Book #10 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
The Animorphs discover that there's something strange about a local kid named Erek. While investigating him in spider morph, they discover that he appears to be an android, but Erek discovers what they are too during this encounter. He makes a deal with Marco and asks the group to come to his house so they can discuss becoming allies. There, the Animorphs discover that Erek is only posing as human and is actually one of an ancient robotic race called the Chee, which was created by the extinct Pemalites (whose essence now only survives in the dogs of Earth). Erek's race is programmed for nonviolence, but that could change if the Animorphs are willing to steal a special computerized crystal from the Yeerks. They form a mission to steal the crystal, allowing Erek to rewrite his android programming and commit violence against their shared enemy. But after what's done is done, no one's really sure whether it was a good idea. . . .
About this book:
New known controllers:
- The guards and workers of Matcom
New morphs acquired:
- It seems to be pretty common now for books to start with a main character morphing for personal reasons while knowing Jake doesn't approve.
- Interestingly, when Marco is discussing going to an outdoor concert and being excited about seeing Nine Inch Nails, Alanis, and the Offspring, he happens to name bands that were still recording more than ten years later, so this didn't end up dating the book as badly as most of the other pop culture references did.
- Marco describes morphing as "Stephen-King-meets-Ann-Rice creepy." Assuming he's talking about the real writers, the author has used the wrong spelling for "Anne." (Hey fact-checkers? Wake up.)
- This book contains the first time there's been any discussion of where the Animorphs' bodies go when they morph into something very small. Ax reveals in this book that their extra mass goes into Z-space, where it's possible a ship will hit it and disintegrate it. This is said to be very unlikely but possible, so it adds yet another risk factor to morphing. (Where extra mass comes from when morphing larger creatures isn't really discussed.)
- Erek is a major character from this point on in the books, and his name was chosen because a real Animorphs fan with that name won a contest put out by Scholastic. His full name was included, which was the prize of the contest, but if the Animorphs want to keep the secret of who they are away from the Yeerks, revealing someone's first and last name and announcing that he is an android spy is probably a bad move.
- Sexuality isn't mentioned very often in these books--it's only vaguely suggested to even exist, and only then in the form of acknowledging certain people's crushes--but in this book Tobias comments that he sees a couple "making out." Guess since that's not explicit, it made it past the censors. Also escaping the censors was Marco's language switch-a-roo when he said "You have us by the . . . you have us cold." Guess "You have us by the balls" would be too explicit for a kids' book; it's just odd that the author would imply such a thing.
- We now know about three new alien species as of this book: the Pemalites (peace-loving doglike creatures who were technologically advanced and ancient), the Chee (the immortal android creatures created by the Pemalites to assist them and be their companions, also doglike but robotic, and very strong), and the Howlers (described here only as "pure evil," very aggressive and strong, who wiped out the Pemalites and gave the remaining ones diseases). The term "Dayang trader" is also mentioned, but it's unclear as to whether "Dayang" is another type of species or whether it's some other title or term.
- There was an inconsistency in this book: Ax is said to have had his arm "reattached" by Erek after a battle, and he sports a scar. In order to heal physical damage inflicted by battle, a person with morphing powers can simply morph into something else, then regrow the original body without flaws; it seems odd that Ax would not have done this instead if it involved no scarring and no special procedure. This exact technique of repairing the body through morphing technique is explicitly used in later books.
- Another language error: "Chee" is the singular and the plural of the android race, much like "sheep." So at one point, a plural possessive used as "Chees'" doesn't fit. It should have been "Chee's," like "people's."
Marco: These guys are very powerful, very dangerous enemies. Not like the guy in your class who keeps calling you "dork-wad."
Marco: I'm totally serious. The fact that I smelled some other dog's pee on a curb was about ten thousand times more interesting to my dog brain than the squealing car was.
Jake: "That's nice, Marco. Very dignified. What's next? You going to lick yourself?"
Marco: Cassie has never met a dress she liked. She does not subscribe to Teen or YM. She's much more likely to buy a magazine like Smelly Animals of America. You know, the kind of magazine that would have articles like "How to Give Suppositories to Raccoons," or "Let's Examine Owl Vomit!"
Marco: Rage is addictive, you know. I guess it's sorta like a drug. Anger and hatred get you high. They get you high, but like any addiction, they hollow you out and tear you down and eat you alive.
Ax: "Marco? Something has happened to your hair. I believe it has become shorter. Are you suffering from some sort of illness?"
Marco: "Remind me again. Why are we doing this instead of staying home and sleeping in late?"
Jake: "We're saving the world."
Next book: The Forgotten, Animorphs #11