Book #18 in the series Animorphs
by K.A. Applegate.
Disclaimer: If you've heard of Animorphs and you're thinking "Aww, how
cute," maybe you should read my introduction to the first book
to see how wrong you are.
by K.A. Applegate
Erek the Chee warns the Animorphs that a very important Secret Service guy has been deliberately injured by the Yeerks and is now in a coma in a hospital they control. After investigating, they find out that Visser Three intends to have one of his people infest this guy if they can get him to come out of his coma, but in the absence of that possibility, Visser Three will just morph him to use his connections to higher-up Secret Service members and hidden secrets. The Animorphs decide they should also have the power to morph this guy so they can reveal the Yeerk invasion to the Secret Service, but first they have to acquire his DNA, and they decide to do this by stealing his blood in mosquito form. But while they're carrying out this mission, something unprecedented happens: they suddenly end up in Z-space with no explanation, and Ax is able to thought-speak to a nearby Andalite ship which rescues them. Ax is suddenly back among his own people and the humans are just put in a room like they aren't important, and Ax gets caught up in being back with his kind again until he finds out the captain of the ship is a traitor. While heading for a battle on Leera, the traitorous captain causes the entire ship to get blown up, and Ax and the others have to figure out a way to reunite with Andalite forces on the planet's surface to help destroy the Yeerk threat on Leera. Ax has a crisis of loyalty, knowing that not all Andalites are trustworthy now, and after some soul-searching, he determines that he will follow his prince, Jake. Now it's up to them to arm a bomb that is due to destroy the Yeerk threat on the Leeran continent, but this involves morphing into psychic Leerans, taking incredible risks, and dealing with the fact that they are getting snapped back to Earth one by one as an after-effect of the glitch that pulled them into Z-space in the first place.
About this book:
New known controllers:
- Doctors at the hospital
- Some Leerans who are later freed
New morphs acquired:
- Jake: Mosquito, Leeran
- Cassie: Mosquito, Leeran
- Marco: Mosquito, Leeran
- Rachel: Mosquito
- Ax: Mosquito, Leeran
- Tobias: Mosquito
- In a previous book, the planet of the Leerans was mistakenly referred to as "Leeran" (repeatedly). Now in this book (and from then on) it's referred to as "Leera."
- It seems odd that Ax is so perplexed at one point that Visser Three has a kafit bird in his morphing repertoire. After all, Visser Three's host body is Alloran, an Andalite military officer, and that guy probably had plenty of morphs before he was infested. Ax's own brother had a kafit bird to morph into because it was a morph offered in training; why would it be so odd that Alloran (and therefore Visser Three) had been exposed to it? However, Ax suddenly being obsessed with "what if the Yeerks have been to my planet?" seems a bit silly when considering that in a previous book Alloran used his brief seconds of freedom to tell Ax that the Yeerks had "infiltrated the home world."
- When Visser Three morphs a kafit bird, it's unclear what happens to a Yeerk if it uses a host body to morph something with a head smaller than a Yeerk. Is the Yeerk being somehow shrunken and incorporated bodily into the animal that's being morphed? If the creature is too small to fit a Yeerk inside its head, it seems like the Yeerk shouldn't be able to morph it, though if the Yeerk itself had morphing powers that would be different. Ax's narration also mentions that the kafit bird has six wings, but in another book it's said that it has six pairs of wings.
- It's odd that DNA can't be acquired from a dead animal, but it can supposedly be acquired from blood that's been removed from the source. It's not clear why that is or where the dividing line is between when a part of someone is a good source for acquiring DNA or when it's no longer useful because it's "dead."
- Ax decides to use himself as a diversion at one point, thinking he can distract Controllers by appearing as an Andalite. But when he flies into a hospital room in harrier morph and begins to morph back to his natural form, the sleeping human in the hospital bed near him wakes up and sees him. This seems like an unusually foolish thing for Ax to do; in a hospital run by Controllers, it was certainly possible for anyone who's been admitted there to have been infested. It turned out this kid had not been, but it still seems like unnecessary risk in exchange for a silly joke (where Ax tells the girl, who thinks he's a fairy, that he's an Andalite).
- Leerans apparently have a deity named Cha-Ma-Mib.
- An Andalite tactical officer named Harelin gets his tail sliced off in a battle, and Ax comments that he's sure the guy would rather die than live without a tail. Perhaps it's just unclear overall, but it seems like it was established that all Andalite military get the morphing power. Since the Animorphs have repeatedly used it to heal their injuries, it seems that as long as this T.O. could live long enough to morph where he wouldn't be seen, he could heal his wound and regrow his tail. Why would Ax be assuming this guy was going to "live without a tail"?
- It also seems odd that the T.O. would blow up a hundred Andalites when theoretically some of them also could have morphed and escaped to fight.
- The aforementioned T.O.'s full name was Harelin-Frodlin-Sirinial, but the first couple times he was mentioned, his name was written as "Hareli," without the final N.
- The Leeran thought-speak is normally relayed in underlined, italicized text instead of the greater-than/less-than brackets usually used to indicate Andalite and morphed creatures' thought-speak. However, even though this underlined/italicized text convention was used the first time a Leeran-Controller showed up in a previous book, Yeerks piloting Leeran hosts in this book used normal thought-speak until it was the actual Leerans speaking to their shark-morphed saviors. Ax's narration identifies this thought-speak as different, but there's no explanation for why it wasn't "different" when the Yeerks were speaking to them using the Leerans' telepathic speech.
- Leerans are capable of regenerating body parts.
- A continuity glitch: At one point everyone demorphed and so the only person who should have been able to use thought-speak was Ax. (Tobias wasn't there.) Despite that, Jake was twice quoted as relaying his words in thought-speak even though they'd just been ordered to demorph and no one had re-morphed anything else.
- The doctors weren't optimistic at all for the revival of the Secret Service agent in a coma. And yet for some reason he wakes up out of the blue while the Animorphs are biting him as mosquitoes. It's unclear how doctors could think someone was irreparable and then he'd awaken with full consciousness and no lingering after-effects.
Ax: I am very good at passing for human, if I say so myself. I have learned the customs and habits perfectly so that I seem entirely normal.
Ax: Marco and Rachel were just chilling. That's what humans call it. I believe it refers to the fact that when humans sit very still and do nothing, their body temperature drops. Thus, "chilling."
Cassie: "We can't all morph the same mosquito. Only females suck blood. Males are useless."
Marco: "So what's that mosquito in your hand?"
Cassie: "Like I know? I don't have a magnifying glass that good. And even if I did, how exactly do you tell a male from a female?"
Marco: "That's easy. The males think loud belching is funny and the females don't."
(After Ax lies about wanting to defect to the Yeerks' side)
Controller guard: "You want to join us?"
Ax: "Actually, no."
Captain Samilin: "Elfangor was my friend as well as my prince. I'll believe he broke the rules. I'll never believe he did wrong."
Ax: It's a terrible thing, living when so many others have died. It's terrible because no matter what you do, a single thought keeps popping up in your head: I'm glad it wasn't me. I'm glad it wasn't me.
Ax: "I made a mistake trusting Captain Samilin. I made a mistake dismissing all of you. You have . . . you have kept me alive and befriended me for a long time. All I can say is that none of you knows what it's like to be completely cut off from your own people."
Ax: "I will consider Jake my prince until he says otherwise. You are my prince until you, and only you, say otherwise."
Leeran-Controller: "But . . . but the haru-chin spears are deadly!"
Jake: "Nah. Maybe around here they're deadly. But we're from a much tougher neighborhood."
Marco: "Free people who get together to defend freedom are never weak."
Ax: I guess each species feels most comfortable when they are just themselves. And for humans and Andalites, secrets and lies and the loneliness of privacy are natural.
Galuit: "I have need of you to save this planet from the Yeerks. Will you--"
Galuit: "You say yes without knowing what I'm asking."
Jake: "Will it save the Leerans? Will it keep them free? And most of all, will it hurt the Yeerks?"
Galuit: "Yes to all three. Especially the last. If we save Leera it may turn the tide of the war against the Yeerks."
Jake: "Then we'll do it."
Galuit: "I have known worse princes than this one."
Ax: "We were all yanked away at the same moment, so naturally we all arrived back at the same moment. Yanked. Yanked is a strange word. Yank. Yank-kut."
Marco: "Yeah. That's what's strange: the word 'yanked.' Us turning into mosquitoes to suck some guy's blood so we could morph into him and instead ending up in the middle of some war to control psychic yellow frogs, and oh, by the way, blowing up a small continent full of Yeerks, saving an entire species, then getting back here to find out Coma-man woke up from a mosquito bite delivered by a morphed alien-slash-deer-slash-scorpion-slash-four-eyed-centaur, that's all totally normal. That's just an average day. Dear Diary: another boring average day, till someone said 'yanked.'"
Ax: I laughed using mouth-sounds. "Hah. Hah-hah. Hah. Hah. Hah."
Rachel: "What was that?"
Ax: "I laughed."
Jake: "Dont . . . don't do that, Ax. It's disturbing somehow."
Ax: Sometimes the people who are your own can be very different from you.
Next book: In the Time of Dinosaurs, Megamorphs #2