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  #181  
Old 10-17-2017, 02:59 PM
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I'm slacking off and EOV is only going to make it worse. Going to the next writeup.

Book 37: The Weakness! Jake's not in town and it's not a fratricidal threat! They found Visser Three's feeding spot! Rachel takes charge and comes up with a good plan: nobody can survive four cheetahs to the face. Nothing could possibly go wrong! Just ask the Yeerk inspector with the Garatron host. What's a Garatron? Well, it seems like an Andalite, but its about as different from them as Klingons are from us. Also they can effortlessly outrun cheetahs.

The Garatron inspector is part of the Council of Thirteen, not yet seated on the council but aiming for it, and they're checking up on Visser Three's progress. It effortlessly kicks the asses of all present Animorphs and leaves them to run off licking their wounds. Faced with a foe that can outrun cheetahs, Rachel's new plan is to give the illusion that their army is much larger than it is by hitting the Yeerks with all they have, very publically, trying to embellish the incompetence of Visser Three before the inspector. This might work better if not faced with something that can outrun cheetahs, but the Garatron doesn't interfere.

And Rachel's plan takes up the first half of the book and is really just the Animorphs trash a bunch of public places screaming "YEERKS GO HOME". And it works phenomenally well until Rachel realizes oh no, she gave a grandpa a fatal heart attack during their first strike! This single civilian casualty which is equal parts accident and coincidence shuts Rachel down and gets her crying like a baby.

Ugh, skipping to the end.

Rachel has to save Cassie after she screws up a raid by virtue of the Garatron existing! She crashes a jet into the community center over the Yeerk pool! (Still a year and a half before 9/11, for the record.) Visser Three taunts the inspector into trying to finish off the Animorphs and Marco's cobra morph bites them! This book reads like a Worlds of Power book with extra melodrama. GO AWAY!
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  #182  
Old 10-18-2017, 11:04 AM
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Book 38: The Arrival is much better and I will try not to blitz through the summary fueled by snark and being late for work.

Erek's dad (also a Chee, of course) was doing some spying in a building connected to the Sharing, and the Animorphs come to the rescue! Business as usual for them... until out of nowhere, four Andalites (including one girl Ax thinks is very cute) come out and start fighting like crazy. One of them even goes right for Visser Three, although he's caught off-guard and can't kill him. This gives everyone a sudden surge of hope, especially Ax: has the cavalry finally arrived? Are the Andalites here to save humanity?

Well... no. Let's go down the list. First, Commander Gonrod-Isfall-Sonilli is the pilot of the Ralek River, and loudly blusters that he is the highest-ranked Andalite within light-years. And he has all of three people under his command: the female cadet Estrid-Corill-Darath, the warrior and assassin Aloth-Attamil-Gahar, and Apex Level Intelligence Adviser Arbat-Elivat-Estoni. Their mission is not to save the human race, or even to stop the Yeerk army. It is just to assassinate Visser Three. Nothing else.

Although Jake conducts himself admirably during the meeting with the Andalites (far moreso than Gonrod, anyway), the news that the cavalry has arrived, and it's a skeleton crew on an assassination mission, has got everyone feeling just hopeless. The Animorphs as a group more or less disintegrate under this stress, leaving Ax without the command of his human prince, so he decides to go work with the Andalites. And to be fair, he has been missing his people dearly (although the whole assassin thing has him uneasy, as he's very faithful in his people).

Turns out the entire team is a dysfunctional mess. Gonrod and Aloth were both prisoners before this, Gonrod on charges of cowardice, and Aloth for selling organs from fallen soldiers on the black market. Arbat might be one of the biggest names on the war council purely from his position, but he comes from a strictly academic background. The Ralek River is an outdated science vessel with barely any weapons, only used because the actual ships are being directed to the war effort elsewhere.

And Estrid... well, Ax can't put his finger on what's odd about her, but he does know that she is really pretty and they have a shared interest in human cuisine. They go on a date in the Gardens and it's pretty cute, although her reference to extremely high-level theoretical sciences catches him off-guard. He's also not used to the Andalite military having women in the ranks, but it's not a huge problem with him (probably because he spends enough time with Rachel to know better).

During their first attempt to assassinate Visser Three, it's a disaster. Arbat insists on the first shot due to Alloran being his brother, but he misses, and even a top marksman like Aloth can't reliably hit someone aware of him, far away, and behind a troop of Hork-Bajir. Even more suspiciously, when Aloth is wounded as the group is retreating, Arbat executes him with a shredder beam from behind. Arbat claims that Aloth would have slowed them down too much to make a clean escape, but now Ax has some serious doubts.

Erek's dad helps him out here, and the two of them break into the records of the Ralek River to find out more about what's going on. The records show that everyone on the ship was killed in action, save for Estrid, who just flat isn't on record in the Andalite military at all. Which means that this ship is clearly intended to be a suicide mission.

Ax confronts Estrid about this, and stumbles upon her being brought on for her actual expertise. She's not a soldier at all, but a scientist, focused on an obscure branch of chemistry. But as it happens, she accidentally discovered a bioweapon with incredible military application. In this case, it's a compound that could kill off Yeerks by the truckload, even inside human hosts. Arbat realized this and pulled every string he could get to set up this mission, which is only using the assassination as a cover for the real mission: wiping out the Yeerk army on Earth. The fact that the virus could easily mutate and become equally harmful to humans is a secondary concern at best.

It's about this time that the Animorphs pop up and say "wow when you're dealing with hostile third parties, feigning dissent and scattering is really useful for throwing off suspicion". Yeah they were there all along. Everyone, including Estrid, hurries off to the Yeerk pool to stop Arbat, who has the chemical weapon and fully intends to use it to stop the war as quickly as possible, no matter the cost.

This is also where Ax realizes that he just has a crush on Estrid, and doesn't actually like her, because she still thinks that ending the war by any means is an ideal thing, and hey maybe the chemical weapon won't kill all humans I'm pretty sure we're good. Also: Gonrod turns up as actual cavalry, since while he's a pretty cowardly fighter, he's one of the best pilots you could ask for, and he burns a hole through the top of the Yeerk pool and airlifts everyone to safety after the chemical weapon is destroyed by Estrid. Arbat is left behind for the Taxxons to eat.

They never say if Gonrod and Estrid make it back home safely, but that's really not the point. This book is here to drive home the assumption they've been gradually challenging over the series: yes, the Andalites, specifically Elfangor and Ax, have helped them fight the Yeerks so far, but no, you absolutely should not trust the entire species. If someone wants to win the war at any costs, sooner or later, they're gonna collect on your tab.

Last edited by Kalir; 10-23-2017 at 08:24 PM.
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  #183  
Old 10-18-2017, 11:15 AM
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These stories would be easier to follow if the aliens had names like “Frank” or “Bernice”.

Or at least fewer hyphens in their existing names.
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  #184  
Old 10-18-2017, 08:32 PM
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So Book 39: The Hidden is pretty bland in its main plot. It's a by-the numbers retread of Megamorphs #1: The Andalite's Gift. Slightly different in the method: the Yeerks salvaged the old Helmacron ship's sensor tech and are tracking morph energy with a helicopter. Easier to understand than a Veleek, but harder to kill and armed with Dracon beams. So if you want a new plot, look elsewhere.

If you want horrifying bioterrors, though? This is your book. As I might've covered, Andalite tech is handled by thought, including the Escafil device. And Cassie has it on her when she has to hide in a van shipping a Cape buffalo to The Gardens. And I know most in the American audience know buffalos as "those things we hunted to extinction", but if you ever want a thing to disprove the "herbivores are peaceful" myth, the Cape buffalo is absolutely the beast to do it. It tears through a bunch of Controllers, including Chapman, with Cassie as its doppelganger.

The upshot of all of this is when Cassie sees that buffalo in the wilderness... with Chapman's face. This buffalo somehow gained morphing powers and acquired Chapman's DNA, and knows just enough to become a shambling, feral, naked version of their assistant principal. Like, just take a bit to think on that. Sure, the Escafil device usage stretches the ol' disbelief, but eh, I've read Dr. McNinja, my disbelief practically floats.

So interspersed with the game of morph keepaway, the Animorphs have to figure out what to do with the buffalo. It's still a security risk, since a Yeerk could take the buffalo and then they have a weird version of Tobias. And the morphing is barely controllable by the buffalo itself: it mostly mimics Cassie (although it acquires Visser Three and wins a tailblade fight with him, so that's cool). Most of the crew thinks killing it is the right answer, but that straddles the line between murder and animal cruelty in a way Cassie is not at all okay with.

The buffalo isn't the only animal that does this, either: an ant manages to acquire and partly morph into Cassie. And oh man, if you thought the ant scene was bad? Imagine being an ant suddenly faced with the individuality, senses, and instincts of a human. Cassie is almost murdered by a constantly screaming doppelganger of herself armed with ant mandibles and extra legs. After being saved by the buffalo, Cassie just goes nuts stomping the earth where the ant demorphed until there's nothing there. That's some grade A nightmare fuel.

Sadly, buffalo friend is killed by Yeerks as collateral damage, and the book goes back to being Megamorphs #1 Helicopter Edition afterwards. I can see why people might hate this book or think it's stupid, but I adored every bit of the buffalo.

Last edited by Kalir; 10-19-2017 at 12:50 PM.
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  #185  
Old 10-18-2017, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalir View Post
Imagine being an ant suddenly faced with the individuality, senses, and instincts of a human. Cassie is almost murdered by a constantly screaming doppelganger of herself armed with ant mandibles and extra legs.
If this isn't the cover art for this book, I will riot.
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  #186  
Old 10-19-2017, 08:55 AM
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Default WHY YES I AM GOING TO TWO COMPLETELY SEPARATE SERIES OF POSTS FOR EACH SET OF COVERS.

BOOKS 31-35

BOOK THIRTY ONE: WHEN THEY SAY "IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD," BELIEVE IT....


HMMMMMM.

HMMMMMMMMMMM.


Yeah okay. COVER GRADE: B

BOOK THIRTY TWO: EVERYTHING CHANGES. BUT NOT QUITE LIKE THIS....


This is the most phoned-in main series cover so far. I mean, you know a starfish's mouth is on it's underside right? There should be all sorts of body horror going on here as her mouth is traumatically relocated to her stomach! But nope! You can see her totally not-fucked-up face as far as the second to last morph! Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. COVER GRADE: F-

BOOK THIRTY THREE: CHANGE HAPPENS. WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT...


I'm notably lukewarm on most of the BLOO MANG covers, and I still think the drawing of the OL' BLEU looks pretty bad, but this one's actually pretty great. I love how they split the difference between a hawk and a horse by just throwing another pair of hawk legs on it, that I'm almost willing to overlook how they totally failed to make his wings transform into hands. Also there's this.


Ahahahahahahahaha hell yes. COVER GRADE: A

SIDE STORY: VISSER


Look at this dumb motherfucker trying to act all hard. What a nerd. Fuck off, nerd. COVER GRADE: C-

BOOK THIRTY FOUR: WHAT YOU DON'T KNNOW CAN'T HURT YOU. EXCEPT FOR THE YEERKS...


If there's one thing that sells me on this one, it's Cassie's neck in the first transition image. It reminds me of the Irritability comic where Exoth creates a clone of himself with a 4-ft long neck for no reason. I don't have time to find in the archives right now. Irritability is fucking awesome. COVER GRADE: B-

BOOK THIRTY FIVE: THE PROPOSAL


Poor kid looks like he's had it... Ruff. BA-DUM-TISSS! COVER GRADE: C

Last edited by BEAT; 10-19-2017 at 08:56 AM. Reason: AND I'M GOING TO DO THEM CONCURRENTLY USING DIFFERENT FORMATS AND ONE OF THEM WILL HAVE HIGHER QUALITY SCANS THAN THE OTHER. THESE ARE ALL CHOICES I MADE ON PURPOSE.
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  #187  
Old 10-19-2017, 08:59 AM
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VAGUELY RELATED: I MENTIONED IRRITABILITY IN THE LAST POST AND THIS IS THE MOST RECENT NON "BAD" COMIC.



IT FEELS APPROPRIATE.
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  #188  
Old 10-20-2017, 12:18 PM
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I'm hungry. I will toast up a bagel.

Once it's done, I'll write up about Book 40: The Other. Of course, I am typing this over time, while you will read it all RIGHT NOW. Weird, right?

Okay then. We start off with Marco taking it easy at home, channel surfing, and he happens to hit a channel about cryptids. And as it happens, there's some blue horselike creature captured on a split second of bad camera footage! TO THE BATCAVE! ...Which is, of course, Ax's scoop in the woods, which has cable he may not have completely stolen. Marco asks Ax how likely it is that someone caught either him or Visser Three on camera, and he replies that the odds of either are very low, as we already know by now.

After a silly take on the zoom-enhance argument (Tobias just has eagle eyes which can totally pick out details on blurry camera footage) the group realizes that they are faced with a third, totally unknown Andalite. The giveaway is that this guy is what Ax calls a vecol, which is the kind of word a jackass insensitive kid might use when confronted with another kid in a wheelchair. See, Andalite #3 only has half a tail. And since morphing heals injuries, and all Andalites in the military are provided morphing tech, he must be one of the rare few incapable of doing so even with the Escafil device.

Tobias also recognizes the clearing in the recording, so the three of them head there to investigate. They don't find the wounded Andalite, but they do find a fourth one built like a brick house, with a tail blade like a waraxe. This guy is Gafilinan-Estrif-Valad, and he was one of the two fighter pilots who survived the fight above Earth. His ship, upon taking serious damage, crashed into the ship of his shorm, Mertil-Iscar-Elmand, dragging both to Earth. Gafilinan's injuries were superficial, but Mertil's tail was severed. Gafilinan doesn't say much to everyone immediately, except for <back off and leave us alone, we want nothing more to do with the war.>

Which, of course, means the Animorphs track him down to his home. If nothing else, the dude has seen Marco's human form, and therefore they have to know if he's on their side. They arrive at his cover house, which is bristling with hidden high-tech defenses on the outside and looks like a home catalog on the inside. Gafilinan gives Marco a few "warning shots" that only count as such because morphing heals you, but then as everyone regroups, he suddenly shudders out of nowhere, as though wracked by pain.

Upon doing so, his demeanor changes a bit, and he invites them in. Wishing to meet with their prince, he explains his story of the crash, the cover they built to sustain their hideout, his interest in gardening which has let him cultivate some Andalite plants to eat, and so on. Marco takes the time to acquire one of the bees hanging out in the greenhouse while Gafilinan and Ax share a bit of illsipar root, but not much comes of this meeting save for Gafilinan's request to meet their prince.

Some bee-based intel gathering later (and despite being social insects, bees aren't nearly as horrifying for Marco to morph into even near a hive, it's less a machine and more a commune) and we find out two very important things. First, Mertil isn't actually at the cover home at all, and hasn't been there for some time, or ever. And second, Gafilinan's motives, which have been somewhat strange and contradictory, are explained by realizing he has Soola's Disease, a genetic disease not dissimilar from early-onset arthritis, but generally more lethal. The illsipar root works as a pain reliever for it.

Which in turn explains Gafilinan's shift from <leave me alone> to <let me see your leader>: since the disease is genetic, it can't be healed by morphing, but if Gafilinan acquires another Andalite, he can lock himself in that new form and dodge the issue entirely. Ax explains that such an act is considered taboo on his homeworld, which is right about the time Marco (and Cassie to a lesser extent) comes down on him for his really ableist views. It doesn't really seem to take, but it does make me like Marco considerably more.

Now having the knowledge necessary to get the truth out of him about Mertil, they confront Gafilinan about everything. And it turns out that they were only slightly right about it. As it happens, Visser Three has Mertil hostage, and is offering his safe return through blackmail: bring me a morph-capable Andalite, and I'll spare your useless friend's life. Obviously, Gafilinan himself is useless as well, but he's willing to risk what he can to save Mertil's life.

The Animorphs offer a new option: track Mertil through their shared telepathic link with Gafilinan and ransack the joint to free him! This mission goes about as well as most of their missions do, where everyone gets their fair share of injuries in the process, but they do eventually break Mertil out. The two of them are incredibly grateful, and Gafilinan requests that they leave him alone, as the blindness heralding the end stages of the disease is setting in, and he wants to spend his last days in the company of his best friend.

This book isn't really important in any way, but the gay Andalite friends have a really sweet story, and Marco provides the cherry on top by visiting Mertil later and saying "hey, I know how it is living alone after a loved one dies, if you want someone to talk to or hang out with, you know where to find me".

I'll be writing up the Ellimist Chronicles next, even though they came out like seven or so books after this one. It's a very self-contained story with no spoilers for anything going on.

Last edited by Kalir; 10-25-2017 at 06:43 PM.
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  #189  
Old 10-20-2017, 02:25 PM
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Actually, the prologue and epilogue to the Ellimist Chronicles are... kinda spoilers? Depends on your view of spoilers I guess
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  #190  
Old 10-20-2017, 02:51 PM
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I thought Andalites could morph anyway and the Escafil just let other aliens do it too.

So this book was important for my continued understanding of the plot.
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  #191  
Old 10-21-2017, 11:12 AM
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The Ellimist Chronicles are the backstory of everyone's favorite well-intentioned spacetime meddler, as told by the dude himself to one of the Animorphs. As rogue mentioned, the circumstances of this retelling are slightly spoilery, but it doesn't factor into the story at all, so we will skip it.

Long, long ago, far removed from all the other alien races we've seen so far, we find the Ketran civilization. If you're familiar with the term "extremophiles", you know that most organisms that fall under that category are microbial, but the Ketrans are a full-fledged sentient species, which makes their homes upon crystals rendered buoyant through a combination of the atmosphere's density and their own personal lift. The surface of the planet is inhospitable for many reasons, including lava swamps, acidic vapors, and high background radioactivity, but the Ketrans have a bunch of effective floating crystal continents.

Most Ketran free time is spent linked up to their crystal to help lift it, but they have an intra-crystal network that functions like our own Internet. Our story starts with one such Ketran, whose chosen name is Toomin and whose game name is Ellimist, entering a match with fellow gamer Inidar. The game is... oh no. NOT AGAIN


Alien Civilizations is a competitive game in which each player takes their own spacedudes and, with the smallest possible change (i.e. percentile changes to reproduction rate), attempts to claim victory. Toomin makes his move and is promptly thrashed by Inidar, who saw his idealistic move coming from a mile away and countered. Our protagonist, ladies and gentlemen: a losing gamer.

Anyway, there's a few events coming up for the Equatorial Main Crystal. They're developing an interplanetary craft to scout out an area rumored to have intelligent life in the form of the Capasin, who have so far destroyed their scouting drones. First contact of the friendly sort would be nice, and it's hard to convey that with bots. And wouldn't you know it, Toomin's neighbor Lackofa sponsored him to be on the nonessential crew! Something about "we have lots of brilliant people onboard, but no brilliant losers". Lackofa has the driest sense of humor around and is pretty cool.

Anyway, a few things to build up minor characters, like Toomin's awkward high school tier lady friend Aguella and the rebellious challenger Menno from the Polar Orbit High Crystal, but none of that really matters in the grand scheme of things, because the Capasin show up as the final touches are being put on the Ketran ship, and the Capasin greet them with a combo of beam and flechette weaponry. Toomin, Lackofa, and Aguella see their home torn to pieces, and jump to Z-Space with a Capasin fighter lodged in their shields. Toomin manages to kill them with a desperate attack from a crystal spar, but they're suddenly faced with a hostile alien invasion they have no preparation for. Hell, Toomin's violated one of their Five Laws just by killing a single invader.

Coming back to the planet, Toomin steals the Capasin fighter and manages to destroy the main Capasin ship with it, saving a handful of people from the Polar Orbit High Crystal. Menno reveals what, exactly, provoked the Capasin attack, which would seem ruthless and cruel to most outsiders. See, those crazy Polars figured out a way to transmit data through radio waves, even amidst the background radiation of their planet, and tested it by sending deep space transmissions. In particular, they sent game data to test traffic. The Capasins caught these transmissions without seeing they were games, and assumed that the Ketrans were literally toying with the lives of other alien species.

The Ketran ship, now dubbed the Searcher, takes the sorry crew through the cosmos in search of a viable homeland. But that's the thing about extremophiles: deprived of their unique niche, they don't have many places they can live in. Menno argues, quite rightly if you ask me, that they should be doing more to recognize viable planets, but that's like asking a bunch of humans to suddenly become adapted to deep-sea survival. It's not easy!

Eventually, they find a blue oceanic moon, which they decide to scout not because there's any hope of colonization, but because the lifeforms there might be interesting. And unfortunately, they're right: the Ketran ship is seized by an organism that literally covers the entire planet, dragging everyone to their deaths in the ocean... except for Toomin. They see themselves back at the game with Inidar. Only that's impossible, Inidar died in the initial Capasin attacks.

The organism that controls the moon refers to itself as Father, and it has a pretty horrifying capability: it can preserve and interact with the minds of anything it seizes as prey. Toomin was the only survivor of the crash, and whenever Father isn't interacting with Toomin, he is treated to the sight of a subsea graveyard, all of the last people he's ever known skewered through with tentacles from a planet-sized creature. Toomin is kept alive for one simple reason: Father is lonely, and wants a companion to play games with.

On the one hand, Toomin is a gamer, and thus proves for reasonable competition for Father. On the other hand, he's also phenomenally bad, and while he wins a few here and there, he keeps trying to do different garbage that usually fails. This changes once Toomin gets invited to a game of music. For all the games and knowledge they've absorbed, Father displays extremely little innate creativity. Toomin, though, he is a loser through and through, and it takes that kind of person to make the best damn music you never heard sealed in a person's mind under the dead ocean.

From this point on, Toomin doesn't just win games, they win decisively. Father gets driven into such a losing streak that they are forced to withdraw, and Toomin can now reach through the links they left behind to access the minds of everyone Father has claimed. They eventually work their way back far enough to absorb every mind that has ever crashed onto Father's planet, concluding with Father's monocellular base mind.

Of course, having all those minds stuck within oneself isn't very healthy for you, so Ellimist retreats to the island where Father stored all the junked ships and goes to work with ridiculous salvage and machinework. They go full transketranist, creating a mashup of organic and physical form that lets them safely house the planet's worth of alien minds. Taking this form, they leave the corpse of a planet behind and travel the galaxy alone.

This is where we get to the Ellimist as intergalactic meddler, although there's no Crayak yet. The first thing they do is stop a war between two races on linked-orbit planets, the Jallians and the Inner Worlders, by desynching their orbits and scattering an asteroid field between them. This is within the realm of possibility for a highly advanced spacecraft, which is what he effectively is now. This act also gives them their purpose, to study and learn from live and civilizations, and to subtly aid them in turn.

Unfortunately, he's not the only fish in these waters, and doing so gets the attention of Crayak. Crayak is no more explained here than in the mainline books, save for their motivations: they want to play games, with the lives of alien races at stake. He's even been tailing the Ellimist for sometime, undoing a few of his more clever solutions to problems faced by aliens. And Crayak fights dirty: he sets up before the Ellimist even reaches where he is, and the games are extremely cruel by design.

For example: the first one has Crayak sending three asteroids on a collision course with three alien races: the Capasin, the Folk, and the Laga. Crayak's set a mine in one of the asteroids, which will blow it up before it impacts, and he challenges the Ellimist to fire upon one of the three himself. If he guesses right, only one alien race suffers a cataclysmic event, and if he guesses wrong, two do. The Ellimist guesses wrong, and Crayak says "well, you can stay here and try to save one of these dying alien races, but check out this OTHER death game over here!"

Eventually, the Ellimist gives up and flees to Z-space, far away from Crayak. They give up their massively powerful spacefleet of a body to live in simplicity among a stone-age alien civilization that you today know as the Andalites. The lesson they learn there from their wife is simple, but it's the second wind they need to keep fighting: even if beasts or disease or calamity take one child, you still have more. Life has to outpace death.

Taking this new philosophy, the Ellimist returns to space far from Crayak and goes extra ham on the betterment of life. Their best success was the creation of the Pemalites, an alien race that spread far beyond him and brought life and joy to all the corners of the galaxy. They continue to evolve themselves as well, and slowly Crayak's hold of death over the universe begins to diminish.

Realizing this, Crayak goes for an ambush on the Ellimist, but by this point the Ellimist has grown powerful enough to fight back and win. Their struggles cause loads of alien civilizations to die, but the Ellimist has Crayak on the ropes... until he draws the Ellimist to a black hole for a last stand. The Ellimist loses some ships to the black hole, including the one housing his original Ketran body. The link of consciousness between the two sides of the black hole is the final step in his ascension to effective godhood, and this new perspective on reality itself lets them see through time and space effortlessly.

The Ellimist is able to use this unique position to fight Crayak on terms they can't fathom, but eventually Crayak ends up joining them there. At this point, the two realize that they can't possibly hope to triumph in battle against one another without literally ending all of reality, and so they agree to the rules of the game they have played, and are playing, in the main series.

I doubt I'd have time to go into the stories of all the alien races that are given throughout this book, and there's really a slew of different stories being told, which I've only brushed the surface of. I didn't think much of the Ellimist when I read the books as a kid, but I really liked the Ellimist Chronicles, both then and now.
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  #192  
Old 10-22-2017, 11:50 AM
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ESPORTS IS GOD.
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  #193  
Old 10-22-2017, 10:20 PM
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Okay, back to stoopid.

Book 41: The Familiar takes the premise of "what is the Yeerk future like" from waaaaay back in Book 7: The Stranger and makes it the setting of an entire book. Jake comes home after a hard day of risking everyone's lives (but particularly those of Rachel and Marco) on a high-stakes mission. He goes right to bed, crashes hard, and wakes up in a dystopian future as a full-grown adult where the Yeerks have won.

He wanders around New York City under full Yeerk control, and quickly manages to blow his cover and almost get arrested by the Orff, which are a kind of alien cop that appears transparent and has a bunch of visible, brightly colored organs (which are, naturally, decoy organs). He runs away like a coward and is basically taken on a sightseeing tour of all the various levels of society involved.

He also runs into the old guard in a few instances. First up is Cassie, now a cold-blooded revolutionary and a Yeerk host. Both her and her Yeerk Niss are high-ranking members of the Evolutionary Front, which is basically a more extremist version of the Yeerk Peace Movement dedicated to stopping Yeerks from taking hosts by force. They are losing, and Cassie has long since abandoned her moral qualms about fighting the Yeerk empire, surprising even Jake with her ruthlessness.

As far as everyone else goes, the info is frequently contradictory, and Jake even notes that elements just flat don't add up (Marco claims to be Visser Three and Visser Two in two back-to-back sentences, Rachel was revealed as dead by Cassie but later shows up as a wheelchair-bound cripple, Tobias obvious reached the end of his lifespan but is still doing things). The running hypothesis is that this is some kind of simulation, but a badly designed one, but any being that would be capable of doing this (i.e. the Ellimist or Crayak) wouldn't bother with this scenario.

Anyway, Jake's an engineer on the Chrysler Building project, to build a moon laser so the moon starts emitting Kandrona rays. It's very grandiose and stupid and he ends up facing a choice of saving Cassie or saving the world. And we don't find out which one he does because as soon as he tries it, he goes back to his own time and some all-caps voice that we never find out the origin of says "INTERESTING CHOICE, WE'LL HAVE TO STUDY THESE HUMANS SOME MORE".

I gave Book 37 a really sloppy review, but at least it had the decency to be an Animorphs book. This is just a janky dystopian future book that loosely uses the Animorphs book as a framework and could very easily be a meaningless nightmare Jake had one night. Next.

Last edited by Kalir; 10-23-2017 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 10-23-2017, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalir View Post
And we don't find out which one he does because as soon as he tries it, he goes back to his own time and some all-caps voice that we never find out the origin of says "INTERESTING CHOICE, WE'LL HAVE TO STUDY THESE HUMANS SOME MORE".
ALRIGHT FINE I ADMIT IT.

IT WAS ME.
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  #195  
Old 10-23-2017, 05:09 PM
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Do any of the books go into much detail about what morphing can and can't fix? We know it can reverse injuries (except ones caused by genetic diseases somehow) but what about other stuff?
Is there a book where one of the animorphs goes to the dentist and has to avoid blowing their cover because the dentist is a known Yeerk (because of course dentists are evil) and a single morph is all it takes to erase a filling?
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  #196  
Old 10-23-2017, 08:03 PM
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There is a book that explores it more fully, but that book isn't this book.

Book 42: The Journey starts just after the Animorphs finish trashing a Dunkin' Donuts factory repurposed to build portable Kandrona. The Yeerks have had that tech for a while, but up until now it's been reserved for the Council of Thirteen. If the Yeerks get those suckers mass-produced, they lose a critical weakness of theirs. But that's not the focus of this book. It's not even the rando kid who gets a photo of them midmorph and runs off.

Nope, it's the Helmacrons again! Remember them? They've returned to Earth to steal the Escafil device again! In the ensuing scuffle to stop them, Marco takes a nasty blow to the head, passing out for long enough for the Helmacrons to retreat up his nose, holding him hostage from the inside. Rather than Marco just morphing enough times to churn the Helmacrons into soup, the Animorphs hook up the ol' Helmacron shrinking ray and go fight the Helmacrons their own damn selves!

Unfortunately, the Helmacrons saw this coming and sabotaged the shrinking ray, rendering the Animorphs at an even tinier size. They still go through with their plan because eh, in for a penny, in for a pound. This proves to be a horrendous plan, as Marco's body proves quite the able defender. Everyone nearly gets dissolved by stomach acid at one point!

While that's going on, Marco tries to go break into the kid's house, now without morphing since that would put his friends at risk. This plot is foiled by Buster, a pit bull that really should've gotten their vaccinations already. And that's how Marco got rabies! Eventually he gets bored/worn down by the constant fear that the Helmacrons could laser his brain/cranky because the Helmacrons already lasered his stomach wall to access the bloodstream and tries the burglary move again.

This goes badly enough that Marco is forced to morph to roach anyway, which is fortunate since the Helmacrons were about to alpha strike his heart. Nobody inside dies, but they are all freaked out, and the Helmacrons respond by shooting his heart anyway. Marco nearly dies for like the tenth time in the series, giving Rachel enough vengeful bloodlust to threaten the Helmacrons into retreating.

This is one of the good-dumb books. Marco survives having rabies and his heart exploding because roach morph, son. The Helmacrons are always delightfully stupid. And we learned quite a bit more about what morphing can do!
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Old 10-23-2017, 08:12 PM
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I love these stupid books
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  #198  
Old 10-24-2017, 02:39 PM
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Remember that one time I tried getting Book 27 on my Kindle and the Kindle said "WHAT ARE DOWNLOADS" but it was okay because there was an web reader for it?

Well I can't find Megamorphs #4: Back to Before on the Kindle store.

And that's the other book I don't have in my collection.

OH NO!
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Old 10-24-2017, 02:40 PM
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Man...

It better not have involved them little guys!
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Old 10-24-2017, 03:07 PM
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I'm way behind on the covers and some of the ones in the books covered so far are a real doozy.

Hopefully I can knock that out this evening.
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Old 10-25-2017, 04:58 PM
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In lieu of Megamorphs #4 I will instead continue with the mainline series.

Book 43: The Test opens with Tobias flying around by himself, trying to stave off the PTSD from the last book he was in, featuring Taylor. You remember her, right? That insane human-Controller who tortured him for half a book solid? Yeah that's been haunting him behind the scenes for ages now, because that sort of thing never really goes away. Trying to shake off the feelings of worthlessness and powerlessness that pursue him, he goes and does a heroic deed by saving a boy stranded in the wilderness, using his telepathy since the boy is deaf and can't hear the S&R teams. Since Tobias is forbidden from feeling good about himself ever, literally the second the dad and boy are reunited, a golden eagle dives him and he wakes up in a veterinary clinic.

Apparently his heroic mission made headlines, which means that the clinic is now a giant neon red sign for both the Yeerks, the Animorphs, and the Yeerks. Wait, what? Why are the human-Controllers fighting the Hork-Bajir-Controllers? Oh, there's Taylor, maybe she knows. She's baaaaaack! Despite the Animorphs also showing up to bust Tobias out, Taylor captures him and drags him off to her secret lair...

Which is a sort of grimy trailer on the run-down end of town. Her story here is that she's claiming to have allied with the Yeerk peace movement, having fallen from Visser Three's graces ever since the anti-morphing ray project went up in smoke. So she wants to strike back with a decisive blow to send the Yeerk empire running: namely, by piping in natural gas from a piping station to the Yeerk pool and blowing it the hell up. But she needs the help of someone who can actually tunnel that pipeline in the first place. Like, oh I dunno, an Andalite bandit in Taxxon morph.

Everything about this scenario screams "trap", but most of the Animorphs are in agreement that despite Taylor being about as trustworthy as a magnet in an electronics shop, there's no doubt she'd want to prove herself stronger than the Yeerks who kicked her out. Almost everyone decides to go with the plan, with the exception of Cassie, who says "hey maybe causing a gas explosion and killing boatloads of innocent Yeerks and Yeerk hosts is a really awful idea". As such, she sits out the mission itself, although she does agree to at least see everyone off.

Because now it's time for Tobias and Ax to practice the Taxxon morph! And as the series has stated repeatedly prior to this point, most Taxxons are given as hosts to low-ranking Yeerks, who frequently find themselves failing to control the horrible, insatiable hunger innate to all Taxxons. Tobias nearly tries to eat half the Animorphs himself, and Ax has to trigger a kind of hibernation in his morph to function at all.

To absolutely nobody's surprise, Taylor backstabs them all and tries offering Tobias a right-hand seat at her new empire democracy. He refuses, and the Yeerk pool nearly gets blown up, with Taylor being launched down the pipeline by rushing gas, never to be seen again. But suddenly the gas shuts off. The Yeerk pool, and the Animorphs caught in the pipeline, are saved. The culprit of this is revealed to be Cassie, who was in contact with the actual Yeerk peace movement and managed to fight and incapacitate the entire Controller population of the pumping station solo. She even somehow got the Yeerks out of their heads, and they lie there writhing and dying on the floor while she's just sobbing to herself. It's not explained how, but it's still a cool scene.

There's a few points of this book that kind of stretch disbelief, but the bulk of the story is really just a tale of recovering from serial abuse (or torture. basically the same thing). Taylor comes out of nowhere, overpowers Tobias almost instantly, claims she's changed, plays mindgames constantly (among them faking a host revolt despite the fact that the human and Yeerk parts of her are merged) but then at the end whoops, she was in league with Visser Three all along and was trying to get the Andalite bandits and Yeerk peace movement killed in one shot.

Pretty good book. This is the last we'll see of Taylor, too, and GOOD RIDDANCE YOU MONSTER
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Old 10-26-2017, 09:53 AM
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Book 44: The Unexpected starts, as the books lately are wont to do, with a mission in progress, albeit just BEFORE it all goes downhill. See, there's a missing chunk of wrecked Yeerk fighter being shipped into the airport here, and the Yeerks are all about getting it before any humans can figure out it's Not Of This Earth. Desperate to stop them, Cassie instigates a shootout between the Yeerks and the Marines on duty, and through a series of WACKY MISHAPS ends up hiding out in the cargo hold of a flight headed for Sydney.

Now, you'd think that since the Yeerk efforts so far have been extremely localized, save for their expedition into the Arctic, they wouldn't try pursuing an Andalite bandit they caught with bug spray onto exactly the right airplane, right? Well, no, you are wrong. They send a Yeerk ship with PLANE STASIS BEAMS after her, and she narrowly escapes capture by killing at least four Hork-Bajir (two of them mostly on accident) and one Taxxon (Taxxon kills just kinda happen, accidental or not, they have the durability of a soggy paper bag). She lands in the Australian outback and promptly cowers in the dirt as a flea to avoid notice.

Once that's done, she wanders around until she is found by a native Australian by the name of Yami and his dog Tjala. Yami doesn't think much of the whole "can turn into animals" thing since hey, their spirit ancestors changed themselves into all kinds of different things when they created the earth, why not fleas, too? Anyway, he takes Cassie back to his family and they establish the situation.

While Yami's family is fairly out of the way from the rest of civilization, they normally have pretty okay comms with their radio. Only, the Yeerk fighter that Cassie managed to shoot down in freefall smashed up their aerial. And the nearest place with a phone would be far away enough that even if she morphed kangaroo, she'd have to wait for nightfall before the journey would be viable. So she stays the day at Yami's place, where she meets his grandfather.

The grandfather presents her with a hunting boomerang as a gift (scholar's note: hunting boomerangs do not return, those kinds of boomerangs are intended as toys) for what she's done. Cassie feels like she hasn't done anything but drag the Yeerks into their lives and ruin everything, and Grandpa doesn't help matters when he reveals his new carving tool as the piece of Yeerk fighter wreckage that they were fighting over earlier.

Oh, and said scrap metal is sharp as HELL and gave Grandpa a nasty gash on the shin that gets infected so badly and so quickly that Cassie has to amputate the damn thing at nightfall (which she does in Hork-Bajir morph because reasons). This is also around the time that Visser Three flies over and says "hey bandit, get out here now and I'll raze this place to the ground." Grandpa gives Cassie some much-needed advice at this time: you didn't bring the Yeerks here, they would've come anyway and taken away our lives and ways. As long as you fight them, you're doing the right thing.

Cassie then goes kangaroo, while wielding a boomerang, and goes full Australia in luring Visser Three's forces to a mob of kangaroos. And while this book has been dearly low on the rest of Australia's dangerous wildlife, a pack of Hork-Bajir and Taxxons versus a mob of kangaroos still favors the kangaroos quite a bit, those suckers fight hard and mean. Yami's family also turns up to throw their own boomerangs and protect Cassie, and then a Chee she rescued way back in Book 27 or so shows up to take her home and get Grandpa medical attention.

It's the Australia book! Should've had more super-deadly morphs but eh, it's fine for what it is, I guess.
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  #203  
Old 10-26-2017, 02:43 PM
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I would just like to note that I am quite in favour of your extending this to "Kalir reads ___", because I am enjoying this thread so much and will be sad to see it go.
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  #204  
Old 10-27-2017, 01:22 PM
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Well that's a shame, because we're about to hit endgame here.

Book 45: The Revelation is another book where Marco is chilling at home when suddenly his gameplan is ruined by some blindside revelation. In our case, it's that his dad's team at work just discovered Z-space. Y'know, the entire idea that makes faster-than-light travel possible? Which would allow them to contact the myriad civilizations in the galaxy? Which the Yeerks are probably already on like smoke on a fire?

Marco barely gets time to talk to the other Animorphs before the Yeerks make their move, luring Dad off to an already-captured coworker with the fake news of his death. Now, when faced with a similar situation in the form of Tom, the Animorphs have done very little to save him, precisely because doing so would absolutely blow their cover, and it's hard for Marco of all people to go back on that word here. But even if it is, from a purely military standpoint, the wrong choice, he still risks everything and fights off the Hork-Bajir to save his dad from infestation.

So yeah, that's the situation. Marco reveals to his dad the truth about everything, up to and including that because of this last second panic, his second wife is dead, also his first wife is still alive and was, up until recently, the entire commander of the Earth invasion. Dad takes it poorly, but at least they don't try to induct him into the Animorphs like they did David. Instead, they drop him off with the Chee while they try to figure out what to do with the whole "humanity discovered Z-space" thing. A few of them theorize that the Yeerks gave them help, but that makes no sense.

Using the research Marco's dad salvaged, they are able to start intercepting Z-space transmissions before they start making their own, which leads up to their next mission: Visser One apparently screwed up at the Anati system, and is set to be executed here on Earth. Time for another rescue mission! Also bear in mind that Visser One was the one pushing for a stealth-based takeover of Earth, so with her out of the way it's up to Visser Three's plan of hostile global takeover.

Which matters because they steal a Yeerk fighter and trip its autopilot to get it sent back to the home base, which is stocked full of servicable fighters. It's becoming rapidly apparent that if Visser Three really wants to go all out swinging for the fences, the death toll will be colossal. Anyway Visser One is there, still in their human host body of Marco's mom. They fly the ship into the pool area to save her, there's a ton of explosions, Visser Three turns up personally and morphs a boss monster, all to the nines.

But at the end of the day, they actually manage to get Marco's mom out safely, just as Visser One vainly tries to flee back into the pool before she starves. Marco ends up killing Visser One and saving his mom! Whoa what it's not even the end of the series you can't just go killing major antagonists off and getting away scot free?

Wait, no. This is absolutely where the series starts to come to an ending. Also, Marco's parents might've gotten back together, but he had to fake their deaths and go into hiding (alternating between the Chee hideout, the valley of the Hork-Bajir, and Ax's scoop). Jake also sends the first Z-space transmission to the Andalites for a proper distress signal.

BUCKLE IN, KIDDOS. ENDGAME AHOY.
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Old 10-27-2017, 01:26 PM
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This is

sorry, I was going to write a post here but then I saw the tag "Anda-light novels" out of the corner of my eye and my entire brain emptied of thought
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Old 10-27-2017, 01:37 PM
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It is what they are, more or less.
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Old 10-28-2017, 09:51 AM
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Book 46: The Deception is narrated by Ax rather than Jake. From this point on, we don't have the 5-cycle of narrators with Tobias and Ax alternating their spot. It'll go through a 6-cycle of each of the Animorphs. Just that little way of indicating that we're really near the end here.

Anyway, this book starts off with Ax's homemade Z-space listening device catching bits of Yeerk transmission bringing troubling news: confirming Visser Three's promotion to the now-vacant rank of Visser One, Visser Two's scheduled arrival on Earth, and the first phase of Operation 9466 beginning shortly. Operation 9466, of course, is the Yeerk plan to fully begin a hostile takeover of Earth. Worse, the bits of transmission they do get indicate that they have very little time to reach the location in question, that being in the middle of the ocean.

None of their current morphs can cross that distance in the short timeframe necessary, so they need to somehow get access to a fighter jet, because I swear they're the heroes here. They do this by sneaking onto a military base, knocking out the pilot and co-pilot of such a plane, and acquiring them. Up until now, the Animorphs have had a rule that said "hey try not to acquire sentient species without their permission" which is kind of a silly rule. I mean, I guess they had it there because it was too close to what the Yeerks were doing, and this book is basically saying that the stakes are that high so they have to lose that rule. Eh.

Anyway Ax mostly-on-purpose crashlands the fighter jet near the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, giving Jake a chance to geek out about military hardware, a trait of his that has only had maybe 0.5 chances to show prior to this point. And then the book becomes Metal Gear Solid while the heroes-I-swear KO and morph a solid 5% of the crew trying to track Vissers One and Two.

We find out the first phase of Operation 9466 really soon: the Yeerks fake the approach of a Chinese sub that fires upon the USS George Washington, hoping to instigate it to return fire on an actual Chinese sub nearby and push the two countries into war. When the Animorphs end up foiling this plan, they write off the first stage as scrapped, bring a bunch of their Bug-class fighters out of hiding, and start openly attacking the aircraft carrier while Visser Two prepares for phase two of their plan.

While we're at it, what kind of fella is Visser Two, anyway? A charitable fellow would call him a patriot, while an honest one would call him a lunatic. Seriously, he's almost equal in rank to Visser One and still calls him a glorious leader. As such, he is unafraid to die and refuses to call off phase two of the plan even when threatened with death. What's phase two? Oh, only systematically blowing up key Chinese cities to drive the world into nuclear war.

Ax comes to a realization that with the short time frame and the tools they have, there is a solution for how to get Visser Two to call off the operation, and it is also completely morally heinous: threaten a back-rank mate by bringing one of the still-intact bombers from the USS George Washington back to the location of the Yeerk pool in the US. Never mind that there's also a city around the pool. Jake even refuses to make the call on a plan like that because of what it would mean for himself and the group, so Ax mutinies, knocks out Jake, and carries out the plan anyway.

Thankfully, the Visser relents and calls off the assault, although after doing so, he does ask Ax "would you really have done it? Condemned thousands of lives, Yeerk and human and Hork-Bajir and so on, to a fiery end?" And Ax doesn't have an answer. The book ends there (and we never find out what happens to Visser Two) but hey, have we started driving home that war is hell yet? I DON'T THINK WE'VE DONE THAT ENOUGH FOR THE LAST 45 BOOKS WE NEED MORE.
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Old 10-30-2017, 01:48 PM
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Book 47: The Resistance is actually two books. See, before the actual events of the book, Jake roots around in his Grandpa G's old effects, and finds a diary written during the Civil War from Grandpa G's own ancestor, one Lt. Isaiah Fitzhenry, focusing on his time as a Union soldier defending the town of Sinkler's Ridge. So we get some chapters reliving that defense, and some focusing on Jake's own campaign, leading a defense of the Hork-Bajir valley, which has been discovered since one of the Hork-Bajir was caught during a raid on the Yeerks.

I'll focus on the Animorphs' tale specifically first, since the two are intertwined and cover mostly the same angle, but dang it all you came here for ANIMORPHS. The gist of it is that Visser One (remember, the ol' boss-morphing megalomaniac got a promotion!) is leading a full army of his biggest and baddest soldiers to the valley of the Hork-Bajir. While the Animorphs tell them that sticking around will be suicide and you can't stay here, the Hork-Bajir reply that no, this is our home, and if they want it they'll have to damn well earn it.

The valley is fairly defensible, since there's really only the one entrance, but by that same token it means that the Hork-Bajir are pinned down. The Hork-Bajir also have a terrain advantage since they know the trees well enough, and when it comes to woodworking there's nobody better. They're able to churn out spears and bows at an incredible rate, rig up platforms in the trees to fight from, and set up pitfall traps. Of course, the Yeerks have much better numbers and a huge tech advantage, even discounting the Animorphs.

The ace in the hole for the Animorphs is the discovery of a beaver dam being built near the valley. Ax knows enough about fluid mechanics to help everyone get the dam up to a point where they can flood the entire valley easily, if the situation calls for it (and it obviously will). However, there's a slight complication: there are some other campers in the valley, who will be right in the middle of the fighting! Jake and Tobias head down to try to convince them to flee, but they immediately start being suspicious of them, saying that hey there's no weather warning you trying to steal our campsite?

Pulling out all the stops, Jake goes "screw it" and tells the campers everything, right down to morphing himself to highlight it. Unfortunately, the campers don't respond like normal people, but like Trekkies with an inability to distinguish fiction from reality. They swear to join in the defense of the Hork-Bajir valley in order to assist the Federation. Not even joking.

Anyway, the dad of the campers gets right into the frontlines until Jake says "yo FYI: this is a real war and you will be killed if they get a shot at you" at which point he tries to drag everyone home, far too late. What an unlikable prat. Anyway the battle for the valley turns out exactly how you'd expect: many of the Animorphs nearly die, Coward Trekkie Dad actually dies, Jake feels like the entire thing was a horrible sham debacle despite his best efforts, and they held onto the valley despite all. Not a bad one-off story, aside from the Worst Campers, and a good way to show the stakes being raised properly.

Now, what was that about the Civil War?

Lt. Isaiah Fitzhenry is defending Sinkler's Ridge from the forces of Confederate General Forrest, who will be marching into the area any day now. Forrest is a very thorough commander and has way too many soldiers under his command for Fitzhenry's crew to handle, as many of them are dying of fever and exposure anyway. And this isn't anywhere near as defensible as the valley of the Hork-Bajir: they have all of a single river that could be a helpful point to defend from.

Shortly before General Forrest's attack, a band of runaway slaves about thirty strong appears and offers to help Lt. Fitzhenry's soldiers, despite none of them being trained soldiers. While from a logical standpoint, he'd be an idiot not to accept their help, Lt. Fitzhenry is already having severe morale problems with his army and is only tenuously backed by the town, and remember that the Union wasn't all "we love black people!" back in those days. He accepts their help, but only as fatigue workers, and refuses to let them join as soldiers.

Course, he changes his tune eventually, even despite the protestations of the townsfolk, because turns out General Forrest is ahead of schedule! And hey, the workers are both comparatively healthy and exceptionally quick studies, and are brought into proper form by the time the general's forces attack! Unfortunately, quick studies or not, the battle is doomed to failure given General Forrest's superior numbers and tactics. Fitzhenry and the rest of his command are killed in action, and Sinkler's Ridge is lost. His dying thoughts were wondering if he did the right thing.

I dunno, for being two books in one small YA-sized book, they weren't bad! The Trekkie campers could've been less stupid, but eh.
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Old 10-31-2017, 04:47 PM
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Book 48: The Return starts with the Animorphs taking a tour of the White House, when suddenly the Yeerks attack and kill Tobias! Oh no! Rachel, go save the day like only you can: by going into a bloodthirsty battle rush that ends with you fighting Jake for supremacy and losing!

HAHA PSYCHE IT WAS A DREAM ALL ALONG.

For real though, Rachel has been feeling a little at odds with the Animorphs of late. Two factors in this: first, that she thinks the Animorphs need to meet the more overt attacks of the Yeerks by going public themselves, and second, that the group is starting to consider her love of fighting to be more of a liability, or arguably worse, a useful tool so they don't have to get their own hands dirty. While reflecting on these things, she ends up crashing her eagle morph into a red glowing radio tower and dying.

HAHA PSYCHE IT WAS A DREAM ALL ALONG.

Yeah, that's the gimmick for this book. There's a bunch of weird stuff going on preying on Rachel's thoughts, like she keeps hearing rats (going back to David's fate) and there's red glowing stuff everywhere and she can't trust the others and it's kind of really weird and confusing? Okay, cool, let's skip to the main event. Cassie gets chased by a big-ass rat swarm out of nowhere, and Rachel tries to help, but both of them end up captured!

HAHA PSYCHE IT W-- oh wait, no, that actually happens. Rachel finds herself sealed in a box in the sewers, which is basically proofed against all of her morphs, although it has airholes. Two punks, who Rachel refers to as Bulk and Skull Tattoo and Grease by their distinguishing characteristics, introduce her to her captor: David! Yep, he's baaaaaack!

David reveals that he managed to escape the island the other Animorphs stranded him on, and got hold of a number of things: in addition to the two cohorts (who he is, of course, paying with stolen money only a rat can access) he has, according to himself, amassed a troupe of rat followers. He spends about a third of the book trying to make Rachel ridiculous offers and playing mind games with her, and it's not really clear if he has a goal at first or just wants to mess with her out of revenge.

Eventually, he gets down to brass tacks: if Rachel doesn't morph rat and stay in that form with her, Cassie, who is locked in a nearby box without airholes, will suffocate and die. However, by the time he starts actually making this point, Rachel's started cluing into the fact that things aren't working as they should. You can't just corral rats around by being another rat, no matter how charismatic you are, which means that she shouldn't have been captured in the first place.

So David is promptly upstaged by Crayak and the Drode, as they are wont to do, and they go "hey, nice work, now here's the REAL deal". David had made a bargain with Crayak, and the end result of that was that if Rachel didn't clue in, then David would get to actually have all the stuff he wanted. But Rachel was really the main event for Crayak; as you might recall, way back in Book 27: The Exposed, when the Drode first appeared, they tried to recruit Rachel there too, but didn't really offer much but words.

This time, Crayak makes the rewards he'd offer extremely tangible. He transforms Rachel into a Crayak-like version of herself, with flesh and machinery working together to make an incredibly powerful and deadly titan-monster. He lets her put this form through the paces, which proves able enough to decapitate the Drode in an instant (needless to say, this doesn't bother the Drode until Crayak offers her a chance to do it, but this time it'd be fatal). But he's also yanking her back and forth between that form and her rat form in David's box.

This culminates in a fight with Crayak's Pokémon of choice: he throws the ball and out comes Visser One. Not even joking. Needless to say, Super-Rachel eventually gains the upper hand, with the winning blow being countering Visser One's ochre jelly morph with some kind of plant-hummingbird she didn't even know existed. So there she is, ready to execute Visser One with Crayak and the Drode egging her on, when she realizes that oh no, rule through might isn't going to get people to accept who she is or something. So she refuses to kill Visser One when she has him dead to right, and Crayak, disgusted that his time has been wasted, dumps her back in the box with about a minute to go and David taunting her.

She still escapes by promising Tattoo and Grease to lead them to the full doshpile in her own rat morph, breaking herself and Cassie out, and chases David down. At this point, though, David's had it. Like, let's put aside for the moment that David is a horrible monster. He finds some alien tech, has no idea what it is, and through no fault of his own loses his home and family and is suddenly forced into a guerrilla group fighting a covert invasion of the world. When he proves he can't be trusted by this group (by being a horrible monster) they have to do something about him, but they can't bring themselves to kill him, because they're the good guys, right?

So here David is, with his second or third shot at a new life ruined, and he's just asking for death. When Rachel was faced with Visser One at her mercy, she spared his life, because killing him would've arguably been the right thing to do, but for all the wrong reasons. Now she's faced with someone who was once a legit enemy of theirs, true, but now has no power and is living an existence that is by all accounts awful. You think Tobias' eating habits were bad at first? Try being a rat scavenging on an abandoned island.

The book closes out with Rachel breaking down sobbing, faced with David begging for death. We don't know what she eventually does with David, although he never makes another appearance in the books again. Maybe she carries him back to the island, screaming all the way. Maybe she ends up killing him, where she would've spared Visser One. We never find out, and I think that this part, at the very end of the book, is its strongest point, for making the Animorphs, or at least one of them, face up to the things they've done and seriously question whether they're doing anything remotely close to the right thing.
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Old 11-02-2017, 12:08 PM
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Kalir Kalir is online now
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Oh, in case people didn't know: these books are the last books for most of these characters. After this cycle concludes, we have only two more books: Jake because he's posterboy, and then a Megamorphs-style every person narrates at points book.

Anyway. Book 49: The Diversion continues the theme of the ante being upped with the realization of the Yeerks' newest plan: a blood drive at the Sharing! Complete with a break-in to The Gardens getting blood samples of animals like gorillas, tigers, and grizzlies! Yeah the Yeerks (i.e. Visser One) are no longer working on the assumption that they're facing Andalite bandits. If they get ANY blood samples from the Animorphs, they can track down where they live, capture them all, game over man, game over. Marco's already faked his death and gone off-the-grid, and of course Tobias and Ax aren't in the running on account of their non-human base forms.

So, did any of Jake, Rachel, or Cassie visit the doctor and give blood in any capacity whatsoever? Maybe? THEN WE GOTTA DO A LIGHTNING STRIKE AMBUSH. Jake leads the team to the blood-testing facility in question for a quick hack of their main database, wiping any matches found there. And turns out they did already find a match... completely unrelated from Jake, Rachel, or Cassie. Her first name is Loren! See if you can remember that name. I only mentioned it a couple times, and it was a while ago.

Loren would be the name of the human who fell in love with Elfangor, and later became Tobias' mom. Which means that after all these years, Tobias finally knows where his mom lives... and it's within eight blocks of his uncle's house. His musings on what this means for who his mom is are cut short as the Yeerks catch the invasion, beat the hell out of the Animorphs, get blood samples for free (fighting Hork-Bajir elites does that) and kick their plan into high gear.

So, that's it then. The Yeerks know who they are. Time for the evacuation of their immediate families. Cassie's parents have to leave the last medical treatments of their animals to the Chee and close up shop. Rachel can only get her mom and sisters safe, since dad's out of state and nobody knows what'll happen to him. And of course, Tom beats Jake to the punch, and infests his entire family and nearly kills Jake himself.

This last one is especially damaging for Jake, who blames himself for this entire situation ever happening. Suddenly, all that leadership and presence he seemed to display up to this point vanishes. The wind has been taken out of his sails, and now he's just harsh and brooding and wants nothing to do with leading the group.

This still leaves the matter of Loren, who Tobias has been investigating for some time (along with the Yeerks in disguise). And what he finds is a kind, blind old woman who works at a crisis hotline and lives alone with her guide dog, Champ. Tobias makes contact with her by swapping with Champ for a bit (during which he, Marco, and Ax try their best to be jackass street punks. Ax's efforts are the best) and asking her to stay in her house for two days, because even at this point they have to make sure she's not a Controller.

Turns out the truth behind Loren's condition is that, shortly after giving birth to Tobias, she was in a real bruiser of a car accident. Permanent vision loss and brain damage, up to and including amnesia. She doesn't remember Tobias at all, but she does remember that she did have a son. But in her state after the accident, she was barely able to take care of herself. She wouldn't have been able to handle Tobias growing up either, so for both of their sakes, she left him with his aunt, leading to his crummy life growing up.

At this point, the Animorphs break out their ace in the hole for getting Loren to safety: they use the Escafil device to grant her morphing powers and let her acquire Tobias, resulting in a high-speed flight escape from a helicopter. More narrow brushes with life and death! Whoa! But this book also starts to get in range of what morphing does for injuries, or more importantly, what it doesn't. After morphing, Loren regains her eyesight, but doesn't recover her memories, since even if her brain is healed up, that doesn't really restore the memories that were lost there. Think like if you write ink on a cloth, and then dump it in water to clean parts of it, then hang it up to dry. The ink doesn't stay even if the cloth is dry again.

This is all going to matter a lot more in the next book, but even so: holy dang, guys, they actually pulled (most of) their family to the Hork-Bajir camp! They don't have homes anymore! Rachel's mom is trying to draft up a constitution for the Hork-Bajir! THINGS ARE GOING PLACES
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anda-light novels , animorphs , body horror for kids , brain slugs , crocobear , cronenberg's creatures , teens with attitude , war is hell , worst space horse

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