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Old 11-12-2017, 12:36 PM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
I have a Plan
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 6,955

Book 54: The Beginning is narrated Megamorphs style, although I personally think that's less because it wouldn't work with only one narrator and more because this book starts off with Rachel attacking Tom and four of his lieutenants aboard the Blade ship by herself. Rachel's grizzly form is plenty dangerous and she's an experienced fighter, but you tell me who wins in a fight between a grizzly bear and a team consisting of a polar bear, cape buffalo, two lionesses, and a cobra.

Rachel at the very least manages to kill Tom in his cobra morph, but by the time she pulls it off her grizzly form is all but dead. So she has to demorph to reverse her injuries, but everyone on the ship knows it's not going to be enough to save her from four remaining soldiers in equally dangerous forms. All she gets the chance to do is tell everyone watching from the Pool ship that she did it, and to tell Tobias that she loves him, before the polar bear gives her a soldier's death.

This is what the start and end of the Ellimist Chronicles kind of spoil, in that it's a story told by the Ellimist in a timestop before she dies, but they never say which Animorph it is outright, and you'd have to be really familiar with the series (namely, the book I already skipped) to figure out who it is in that book. But yeah no the first two chapters are "Rachel kills Tom and then dies".

After this, Jake takes Visser One captive, rendering Alloran free for the first time in years, and putting the Yeerk invasion of Earth to an end. Alloran, for his part, is incredibly grateful for another shot at freedom, even considering all that he did before this time, and swears himself to Jake's service. Jake, for his part, just wants everything over and done with, so he orders Cassie to go tell Erek that it's over, arranges the surrender of the remaining Yeerk forces, and prepares to contact the Andalites.

When Cassie meets Erek, neither she nor Jake are in any mood to be patient with him. They both blame him for the deaths of Rachel and Tom since he drained the weapons that would've let the Pool ship... I dunno, incinerate both of them anyways? They're really just lashing here, and Erek isn't much better, but he knows it. Further, he calls them out on the whole "killing 17000 defenseless Yeerks" thing really hard. Cassie tries to handwave it as a distraction, but Erek doesn't put up with that for a second. After more chewing her out, he leaves and the Chee go back into hiding.

The Andalite forces are, of course, unwilling to buy the sudden news that humans of all people upended the Yeerk empire, and Captain-Prince Asculan-Semitur-Langor pretty much is about to proceed with the plans to toast Earth until Marco decides to bellow "Howard Stern rules!" to all the Andalite civilians watching the comms. Oh yeah did Ax not mention that these comms were patched to the civilian network? Because thats a thing now. When Asculan's ship lands, Jake (with advice from the rest of the group, including Alloran, but excluding Tobias because he's kind of busy grieving) lays out the terms of surrender: they'll let the Yeerks go nothlit under their supervision.

Naturally, Asculan initially tells them all to get bent, you don't get any more Andalite tech. Ax backs him up by issuing a challenge, which is somewhere between a court summons and a duel. Asculan backs down from that, and gives Ax the rank of prince and access to four Escafil devices of his own. From there on out, the war is pretty much in cleanup mode. Giving Rachel a cremation (she's not really the burial type, y'know), tracking down remnant Yeerks and getting them to surrender, and getting humans and Andalites on good terms with each other. Turns out the civilians are way less arrogant than the military WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED.

This all happens in like the first third of the book. The middle is pretty much a "where are they now" segment (absent from this segment: their parents, the Yeerk peace movement). Marco's the most straightforward: he's taken to the fame of being a hero like a fish to water, and is absolutely selling out. He's making movie deals and living large. Tobias is also straightforward, but in the other direction: after taking Rachel's ashes during the cremation, he vanished into the wilderness and hasn't been seen since. Cassie pretty much keeps doing what she already did, taking care of animals with her parents. Ax has become a ridiculous Andalite celebrity and military figure for helping win the Yeerk war, and serves as a human-Andalite liaison.

Jake, though... well, as Marco says it, he's basically a living god to humanity. He could snap his fingers and have pretty much anything he could ever want. The only problem is, he doesn't want anything. He never complains to anyone else, but he also doesn't do anything else. He just goes to Rachel's monument every two weeks and sits there, not saying anything, then leaves. When he's not there, he just lives with his parents and gets lost in his thoughts. This is a guy who someone legit suggested carving his face into Mt. Rushmore, and he just wants nothing to do with anything or anyone.

This really comes to a head during the war crimes trial for Visser One (spoilers: he gets convicted every way from Tuesday and earns about fifty life sentences). One of Visser One's lawyers objects to calling Jake as a witness, on account of him being a war criminal himself. Even goes so far as to call him a mass murderer. She's out of line for the trial itself, but that doesn't mean she was wrong. Jake still did horrible things to bring the war to an end, and that deserves a more thorough examination than being lauded as a global hero. This helps Jake's mood precisely not at all.

So Cassie and Marco come up with an idea called "morph therapy". At this point I should mention that neither of them is a qualified therapist. Because while the core theory is sound (use the animal instincts of morphs, particularly upbeat ones like dolphins, to help people get through PTSD and depression) their method of knocking Jake out and dumping him into the ocean to force him to morph? Could use work. A lot of work. Still, this puts him right enough to at least try to do something with his life. Namely, he helps teach spec-ops forces about how morphing works. It's... a start, I guess.

So the book could totally end around there, but nah, we got one last thing to do. See, Ax's crew aboard his own personal cruiser vanished while trying to track down the Blade ship that held Tom's lieutenants. After the showdown, they pretty much just dumped Rachel's body and took off. They finally found a lead on them, but there's a few problems. The first is that this lead goes into Kelbrid space, and the Andalites have an ancient treaty with the Kelbrid that prevents either faction from entering each others' space. This treaty is so old that no living Andalite even knows what a Kelbrid looks like.

The other problem is the fact that while tracking down the Blade ship, they found another wrecked alien ship with traces of DNA, but no lifesigns. When they investigated, they found only polar bear hairs. Also immediately afterwards the boarding party, including Ax, lost contact with their cruiser, as the wrecked alien ship immediately came to life and attacked. So that's fun! Jake rounds up the old crew, purposefully excluding Cassie (too much distance and damage between them, and she's found a new life and new boyfriend here on Earth now anyway) and including Tobias (who pretty much just went full hawk again and is still mad at Jake, but is in it to track down Ax).

So the three male Animorphs, plus two of Jake's top students and the lone survivor of Ax's ship attack, go on a deep space adventure! They track down the Blade ship after about a year, but find it captained not only by the Yeerk lieutenants, but by something called The One. Which is a very poorly defined techno-psycho-singularity-Borg thing. It consumed the personalities of the lieutenants and apparently of Ax himself, and Jake ends the book by ordering his crew to ram the Blade ship.

Yeah! What? Okay. Way to end your 50+ book series by starting a completely different story and then giving absolutely no closure on it whatsoever. A lot of the fans thought this ending sucked, partly for that, partly for killing off Rachel, partly for basically wrecking almost every Animorph character, for not killing Visser One (fifty life sentences not good enough for you, you bloodthirsty jackasses?)... but eh, ending aside, I think this is about the right ending to expect.

I'll write up an end-of-series post later, looking back at everything we've reviewed. ASSUMING BEAT POSTS GPA SCORES FOR EACH OF THE ANIMORPHS BASED ON THEIR BOOK COVERS
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