had stolen a ship and disappeared. But then I said the magic words: Class-Five species." Even now, even here in this terrible situation, I savored the memory. "It was a sub-visser Ninety-two I spoke with first. ‘I have located a Class-Five species,' I told him. ‘A Class-Five species with superior dexterity and above average sensory capabilities.'

"'Numbers?' the sub-visser demanded.

"'Five billion. Give or take.'

"I remember the way the sub-visser sat bolt upright. I believe he cut himself with his own Hork-Bajir blades.

"He repeated it back, cautiously. ‘You mean five million, Sub-Visser?'

"‘No, Sub-Visser,' I said. ‘I mean five billion. As in five thousand millions.'

----VISSER

Ifi: This upsets Essam, who wanted to stay on earth playing House forever.
Adam: So we are the only species in the universe that doesn't have any kind of method of population control?
Ifi: Yeah idk why there are so many more humans than other species in this series. We've only got the one planet.
Adam: Well, the Andalites place laws on how many children they are allowed to have. And the Arn probably carefully monitored the Hork-Bajir population. But those are the only species that have a specific excuse.

Adam: So now we know how she got such a high rank.
Adam: On the other hand, we do not know how Esplin eventually ended up with her job.

Ifi: Edriss and Esplin yell at each other some more.

Visser Three ignored the laughter. <It's very simple, Visser One: You pushed the policy of slow infiltration for one reason, and one reason only: You feared a war of conquest would destroy your children.>

<Careful! It's a trap!>

"Nonsense!" I cried. "I care nothing for the human children! Nothing!"

Visser Three smiled an Andalite smile, and I felt a sinking sensation. My host had seen it. I had not. Yes, a trap.

<As it happens, Council Members, this is my day for surprises,> Visser Three said. <Bring him in.>

The door opened.

The child walked in. He would be nine years old now.

----VISSER

Adam: Well that is upsetting.
Ifi: How the heck did he find this kid?
Ifi: And where's the other one? She never actually appears.
Adam: Well, they found Hildy, so he might have told them.
Ifi: And 'Madra' is a Yeerk name, so that probably helped.
Adam: Madra wanted to play with legos, so they left her home.

I held the gun.

And Darwin, my son, calmly took the barrel in his right hand and pressed the muzzle against his own heart.

I understood. Darwin was a Controller. The Yeerk inside his brain was holding the gun so that I couldn't spin around and shoot Visser Three. Holding the gun so that the only person I could kill was Darwin.

The Yeerk's host body would die, my son would die. The Yeerk might be rescued in time. It was dangerous for him, though. Visser Three must have threatened him terribly to get him to do this.

I looked at my son, the features that were a unique blend of Allison's Korean and Hildy's French physiology. The eyes, the hair, were Allison's. The skin was pale, the mouth wide, all Hildy's. Nothing of me, of course. How could there be? And yet, this child would not have existed but for me. Surely that made me in some part his mother.

----VISSER

Ifi: Luckily, the for-real Animorphs show up.

The tiger and the polar bear were everywhere, slashing, roaring till I felt my ears would bleed. I crouched in a corner, hands over my ears, cowering, afraid, stunned at all the concentrated violence. I was helpless amid all these claws and teeth and talons and slashing blades. Human fingers were nothing without a weapon to hold.

<Behind you!> one of the morphed Hork-Bajir yelled.

The tiger spun, slashed, hissed, slashed again, all in the time a human eye might blink. A Hork-Bajir staggered back, holding his own internal organs in his hands.

----VISSER

Ifi: That must be Marco.
Adam: Wow, its certainly been a while.

I saw the Council, hovering safe in their hologram. Again they were spectators at a battle. Like human fans at a sporting event. They called out advice, groaned at defeat, cheered at victory. One of the Taxxon Council members became so excited he ate the head of a passing Gedd attendant in a single bite of his red-rimmed mouth.

----VISSER

Ifi: Augh!
Ifi: What the fuck, author?
Adam: Bwahaha
Adam: The Yeerk government is just such an absolute circus.
Adam: I am sorry, but I cannot help but laugh.

The tiger, the polar bear, the two Hork-Bajir, and the young Andalite surrounded me, staying at a cautious distance. They were nervous, but not showing it too much.

Marco sat on his haunches, human now, wearing bike shorts and a T-shirt. He watched me, his expression unreadable.

"You need to see a doctor, Visser. That damage wasn't all my doing."

"Visser Three," I whispered through broken teeth. "Did you kill him?"

Marco shook his head. "No. He morphed. We took off."

----VISSER

Ifi: Edriss tells them to leave, but Marco wants his mom back.
Ifi: Eva manages to convince Marco that Edriss is better off alive, as she is less likely to incinerate Earth from orbit than Visser Three
Adam: As you said, "right in the feels."
Adam: Very good.

Marco looked to the tiger. "What do we do, fearless leader?"

<It's your call, Marco. Your mom, your call.>

By the Kandrona itself, the tiger was human, too! Were they all humans? All but the lone Andalite?

I wanted to laugh! I wanted to run to Visser Three and spit the truth in his face: You incompetent fool, your every move has been stymied, not by highly trained Andalite guerillas, but by humans. By children!

----VISSER

Ifi: Luckily, Visser One never tells anyone about this
Adam: Everybody is weirdly lax about security risks in this book.
Ifi: So they put her back and the trial continues.
Ifi: You'd think everyone would want to go home.

Ifi: Edriss tells the story of how she started the Sharing (by researching cults) and gets her first voluntary host. Which she then kills.
Adam: Seems like a waste.
Ifi: I know right?
Ifi: He was totally loyal, he would have sat tight until they got back with more Yeerks.
Adam: Yeerk higher ups just get off on killing random subordinates, it seems.
Ifi: Also, now the the Council knows that Visser Three tried to fool them, he's on trial too.

Garoff spoke, his voice grave. "There are a few questions left to be cleared up, Visser One. How did the children escape? How did Essam die, and how did his host, Hildy, survive?"

"You…you want me to continue my story?"

"Don't make the mistake of believing you are still on trial, Visser One. The trial is over. We have already decided on a verdict." He looked deliberately at Visser Three and added, "Two verdicts."

Strange. Much as we hated each other, Visser Three and I were in the same boat, as the human expression goes. A boat that was heading for the rocks of a lee shore.

<I enjoyed it when you sailed. Before I realized it was all a setup to explain your disappearance.>

<It wasn't all a setup, human. I miss it.>

----VISSER

Ifi: my feels
Ifi: allllllll my feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeels
Ifi: MY FEELS
Adam: Calm yourself, woman.

Ifi: So the twins have a fever, and are in the hospital. Which is a reference to the beginning of the book.
Ifi: This is how Edriss finds Essam
Ifi: She wants to kill him because of reasons

<Jealousy? Don't be idiotic. Not jealousy, rage, rage! How could they? Essam? Allison? He had a duty to me. And she, hadn't I treated her kindly? And yet, she tricked me, used me, and then turned on me!>

<My God, do you hear yourself? You use and enslave and kill without mercy and you expect loyalty?>

----VISSER

Adam: This is still a good point.
Adam: I am not really sure how the Yeerk Empire has managed to hold together this long.
Ifi: Then the universe gives one last "fuck you" to Essam

He collapsed suddenly, utterly. It was as if every tendon in his body had been cut at the same moment. He lay there, breathing but little else. I reached down and turned his head. Left ear. Right ear. Essam was trying to emerge from the right ear. He was halfway out, escaping the host in the moment of death, as instinct tells us to do.

I grabbed him and pulled him the rest of the way. But he was still more attached than I'd thought. I suppose death had already reached part of his body. I held half a Yeerk in my hand. He moved very little, then he stopped moving altogether.

I put him into my pocket. A strange moment. A moment I'll never forget. So small, we Yeerks, compared with the host bodies we take. So small I could stick my friend in my pocket.

----VISSER


Ifi: Trauma trauma is so fun
Ifi: Trauma is for EVERYONE!
Adam: And he gets stuck halfway in Hildy's brain.
Ifi: Which is what causes him to become a raving homeless dude
Adam: Which is retroactively horrifying, as this sort of thing could have potentially happened to Jake.

Ifi: After this, Edriss kills Allison as well.
Ifi: And the hospital decides the twins have been abandoned and I guess they were adopted or put in the foster system or something.
Adam: And I guess after this she goes and finds Eva.
Adam: We never actually find out how or why she infested Eva.
Ifi: I wish they'd explained why she picked Eva.
Adam: Indeed.
Ifi: She's clearly very attached to her.
Adam: That was one of the main questions that you have going into this book.
Ifi: Ok so verdict time
Ifi: They are both guilty as hell and sentenced to death.
Ifi: But

"Both sentences suspended."

Neither of us moved. The words meant nothing. What? Sentences suspended? What did that mean?

The tiniest flicker of hope…

"Visser Three, you have failed to make progress with Earth. Your sentence is suspended for now because we simply have no one ready to take over operations there. Earth is vital. If you want the suspension to become permanent, give us Earth!"

----VISSER

Adam: ...
Adam: Councilpeople, you do realize that your justice system is easily the biggest farce in the universe, right?
Adam: That conclusion
Adam: It is just really, really sad.
Ifi: "Okay so between the two of you, you have broken every law ever. But we need you to win this war. So we're letting this one slide."
Adam: Seriously?
Adam: How have they all not killed each other as soon as they got to space?
Ifi: It's just like regular politics. There are good Yeerks, but we never get to see them because they are normal people.
Adam: And just like with regular politics, anyone with half a brain wants to avoid the process like the plague.
Adam: Hence why the Council of Thirteen is filled with gibbering idiots.
Ifi: Politics. What are you gonna do?

Adam: So anywho, Eva is very upset, and Edriss learned absolutely nothing from any of this.
Adam: Hurray!
Ifi: Applegate did a great job of setting Edriss up as a potentially sympathetic character and then just threw it away
Adam: And then practically mocks the reader for having gone through all of that.
Ifi: "So, Edriss, what did you learn?"
Ifi: "I LEARNED THAT THE RULES DON'T APPLY TO ME!"
Adam: "Very good."

Adam: And then they all throw a party.
Ifi: I don't remember that part.
Adam: If you had just barely managed to avoid being sentenced to death, wouldn't you have a party?
Ifi: I guess you are right.
Ifi: "I'll invite all my fr...hmm..."
Adam: Coworkers
Ifi: There you go.
Adam: The people who have managed to avoid being killed by my criminal negligence thusfar.

The children? Visser Three had made Darwin a host. Darwin, my son, was lost to me. But what about Madra? Was she still free? Could I…

No. I couldn't. Someday, not yet.

But someday she would know me. I would tell her all about me, all about who I was, how she had come to exist. And she would love me, as a daughter loves a mother.

And if not, then I could always infest Madra, place some well-trained Yeerk in her head. Then she would love me. She'd have no choice.

----VISSER



Ifi: And then we get our ending.

"Well, Visser Three, nice try," I said jovially. "I thought you had me there, for a while. I thought at long last you had me."

<Oh, but I did, Visser One. It was the Andalite bandits who saved you. If they hadn't attacked…> He smiled an Andalite smile. <One more reason to exterminate them.>

"Yes. Well, about those Andalite bandits, since we're past all this unpleasantness between us, I guess I could tell you…"

<What could you tell me?>

"Oh, nothing. Nothing at all, Visser. Not a thing."

----VISSER

Adam: And then she never mentions it again!
Adam: =D

Adam: So, closing thoughts?
Ifi: I feel like this book was written with adults in mind
Ifi: I don't feel like kids would be expected to really understand it.
Adam: I don't think I really did when I first appreciated it.
Ifi: I feel like this is when we were supposed to read this book. Now, ten years after the fact.
Ifi: When we're old enough to get it
Adam: I mean, how many books aimed at 10 year olds do you know where the main character lounges around as a coke addict for five years?
Adam: That said, while the writing itself was top notch, I am sort of iffy about this book thematically.
Ifi: Same.
Adam: Ultimately, this is one of those "humans are the best, and the power of love triumphs over all and wins the day," type stories.
Adam: Which is more then a little gag-inducing.
Adam: Though I do sort of want to give it credit for subverting its own moral at the end, though maybe that is just me being cynical.
Ifi: I just have no idea.
Adam: Me neither!
Ifi: Good, we agree.

Adam: Anything else you want to say?
Ifi: MY FEELS



Adam: Darn, I forgot to throw in a beast wars reference
Adam: Ah well
Adam: I was going to compare the Council of Thirteen to the Tripredicus Council
Ifi: ...
Ifi: GEEEEEEEEWUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
Adam: Calm yourself

65 comments:

  1. someone please tell me what the hell the hula hoop clip had to do with anything

    ReplyDelete
  2. God, I was just really expecting Edriss and Esplin to make out at the end of that last exchange. How would a human and an Andalite even do that, anyway? Would she lick his hoof or something?

    Anyway, this is the only Chronicles book I never got to read! I never even knew it existed until pretty recently. I kind of appreciate that KAA wrote Edriss as sorta morally ambiguous? I mean, it still sets her apart from Esplin's whole cartoon-villain shtick, but it's more believable than if she was just completely sympathetic and giving out candy to children secretly or whatever. So it doesn't really bother me that much that she didn't really learn anything in the end, since that's not what this book was meant to do in the first place, it was just meant to flesh out her character more.

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    1. Also, considering her very next appearance in the series, personal growth would have just been a waste.

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  3. The yeerk-touching-two-brains thing was done by Aftran too, if memory serves. Aftran moved between Cassie and Karen and held Cassie's arms still until she was almost all the way across, so she couldn't push Karen away and grab Aftran.

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  4. The council should have sentenced Edriss and Esplin to work together until they captured Earth. Either they succeed or kill each other trying! win/win for Co13

    The whole deal with Edriss seeing herself as a mother to the twins will forever be disturbing.

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  5. This book was definitely one of the better-written books of the series, in my opinion. I have to wonder, though, if some of the missing information (why did Esplin infest Eva, for example?) was going to be written up in a future Chronicles book, such as the unwritten "Taxxon Chronicles" that KAA wanted to write but never got around to.

    As for the Council's ineptitude and the general idiocy of the Yeerk military, my theory is that, even though they've stolen and reverse-engineered powerful alien technology, the Yeerks have never invented anything of note themselves. They're basically Neolithic hunter-gatherers who have hijacked spaceships. It would stand to reason, then, that from a cultural standpoint the majority of the Yeerks (with the exceptions of a few prodigies, such as Edriss) probably haven't progressed farther in warfare than "smash and kill".

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  6. I think the Yeerk empire works because the council is so in charge that no one can really think of defying them. Plus, they probably exercise rigid control over all Kandrona devices, so even if someone tries to sneak away they don't have enough to last very long.

    The Soviet Union under Stalin was not so different, and then there's North Korea. Stalin actually sent down a memo during one of his purges telling everyone "train two replacements to do your job, just in case we decide to murder you." Anybody with any nerve or initiative got picked off fast as a potential competitor. There are many cases of official Soviet group photographs being retouched to eliminate people in the pictures who had fallen out of favor and been purged. Everyone knew what was going on, but the risks of defiance were too great. Now imagine a country where you can't flee because you can only drink Russian water, and will die of thirst after a few days abroad...

    The fact that the Yeerk leaders get away with this should not surprise anyone. Visser One engenders loyalty to the extent you guys noted in book 30, because with that Gedd she killed in the beginning, she saved the Yeerk and sent him back to the pool. She ONLY killed the host. That makes her a caring boss, by their standards.

    As for the "everything's in California" bit, well duh. That's where the Yeerk invasion started. Visser One picked CA for some reasonable motivations, and it's really hard for Yeerks to pack up and move a giant underground pit.

    One issue I have is with the timeline. They show up in 1991, Darwin is 9 in the present, so given the time necessary to obtain Allison & Hildy and decide to get pregnant and actually have a kid, would have been several years. So this book is actually set a few years AFTER the last Animorphs book is published (2001). Figure Darwin & Madra were not born until two years after Essam & Edriss arrived, so it's 2002 at the earliest.

    I don't know where you guys get the idea that Vietnam is still going on in the beginning. All we know is that Loren's father fought, at some point in his life. Loren was kidnapped by the Skrit Naa in the 1980s, or at least, that's when she & Elfangor arrived back on Earth. If the Animorphs ended in 2001 (although see Darwin's age issue), when Tobias was 16, he was born in 85 or so, putting Elfangor & Loren's arrival at around 1982. Her dad probably left when she was really young, as growing up abandoned in a broken home would explain why she & her siblings hated each other enough to never ever make contact, and treat her kid like crap. Or he was sick of living with kids who hated one another so much, and his PTSD was a lie their mother told them to avoid blame games.

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  7. Oh, and Peter should receive some sort of lifetime achievement award in parenting. You can't pin it all on losing two wives in a five year period, when we have an example of his devoted concern for his sick son as depicted in the beginning of this book. Edriss is a more conscientious parent to a kid it holds in contempt, than his father, whom we are told would lose all hope or love of life if the kid disappeared. Or maybe that was wishful thinking on Marco's part in the early books. "No, I can't risk my life guys, my Dad loves me so much he'd die without me. HE WOULD! I SWEAR! As soon as he decides to get a job again, he's going to buy me a pony and a rocketship and a bathtub full of ice cream, and we're going to be best friends and laugh and go to ballgames EVERY DAY! HE WILL! JUST YOU WAIT AND SEE!*sob* "

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    1. He left his sick kid alone at night to get some sleep because sick kids need their rest. He waited until his son was sleeping soundly to turn on the TV and take a few moments for himself. I don't see where the bad parenting lies.

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  8. The thing with the child holding the gun didn't make sense to me as a kid, and it still doesn't now. So what if the nine year old boy has a grip on the barrel of the gun? You're a 30-something year old woman in good physical shape, you could just yank it out of his tiny hands with no difficulty.

    I also like how killing subordinates is explicitly stated to be a crime in the Yeerk Empire, and the only way for Edriss to prove her loyalty to the Empire is to kill a subordinate.

    On an unrelated note: I demand to see art of Ifi and Adam's Alternate Universe Taxxon Controller Council Member Counterparts. I wonder which one of you ate the head of a random Gedd in excitement?

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    1. She was actually in BAD physical shape. Broken bones, wounds, etc. Also it wouldn't matter if she did snatch it. She was guarded and under observation by her bosses. She'd still have to shoot him or die.

      Note though, that the punishment for killing minions is the lightest and only non-capital of the four major charges lists. Talking to an Andalite - death
      Murdering guys on your own side - exile

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    2. I'm pretty sure it was Ifi who ate the random Gedd's head.

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    3. It just kinda seems like something you'd do :D

      Don't worry, my friends say weird things like this about me all the time - you're only as crazy as I am!! 8D

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  9. I like this book! I first read it when I was 12. And now that I've read it at 18 years old, I realize that a LOT of stuff flew right over my head. Like whoosh. I liked it back then too. I wish I owned this book. I had totally forgotten about the back cover. That's cool. You know what would have been cool? Both vissers, back to back (side to back?) with arms crossed glaring down like that. Or at each other. Or slapping each other. That never gets old.

    Eva is so badass, I wish she had more screen time after she was liberated. I just love the way she talks back and antagonizes Edriss, instead of sulking in a corner or screaming. I bet Edriss likes that a lot more than the other two options though. Apparently she likes to talk a lot. Which makes me wonder, since Yeerks are used to some other person's voice with them, what's it like when they become nothlits in their Yeerk form? Do they get lonely in there?

    I LOVE the part where the Taxxon Councilor just bites off a Gedd's head from the excitement. I think that's one of the parts I remember most. It's hilarious, in such a creepy and disturbing way.

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  10. About the Yeerk military: I agree with Tom Serveaux's theory. And thanks to Cannoli for pointing out discrepancies in the time line. I'm about to question the timeline myself.

    If we can trust the Hork-Bajir Chronicles, and I assume we can, then the Yeerks assaulted the Andalites and escaped with an Andalite ship in 1966. So, Seerow and co must have arrived long before then. Since they taught the Yeerks everything about space that they couldn't see from home (bad Gedd vision and horrible atmospheric conditions), they must have been there a long time. I'll give them a decade. Two years after breaking free, the Yeerks have enough ships and technology to launch an attack on the Hork-Bajir home world. How? We don't know what stage the Yeerks were in, but I'm going to guess that it's Stone Age to Iron Age. The Andalite technology is thousands of years away from what they have! So, first, they gotta get past the "OMG GOD!" stage (or demons or apocalypse or whatever), then they have to learn EVERYTHING leading up to the Andalite technology, and then figure out how to apply it. That is not going to be easy, no matter how brilliant Yeerks are, and it's going to take a long time. But, Yeerks have it going and within two years, they have their own mini fleet and weapons, and they take over the Hork-Bajir. Some 10 - 15 years after that, they have this MASSIVE empire going on, with this massive structure. The structure could have been there beforehand, yeah, okay, but all this in such a short amount of time? And then, here we are, some 30 years after the Yeerks' escape, with them having THIS GREAT AMOUNT OF FORCES that the Andalites are putting everything they have.

    That makes no sense. If someone can find flaws in my thinking, or can make sense of it, please tell me.
    Thanks Tom, for making me think. And thanks Cannoli for being smart. And thanks Adam and Ifi, for bringing it up in the first place.

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    1. That is the first time I've ever been thanked for being smart. Usually people are pissed.

      As for the rapidity of the Yeerk progress, remember, a Yeerk doesn't need to learn anything, as they can do anything their hosts can. With that kind of mental functionality, they probably are better at assimilating secondhand knowledge like Seerow's tech stuff. While most hosts have been from pre-technical species and cultures, the other, less mentioned, species probably had enough tech to get the weapon & ship industries going. Also, the memory thing they use to get Edriss' testimony could also be used for technical training. That knowledge might be the kind of thing they'd pay the Skrit Naa for.

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    2. Smart people are annoying. But dumb people are worse. So. I enjoy your TL;DR displays of smartness :D

      Yeah, the assimilation thing makes sense. Then the Yeerks throw out there their smartest people to learn from Seerow. They build stuff off stolen technology, and teach the other Yeerks how to operate it. Now that I think of it, we rarely see Yeerk scientists. My guess is that they’re kept safe, or else the Yeerks are toast. (And the expendable ones go to Visser Three.) Other alien technology helps them get around. I guess that makes sense. It’s a bit of a stretch to me, but whatever.

      The actual resources part really gets me though. As I said, the Yeerks are new in the galaxy, and have little. I doubt they have more than a handful of Andalite fighters, and while they could hijack smaller ships, I doubt that they could gain control of the HUGE amount of resources it takes to build up and maintain such a large empire. Two years after escape, they have enough to conquer the Hork-Bajir and fight the Andalites coming to get them. And some 15 years after that, they already have this huge system that the Andalites are having a hard time fighting, and 15 years after THAT, they have this freaking huge empire going on, and not even the Andalites have enough forces to cover everything. That’s about 30 – 35 years to make it all happen, and I just have a hard time accepting that given the measly resources they had to begin with. I would have believed 80 years, even 70. I actually thought that was it, until I noticed dates and people involved and went WHAT.

      Anyway, thanks again Cannoli, for seeing things and then pointing it out to me.

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    3. "Smart people are annoying. But dumb people are worse."

      I may have to quote you on that at some point.

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    4. I don't know... building up resources shouldn't that hard if we remember that this war is being fought by relatively small numbers. Earth's population is sufficient to tip the balance in this interstellar war, and all those other Vissers have to be doing SOMETHING. I mean, the critical operation to take Earth, on which the whole war rises and falls, was overseen by a single Visser, with a single sub-visser under him, and the next highest minion was Chapman, a mere Iniss (btw, Adam & Ifi, Book 2's conversation between the Chapmans implies that Iniss might be a rank, too: "He used a Vanarx on an Iniss of the second century?" The number reference suggests rank rather than birth order).

      You have to figure the other 46 Vissers and multiple subvissers can't ALL be each conquering their own planet, so maybe a lot of them have mining, refining and manufacturing operations to oversee.

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    5. Yeah, I always figured that the main mental strength of yeerks was the ability to take in and understand lots of foreign information, rather than innovation.

      In a hypothetical peaceful world, imagine the value of yeerks as translators and teachers :)

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    6. Okay, that makes sense. How come you have the good solutions?
      But how did they get started? Those two years throw me off. The Hork-Bajir Chronicles doesn't specify how many ships the Yeerks stole after attacking the Andalites, but I figure they can't be that many; there were only ~24 Andalites on duty when they were attacked. They could capture small ships with that, but it would take FOREVER to capture enough random small ships to put together a decent fleet to attack a main resource holding spot (I wish I was more eloquent, but I haven't used my English very much today, so you'll have to excuse me).
      I guess once they have a main source of whatever, they're set and can continue borrowing technology to steal more stuff and smarts. But it's that beginning.
      I guess they could infest the crew of the small ships and gain access to resources, but with a Gedd host? I find that unlikely. The crew, unlike the Andalites, is going to see the Gedds coming to get them, and attack the slow, clumsy, half-blind things. But yeah, your theory works, Cannoli, for the rest. Good thinking. I wish I'd had you around when taking my AP exams.

      Anon: I always felt it was far-fetched despite their sponge-like capabilities. I still feel it is a bit far-fetched, but I feel more at ease now.

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  11. What was super disturbing was thinking about the whole "love" thing between hosts and Yeerks. I mean, they make it seem simple, that Allison and Hildy just looked at each other and knew that they were in love. Well, how they know for sure? Edriss says at one point that she could make her daughter Madra love her, so what if Allison and Hildy never really loved each other, and it was just Edriss and Essam projecting onto their hosts? Perhaps Allison and Hildy thought each other attractive, but I'm not sure that they can be so sure that they were actually in love.

    The whole thing seems very strange to me, but I give credit to KAA for attempting it. Before this book, I was kinda under the impression that Yeerks couldn't love their spouses at all, since they die after they create children (in natural form), which means that love, from an evolutionary standpoint, shouldn't have evolved in Yeerks at all, but then again, whether love is part of evolution is another argument.

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    1. Though this would explain the Yeerk who betrays Visser Three to Ax back in Book 8, out of revenge for his girlfriend. He got the same thing Edriss & Essam did.

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  12. And one last thing, regarding our favorite Idiot Teenagers with a Death Wish, why the hell did they go along with Eva's plan? A few pages later, Eva herself admits she was wrong and stupid to believe in Edriss. Is this just another case of stupidly indulging Marco to their own near-fatal detriment? Their identities were a whim away from being revealed to Visser Three, because they let Edriss live! But there is a chance that even with the Chee hologram, they might not have been able to rescue Eva, so the human race risks annihilation to spare Marco's feelings. Again. The damn slug should be dead at least four times over, if she had ANY other host! And, too, if she DID have another host, Marco would have quit the Animorphs after book 5, and they'd be rid of the guy who endangers the secret of their humanity the most often, because he is so desperate to boost his ego that he can never resist making human-reference wisecracks to random Yeerks.

    And what was with Cassie's & Rachel's morphs? KAA makes a big deal in the last book how Rachel's grizzly bear expertise beats a polar bear morph, and Cassie's Hork-Bajir morph is the exact same as Rachel's (maybe a year older), so there would be no loss of capabilities on that front, and they'd have the better bear.

    The only reason I can think of is they have finally accepted that Cassie is useless at maintaining cover and would have given them away if she had to play a guard, so they had Rachel do it. Now if only they'd realize that about Marco...

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    1. I thought they went along with it so that there wouldn't be open warfare on Earth. Not because of Marco's feelings.

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  13. “Ultimately, this is one of those "humans are the best, and the power of love triumphs over all and wins the day," type stories.”

    This is a really interesting statement, because to me the point of this book is exactly the opposite. Okay, granted, Marco and Eva love each other and that bond works well for them in the end. But if we take the Essam/Edriss/Hildy/Allison story, love doesn't triumph at all. It all goes to pieces despite all the love that was floating around. And, ultimately, love doesn't redeem Edriss at all. Which is probably why this is my absolute favorite Animorphs book. It's so freaking DARK.

    Also, allow me to share some of my head canon [IN TWO PARTS] for the Essam/Edriss/Hildy/Allison thing. I've addressed this a little in fic, but to me, it wasn't just a the Yeerks are in love with the Yeerks and the humans are in love with the humans situation. I think everyone involved was a little in love with everyone else, including Edriss with Allison and Essam with Hildy.

    The way I see it, Essam/Hildy were the ones who basically got the ball rolling. I think Essam started sympathizing with Hildy a bit, they started to be friends and talked a lot, Essam started letting Hildy have control sometimes. By the time the kids came along, Essam and Hildy were basically sharing Hildy's body. And since the two of them were spending so much time with Edriss and Allison, they started falling in love.

    In the beginning, yes, I think it was Essam falling for Edriss and Hildy falling for Allison. Or, really, the idea of Allison, because at this point I think it's still a bit hard for Hildy to conceive of the idea of falling in love with a slug, so Allison is a convenient stand-in. Then, because of the Yeerk-host thing in general and because of Essam's personality in particular (I don't see him, in this weird sequestered-on-Earth situation, as being able to keep himself very removed from his host), lines get blurred. They're in love with Edriss/Allison.

    Things are a bit more complicated with Edriss and Allison, largely because Edriss is (in some ways) a lot stronger than Essam. She's better at separating herself from her host, better at not letting her feelings be known to the host and better at not letting the host affect her. Except not so much with Allison. Listen to the way she talks about Allison—all this respect for what Allison's trying to do. Look at the letting her have control of the eye thing. That's just Edriss messing around, having fun with her host. Sure, it's twisted and at the time it's not really a friendship building thing for Allison at all, but Edriss is twisted.

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  14. I think what happens is that Allison's the one who convinces Edriss to let her have control sometimes, probably with logic like, “Look, I'm the human and you want to learn about humans. Watch how a human really behaves.” Unlike with the Essam/Hildy relationship, there's a lot more playing games in the Edriss/Allison relationship. Both of them want something and they're both using each other.

    Anyway, it takes them longer to come around the relationship thing. Allison probably does a lot of prompting in terms of saying, “This is what love is. Isn't that what you feel for Essam?” She starts doing this mainly just to mess around with Edriss, which is basically the only thing Allison spends her time doing. The first ~physical move is definitely made by Essam/Hildy and probably presented as a let's-experiment thing. One thing leads to another, etc., etc.

    What I really think is interesting in this whole foursome is the relationship between Allison and Edriss. Essam and Hildy work well together. Edriss and Essam being in love makes sense. Allison and Hildy being in love makes sense (at least in a we're-both-humans way). The Allison/Edriss dynamic is where everything hinges. Edriss is the kind of person who'll take away Allison's control of the body just to spite Allison, and Allison is fully aware of this. I'd say that, the whole time, the level of trust between Allison and Edriss is never very high, but I think they both get a rush out of the fact that they're doing this crazy thing.

    Basically, I think what I'm saying here is that Essam and Hildy are sort of alike and Edriss and Allison are sort of alike and the host and the Yeerk start rubbing off a little bit on each other and everything gets very confused and that's how everyone falls in love with everyone else. And then ultimately the first thing to go in the relationship is the Edriss/Allison bond. There were probably other solutions but Edriss didn't trust Allison and cut her off from controlling the body and so Essam/Hildy had to take drastic measures and that, as they say, was that.

    Also, see the Tokra on Stargate SG-1 for more on the host/Yeerk/host/Yeerk love thing.

    tl;dr: They were all in love with each other because Essam and Edriss, in different ways, let their guards down and feelings from the Yeerk started affecting the host and vice versa.

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    1. Wait, where did it say that Essam and Edriss gave control to their hosts? Did I miss something?
      Essam seems like a sweet and gentle (and loyal) guy, so I can see him doing that. But Edriss? All I remember is that she gave up control of one eye.
      Other than that, hey, great analysis!
      And yeah, it was definitely Essam who made the first move. He's the more loving and lovable of the two. (Did anyone else think that he was already somewhat in love with Edriss? He was a lot more devoted to her than most subordinates are.)

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    2. Nah, it doesn't say this. Head canon, since most of the relationship is not written out in the novel. In my opinion, Edriss does it a lot less and is a lot more dangling-carrot with it. Allison has to use Logic a lot more to convince Edriss to give her any sort of control.

      ...I think about this way too much.

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  15. My name is Matty.
    Odette,I see what you mean, but I really think the love square (?) worked was because first, as a powerless Yeerk, Essam was probably wishing he wasn't a Yeerk or a slavemaster at all,but just someone else. When he was isolated on earth in Hildy, that was possible. so overtime, he comes to delusionally think he was a human, and as Hildy "adjusted" to being a Controller, they became friendly, so Essam became fond of Hildy, his gateway to humanity, to the point of love. He then, possibly using the method Edriss mentioned, deliberately blurred the lines between them, so they loved each other. As a "human" he did what any human male would do and tried to find another human to love, and since Hildy couldn't be that human because they thought on some level they were one human, and since he had to stay close to Edriss, coupled with the fact Allison was attractive, she had to be that person. He forgot that Edriss and Allison were two individuals, just like he forgot about himself and Hildy. So he and Hildy then both loved Allison, and because of the imaginary Allison/Edriss he has running in his head, they love Edriss too.
    Meanwhile, Edriss' admiration for Allison that has developed during their conversations on sciences and history kept growing, to the point she was a bit proud to have Allison as a host, til it blurred into semi-affection that was almost love, and vice versa. she is also desperate for Allison's human love. As Essam and Hildy blurred so she can't tell the difference between them, she has no choice but to think of them as one person, unlike Essam wanting to blur her and her host. Allison goads her into love with Hildy and Essam, and combined with her lust for love. It helped Hildy was handsome. she falls in love with Essam/Hildy by accident, and unlike Essam's lust for humanity, it repels her, since love destroys her. she is disgusted by the fact she forgot she is a Yeerk, as she once was proud to be so. This drives her to prove to Essam that she is a Yeerk, despite what he thinks.
    By the way, does anyone else think of Hildy and Essam as one character, and Spacey as a different one altogether?

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  16. "Ultimately, this is one of those "humans are the best, and the power of love triumphs over all and wins the day," type stories."

    Uhm... Yes and no. I mean, Edriss (at least from what I can gleam from the bits of the book you guys quoted, 'cause this is one of the books I couldn't read at the time) has clearly developed a very twisted concept of what "love" is, especially considering the whole "I will find my daughter and she will love me, or else I will turn her into a Controller and she will be forced to love me". So I guess it's more a "Humanity is Infectious" situation than a "Humans are Specials" one ('cause she now understands how humans work but she doesn't actually become a better... alien by learning it).

    A bit of totally random and useless trivia: Edriss here reminded me a lot of Reiko Tamura from the manga "Parasyte" (which coincidentally is also about a parasytic alien invasion... Well, in "Parasyte" the aliens actually bond with their hosts, effectively killing them and creating a new being. It's very interesting and dark, if someone's interested you should really check it out). Reiko is obsessed with how humans reproduce and allows a male Parasyte to impregnate her so that she can experience the process first hand. This basically starts as an experiment, but she quickly grows attached to her daughter (which, as in Edriss and Essam's case, was a perfectly normal human being) and starts to experience and understand "love", albeit in a sorta-twisted way.

    ...I'm really, really trying not to think about the next book in line. Well, the next five, actually (except maybe #38. Maybe).XD


    PS: Ifi, how do Gedds taste like?

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  17. Is putting the antagonist of the book on the cover really such a bad thing? It's like saying "Why did they put Sauron on that Lord of the Rings book?"

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    1. I don't know if that is a fair analogy. Sauron isn't on the cover just because he's the antagonist, it's because he's the title character. It's pretty explicit that the Visser in the title here is One, not Three.

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    2. Plus, a picture of Eva would be a little...underwhelming.

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    3. If it makes you feel any better, you could imagine that Visser Three is glaring at Eva, who is just off-cover.

      And they're both in space, for some reason.

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  18. I have a disturbing theory. What if KAA was a Controller, and escaped the Yeerks,so she started the series just to spread the word of the invasion. but then the Yeerks caught her, but decided to continue the series so it would become so freaky and disturbing no one would believe it, as well as to make the Andalites look like dicks, even if they aren't really like that. So if we judge this theory as true... ADAM IS A CONTROLLER AND IFI IS AN ANDALITE!!!!!
    It all fits! There really is an alien invasion!!!

    Onto more important matters, someone draw a Taxxon with Ifi hair eating a Gedd's head!

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    1. How come I don't get to be an Andalite?

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    2. And I'm an Iskoort.

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  19. Three reasons.
    1) You didn't eat a Gedd's head.
    2) Logic, remember?
    3) BECAUSE YOU DON'T DESERVE A TAIL BLADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  20. Hey, don't cry. You get to be a slave to a secret invasion. Go watch Phineas and Ferb. Imagine them being rounded up by the other Controllers and infested so the YEerks can use their awesome abilities to create a robot army, discover the Chee, make awesome music, and create awesome laser weapons and totally conquer all of the galaxies races.
    See? Isn't that making you feel you better?

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  21. Skeptic, are you Tom? Are you a Controller, too!!!????

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  22. PS Cannoli is a Taxxon, Trish is a Hork--Bajir, and Chris + Pokemaniac Chris are Gedds and Odette-River is an Ongachic.

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    1. What would you be?
      And as much as Cannoli eats people up and spits back sound counter-arguments, I feel like that's more of an Andalite trait.

      I also have this strange feeling that you missed a couple of regular commenters. Hmm.... Firefox is telling me that I spelled that wrong.

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    2. I rather think of myself as a Helmacron. I'm bombastic, sexist and not capable being more than annoying, unless I manage to bring you down to my level.

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    3. I think I'm more of a Helmacron. I'm a bombastic, hyperbolic, gender supremacist, and I can't do much more than annoy you, unless I manage to bring you down to my level.

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    4. I think of myself as more of a Helmacron. I'm bombastic, hyperbolic, gender-preferential and can't do much more than annoy you unless I manage to get you down to my level. And I never quit until I find something else to go bother.

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    5. Ha that's awesome! I didn't think that would work!

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    6. I might be able to knock you down by throwing a brick, but I bet you would still go on talking.

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    7. And I'm apparently multiplying.

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  23. Why Edriss kills hosts, especially the founder of the Sharing and that first voluntary controller:

    Because a Yeerk who took over those hosts would then be able to learn all Edriss' techniques and everything it has gained by studying humans. The invasion of Earth is Edriss' baby, and it doesn't want anyone being better at it. Don't forget, Edriss is the one who sees the potential in the humans as a host species, and would probably not be pleased to see another Yeerk at the head of an army of 5 billion humans. It willingly fakes its host's death and leave the planet to get the promotion to Visser One, but probably plans on wresting back control of this new weapon someday. The periodic visits to Earth would be explained by that mindset, as it's keeping an eye on things. That also explains the hostility between the Vissers. Esplin gets that it is way behind the human-operating curve established by Edriss, so it's willing to lay waste to the planet and species and bring them in as involuntary hosts terrorized into submission, and thus subverting all of Edriss' psychological awareness of humans and their weaknesses. Visser One repeatedly targets people in positions of power, which have nothing to do with subversion and making voluntary controllers. Esplin WANTS to use force, because using psychology and subversion is Edriss' specialty. A large army of humans brought in by trickery can be taken away by a trickier leader (i.e. Edriss). Edriss knows this too, which is why it is so reluctant to leave the planet entirely in Esplin's hands, OR allow the Yeerks to turn to open invasion. A bunch of hosts taken at gunpoint can't be subverted by superior understanding of humans and their culture.

    Finally, by taking Eva as a last host before leaving Earth, Edriss has a host that, if taken away by its superiors, cannot provide her new Yeerk with any real help in controlling the invasion. Eva was taken, it is implied, to give Edriss a last fling with the family gig to prove it had gotten those feelings out of its system for good. By extension, that means Eva had no operational value as a host, and probably saw much less of the day-to-day operations and setting up the infrastructure of the infiltration. The hosts whose eyes and ears and hands Edriss used to get everything up and running, and make plans and map out strategies are all dead, and their memories of those events with them. A new Yeerk infesting Eva would only know the top minions and contacts Edriss had dealings with in administrative functions the last couple of years, and that stuff they could have just been briefed on before taking over anyway. Edriss keeps Eva, not out of any affection or fondness, but to more easily facilitate a return to Earth and subversion of human society if necessary in the future. Who knows when it will have the opportunity to switch back to a new human if it takes a Leeran or Hork-Bajir. Also, using the human host sends a message to the rest of the Empire about Edriss' total confidence in the utility of this new species, and by extension, the importance of the Yeerk who discovered them and initiated their acquisition. If Edriss jumped into a Hork-Bajir, everyone would be saying "How good can humans be? The very one who discovered them bailed for a new host at the first opportunity. Why promote the Yeerk whose only real accomplishment is finding a species it can't even bother to infest when not on their planet!" That's also why V3 won't take a human host - its major accomplishment was taking an Andalite body, and switching to a new host undermines the significance of that achievement. Also, it becomes a tacit admission of the superiority of V1's methods and preferred species.

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  24. Ignorre it. Firefox is a dick. And I know. I'm to lazy to recall all of them or go back to find out. Please don't judge me. My mom already does.

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  25. I would be a paranoid human. And your right eating people is an Andalite trait ( Visser Three must have gotten it from someone) , but Cannoli strikes me as a Taxxon, so he is an Andalite that has been turned Taxxon,.
    And yes, I did miss a lot of regulars, I am simply too lazy to write all of who they are.
    Ignore FireFox. It was created by the Yeerks ( as was Star Trek).
    Please don't dissect my paranoia. It, my insanity, and my hallucinations are all I have left.

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    1. Do you want my hallucinations?
      I'll give them to you, FOR FREE! THIS IS A LIMITED-TIME OFFER! GET THEM BEFORE THEY'RE GONE!

      But I love FireFox. You can't make me stop.

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  26. So your an Iskoort?

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  27. This has always been one of my favorite books.

    And I strongly disagree that this book is about how "humans are special." All Yeerks are soldiers. We never see a Yeerk with outside interests or free time. They live the life of a Spartan, added in with constant threat of death by irritated superior.

    Contrast the situation with Allison, where Edriss for the first time got to experience genuine freedom and joy separate from conquest. It wasn't some human specialness, it was freedom that consumed her.

    I imagine a Yeerk living as an Andalite on the Andalite homeworld could just as easily go native.

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  28. well crush one anvil on the press I prance on these stupid kids dont know the difference between turning tricks and poking holes in their arteries

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  29. Visser is about to step out of your screen and take over your body

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  30. One possible reason humans are so prolific compared to the rest of the galaxy - we are the only ones to invent clothes. Because of this, we can live on a larger percentage of our planet.

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  31. I din't remember the mirror thingy but the star trek thingy was sooooooo FUNNNNNYYYYYYYYYYY

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  32. This is quite an emotional book, but most of it didn't really hit me. Edriss having children, the weird love-square, the death of Essam... up until that line about putting a friend in your pocket. That line got the eyes watering. :(

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