Saturday, November 17, 2012

Book 54: The Beginning


The Summary
It is revealed that the entire series has been a heavy-handed anti-war tract and everyone you love dies in order to further Applegate's political agenda.

The Review
Adam: So.
Adam: Here we are.
Ifi: Ngh.
Adam: You have nothing nice to say at all?
Ifi: 54 is the most randomest number to end on
Adam: In the Kabbalah, 4 represents creation (hence the title,) and 2 represents unity, (which we will get to later.)
Ifi: Ok but this is book 54, not 42
Adam: Oops
Adam: 5 is life experience.
Adam: So that works too.
Adam: It's like when they give you your horoscope, and each one is generic enough that it can apply to everyone.
Adam: ANYWAY
Adam: I am sure there is some symbolic meaning behind the number 54 that you can pull out of your bum if you look hard enough.
Adam: And that's truly the greatest lesson of all.

Ifi: This cover is
Ifi: Broken
Adam: This has been pointed out before, but it is a rolling stones album.


Ifi: Yeah, I had no way of knowing that when I first picked up this book.
Ifi: All those years ago
Ifi: In the bookstore
Ifi: Just before I opened it up
Ifi: and read the first few pages
Ifi: and then I shoved it back in the bookcase very quickly
Ifi: and asked my parents to take me home
Adam: And now you know why Ifi is the person that she is.

Ifi: Give us your semi-professional opinion of the cover
Adam: I like that the title is all glowy.
Adam: On a somewhat more serious note, I do appreciate that they did something different.
Ifi: Yeah, they definitely needed the whole team on the cover.
Adam: It would have felt awkward if they just went with a standard "guy turns into a thing" cover or with a blander Megamorphs style cover.
Adam: It works at what it is trying to do.
Ifi: The shrinking heads kinda freak me out.
Adam: Maybe they are growing?
Ifi: Creepy business
Adam: The inside cover, sadly, is just a boring, floating head movie poster image


Ifi: When I was in the ninth grade I took my very first photoshop class in a public school
Ifi: But that was eight years ago and I have no idea what could have caused my brain to flash back to it just now.
Adam: I want to see 14 year old Ifi's photoshop attempts.

Adam: Any other things to say before we start the plot?
Ifi: Mrghfsda
Adam: Yes, exactly.

Adam: So!
Adam: We open this book with Rachel, aboard the blade ship.
Adam: Technically speaking, this is a Rachel book.
Adam: But only technically.
Adam: And well, there is no way to put this lightly.
Adam: Rachel is there on a suicide mission.
Ifi: A pointless suicide mission, I might add
Ifi: Because Jake hates Tom's Yeerk so much that he can't stand to see him get away.
Ifi: There's no tactical advantage here.
Ifi: Just, "He tried to screw us over so we are going to kill him. Rachel you're up."
Ifi: And Rachel is all, "I don't really want to live in a universe where there is no war anyway. Peace out."
Adam: I think the implication was that the Blade Ship would be dangerous to them once they captured the Pool Ship, so Jake sent Rachel to neutralize it as a threat.
Adam: Of course, this could all have been avoided if they just tackled and tied Tom up at the Taxxon rave.
Ifi: This could have all been avoided if they'd made a single good decision in the last four weeks.
Adam: Yes, but that is the past, and now everything is downhill.

Adam: Surprisingly, we get a fairly long recap for this book.
Adam: I'm not sure why it was needed.
Ifi: I have no idea.
Adam: This is going to be totally incoherent to someone who hasn't at the very least kept some tabs on the series.

Ifi: Rachel goes in for the attack, but Tom's entire staff is morph-capable.
Adam: Rachel has far more battle experience than anyone else onboard, and as to be expected, lots of people die.
Ifi: Also, the rest of the team is watching from the pool ship via skype, so they get to see the whole thing.

I faced two lionesses, a cape buffalo, and a polar bear. It was a whole zoo full of dangerous animals.

The polar bear was my equal all by himself. The cape buffalo maybe as well. I could take either lioness, but the combination was going to be rough.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Adam: She just about takes them all out.
Adam: To a nice brunch, and some coffee.
Ifi: Then this

Tom shrieked. I couldn't see him. But I felt something squirming. Like a worm on a fishhook. The snake was impaled on my claws.

<No!> Tom cried in outrage.

I brought my paw to my mouth.

<Sorry,> I said vaguely.

<Jake, stop her!> the Yeerk screamed with Tom's mouth.

I bit down on the snake.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Adam: Tom is dead.
Ifi: I was honestly surprised at this.
Adam: Really?
Ifi: I always assumed the team would pull an Eva and manage a thrilling rescue.
Adam: For a moment, I was thinking of the wrong Eva.


Adam: Oops
Ifi: At least pretend to be paying attention.
Adam: Eh, it's not that too far off.

I could see the viewscreen. I could see my best friend Cassie. Jake. Marco, funny Marco. Ax. Tobias.

He had morphed. He was his human self once more. He'd done that for me. And because he was crying. I understood. Humans cry, hawks don't.

"I love you," I said to the screen.

And oh, god, how could so much regret and so much sweetness and so much sadness all be present in that single moment. I was already dead and missing my unlived life. I was already dead and Tobias was mourning. I tried to smile. For him.

The polar bear said, <You fight well, human.>

Then he killed me with a single blow.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: I
Ifi: don't
Ifi: You know what? I am already done.
Adam: Get your tush back here.
Adam: We are going to finish this thing, and we are going to finish it proper.
Ifi: I have nothing to say that isn't a swear word

Adam: Rachel is dead.
Adam: We have that bit in the Ellimist Chronicles where we learn that one of them dies, but previously it wasn't established who.
Adam: Though based on the dialogue, you could still work it out.
Adam: But yes.

I wanted so much to live. I wanted so much to stay and not to leave. In a moment no answer would matter to me, but just the same, I wanted to know what I guess any dying person wants to know.

"Answer this, Ellimist: Did I…did I make a difference? My life, and my…my death…was I worth it? Did my life really matter?"

"Yes," he said. "You were brave. You were strong. You were good. You mattered."

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning


Ifi: After that, the narration goes on to Jake.
Adam: Either unfortunately or fortunately, Jake isn't given much time right away to mourn his cousin, as the Blade ship promptly surrenders to him.

<Jake…> Toby urged.

<Rachel,> Cassie said softly. <Toby, we lost Rachel. And Tom is dead.>

Toby absorbed that, then said, <Jara Hamee, my father, died bravely in battle here today.>

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Jara :(
Adam: Named Character Count: 3
Ifi: That's not counting the Auxies
Adam: Just for this book, I mean.
Adam: The previous book was too depressing to contemplate.

<Cassie? Go get Erek. If he wants the Chee secret to be kept he needs to hide himself. We may have guests soon.>

<Anything else?> Cassie asked.

<Like what?> I snapped. <An apology? To that robot? "Sorry we blackmailed you into helping us?" No. He drained off the Dracon beams and because of that the Blade ship got away. Because of that Rachel died in vain. Because of him who knows what will happen?>

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Asdghakjsdaklshfajklfffff
Adam: Jake
Adam: Just
Adam: Go sit in the corner.
Ifi: He doesn't do that, he goes and talks to some Yeerks

The sub-visser showed nothing. "Human, you cannot frighten us. We have no hope left and that gives us strength. We will not die of Kandrona starvation—better to die here, now, in battle. We'll kill some more of your people before we do."

I nodded. "Fair enough. You want amnesty, access to Kandrona rays, and morphing technology? You'd accept permanent morphing and relocation?"

"As opposed to slow death by starvation or even a quick death now? Yes."

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Adam: "Oh, okay."
Adam: But yes, negotiations go surprisingly easily.
Ifi: Then it is Cassie's turn to narrate
Ifi: Erek is mad and Cassie is mad and everyone is mad

His eyes narrowed. "Then what? He used me, blackmailed me, manipulated my programming to get me to break through the security grid and take control of this ship."

"You drained the Dracon beams."

"What did Jake expect me to do? I had given him control when he needed it. I wasn't going to enable him to kill."

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Shut up Erek, just shut up.
Ifi: Maybe if you didn't have the world’s worst possible response to physical violence, your creators would still be alive. Don't pretend to be an authority on the subject.
Ifi: However, he does raise a good point

"Jake did what he had to do."

"Did he? Someone flushed the Yeerk pool into space. Did he have to do that, too? They were unhosted Yeerks. They were harmless."

"We needed a div —" I stopped myself.

"A what? A what did you need? A diversion? You're going to tell me you needed a diversion so Jake massacred seventeen thousand sentient creatures? A diversion?"

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: There was no diversion mentioned in the last book
Ifi: It was just
Ifi: "Oh dudes check it out unhosted Yeerks. Man I hate Yeerks."
Adam: The Earth military and the Auxiliaries getting needlessly massacred was the diversion.
Ifi: Yeah. There's no way around it. Jake draining the pool was done out of spite.
Ifi: And possibly sleep deprivation.
Adam: See, when we're sleep deprived, we end up making increasingly depressing internet reviews.
Adam: Jake kills thousands.
Adam: I guess we need to get our priorities in order.
Ifi: I don't know a thousand people to kill.
Adam: *pats shoulder*
Adam: We'll get there.

Ifi: Meanwhile, Ax and Marco stick Esplin in a suitcase filled with cookies and Alloran runs around.
Adam: Don't you need to stick a Yeerk in water when it's outside of its host?
Ifi: Maybe they're the kind of cookies that stay moist?
Adam: But
Adam: Then they're wasting such perfectly good cookies!
Ifi: What's one more terrible decision in this series?
Adam: This is the worst of the lot.


Adam: Just look at that, and tell me you could stick an alien slug on top.
Ifi: Alloran turns out to be useful, as he knows how to stand up the Andalite military.
Adam: Okay, this part?
Adam: It is the best part of the book.
Ifi: There's not really much competition in that department.

<I am Offeran-Jibril-Castant. I am officer of the day aboard the Andalite Dome ship…> He hesitated and there was a slight, ironic smile. An Andalite smile, of course, which is all in the eyes. <The Dome ship Elfangor.>

Ax swelled about a size. <A Dome ship named for Elfangor. There is no higher honor for a warrior.>

<A well-named ship,> Alloran said. <Now, officer-of-the-day Offeran, you're going to want to contact the captain because you have just captured a Yeerk Pool ship. We will advance at space normal speed to any point you name. All Bug fighters will be deployed around the ship, and as we reach the rendezvous point you will see all Bug fighters self-destruct. At that time we will detach the Pool ship's main engines. All weapons will be powered down. This ship will be perfectly helpless.>

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Adam: I am smiling from ear to ear.
Adam: Let's just.
Adam: Give Alloran a round of applause.
Adam: Or at least one of those cookies.
Ifi: One of the ones from the bottom of the pile
Adam: Well said.

Ifi: Anyway, they put some other jerk on the line who wants to incinerate the Earth, but luckily Marco has
Ifi: a plan
Ifi: sort of

Hey, Ax-man," I said brightly. "Is it true the Andalite home world is watching all this? Can I wave to them?" I waved like one of the idiots outside the Today show. "Hi, everyone! Howard Stern rules! Yaaaah!"

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Adam: He sticks the negotiation process up on Andalite youtube.
Ifi: wtf Howard Stern?
Adam: He was popular in the 90's-early 00's.
Ifi: This actually isn't the first time we've seen this
Ifi: Alllll the way back in book 15, the good old days, the book opened up with a silly plot about Cassie wanting to save parrots from the Rainforest Cafe, which was using them for advertising
Ifi: And we got this exchange.

And now, a couple days after that conversation, we were at the mall. And we were right in the forefront of people annoying the parrots.

"Say 'Howard Stern rules!'" a kid urged a bright green parrot.

"Squuuaaaakkk! Amazon Cafe! It's an adventure!"

"No, idiot bird dude, Howard Stern rules, man! Say 'Howard Stern rules!'"

----Book Fifteen, The Escape

Ifi: For the record, I had no idea who Howard Stern was at that age, and neither did any of my friends
Adam: Applegate is a fan
Ifi: He's the dude who yells, right?
Adam: …He's a radio host.
Adam: But yes, he's the dude who yells

So did Alloran. <I should have mentioned that under orders from his prince, aristh Aximili has patched this communication through to the civilian net.>

Asculan had a mean look to him now. Furious. He was a person in a trap. A powerful person in a trap, not used to being trapped, not liking it.

Jake stepped into Asculan's line of sight. "Captain Asculan, we know that the Andalite fleet is devoted to the destruction of the Yeerk threat. And we know that you must be personally committed to that goal."

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: So the population of Earth does not die today
Adam: Asculan makes his biggest "oh shit" face.
Adam: And Earth has basically won the war.

The captain listened to all this impassively. But I could see the steam sort of leaking out of him. By the end of Jake's little speech his eyes were glazed over. He knew he'd been trapped but good, and the truth was, he was probably relieved.

<Who exactly are you?> Asculan asked Jake.

I jerked a thumb at my friend. "This is Jake. Jake Berenson. President of Earth."

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Adam: They should make tshirts.
Ifi: Yes
Ifi: Asculan isn't a nice guy though. He flat out refuses to give the Yeerks a morphing cube, no matter what anyone says or does.

But, then, Ax said, <Captain-Prince Asculan, I hereby declare a challenge.>

A dozen Andalites stopped breathing.

I looked at Marco. He shrugged. He had no clue either.

Asculan laughed. <Aristh, you are not in a position to declare a challenge. You would have to be of princely rank or have the support of an Andalite of princely rank.>

Silence.

Then, <I hold that rank,> Alloran said.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Alloran you are the only thing that makes this book worthwhile.
Adam: This is why you shouldn't waste cookies.
Ifi: I don't follow.
Adam: Give them to Alloran
Adam: All of them

It was Ax who answered. <It is the right and obligation of any Andalite warrior to challenge the order of a superior if he believes that superior is violating the fundamental rights of the electorate—the people.>

"You're kidding," Marco said. "How do you people ever fight wars if you can challenge anything your superior officer tells you to do?"

<If my challenge fails I will be harshly disciplined,> Ax said. <I will be exiled. Permanently. And my tail blade… My tail blade will be cut off.>

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Andalites are weird as hell.
Adam: Do they have a procedure that will prevent the morphing process from regrowing it, or do they just do this on the honor system?
Ifi: I am going to assume honor.
Ifi: HONORRRRRRRRRRRR


Adam: Asculan backs down.
Adam: And then cool things happen.

Alloran turned his main eyes to me. He gave me a strange look. <I never hoped to be free again. You freed me. I have done what I have done in my life. I am what I am, though I may have gained at least some wisdom through the years of enslavement to Visser One. Just the same, I will always be Alloran, the Butcher of Hork-Bajir. Alloran, the only Andalite to be taken alive by the Yeerks. But, disgraced, even despised, for whatever I am worth, I am yours to command.>

The speech was delivered in a low thoughtspeak tone, all emotion severely controlled. But then Alloran whipped his tail blade over his head, so fast it cracked like a whip. He smiled the subtle Andalite smile and yelled, <Do you know who did that? Do you know who moved my tail? I did. I did. I did it.>

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Alloran stop stop being precious I'm gonna cry and then Adam will cry and we will never finish this review.
Ifi: If I start crying now I will never stop
Adam: Alloran gets his own little cottage with an unlimited supply of cinnamon rolls, the end.
Ifi: I actually heard he moved in with Eva.
Adam: We all have our fanons.

<Captain Asculan issues the following orders: Four morphing cubes will be made available to aristh Aximili to use as he sees fit. Aristh Aximili is hereby elevated to the rank of prince. Prince Aximili is appointed liaison between the Andalite fleet and the people of Earth.>

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Does that technically make Jake a War-Prince?
Adam: That isn't how promotions work.
Adam: But yay! Ax finally got one!
Ifi: Yay! This totally makes up for everything you have experienced over the last few years and you will definitely NOT be a social outcast understood by nobody once you go home!
Adam: Elfangor wasn't.
Ifi: Yeah and I'm not clear on how he pulled that off.
Adam: It's pretty firmly established that Andalite civilians are a heck of a lot nicer then their military officials.

A sea of microphones and video cameras and flashbulbs. Ax and Jake, and to a lesser extent Marco and I, gave a sort of brief explanation of what had been happening, and where things stood now.

Needless to say, it was kind of a big news day. Tobias was silent throughout. If he even heard the questions he didn't show it. And then, as Marco was telling yet another amusing anecdote, Tobias spread his wings, caught an updraft, and flew away.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: no wait come back Tobias no stop :(
Adam: This is not a happy Tobias book.
Adam: Even with his mom back, Rachel was basically his strongest tie to humanity, so without her keeping him grounded (heh) he doesn't exactly cope well.

The next day an Andalite scout ship reported finding a human body floating in space. Young, female. The Blade ship had jettisoned her body before going into Zero space.

The Andalites brought her to California. Near the devastation that was all that was left of our homes. I was there when Rachel returned. Her mother was there, too. The Andalites treated her body with great respect. She had been wrapped in some sort of soft cloth. I guess it was the Andalite way.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning


Adam: So now we have Rachel's funeral.
Adam: And Adam cries the whole time.
Ifi: In attendance is everyone ever.
Adam: And then Tobias steals her ashes, and then vanishes off the face of the earth.

Tobias closed his talons around the urn's small handle. He glared fiercely at Rachel's mom. She was crying, had been all along. She sobbed and nodded her head, giving her permission.

Then Tobias looked at me. I said, "Yes, Tobias. She would want it."

I don't know where he found the strength to lift that urn, but he did. He flew away, low at first, then, catching a thermal, he bore the urn away into the sky.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Adam: …Dare I ask what he ends up doing with it?
Ifi: Yeah I really have no idea, nor do I wish to dwell on it.
Adam: Fair enough.

Ifi: Then there is
Ifi: a time skip
Ifi: a whole year

Adam: Marco is up at bat as narrator.
Adam: He is now a corporate sellout.
Ifi: He's Tony Stark minus the suit.
Ifi: And the very definition of selling out.

That first month we owned the world. But that was the easy part: We had a story to tell and everyone wanted the details of how we and our weird alien friend and all our animal morphs had saved the world. The tough part was to keep it going after we stopped being The New Thing.

I had become the unofficial spokesman for the Animorphs. Jake wasn't interested in doing it. Neither was Cassie. And as for Tobias, well, no one had seen him or heard from him since Rachel's funeral.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: This is not okay
Ifi: THIS IS NOT OKAY
Ifi: NONE OF THIS IS OKAY
Adam: What were you expecting, exactly?
Ifi: AAAAAAAAHDASLKSHJKADLKJASHFJKLASJKDSLAJJFFF
Adam: Ah, I see.
Adam: Hey Applegate, I think you broke my friend over here.

I wrote a book, with some help from a ghostwriter. The title was The Gorilla Speaks. Number one on The New York Times best-seller list, number one on the PW list, number one on the Web.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: snort
Adam: Well hey, look what's out now:


Ifi: One of them dies horribly at the end.
Adam: I haven't read it yet.
Adam: =<
Ifi: That was an assumption
Adam: Still
Adam: =<

Adam: Also, there is apparently an Animorphs movie in the works.
Adam: In universe.
Adam: Just to avoid confusion.

I got a gig as "technical advisor" to a Spielberg movie about us. Animorph. Come on, you gotta love that. I did all the shows to plug that deal. Sample dialog: "I loved working with Steven, he is absolutely devoted to accuracy, and I knew he was the man who could be trusted with our story."

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Lots of celebrity name-dropping here.
Adam: This isn't actually too far off from reality.
Adam: Audie Murphy, the most decorated war hero in American history, later ended up staring in a biopic about himself.
Adam: They had to tone it down from actual events to keep people from thinking it was unrealistic.


Ifi: There is a coat in your medals.
Adam: Somewhere
Adam: He once held off a Nazi advance by himself from the inside of a tank that was on fire and could explode at any moment, after having been shot.
Ifi: Let's spend the rest of this review talking about him.
Adam: Okay, someone go right a real person fic where he can turn into a jaguar.

Arbron was shot and killed by poachers. It was a big incident for a while. They caught the poachers and put them away. Everyone said how terrible it was. But you know, Arbron was probably grateful. He had saved his adopted people, but he had been a prisoner of that awful Taxxon hunger, and that's no way to live.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: ARBRONNNNNNNNNNNNNN
Adam: D=
Adam: Okay, that is just spiteful.
Adam: And the named character death count is at 4.
Ifi: I think the universe might actually hate him more than Chapman
Adam: You may be right.
Adam: At least Chapman did something horrible to merit it.
Adam: Sort of
Adam: When he was an idiot teenager.
Adam: Arbron…had a bad sense of humor?
Adam: I mean, Marco ended up pretty well, and they were basically different species versions of each other.

Andalite tourism was the coming thing. The numbers were limited—interstellar travel isn't cheap, you know. But the big thing was for wealthy or influential Andalites to come to Earth and acquire human morphs. Then it was off to the mall food courts to raid the Cinnabon and Mrs. Fields.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: And that came as a surprise to absolutely nobody
Adam: There is a Cinnabon in Penn Station.
Adam: I pass by there all the time.
Adam: Where all the Andalites at?

Ifi: And Jake...isn't doing so good.

Every college on the planet tried to recruit him. No thanks. West Point offered him a gig as an instructor in the Tactical Application of Emerging Technologies and Xeno-Warfare. No thanks. If he'd been old enough he could have run for president as the candidate of Democrats and Republicans both. Jake was the biggest hero the world had ever seen because he was a hero for all humans, not one nation. He had saved the lives and freedom of the entire human race. I mean, he could have snapped his fingers and had anything he wanted.

The problem was, he didn't want anything.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Adam: PTSD is a bitch.
Ifi: So Jake, Cassie, and Marco all get dragged up to the Netherlands to participate in Esplin's trial.
Ifi: What a waste of time I mean really?
Adam: I would admittedly like to know how international law ends up getting rewritten in response to this

"[Jake] doesn't put flowers on the memorial or whatever, there are always lots of those. He goes when no one's around, late, after hours. The guys at the gate let him in. He parks and just kind of sits there like he's hanging out with her. I don't think he talks to her. Sad as it is to say, I wish he did. Talking to a dead person is better than not talking at all. He sits there for an hour, sometimes two, stares out at the ocean. Watches the sun go down. Then he leaves. Sometimes I think he's waiting there hoping Tobias will show up."

Tears were welling in my eyes. The image was too sad. I'd been to Rachel's memorial too. But not like that. "Rachel would be so mad at him."

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Fuck. Crying.
Adam: Stop that. Rachel would be mad at you too.
Ifi: I DO WHAT I WANT
Adam: Yeah ok

Ifi: So then there is the trial.

Fortunately Ax's people were willing to help. Very willing. Andalite technicians created a Yeerk box. It was about the size of a hardcover book. It contained a miniaturized Kandrona source, a computer-interface, and a voice synthesizer. The visser could hear and "see" and speak. The box, painted lavender for some obscure Andalite reason, sat on a pedestal facing the curved judges' bench.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Adam: The Andalite military needs to stop giving you control of color coordination.
Ifi: I am blackmailing them. I do what I want.
Adam: Yeah ok
Adam: Jake comes up to testify, and one of Esplin's lawyers starts badgering him.

"Your honor, this witness should himself be under indictment as a war criminal. If the alleged war crimes of the Yeerk military officer, Visser One, are to be tried in this court, it must be in the pursuit of impartial justice. Truly impartial justice cannot be applied only against one side in a conflict. If my client is to be tried for his actions in the human-Yeerk war, then so must the actions of this witness. With all due respect to this court, this witness is a mass murderer. A war criminal."

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning
 
Adam: That isn't
Adam: Relevant
Ifi: That's like, sliding into slander.
Adam: Sliding into?
Adam: It's cannonballing straight in
Ifi: Well there is the small technicality of it being true
Ifi: But still
Adam: Still.
Ifi: lamelamelame
Adam: It isn't relevant right now.
Adam: If Jake is to be tried as a war criminal, he will have his own separate court hearing.

Ifi: Then Marco and Cassie do a stupid thing
Ifi: They dump Jake in the freezing cold sea hoping that he will morph a dolphin and be happy.
Ifi: Instead, Jake morphs a shark and eats them both.
Adam: Happy End!
Adam: No, it works totally.

"I guess you guys think you're clever," I said, squeegeeing water out of my hair.

"More like desperate," Marco said. "You've had your head up your butt for a long time, Jake. Which is your business. Unless it's our business. Like when you screw up testifying against Visser One."

I nodded. I couldn't argue. But if they thought the result was me all happy they were wrong.

"She called me a war criminal," I said.

"She's wrong," Cassie said.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Adam: She was kinda right.
Ifi: Nnnnnggghhhhhhhhhhh
Adam: You're going to give yourself a hernia or something.
Ifi: I loathe this book.
Adam: Anywho, Esplin is found guilty.
Adam: Nobody is surprised.
Adam: Bizarrely, he does not get the death penalty.
Adam: When human war criminals have gotten it for much less.
Ifi: Europe doesn't do that anymore.
Adam: Oh, wait, you're right.
Adam: Netherlands.

Adam: Actually, there is one other point here I want to bring up.
Adam: Throughout this part, they keep addressing him as "Visser One."
Adam: Though logically wouldn't he have been stripped of his rank at this point?
Ifi: Ngh
Adam: *patpat*

Ifi: Two year time skip because Applegate hates you!
Adam: No, just you specifically.

Adam: Ax is now captain of a generically named military vessel.
Ifi: Flying around looking for the Blade ship
Adam: Ax is kind of full of himself.
Ifi: Andalite
Adam: Touche.
Adam: Though he has a bit more effectual of a teaching style, so hopefully when one of his cadets ends up stranded on some strange alien planet, they'll have a clearer idea of how to handle themselves.
Ifi: Anyway he does some generic stuff and that's it.
Adam: Then they find a weird space thing.
Adam: It looks like a giant everlasting gobstopper.
Adam: I'm going to call it the WST
Adam: Weird Space Thing.
Ifi: I assumed it was a Kelbrid craft
Adam: But we never find out, since now the narration goes back to Jake.

Ifi: Jake is teaching morphing school
Adam: He works at area 51
Adam: Basically.
Ifi: Zone 91 or whatever?
Adam: There are a lot of zones, okay?

I spoke to Cassie every couple of months. She was seeing some guy...actually, a good guy. I had met him at one of Marco's parties. I couldn't exactly remember his name. He worked for the governor of California on environmental concerns. He and Cassie spent a lot of time working together with the Hork-Bajir in Yellowstone.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: This is not okay.
Adam: Applegate knows where your OTP lives.
Ifi: Cybertron?
Adam: Yes
Adam: Clearly

<I am Prince Caysath-Winwall-Esgarrouth. This is Menderash-Postill-Fastill. First Officer of the Intrepid.>

<Ax's ship? I mean, excuse me, Prince Aximili's ship?>

<Yes,> Caysath confirmed. <Menderash is the only known survivor of the lntrepid.>

I guess I looked pretty stupid for a minute as that news sank in.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Also not okay
Adam: Esgarrouth?
Adam: Is he Ax's cousin or something?
Ifi: Actually that's the Andalite equivalent of Smith
Adam: Ah
Adam: Anyway, Named Character Death Count: .̪̯͎͗̈5?.̫̫͔̑ͬ͛ͪ̒ͭ̈̚
Ifi: it's ambiguous
Adam: Named Character Death Count: e̷̢̤͍̘̬͊̂̐̊ͅ ̷̦͔̗̭̘̲̜͑ͧ̇ͫf̿͂͋̽ͧͩ͑͛̚҉̛͙̙͘ę̛̱̺̺̹͔̪̣ͬ̊ͯ̎ͣ͊̒͌ͅ
Ifi: Yes
Adam: Nv̛͓͕̬̣̤͇̮͛ͪͮ͌͜͡e̷̹͔̞̓ͮ̏̋̃͛̅̂̕͞amei̸̞͔̬̭ͨ̒ͤ͌d h̴̐̃̀͂ͩ͏̗͓͙̮̟͙͖̝a̙͍̯͍̪͓̭͙̾ͤo̸͂̃̍̎ͮ̍҉͚͓̬͓̩Charactn̸̸̢̩͖̺͕̝͑̌̓ͪͬͥ͐erả̎́̇ͫ͛͌͏̮̲͓̣̜͎̙̰ļ̵̮̭̲͙͈̟̅̀Deathd̨͓̠̹̜̪̙̹̊ͪ̿̑͞ ̶̡̻̞̞̠̦̝̥̓͜o̷̯͙͉͈͚̥̝̗͌͌̓̚͟͞f̛͈͍̬̘̭͎ͭͯ̾͟͞ ̢̥̳͇̠̙͖͇̩̆̀́c̢̩̪͕̰̳ͪ̐̀́́ḥ̗̻͈͒̔a̭̣̝̼̠̺̺͍͈̐̃Count̷̛͎̰̅̿ͣ̽͗́r͓̟̤̫̖͇͔̲̍̎e̮̗̯̦̬͕̺͆̿͊̎ͨ̅͜ͅ
Adam: e̷̹͔̞̓ͮ̏̋̃͛̅̂̕͞-̧̪̯̬͖͕̮͔̣͋̆ͣͪm̧̡̻̅į̳̩͚̌͗̌̃̉̒̒͑̚n̶̴̦͉̘̲͓̟͎̑̃͊̎͊͐̏͜ͅͅd̶̸̼͙̣͔͍̃͛͐̄̈̿͢ ̷̛͎̰̅̿ͣ̽͗́r͓̟̤̫̖͇͔̲̍̎e̮̗̯̦̬͕̺͆̿͊̎ͨ̅͜ͅp̪̣̺̳̲̹̭ͩͭ̓̈ͮ́̊̕͢r͐͏̲͍̀͠e͖͓̅ͫ͊̊͌ͪ͜͞sͦ̿̓͡͏̯̭̗̬̗̱͕̮́e̛͚͔̹̋͂̈́̅̏̋͂̚ṅ̴̋͏̜̳t̯͐̕i̸̞͔̬̭ͨ̒ͤ͌n̸̸̢̩͖̺͕̝͑̌̓ͪͬͥ͐g̢̦͎̻͌͒̔̿ ͉͔̰ͩ̐̿̊̊̑ͫ̿̕c͇̻̰̻̆ͧ͐̓̽ͨ̌̔͡h̷͚̲͍̫͉̩̘̠̻͑̊̊ͣͣ̍a͓̹̠ͭͧ͑̾ͩ̽ͫ̀͞o͌̿͛̄͠͠͏̪͔̗s̶̽͌ͤ͡҉͙.̨̲͉̝͓̹͎̮̜͛̾͑̑ͭ͌̿ͥ́͠
̛̰̬̰̰̤̠̿͌ͨͥ̌ͅI̢͉̹ͦ͂ͬͧͧ̚͘ͅn̸̺͓̭ͬͪͭ̓̅̃ͫ̄̚͢ͅv̴̫̰̋͛ͭ́͌̇ͨ̚͡ͅo̫͎̘̲̰͋̎̇͟͡ͅk̻͖̲̤͇̜̭̭̟̃̓̏͢i̸͓ͩͬ̀ͫͤ̕n̴̠̗̭̺͎͙̜̎̔̉ͩ̐͟g̵̡̦̲͎̯̝̓̌̒ͯ͋ͫ̒̓ ̥̠͉̖̘ͫ̿̾̈ͮͭͩ̀̕t̗͚̦͂ͮ̽ͤ͂͠ḩ̨̹͉̾̎̅̋e̷̢̤͍̘̬͊̂̐̊ͅ ̷̦͔̗̭̘̲̜͑ͧ̇ͫf̿͂͋̽ͧͩ͑͛̚҉̛͙̙͘ę̛̱̺̺̹͔̪̣ͬ̊ͯ̎ͣ͊̒͌ͅe̯̭ͫ͘͢l͎̳͊ͨ͢i̸̻̟̻̇́͒ͭn̙͚̘ͮ̆͗̊̎͛̅͠ǧ̸̨̖͓̆͠
Adam: ḥ̗̻͈͒̔a̭̣̝̼̠̺̺͍͈̐̃

Ifi: Do you need to lie down?
Adam: Nah, I'm good.

Ifi: I love Ax you don't kill Ax OFFSCREEN
Adam: ;_;
Adam: Ax
Ifi: That is just
Ifi: Asdhakjsdsfhdasff

Ifi: Menderash has a confusing and nonsensical story of how their ship got blowed up by the Blade ship and also this other spiky mystery ship.
Ifi: It's almost like the good old days, except nothing is good.

Adam: So now we have our whole "getting the gang back together" montage
Ifi: The only problem is that the bad guys vanished into Kelbrid space, which is somewhere that Andalites are not allowed, presumably because the Kelbrid require visitors to meet minimum standards of politeness.

Once they were gone, Caysath said, <The Kelbrid claim an empire that borders the far reaches of our own territory. They are dangerous. Warlike. Aggressive. But also very trustworthy. We have a treaty with one simple proviso: We do not enter Kelbrid space, they do not enter ours.>

"Was this alien vessel a Kelbrid ship?"

<We do not know. We have never seen a Kelbrid. They, likewise have no direct knowledge of us.>

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: What
Ifi: what
Ifi: what
Ifi: How
Ifi: How do you write a treaty with them
Ifi: if you have no direct knowledge of them?
Adam: They communicate only through vague, difficult to translate transmissions?
Ifi: that does not even sense
Adam: Think Ender's Game
Adam: You have a species at the end that communicates by narcotics
Adam: And people aren't able to figure out their intention.
Adam: So the Kelbrid might be similar.
Ifi: Ok but you should still have an idea of what they look like.
Adam: They're territorial
Adam: Anyone who would have gotten the chance to see them got all 'sploded.
Ifi: I'm just going to let this go because I don't want to spend all night on it and it doesn't wind up mattering at all.
Adam: Also, Menderash becomes a human nothlit now.
Ifi: WHY
Adam: For…some reason
Ifi: Ever since it got out that Elfangor once did it, now it's seen as the cool thing to do?

In answer, Menderash began to morph. He was morphing to human.

"He's still an Andalite," I said.

<In two hours, I will no longer be an Andalite,> Menderash said.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY, DUDE
Adam: I think he just did it to be dramatic
Ifi: You are going to be alone in a ship 99% of the time, nobody will know if you suddenly need to morph to human.
Adam: And having someone unable to morph in the crew is just going to be a liability


Ifi: Sooo Jake goes to get Cassie. Sort of.
Ifi: Cassie is dating some jerk named Ronnie.
Ifi: He's not actually a jerk but fandom hates him
Ifi: I should not have to explain why
Adam: Cassie, you don't date coworkers.
Adam: That's just common sense.

Ronnie knew about my relationship with Jake. I'd probably bored him half to death talking about my relationship with Jake. I felt sorry for him—Ronnie was a man's man, smart, confident, decent, funny. But in the public imagination, Jake was still some melding of George Washington and Patton and Batman. It was impossible not to be a little intimidated by all that.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: lol@batman
Adam: Aw, but Marco was supposed to be Batman.

Ifi: So Jake explains the mission to Cassie, only to tell her that she's not allowed to come.
Ifi: For dumb reasons.
Adam: It's fairly clear that he still holds a grudge over giving Tom the Escafil Device, or at least that's my take.

"That's not it, Cassie," he said, all the swagger gone now. He was the old, awkward Jake now, struggling to express feelings instead of making lightning decisions. "Look, Cassie, you're doing what you need to do and were born to do. Part of what we won was freedom for the Hork-Bajir people. And a place for them here on Earth. That's something we won. It's in the bank. It's real and it's good and your job is to protect it. Me…" He shrugged. "Look, for better or worse, this is what I do. This is what I am, not what you are."

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: This is dumb.
Adam: Yeah, I'm going with my "he's still bitter" theory.
Ifi: I'm going with my "this book was written as a deliberate middle finger to the fans" theory
Adam: Everyone always takes everything so personally
Adam: What if I just want to write a depressing story?
Ifi: Then you don't drag it out for 65 books
Adam: 62
Ifi: Whatever
Adam: Plus a pair of CYOA books that are better left forgotten
Ifi: Those don't count as anything except honorable mentions on the list of the ten worst Animorphs books ever
Adam: Next week let's compile a list.
Ifi: Totally

Adam: Anyway, now we finally get to see what Tobias has been up to this whole time.
Ifi: Eating mice.
Adam: Figures.
Ifi: Doing literally nothing.


A Hork-Bajir was leaping from tree to tree. My mood picked up instantly. It was Toby. She had reached her full size now, a big, dangerous looking goblin.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Toby is all grown up!
Ifi: I'm gonna cry again.
Adam: d'aww
Adam: And has gone into politics.

"Tobias, I have done something you may disapprove of," Toby said. She was always ridiculously deferential when addressing me. It was a bit silly, what with her being not only the de facto head of the Hork-Bajir, but also, under U.S. law, officially the Governor of the Hork-Bajir Free Colony and a nonvoting observer-member in the House of Representatives.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: She brought Jake.
Adam: I'm not sure why they couldn't have done this before, just to check up on him.
Adam: Anyway, Tobias is still bitter at Jake over the whole "sending his cousin to her death" thing.
Ifi: But once he hears Ax is in trouble, it becomes a moot point.
Ifi: Jeez man, maybe you should visit your widowed mother every so often, how about that?
Adam: She got a second dog.
Adam: So she didn't notice
Ifi: She works at a Chee-run adoption agency
Adam: Sure

Ifi: Meanwhile, Marco is continuing on his path of being a vomit-inducing sellout
Adam: He's starting to get bored with the whole "being a fabulously wealthy movie star national hero who is dating a supermodel" thing.
Adam: My heart really goes out to him, let me tell you.

<Hey, Jake. Remember this morph?>

"Uh-huh. Some reason why you're morphing to lobster?"

<Ummmm…I dropped my keys down in the pool? I was going to go get them?>

"Well, then it's a good thing you have the ability to turn into a lobster, because otherwise, what would you do? I mean, normal people, they drop their keys in the pool, they're just totally helpless. Those keys stay down there. Forever."

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: He seems to be losing it.
Adam: I think he needs Jake to keep him in check, otherwise he just stays in his head too long.
Ifi: So of course Marco agrees to come along, it's not like he really has a choice.
Adam: So now we have Jake, Marco, Tobias, plus an Andalite.
Adam: But we're still short two characters, so Jake steals some recruits from his class.

All but three volunteered. It was a measure of my fame, I guess. It made me feel a little bad, like I was taking advantage of them. I decided to take two of them, Sergeant Santorelli, a U.S. Army Ranger who was five years older than me, and a French Deuxieme Bureau trainee named Jeanne Gerard. I chose them both on the strength of their lack of any close family.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Who are these randoms
Ifi: Who are these randoms in my book?
Ifi: Out.
Ifi: OUT.
Adam: Ifi is not good at handling change.
Ifi: AAAAAAFHSAJKDSHAJKLDSKJLFFFFFf
Ifi: Also Tobias is mad old, isn't he?
Ifi: He mentions it at one point in the text, but they never address it exactly.
Ifi: But he is.
Ifi: I dunno if he was gonna lock himself in human form or let himself die. Probably die.
Adam: The lifespan of an average Red-tail is about 13-20 years in the wild. Prolly a little bit longer for him, since he can always ask Toby for a hamburger if he gets too desperate.
Ifi: Now I am imagining Toby going into a McDonalds and trying to order.
Adam: But at this point, it really comes down to how old the original hawk was when he acquired it.
Ifi: Anyway. It's a moot point.
Ifi: The mootest.

Ifi: You know what else I have an issue with?
Ifi: We never get to learn what happened to
Ifi: well
Ifi: ANYONE
Ifi: All of the minor characters aside from the Hork-Bajir are forgotten about.
Adam: Rachel's mom becomes a delegate for the new Hork-Bajir nation.
Adam: Loren continues to ignore everyone except her dog.
Adam: Chapman has a car run over his foot.
Adam: And the Chee decide to screw it, and take all the dogs to Leera.
Ifi: Yeah okay

Adam: So they drive back to the military base in the middle of the night, Marco hits on Jeanne and everyone is generally uncomfortable.

A few minutes later the two Andalites on the shuttle thought they heard a thought-speak cry. They opened the hatch to investigate and out in the desert at the limits of their vision, they got the impression of a running Andalite. Maybe it was a wild mustang, but they couldn't be sure so they trained all their eyes forward. It was thanks to this that they didn't see the gorilla drop from the top of the shuttle and knock their heads together.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: The word mustang makes me giggle.
Adam: Not that type of mustang.
Ifi: They think they might have seen the ghost of prince Elfangor
Ifi: Driving through the desert, top down
Ifi: With a can of Dr. Pepper in one hand
Ifi: It's actually a pretty common sighting
Adam: Okay, someone write a fanfic involving Elfangor, Rachel, Arbron and Jara's ghosts driving around and playing poker or something.

"You know, I could be kind of a mentor to you," Marco said to Jeanne. "If we worked closely together I could teach you all I know."

"But what could I possibly do to repay you?" Jeanne asked.

"Well…" Marco leered, and was about to offer some specific ideas when Jeanne interrupted him.

"I know! Perhaps someday I could introduce you to my cousin Michelle. She likes short men. Even as short as you."

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Marco you are such a pig.
Adam: Jeanne, you're cool, you can stay.
Adam: But now, the point we've all been waiting for.
Adam: Our semi-new team gets their sexy new spaceship.

"So what do we call her?" Marco wondered.

<She's beautiful,> Tobias said. <She's beautiful and dangerous and exciting.>

I turned in surprise to look at Tobias. He stared back at me with his eternally fierce hawk's gaze.

Marco laughed, realizing what we were thinking.

"She would love it. A scary, deadly, cool-looking Yeerk ship on a doomed, suicidal, crazy mission that no one can ever know about? She would love it."

So it was that we went aboard the Rachel.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: TEARBENDING


Ifi: So they blast off into Z-Space and thus begins the galaxy's most boring adventure

Santorelli and I went to do an inventory of the supplies. We found water, vitamin pills, a good supply of various awful-looking freeze-dried foods and six dozen Cinnabons.

"Do Andalites have a sense of humor?" Santorelli wondered.

"We've never been entirely sure," I said.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Adam: Now, I have a question.
Adam: They could easily be up in space for years. What do they do if they run out of food?
Adam: I mean, Yeerks have Kandrona generators, and Andalites have the grass fields inside their domes.
Ifi: idklol
Adam: But they never establish a way for other species to deal with this.
Adam: So they lounge around, watch movies, play cards, etc etc
Adam: And they eventually get to Kelbrid space

We spent the next six weeks wandering around the system, seeing some cool things on strange worlds, but no evidence of Kelbrids. We were starting to wonder whether there was any such thing as a Kelbrid. And we definitely saw no sign of the Blade ship or the mysterious alien craft that had fired on Ax's Intrepid. We moved on to the next nearest system. And the next.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Wow it's almost as if the Kelbrids have evacuated their home because a horrifying space abomination has taken up residence.
Adam: Shh

Adam: And then...
Adam: They find it!
Adam: The Blade ship
Ifi: Good job guys that only took you half a year
Adam: Ifi
Adam: Space
Adam: It is big
Adam: Very, very big
Ifi: This book
Ifi: it is bad
Ifi: very, very bad
Adam: no u
Ifi: Exhibit A:

We gave out our story, that we were the Enterprise, a peaceful, deep-space exploration ship from The United Federation of Planets. We figured no one in this far corner of the universe would have seen Star Trek reruns. It was our little joke.

Here was the problem with that thinking: The Yeerks we were chasing had spent years on Earth, many with human hosts.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Adam: Okay
Adam: Exactly what were you thinking there?
Ifi: *points to previous statement*
Adam: Jake
Adam: I think sitting around in a tiny spaceship for a year has addled your brain.

After that first panicked glance Santorelli betrayed no sign that he was listening to anyone. He assumed a wide, cocky stance and said, "I've always thought of myself as more of a Captain Kirk."

"Sensor confirmation: It's the Blade ship," Menderash hissed.

That tightened a few sphincters.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Exhibit B
Ifi: Actually I think at this point we're on like Exhibit W
Adam: It's cabin fever, like I said.
Adam: I'm impressed that they haven't all eaten each other by now.
Adam: So now we meet Efflit, who I am pretty sure is the guy who killed Rachel.

The Yeerk captain nodded in a genial sort of way in response to Santorelli. "That's quite a ship you have there…excuse me, I don't know your name."

I made a slashing gesture with my hand, cutting Santorelli off before he could say something wrong. "You're Rakich-Four-Six-Nine-One of the Flet Niaar Pool."

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Wow it only took you three years to learn how to do that.
Adam: To cut someone off?
Ifi: No to pretend to be a Controller
Adam: They've been doing that since book 7

Ifi: Anyway
Ifi: Brace for
Ifi: Whatever the fuck this is

Santorelli sighed. He acted the part of a deflated man. "There is no empire, Efflit-One-Three-One-Eight. The empire is finished. I...my crew and I seized this ship and escaped as the Andalites closed in. We had heard that a Blade ship had escaped and survived. We have been looking for you ever since. For more than three years."

Efflit nodded. But would he buy it? He and his people were all alone in the universe. We represented the only brother Yeerks he was ever likely to see. Was he lonely enough to be careless? Would he trust us enough to let us destroy him?

"You will place yourself under the command of The One?"

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Adam: So now the Yeerks are part of some sort of Lovecraftian cult.
Adam: Betcha didn't see that coming.
Ifi: I really really didn't.

"I command this ship," Efflit 1318 explained, "but I serve at the pleasure of The One Who Is Many. The One Who Is All. We are not alone, Rakich-Four-Six-Nine-One. We are not this ship alone. We are the seeds of a new empire that will far outshine the old, under the leadership of The One." Weird to see that wild, messianic glow in the eyes of a man you knew was really just a Yeerk slave. It was a disturbingly human expression.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Adam: And now things gett͓̳͇͕̳̖̳͇̓͆͜h̞̖͙̟͍̥̃ͫͨͪͤ̈́͘͘͝ͅe̫͈̠̞̻̘̭̘͐̂ͪ̑ͧ͂̑̍ͅ
Adam: .̣̖̮͓̣̜ͮ̆͒͋wierdi̜̲̔̊̒
Ifi: Three pages left in the book, yes, this is the perfect time to introduce this character
Adam: Quote that shit, yo

The face that filled the screen and more was a shifting image, a slow dissolve from what might be a robot's face, a machine with a rat-trap mouth and steel eyes, into a sweet, feminine, almost elfin visage, and last, and most enduring, into the face of Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill.

<Ax?> Tobias whispered.

The face that belonged to our friend Ax split wide open across the bottom and revealed a newformed mouth full of red-rimmed teeth.

"Save your tricks for this Yeerk fool," The One said. "I see the truth. I see all. Step into view, Jake the Yeerk-Killer. I know you are there, I feel your mind."

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Well we are completely screwed.


Ifi: I hope you weren't wondering what this guy is or where he came from or what happened to Ax exactly or any other perfectly valid questions.
Adam: Well, only one thing left to do now.

"Okay." Jake took a deep breath. He looked around the bridge at each of us. At Tobias. At me. "What was it, Marco? 'Crazy, reckless, ruthless decisions'?"

I nodded, wishing I had kept my mouth shut.

There was a dangerous smile on Jake's face.

Rachel's smile.

"Full emergency power to the engines," Jake said. "Ram the Blade ship."

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Oh
Ifi: It
Ifi: it appears
Ifi: it appears that
Ifi: the author
Ifi: FORGOT TO FINISH WRITING THE BOOK

Make it your desktop and win a bajillion dollars: 1280x800 and 1024x768

Adam: They survive.
Ifi: Oh yes?
Adam: Think back to the Andalite Chronicles.
Adam: Elfangor's first battle with Visser Three right after the Ellimist sends him back from Earth.
Adam: What is the risky move that he takes that ultimately wins him the battle?
Adam: He rams the Blade Ship.
Adam: Jake and co survive.
Ifi: Applegate must have felt guilty, because she left a letter to the fans in the back.
Ifi: Though to be honest, she only addresses the issue for one paragraph.
Ifi: The rest is thanks to various people and a plug for Remnants.

I know, I know, it's rotten of me to leave you hanging at the end like that. But I figured the Animorphs should go out the same way they came in: Fighting.

----Book Fifty-Four, The Beginning

Ifi: Everything after that is typical end-of-series stuff.
Adam: Thematically appropriate, if impossibly cruel to the audience.
Adam: There is one thing.
Adam: There is a typo where she accidentally claims there to be 5 Megamorphs books.
Adam: This drove me absolutely mad as a kid.
Ifi: Haha poor baby Adam
Adam: I absolutely scoured all the nearby bookstores
Adam: And all the proto-fan sites.
Adam: Nothing.
Adam: I was ripping my hair out over this, I swear.

Ifi: As you can guess, there was a lot of fan backlash, and Applegate released another letter defending herself.
Adam: It's up on Hirac Delest

Animorphs was always a war story. Wars don't end happily. Not ever. Often relationships that were central during war, dissolve during peace. Some people who were brave and fearless in war are unable to handle peace, feel disconnected and confused. Other times people in war make the move to peace very easily. Always people die in wars. And always people are left shattered by the loss of loved ones.

Ifi: KA Applegate, your letter is well written and it makes a great argument and I do not forgive you.
Ifi: There was already an immense quantity of pain and horror in this series. Nobody was doubting the horrificness of war at this point. Trust me.
Ifi: I don't feel like a traditional conclusion would have been much to ask for, especially considering how young we all were.
Adam: War stories are tricky to write in such a way so that it doesn't come off like you're glorifying violence.
Adam: And honestly, I don't really think there is any sort of way she could have ended it that would have left people fully satisfied.
Adam: So I'm honestly really rather happy with the result, myself.
Ifi: Well that goes without saying. No author has ever had their fanbase 100% pleased.
Adam: I legitimately enjoyed this book.
Ifi: The writing was some of the best of the entire series. However, the frequent time skips were annoying and the random ending was disappointing at best.
Adam: This is true.
Ifi: About halfway through I realized that I didn't even feel like I was reading Animorphs.
Adam: How do you mean?
Ifi: I just didn't. But then, this didn't have a traditional three-act structure. So that might have been part of it.
Adam: It sort of had a three act structure, but inside out.
Adam: Backwards, really
Adam: You start off with a climax, then have a rising and falling action, and then end with the setup for a new plot.
Ifi: In creative writing class, we call that fucked the fuck right up
Ifi: But maybe I am just narrow-minded
Adam: Applegate has evolved beyond your puny mortal literary standards.
Adam: She is one with the universe now.
Ifi: Was she The One all along?
Adam: e͆̅̆ͩ͒҉̰̟́ ̃ͨͥ̈́ͧ̍͏̼̰͍̲̜̗f̏͛ͯͫ͏̪̹̭̞̟͈̞̼ē̤̍e̡̘͉͖̙ͧ͘ļ̟̣̟͍̙̼͈̒͢
Adam: ...sure

Ifi: Anything else?
Adam: Alright, two things.
Adam: 1: Everyone stick around for next week! We're going to be doing a final retrospective of the series.
Ifi: yay.
Adam: 2: I decided that we ought to do a final fan-art day.
Adam: So if you have any animorphs related art, poetry, short stories or etc, send it to cinnamonbunzuh@gmail.com by November 29th. I'll put it up the week after the retrospective.
Ifi: Do it.
Adam: Indeed.

102 comments:

  1. Congratulations! I'm looking forward to the series retrospective, I was going to suggest it if you hadn't planned it already.

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  2. See, the thing about the ending that made me mad? Yeah, it wasn't that she (potentially) killed everyone, and definitely killed Rachel. It wasn't that she turned Marco into a sell-out. It wasn't that she broke up Cassie and Jake (I saw that coming a while before the last book). I kinda figured all that was was gonna happen. (Except for the thing with Marco. I actually didn't see that coming.)
    No. The thing that made me mad was that she added this entire new species of aliens that were supposedly the bad guys, and then added this other thing that took over Ax....

    And then ended the series with no explanation about any of that at all. I felt like the series didn't actually end, because she just added a whole bunch of strings that weren't attached to anything.

    And her letter made me madder (and still does). It's got this... condescending tone to it. I was kind of offended that she assumed that her readers were ONLY upset because the characters didn't walk away happy.

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    1. I agree with this completely. Here is an Ifi anecdote.

      When I was in middle school, I read this series of books called Warriors. It's about a bunch of cats, so naturally I loved it. Now it has a bajillion spin-offs, but I read the first series as it was released. Over the course of those six books, there was a main villain who did increasingly horrible things to the good guys and eventually set himself up as a feline Hitler on a throne of skulls.

      Guess what happened in the finale?

      A new never-before-mentioned bad guy showed up from fuck-knows-where, killed the original bad guy in ten seconds flat, and took over the plotline.

      If I have to explain to you why this is bad writing, then there is no hope for you.

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    2. Why was firestar killed in the first book? A friend of mine was really upset over that. Also why was Ax taken? If i tell my 6th grade ELA teacher who loved that series - especially Ax - and i shared the funniest parts of the book with she'll be med at Applegate(i'm in 7 now but i sometimes stop by her room during lunch). After a depressing book/movie like this its important to remind yourself that its just fiction. Unless its based on a true story.

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    3. The way I see it, the first act was the end of the series, the second was a sort of epilogue (tying up loose ends) and the third was just showing that nothing ever ends, it just changes. If K. A. had tied the stuff with The One up, the point would have been lost. And she did address that a little in the letter. I definitely think it could have been better executed though.

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    4. Zaphira: Firestar wasn't killed in the first book. Firestar was the subject of the first six books, and he was alive at the end of book 12, which is where I stopped reading.

      I think that the fandom would have reacted better if the cast had gone out fighting against a familiar threat, as opposed to some random space monster that we have no feelings about one way or the other.

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    5. *spoiler alert* Firestar died in the final book. He fought Tigerstar to the death, killed him, and then layed down and died. And Spottedleaf's spirit was destroyed for all eternity. This was in main series book number twenty-four. *end spoiler alert*

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    6. ... why did my friend say first book then?

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    7. AI: Perhaps if she had executed it better, it would have been better received. As it was, hardly any loose ends got tied up, and adding a whole new cast from nowhere felt more like a cop-out than anything.

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    8. Maybe he meant Lionheart? He was a pretty chill dude, and died in the first book.

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    9. I'd argue that this is different than the Warriors example, because the Animorphs DID defeat their enemy. The enemy was always Visser Three and the Yeerk Empire. The Animorphs beat them, ended the war, brought (relative) peace to Local Space. The One doesn't supersede that, it comes afterwards.

      The best part of Animorphs, like you and Adam have pointed out throughout the reviews, is that Applegate seeded the series with implications of the larger, scarier, weirder universe going on beyond the central Human/Yeerk/Andalite conflict. The ending was perfectly in keeping with that.

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    10. I had a dream where I was reading the first Omen of the Stars and in it Cassie morphed a cat and told the Clans everything, and demonstrated morphing.

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    11. Are you guys going to do Warriors next?

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  3. The Andalite went nothlit so that the Kelbrids would not call out a treaty breach if this illegal mission got captured.

    Was this not obvious?

    Also I agree that it was a lame ending. They should have gone for a Lord of the Rings-esque ending, with Jake (and other characters) leaving for more unspecified adventures in a spaceship. This is just a crappy cliffhanger.

    I can think of a couple ways to continue it, though, and I have a few weird thoughts about Special Forces Animorphs and crazy-ass combat morphing that are probably a little absurd.

    (See, if I was going to continue the series, I'd have the One as an alien entity related to the morphing technology. That crazy shit we see him do? Morphing based, and to fight it you'd need morphing technology and skill to... counter it, somehow. Got a few ideas about that, mostly power of friendship shit to pull Ax out of the One's conglomerate.)

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    1. Why couldn't have just waited until right before he was about to be captured? It seems like a lot to give up, just for a tiny bit more extra security.

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    2. Too risky. They had no idea about Kelbrid intelligence or capability. Besides, morphing technology is useful and all, but it always was kinda overrated in the series as a combat weapon.

      "Oh, that ship we detected from range has an Andalite aboard."

      "We know that you have an Andalite aboard, this is a breach of treaty pro-"

      "NO WE DON'T SEE HE'S TOTALLY HUMAN."

      "We know about the morphing technology, you know."

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    3. Honor, of course. If he crossed into Kelbrid space as an Andalite, he would have been violating the treaty even if he was never caught.

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    4. "Long range sensors are telling us you have an Andalite aboard."

      "There's no way you can--"

      "And the short human is wearing no underpants."

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    5. It occurs to me that we have been told the two species have no direct knowledge of each other. What would stop them from believing the ship full of humans is actually a ship full of Andalites? Or if they did encounter a ship full of Andalites, the Andalites could be all, "Haha what no we are not Andalites we are uuuhhhhm some other species."

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    6. They probably exchange e'mails. If the Kelbrids spoke to Jake and co. for about five minutes they'd be like "yeah, no way are these guys Andalites; they, like, barely insulted us, they're hardly condescending at all, and they haven't tried to annex anything yet."

      Incidentally, there needs to be a fanfic explaining this nonsense about the One...

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    7. Always thought this One was just our old big eyed Holwer making friend's newest chess piece to be placed on the board.

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    8. Nope. Applegate stated in an interview that the One isn't connected to the Crayak or Yeerks (or mysterious voices who stuck Jake in the future in book 41, for that matter.)

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    9. Communication without direct contact isn't impossible.

      Contact via liaison, mechanical or otherwise, is entirely an option.

      Or you could go full Romulan and say they just IMed at each other the whole time.

      Since they don't seem to have any contact with the Kelbrid outside the treaty, they probably just set up a link between two ships and said 'this is my side, this is your side'.

      Probably after shooting at each other. A lot.

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    10. What if the One is related to the Five (the mysterious alien who drove the Venber to extinction)?

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    11. Then there would have to be a Two, a Three, a Four, and so on.

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  4. A few points I’ve come up with:

    Although I really, really want them to make it, I don’t think the Animorphs survived the ramming of the Blade Ship. Think about it: in Book 53, Jake found a pool full of defenseless Yeerks, just like Elfangor. Unlike Elfangor, Jake flushed it. I think this was meant to show how war messes people up, with one (just getting into the war) making the moral choice and the other (right at the end of it) doing it just out of hatred and spite. In any case, the situation was the same but the outcome was reversed. Don’t you think the same thing could have happened with the end of 54?

    I thought Jake sent Rachel for good reasons. Like it says in the book, Jake knew Tom’s Yeerk was motivated by vengeance towards them (for making his job miserable/stopping him from getting promoted) and Visser Three (for not promoting him/being an overall crappy boss). He knew Tom would attack the Pool Ship and that, although it was larger, it was overall the less powerful offensive vessel and was much slower than the Blade Ship. Jake needed his people, who were on the Pool Ship, to survive, so he needed to keep Tom’s crew occupied and take advantage of their distraction use the Pool Ship’s cannons to finish them. (Screw Erek’s programming, this is why they should have kept the Pemalite crystal). I would have loved Rachel to just make an appearance, beat them up and take out Tom, but then morph something small and haunt the Blade Ship, take the crew out one at a time and finally use the Blade Ship to start the new intergalactic empire of War Goddess Rachel-Naomi-Berenson.

    Since Crayak’s goal is to pit species against others until only the strongest survives, and the humans and Andalites won the Yeerk War, could that make them tools of Crayak in the future? That might be interesting for a fanfic or something.

    As for the Howard Stern callback, there are others. A couple I noticed (please let me know if you find others):

    They mention that a politician wanted to carve Jake’s face onto Mount Rushmore. Tom in Book 53: "They'll carve your sanctimonious face up on Mount Rushmore, Jake-Boy.”

    Rachel was taken out by a Controller in polar bear morph. In Book 25, this exchange takes place: "Polar bear," Cassie said. "The largest land predator in the world." "What do you mean largest predator?" Rachel protested, as if Cassie had just insulted her. "I thought grizzly bears were the largest!" […]"I could take him," Rachel muttered. But she didn't sound too sure.

    Also, Adam, your awesome poster is now the desktop of at least one person ^^

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    1. Two, if my family wouldn't get mad. We share the computer, so I can't, but I would. Oh, how I would.

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    2. http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6489357/83/Idyllic
      This fanfiction is relevant to a lot of things.

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    3. Found an interesting connection. I'd say it's accidental, but it's just so relevant. Jake in Book 2:

      "Sometimes when I'm feeling depressed, I really
      wish I could just morph. Dogs know how to have fun."

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  5. you guys going to finish book 14 now?

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    1. Cassie: This is a toilet.
      Ax: Yes, it appears it is.

      And then they went home and vowed to never speak of it again.

      There ya go, finished.

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  6. I thought it was a brave stance for Applegate to not give us a happy ending. If I want a happy ending, I could read countless other books from countless different authors. I read Animorphs specifically because it was a book series geared for kids that didn't treat us like we needed to be shielded.

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    1. Right! It's like one of those series for kids that adults or mature seventh graders can enjoy!
      I like how you phrased it, too. Dunno why, but I do.

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    2. It wasn't the lack of happy ending that annoyed me (and, it seems, many others). It was the way Applegate decided to introduce a new villain, set up another story arc, and then end the series. That's like if the ending to Dracula said something like "But there are more evil vampires than Count Dracula..." and then going on to describe an anti-vamp team being assembled, and meeting one of the aforementioned vampires. And then abruptly ending, with no continuation ever. What I'm saying is: the problem is ending the series definitively on a cliffhanger. Applegate pretty obviously has no intentions of ever picking up the series again.

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    3. I understand your point. She was clearly trying to pound in that even when you defeat the enemy, even when you think you have won, there is a big damn universe out there. War never ends, it only presses pause. Now, whether or not that is a message you want from the last Animorphs book is a matter of debate, but I think that if that was a message she felt was important to get across, a cliffhanger is one of the better ways to do it. It makes you feel like the Animorphs do...you think you won, you think you get a happy ending...and then you don't. You really, really don't.

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  7. And now we've come! / To the EEENNND OOOFFF the RO-OAD! / Still I CAAAAAN'T LEEEET GO-O!

    It's a little early in the day here, but I promise later I will raise a pint to your incredible accomplishment with this blog, guys. It has been a hell of an awesome ride.

    Two questions though:

    1) Are there any serious plans to go back and list the Most Disturbing Moments in the series?

    2) You guys going to tackle the TV show?

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    1. Oh, good. I was hoping for that from the early days of the series. You guys stopped making that joke after a while, so I assumed you had probably stopped, because, let's face it, who can keep track (well, probably you guys...). Looking forward to that.

      The only good thing I will say about the TV show is that it got the actor from X-men started, so when I saw the movie I was not all "Why are they wasting time with these stupid kids instead of the badass superheroes?" Instead I was entertaining head-fan-fic about Jake going to superhero school. That led to Rachel & Tobias being Magneto's henchmen. You have a female shapeshifter whose human form was a tall gorgeous blonde, and who's extremely agile and a skilled hand-to-hand combatant, and then a tall, blond guy who acts like an animal. So the TV show made that train of thought possible for me. But that's it.

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  8. I never got this far in the series but I did read a bunch of synposis-es years later just to find out what happened, and I was pretty put off by the ending, too. KAA's letter makes sense and all but, I dunno, I could see that kind of ending working better if maybe there was like, some kind of cache of rebel yeerks that want to re-invade Earth or something like that and not just "Oh and here is Blorp he's rly evil okay bye guys!!!!!!!!"

    And if Ax didn't have to die like that. Rachel's one thing, she's one of my favorite characters (maybe my favorite??) but to me it doesn't make sense for her to survive. But like. Come on, Ax deserves better.

    Idk I'm not sure how to word my thoughts on the series as a whole but whatever. Congratulations on finally finishing, you guys! I've really enjoyed reading your updates for the past year (?!) and I'm excited for the last fanart post and the recap.

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  9. As a robot person who doesn't feel feelings....good lord, I could barely even read Rachel's final exchange with the Ellimist quoted out of context without getting depressed. This book. This goddamn book.

    I agree with A.I. and Incandescent about seeing the points to the way the book ended, and what KA was trying to do (respectively), but I agree that it was not as well-done as it could have been, and really just left everyone feeling crummy and let down.

    Also, I totally agree that that letter at the end had a condescending feel to it. Maybe she didn't mean it to, but it kinda did. It was just like..."Well this is how the story ends and if you don't like it, GTFO." which is a valid point, as she can end her story however she wants...

    ...But at the same time, I think anyone who's offered their story to the public and been lucky enough to get devoted fans (I don't know, "devoted"? I mean, we are STILL talking about this damn series a good fifteen years after it came out. Would you call that "devoted" or "crazy"?), then I think, as the creator, you owe those fans some respect. I didn't feel that from the final letter, I felt...annoyance? Defensiveness? All I know is that my eleven-year-old-self, after reading this book, was like, "ARE YOU FOR REAL? THIS IS HOW YOU END MY FAVOURITE SERIES EVER!?" and the letter at the end did little to console me.

    On a softer note, thank you guys for this review, and for all the reviews. They really made me happy and it was a lot of fun to relive the Animorphs' adventures with you guys :D

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  10. I think you should just choose random books to review, or maybe review more K.A. books, like Everworld.
    Anyway, hoping you are well! Thanks for doing this website, hope to see more! From,
    Me

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  11. Also, what was up with the messed-up text? Like "Adam: e͆̅̆ͩ͒҉̰̟́ ̃ͨͥ̈́ͧ̍͏̼̰͍̲̜̗f̏͛ͯͫ͏̪̹̭̞̟͈̞̼ē̤̍e̡̘͉͖̙ͧ͘ļ̟̣̟͍̙̼͈̒͢
    Adam: ...sure"? I know you meant to do that, but why?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. e̮̪̮̤̟̗͙̐̊͑͟ ̨̛̠̲̺̒̓͋ͪf͇̖̳͇̮̙̠͚ͨͧ͂ͤ̐͒͟ë̶̷̻͓̞̯́́e̢̛̤̗̘̒̔̌̽l̷̨̲̹̳̬̞̀ͦ̇i̴̗̙͓͎̞͓͊ͧń̛͓͉̻̪̟̺̆g̡̯͕͇͚̖̺̠͎̘͊͜ ̩͉̜̝̫̯̥̓̽͒͜o̶̬̗̭̦̥͓̍ͪ̏̔ͣ̋̇ͮf̨͈͔͂͋̀ͪͣ͌ͤ͡ ̢̮͉̮̦̻̆ͤ͝c̞͈̥̟ͭͥ̚

      Delete
    2. Hope that clears it up for you!

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    3. Seriously, though, are you going to fix it? Because it's kind of annoying.

      Delete
    4. H͏̶̶a̵͠h̨̀͟á̡̨͡͠h̴̢͢a҉̕

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    5. I'll take that as a no. If you're not going to fix it, are you at least going to explain why you put it there?

      Delete
  12. Also, I think I'm just gonna pretend this review never happened, mmkay? Mmkay.

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    1. I'm not trying to be rude, I'm just gonna pretend I'm still waiting for this one.
      CB FOREVER!

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  13. I'd still love to see you guys tackle Everworld.

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  14. Well, congratulations on making it this far, Adam and Ifi. Through thick and thin, through ghostwriters and stupidity, and through genuine nightmare fuel, we've finally managed to review all 56 books, start to finish. And what a finale this is.

    I think that this book manages to capture the essence of Animorphs: a war story with a bittersweet conclusion. The anti-war message comes through strongly here, and I like that- the fact that war always leads to just another war, as demonstrated by the One. I think I like it; but ultimately the ending is so vague that I can't really draw any conclusions. I was always under the impression that Ax died when the One attacked his ship, and that the One was just manipulating his corpse or something, rather than Ax having voluntarily joined up with the One.

    At any rate, congratulations on coming this far. (Now review the television series! :p)

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  15. I dunno, I feel like if KAA had given us a happy ending, or someone didn't die, I would of felt very betrayed. I mean, when I was a little kid, if a series like Pokemon or Bunnicula had ended with a finale like this, I would have been ENRAGED. But with a series like this one, where the theme is how the universe isn't all happy and good DOESN'T always triumph, and they don't always have happy ending, or even one where they just win and go back to normal life, with varying psychological stability, would be stupid. Now, would I have liked there to be a non-cliffhanger ending... yeah. But if this series had been meant for a happy ending, Arbron wouldn't have been trapped, Elfangor wouldn't have been eaten, Loren wouldn't have been blinded... I could go on and on.
    But personally, I like it when there is an epilogue that ties up loose ends, and even gives the remaining characters a slightly more cheerful ending. So for people who feel that way too, here you go; http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6489357/100/Idyllic
    But also, the letter struck me as slightly stupid. I mean, I get what she was trying to say, but the tone came off as "You don't like how I ended MY series? TOO BAD!" But yeah, I totally agree with it shouldn't have just become "another painless video game version of war."
    On one last note, I agree with the disappointment with the Kelbrid/One thing. It was so random, and it would have worked better if the Ellimist stepped in and explained who the One was, or if the Kelbrid had been witnessed or something that ties it into the series, other than randomly throwing them in there. Or even if he Kelbrid had been mentioned as allies of the Yeerks, and attacked the Andalite Homeworld and stole Andalites for the Yeerks or SOMETHING relevant. Oh well...

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  16. I thought it was really well written, as an epilogue. I think the whole out-of-left-field aspects of the Kelbrid and the One and all serve thematically, if not in the sense of what makes a well-written story. It's one thing for the enemy to keep coming back (but that's probably got a trope name, like how the Animorphs never quite manage to kill Visser Three, even when they have Alloran free in book 8), but by introducing the Kelbrid and the One she helps promulgate the concept that it's a huge universe out there, and it doesn't revolve around the Animorphs. They went poking around and found something worse.

    The war-effect idea is that Jake is lost without a war to fight anymore. The closest he comes to getting over it and acting normal was when he wrote a book about the war and started training soldiers (i.e. getting paid to relive his glory days). Then when the Andalites come to him with the missing-Ax problem, he completely embraces that as an excuse to dive into the fray. I don't think he left Cassie out because he mistrusts or resents her, I think it was because deep down he knew he wasn't really coming back, even if he did survive. He kind of always had Cassie on a pedestal, which is why the whole team was hampered by her ethics throughout the series - Jake took her seriously and with Jake on her side, the rest of the team accepted that. So he sees her as special and untarnished by the war, and justifies a way to protect her from his own compulsion and need for another fix of his drug of choice.

    I think Marco grasped some of that, and the final realization for him came too late, when he suddenly notices the resemblance of Jake to Rachel, whom they had always said was in love with the fight for it's own sake, rather than any particular cause. I think Marco's realization was not in the nature of "Oh, that's interesting, I never noticed that before..." It was more like "Oh, crap. It was Jake who was crazy all along." When Jake broached that issue with Rachel back in #22, remember she threw it right back in his face. The difference was, Rachel had a lot of things she was good at, and had at least one person who really needed her. Jake had nothing he was extraordinary at until the war and then he was hailed as the greatest hero in the history of ever, but felt useless, because he knew or believed in the difference between the rep and the reality.

    This Hunt for Ax thing was his chance to once again embrace the thing he had always been best at, and even goes so far as to drag along people who are either accustomed to following him, or in awe of him, so he can be Mr Big Shot Leader again. The suicidal ramming was both his hubris and his seeking an end to the pointlessness of his life.

    And that services KAA's point about what war does to the participants. Jake went looking for a fight because he had been transformed by the war, and all he got was praise and adulation, instead of honesty and constructive criticism. Cassie and Marco handled it, because they had something else, and were able to turn their fame to serve the ends of the other things in their lives, but Jake was turned into a soldier before he had the chance to define himself in life as an individual, and he never got past or over it.

    If resurgent Yeerks had been the enemy at the end, the message would have gotten subverted into "make sure you finish the job." As it was, the point is made that winning a war doesn't solve problems, aside from defeating one threat. There is always another one or a bigger fish just around the corner, and if you looking for trouble, it's not hard to find it.

    The end still sucked though, in a "I didn't enjoy this happening to the characters" way.

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  17. On one hand, I get that a happy ending would have been unfulfilling for this series. On the other hand, I didn't like this specific ending. I'd have probably been much more willing to forgive 54 for its internal problems of jumping around and introducing all new things and then not actually making use of them if the previous couple books hadn't been annoying me so much. The fact that everyone spent the last couple books being so stupid about everything, at the point in the series where things actually had consequences, turned me off to the whole final arc so much that any ending was going to piss me off because those idiot plots were its lead-up.

    I've read occasional really good tragedies where the ending is heart-breaking but... there's still something so beautiful about the writing and such deep sorrow because the characters behaved the ways they couldn't help but be, and everything went wrong because of it. In this, Jake was clearly unhinged and making bad decisions for awhile, but I think he went too far too fast. He wasn't doing things because of a deeply seated tragic flaw that led to his downfall, he was just being dumb when lots of other, better options immediately presented themselves and there was no good character reason he had to choose the particular stupid things he did rather than any other choice. So everyone died and everything was horrible, but there was no epicness, no catharsis. Rachel's death was very depressing and that was the feeling of the rest of the book, people being depressed and fading into nothing not with a bang but a whimper. All this time was devoted to post-war stuff, but Cassie was the only one who showed any signs of going on with life. That they decided to ram a spaceship on the last page does not change the fact that in terms of character-arcs they all pretty much felt like they'd long since given up on life by that point. They didn't seem overly concerned with dying, so why should I?

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  18. Oh, and regarding Tobias' actions in this book, I think what happened with him was two different things going wrong at once and conspiring to leave him feeling isolated. Yeah, the obvious one was that he lost Rachel, but I think if she had died in a different way, like fighting in a straight-up fight on the Pool ship like Jara Hammee did, he'd have eventually got over it, and he'd have stayed in contact with his friends and mother to a greater degree.

    What did him in, and the reason why he still resents Jake, is that by sending her to her death, Jake destroyed Tobias' illusion of the Animorphs as his substitute family. We see in his last book that he is willing to accept Loren as his mother despite the memory issues, because she fit his criterion for a mother - someone who would take a bullet for her kid. That's what family means for him.

    Way back in #23, he had decided he didn't care about saving Earth from the Yeerks, all he cared about anymore was protecting his friends, who were the substitution for the family he had never had (as Elfangor's final words to him suggested). That was why he was willing to endanger their cover by letting Marco play out his con on Visser Mom instead of letting Rachel kill her in #30. For him, the important thing was what would help Marco. That's why he was able to forgive Cassie & Ax their betrayals of their last books, and get mad at Jake for snubbing Cassie - because they were his family, and he trusted they had reasons, and in his eyes, they had to stick together. That's what families do, in his eyes. They do NOT send family members on pointless suicide missions to whack their personal nemeses.

    I think he'd have still been mad at Jake if Rachel had survived the mission or if it had been Marco or Cassie Jake sent after Tom, but he'd have handled it better with Rachel. As it is, Rachel's death and Jake's betrayal of what the Animorphs stood for in his eyes combine to leave Tobias totally alone. Suddenly he can't see the Animorphs as his family anymore, because Jake has proven that they are not. He doesn't have a problem with the girl who gave the Yeerks the weapon they used to kill Rachel (checking with her to take the ashes, being okay when he assumes the wolf Toby brought was Cassie), he has a problem with the guy who put her in a hopeless position, in order to service his own revenge issues. He didn't pick Jake to be the leader back in book 1 to send them to their deaths for his own hatred.

    So Rachel is dead, Ax has gone home and Jake has crushed Tobias' illusions of friendship and family. Who's left? Just the two teammates he is least close to, and a woman who doesn't know him. What's the point of being human anymore? He likes being a hawk better, it feels more natural to him, and the lifespan thing is as much a quality of life issue as anything. Who wants to spend five times as long being almost blind, almost deaf, with a whole dimension of movement lost and unable to engage in the one thing (morphing) that made his life something other than misery. Sleeping on Marco's or Cassie's couch for the rest of his life, unable to morph, with diminished senses and unable to fly hardly seems appealing, no matter how many more years he "gets" to do it for.

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  19. I tapped my foot against the hot dessert sky, waiting. I crossed my arms, and turned my head towards the sky. The blistering sun made sweat trickle down my back, I wiped my forehead. Then I heard a rumble, and backed away just in time as a yellow mustang stopped in front of me. The driver smiled at me, and took a sip from a can of Dr. Pepper.
    I saw that right beside him a Hork-Bajir sat. Also drinking Dr. Pepper.
    ((Ready?)) Elfangor asked me.
    “Let’s do it!” I said climbing into the car, grabbing a can of Dr. Pepper.
    After that we drove silently, the only sounds were the slurps of the cold drink. Finally Elfangor stopped in front of a dark cave. We all got out of the mustang, and hurried in there hoping to get out of the heat.
    It was nice and cool in the cave. Pictures of those we cared about in our lives littered the walls. Empty cans overflowed the recycling bin.
    We all took our seats, and Elfangor dealed the Hork-Bajir friendly playing cards out. Eight cards for each.
    ((Your turn to go first.)) Elfangor said to me. I nodded, and then said:
    “Jara Hamee do you have any fives?”
    “Fish” Jara Hamee said, and I drew a card from the ‘pond.’
    ((Rachel)) Elfangor said. ((Do you have any tens?)) I sighed, and handed Elfangor the card.
    Once we were done playing we grouped around the television.
    “Want to watch the Animorph movie?” I asked pulling out the DVD.
    “Yes” Jara Hamee said.
    ((Absolutely.)) Elfangor said. I put the disk into the player, and pushed play.
    “My name is Jake” the actor for Jake said. “That’s my first name, obviously. I can’t tell you my last nam

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    1. I may have to say the same thing.

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    2. Where the heck is Arbron?

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    3. He has the flu today.

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    4. (Facepalm) I totally forgot Arbron! Whoops. Sorry.

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    5. Arbron is just out there doing something badass. Right when the other three are starting to get bored with the movie, he shows up with a stolen Skrit Na ship and invites them all to go for a joy ride.

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    6. Well, at this point Arbron is still alive. He didn't die until a year later, remember? Maybe there could be a sequel, in which Arbron joins them, and he gets to be an Andalite ghost.

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  20. I am in full support of retrospectives and fan art and top ten lists and anything that makes it so that I DON'T HAVE TO SAY GOODBYE TO THIS GLORIOUS BLOG OH GOD I SWEAR I'M NOT CRYING.

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  21. I can't believe it took 54 books for you guys to make an Evangelion reference.
    It's one of the first things that comes to mind when I think about stories involving screwed up PTSD kids.

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    1. I could have sworn we made one earlier, but maybe it was just a fever dream.

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    2. I mustn't run away from Eva references, I mustn't run away from Eva references, I mustn't run away from Eva references.

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    3. I wish I could draw well, because if I could, I would so draw Shinji turning into a red tailed hawk, Asuka becoming a bear, and Ax in a tight 00 plugsuit, with Visser Three as Gendo and Chapman as Fuyutsuki staring at them from afar.

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    4. You can't get better at something unless you practice.

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  22. Unlike most, I'm totally okay with a new villain showing up at the end. I'm okay with a cliffhanger, of sorts. What I'm not okay with is that I don't feel like the end redeemed Jake at all.

    I mean, when Elfangor made his kamikaze flight, it was a solo mission from which he did not expect to return. He fully thought he was going to die. Jake though? He had no reason to think he would survive that final flight (even if you can infer that he did from the thematic parallel), but instead of going off alone, he took his whole crew down with him. I could understand Jake going on a suicide mission because he'd already been through too much, because he wanted to win at all costs, because he didn't fear death, etc. But what about the rest of them?

    If I could have made just a few changes... One, I'd have left Marco on earth. Sure, being a celebrity might not be as important as Cassie's work. But you know what? Marco already put in his time, he earned his rewards, and he also had one big prize in the bank- Eva. Plus, it would have deepened the parallel between him and Cassie, to show them both as survivors. If they had to replace Marco with another crew member, I'd elect a Chee, for the shield and hologram support. Any Chee but Erek, obviously. And then, in the end, I wish Jake had named Tobias as the new leader before going off on his own. It would show Tobias maturing from a follower into a leader, and it would show an attempt by Jake to make amends with Tobias after all that had come between them.

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    1. I don't think it was supposed to redeem him, I think it was supposed to show how the war had ruined him. That was the point of Marco suddenly noticing the resemblance to Rachel.

      You're totally right about Elfangor's aciton not being like Jake's (note as well the differences in their choices about flushing a Yeerk pool into space), and I think that's deliberate, it's meant to show he's snapped.

      IDK that any Chee would be better. Erek was the leader of the "let's fight" faction. If Marco had not come, then the tragicness of the last thing would have been reduced, because it would have been a bunch of anonymous soldiers, and the two guys with ruined lives dying. By taking his best friend, whose life had done a complete 180 from the start of the series, Jake shows that he really doesn't care about consequences or collateral damange - he's gone into pure war-mode, and only cares about hurting the enemy.

      I agree with you about the suck, but I think KAA was trying to make it suck.

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  23. Here's my ending to the series:They ram the Blade Ship, leave Jeanne on board the Rachel so she can tell their story and such. Menderash uses the Z-space transponder to transport the rest of the Animorphs onto the One's ship. As they talk about stuff with the One, Jeanne finds some cinnamon buns stuffed in a corner. Mederash Z-spaces it to the blade ship. The Animorphs are discussing Earth weather with the One and seeing all his "morphs" when the buns arrive. Ax leaps from the One and morphs to human. He devours the buns and the Animorphs kill the One with the power of love. :D

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    1. Just Another Generic AnonApril 28, 2013 at 4:07 PM

      :D

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    2. And I am perfectly fine with that ending.

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  24. (kinda new but I wanted to participate)

    To me there's a difference between a sad ending and a depressing ending. I think the two can look similar and that's what generates the confusion and defensiveness and etc. when books end and things aren't happily resolved.

    Sadness is a healthy human emotion. Depression is not healthy. William Knauss once wrote that we actually love sad movies and books, because sadness isn't really hurtful without real loss--it's just another emotion, invoked by the illusion of loss. Crying, without actual loss, is fun or at least cathartic; it's intriguing to experience a negative-themed emotion without any real negativity, to see the real emotion without distraction of actual pain. It's like going on a roller coaster. Fear, when one is perfectly safe, is not real fear. Therefore, it's enjoyable.

    So I don't mind a sad ending to Animorphs. What I mind is the sick ending we got. It wasn't really smart or educational. In fact, the last book kind of implied that it's okay to murder prisoners if they're not human or lovely enough. It came off as cynical, deliberately pandering to that idea that a sad ending is a realistic ending because people are cynical and this book has to prove how grown up it is. (Yet somehow Visser Three was allowed to go from awesome to...whatever that was in the later books.)

    It's the inflation of sadness writers get sucked into. That's what the book felt like. And I find it realllly hard to take this book seriously as a realistic representation of war when conveniently everyone dies only after the publisher was done getting paid, and conveniently, when the author had no use for the legion of disabled children she'd spent a whole book recruiting. If I wanted hyper-realism, Tobias would have committed suicide forever ago, Cassie would have made one of her crazy mistakes and gotten them all captured and infested or killed, and Visser Three would not have suffered villain decay halfway through the series. Actually, the last one sounds fine.

    As for the open ending: an open-ending doesn't sound terrible, it was just the complete lack of...why care? Ax wasn't even Ax anymore, so it's like they died or fought on for nothing. If I knew what the new villain wanted, then I could care that the kids had to spend maybe the rest of their lives fighting it in deep space. For all I know this is some cheap cult with a Cthulhu wannabe that would have fizzled out on its own in two weeks and Ax would have gone home feeling weirded out but alive.

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  25. Well... I'm not going to write a big long post commenting on the ending, because I feel like enough people have already given their 2 cents.

    I just wanted to say thanks. I'm not sure exactly what compelled you guys to do this, but I'm very glad you did. I have enjoyed every single minute of this crazy blog. So one last time - thanks Adam and Ifi. You guys are awesome.

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  26. Well, believe it or not, i just started rereading Animorphs, bring back memories from my childhood. Did a search for the Ellimist for more analyst and found your amazing blog. Thank you for the reviews. I enjoy them a lot.
    Hello from Vietnam.

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  27. I actually thought the series would end with no one finding out about the invasion, and the Andalites would come and take the morphing power from the Animorphs and wipe their memories, so it would be as if the war never happened. I liked this ending much more and I like the idea of the Andalites and the humans becoming friends rather than the Andalites tossing the humans aside and leaving. I read a bit of "Artemis Fowl" and the fairies were complaining about the humans ruining the enviorment, but then refuse to share their energy-saving technology with us! I know it's supposed to be a good book, but I think that part's just silly.

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  28. Maybe The One is just some crazy morph-capable human-controller who aqcuired Ax.

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    1. It is totally my headcanon that The One is all the bodies/minds of those who died in morph
      and the whole reason it started attacking is 'cause Rachel died in morph
      after she did the whole 'sacrifice herself' thing.

      ...
      That event gave it the push it needed to leave Z-Space... and made it go more insane than it was.
      it is also secretly my headcanon that Avatar: The Last Airbender is a (MUCH later) continuation of this, and Koh = The One.
      like how Morgoth is totally Crayak. Just a little smaller and weaker.

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    2. Rachel was human when she died. Her final words are in human quotes.

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  29. There's a big 'tactical advantage' in killing Tom. It completely disoriented the Yeerk on the blade ship, and prevented them from killing everybody on the Pool Ship: Yeerk, Hork Bajir, Taxxon, and Animorph. It was really really sad, but apparently necessary----kicks himself in face for justifying Rachel's death

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  30. I'm going to assume - and there's absolutely no reason for this to be true - that "The One" is the guy who was running the simulation against Jake.

    Also, I like that Jake and Cassie didn't end up together. Mind you, I didn't like that at all when this book came out. But looking back, it makes sense.

    And frankly, I don't think things would have worked out for Rachel and Tobias if she had lived. She was crazy. Bloodthirsty. Totally irrational. Tobias was none of those things. Really, he would have made the best second-in-command out of anyone because of his patience and moral code.

    By the way, why is everyone surprised that Marco did exactly what he said he was going to do from the start - become a sellout? I mean, this was not a surprise to me. It was expected. And Marco points out that someone has to do it; the public demands it. Better him than Jake...*shudder*

    So yeah, I think it's a good book. Even a great book. Probably my favorite non-silly book of the series, because it's heartbreaking and sad and beautiful.

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  31. Yay, I finally finished your reviews of the main series. Now I can go sit in the dark and cry.

    The thing I hated the most from K.A.'s letter, even more than the political pandering:

    "Wars very often end, sad to say, just as ours did: with a nearly seamless transition to another war."

    ..."Seamless?" Heh-heh, no. That's not exactly the term I would use to describe "magical space-Satan appears, rocks fall everyone dies."

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  32. The one thing that bugged me most about this book was the handling of Visser Three. He just meekly surrenders, and is then shoved in a box, and is then put on trial, and at said trial is sentenced to live in a box.
    No.
    That was unacceptable to me.
    Visser Three was AWESOME! An incredible villain and character! An enormous part of the appeal of the series, to me at least. How did it happen that there was no final boss battle with Visser Three?
    So.
    In my headcanon.
    Visser Three is The One.
    Esplin subjected his true Yeerk self to the morphing power, and told no one.
    Then used said morphing power to escape his confinement.
    Then, in the intervening years, went on a mystical sabbatical to seek the means that would allow him his ultimate revenge.
    And underwent some Ellimist-like apotheosis event... Or...acquired Crayak... Or infested Crayak...
    (I never really hammered out these details...)
    But he became a demi-god called The One.
    And thus my favorite character's dignity was saved, and I could enjoy this book.
    (Well, Rachel's really my favorite. But she got a very good death.)
    -N-

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    1. They set up Visser Three's surrender way back in book 6, when Jake noted that Yeerks don't fight on without any hope. It's like if life was a chess game. When his king is trapped, the Yeerk player tips it over and concedes defeat, but a human or presumably an Andalite or Hork-Bajir would make a desperation move that would still fail to save him 95 times out of 100, but maybe three or five times, his opponent will make a mistake and fail to capitalize on his advantage, and then he'll pull a win out where the rules say he should have lost.

      Visser Three is still a Yeerk at the end of the day. The Andalite fleet was closing in, he had lost control of his most efficient warship, he had just seen a huge number of his people massacred, and all this not long after his planet-side HQ had been blown up. Even if he survived the encounter with the Animorphs, where would he go from there? As the commander of a failed invasion force, he'd be rather unwelcome in the Yeerk Empire which was suddenly losing the war?

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    2. I agree completely, I just can't handle how he gave up the opportunity to eat some animorphs or shoot lava to destroy the ship or something useful in the end. He and Ax should have had a tail fight, damnit! Ax ended up being denied revenge so the yerk could sit in a box :(

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    3. In book 6, Jake said that's what Yeerks do when the situation is hopeless - they give in and surrender. What choice did Esplin have even if he did make a fight of it? He'd have a crippled ship whose passengers are all dead, his main warship lost to a traitor, his career over because of his failure to conquer Earth, and his people's empire defeated. His only other choice was a futile fight that would just get him killed a little further down the road, and that's not how Yeerks play.

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  33. Luna the andiliteApril 17, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    ok, i cried through like half this book.
    then like 2 years later
    i finally got a copy of the first book
    and read the first book in the series for the first time. I actually started out the series on i believe it was the 8th book. But anyways,
    Doctor Who
    +
    cookies
    +
    animorphs
    +
    warriors
    =
    i love you guys
    you guys are just the most awesomely awesome rulers of awesome and-where am i going with this again? well, anyways.(again!)Animorphs has always been my favorite series since i started reading it. Now i'm banging my head on the wall wanting a copy of the fourth series of Warriors. If you tell me that you've read Wolves of the Beyond and Guardians of Ga'Hoole, and hang out on a WCRPG, i might explode, morph a snowy owl, fly out my window, and somehow end up hitting my face on The Rachel.

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  34. I just reread the whole series and then found this blog.. you guys are great! One thing I'd really like to talk about (or see you guys talk about) was how Visser 3 went down without a fight. The odds were tough and he just gave up- didn't try to morph and eat them, didn't try to take out the last animorphs, just sat there and peacefully left his host. That was nothing like the Visser 3 we had even a few pages before.

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    1. The Visser Three we had a few pages before (I assume you mean in Book 53, because the first time we see him in this book he already looks defeated) hadn't realized his Pool ship had been taken over by enemy forces and that the 17,000 Yeerks in the onboard pool had been killed. Those were the events that would have made him irredeemable in the eyes of the Council of Thirteen.

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  35. Yes. And if you remember the events of Visser, Esplin's been under a suspended death sentence, contingent on whether he wins the battle for Earth. And at this point in the book, that battle is pretty much undeniably lost.

    Yes, Visser Three has narrowly escaped death/capture many times before. But he's always had the support of the Empire. He's lost that support, and so he'll either undergo Kandrona starvation under Empire supervision, or he'll go underground and starve anyway because he doesn't have access to a Yeerk pool.

    By letting the Animorphs capture him, he's hoping for a quicker, less painful death.

    He even says as much: <I imagine it's time to kill me,> Visser One said. <You'll be doing me a favor. Whatever death you have for me will be nothing compared to what the Council of Thirteen would sentence me to. They really don't approve of vissers who lose Pool ships.>

    Besides, he's lived his entire life chasing promotions, trying to become an ever more powerful member of the Empire. So even if for some reason the Council *didn't* sentence him to death for losing Earth, they'd still strip him of his rank and they'd never trust him to be in command of a significant invasion force again. He "meekly surrenders" not only to avoid a slow, agonizing death, but also because he's lost his ENTIRE REASON FOR LIVING. He has nothing to fight for anymore.

    And now I made myself sad.

    I like your headcanon though, anon. I also believe that Esplin gave himself the power to morph from Yeerk form and escaped from prison that way, after he just couldn't take the loneliness and sensory deprivation anymore. But I have a different idea of what happened after that. ;)

    Anyway, Esplin's my favorite character too, so I feel your pain.

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  36. A few things I noticed this time reading the series again: like if the Yeerks were "kind" enough to let Rachel demorph, and "kind" enough to commend her skills as a fighter, why were they also not "kind" enough to let her live? Maybe imprison her, bargain with her, try to recruit her, hold her ransom to get crap they probably needed since Tom and other crew members were killed. Anyways, if Rachel needed to go, that's Applegate's prerogative. And I agree someone needed to die, obviously to fit "Animorph destiny" first of all, and to strike home the grimness and reality of war, and I agree it was ok to let Rachel go because she had been warped by it so badly (but did they really need to let her die???) I speak this purely for the sake that I, and I'm sure other fans, had a major crush on her through my young reading years. Even though some books of hers made my angry, I had an undying Tobias-esque love for that warrior girl. But... so glad I didn't marry a girl like her though. :) The only thing my wife has in common with her is maybe a fierce protectiveness for her loved ones (minus the violent tendencies)

    Anyways, reading this book for the 4th or 5th time, I was still pleading with Ax that he wouldnt check out that ship for heaven sake! What's wrong with you Ax?? Toomin's curiosity got his crew all killed for the same reasons! Don't you understand common horror movie logic?? If something makes a noise outside, YOU DON'T GO OUTSIDE TO CHECK IT OUT. Or... um... go check out noiseless DNA inside a spaceship.

    Horribly depressed and in extreme denial, I like to imagine they all made it at the end (excluding Rachel) because the front of the book does say "It began with six. It will end with five." Which isn't accurate really because it didn't begin with six actually, but I will suffice to say that it should and did end with only 5. And they all went bowling. And Esplin was there in a morphed otherworldly beast form. And all the other characters that were lost in the shuffle were there. And they had cake. Lots of cake. And they raised their cakes in a formal tribute. And they all said "To Rachel," with tears in their eyes. But when they all started to eat, then they were happy. And they never had anything interrupt their happiness EVER AGAIN. THE END.

    Well, anyway, even if we never hear any other word from Applegate or Grant about a continuation or at least even some theories from them about how they may have wanted it to go... or we never see a much MUCH better TV show... or we never see a movie adaptation... I just want to say thanks guys for this beautiful review of the series! And thanks to all who's comments made me think, wonder, laugh and just overall made my day. Good times for all. And to all a good night.

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  37. I still haven't forgiven Applegate for killing off Rachel. She was my favorite character, my hero, the one I found the most interesting (after Tobias). I was about 11 years old when I read the last book and I must have cried for hours after reading Rachel's death scene.

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  38. Am I seriously the only person who liked this ending I love open-endedness

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  39. I loved it when Jake flushed the 17,000 Yeerks. It was what Elfangor should have done at one time, and because he was too naive to do what war against Yeerks required, he created the Abomination and enabled countless millions of deaths. And thanks to Jake most of all, the evil that Elfangor's cowardice brought on the human world was finally ended. Nothing can make me sympathetic to the mind-controlling slugs.

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  40. Ifi: There was no diversion mentioned in the last book
    Ifi: It was just

    They needed to divert the Visser away from the engineering room to the main deck so the Hork Bajir weren't slaughtered. This is written excitability in the book which you just forgot to read.

    Adam: Also, Menderash becomes a human nothlit now.
    Ifi: WHY
    Adam: For…some reason
    Ifi: Ever since it got out that Elfangor once did it, now it's seen as the cool thing to do?

    Because an Andalite seen in Kelbrid space would be seen as an act of war. Another point explicitly written in the book you didn't read.

    I'm noticing all of these dumb complaints and dumb questions are coming from Ifi. I think I'm done at this point with these terrible reviews, conveniently the series is over.

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