By George Herbert

My comforts drop and melt like snow:
I shake my head, and all the thoughts and ends,
Which my fierce youth did bandy, fall and flow
Like leaves about me, or liks summer-friends
Flies of estates and sun-shine. But to all,
Who think me eager, hot, and undertaking,
But in my prosecutions slack and small;
As a young exhalation, newly waking,
Scorns his first bed of dirt, and means the sky;
But cooling by the way, grows pursy and slow,
And settling to a cloud, doth live and die
In that dark state of tears: to all, that so
Show me, and set me, I have one reply,
Which they that know the rest, know more than I.

(sufi,Nasrudin Stories)

The answer

"There is nothing without an answer," said a monk as he entered the teahouse where Nasrudin and his friends sat.
"Yet I have been challenged by a scholar with an unanswerable question," observed the Mulla.
"Would that I had been there ! Tell it to me and I shall answer it."
"Very well. he said 'Why are you stealing into my house through a window by night ? ' "

Book #53 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.

THE ANSWER

Animorphs #53
by K.A. Applegate

Summarized Plot:

The Yeerks have been forced to bring a Pool ship down from orbit to feed the hungry Yeerks who are left starved from the destruction of the main Yeerk pool. Jake wants to take out the Pool ship, and realizes that in order to win the war he's going to have to act like a general. He gives his orders, and though not everyone is happy with him, he manages to make contact with the military and recruit some of them, meet with Taxxons who want to defect to his side in exchange for morphing powers, and even meet with the Yeerk controlling his brother to call an uneasy alliance since they both hate Visser One.

The Taxxons are led by Arbron, the Andalite nothlit who worked with Elfangor in their aristh days, and they agree to work for Jake's cause. Amidst all this, Jake has a hard time dealing with Cassie, and wonders if their relationship will survive this war even if they do. But once he figures out that Tom's Yeerk is probably willing to double-cross him, he realizes he's going to have to make some tough calls and that one of them will probably put Rachel in an un-winnable situation.

He does it anyway to win the war, and she believes in him and takes her orders. His own plan to get the Animorphs on board the Pool ship ends up working out (with Tom's Yeerk's betrayal working in there nicely), but they lose their auxiliary Animorphs in a ground battle, and Erek the Chee uses his nonviolence programming against Jake's goal. When Jake has the chance, he manages to get 17,000 Yeerks flushed into space as a distraction, and ends up facing off with Visser One, who in turn is facing Tom on the opposite Blade ship. But they didn't count on Jake's planting Rachel on Tom's doomed ship. . . .

About this book:

Narrator: Jake

New known controllers:

  • Military men in General Doubleday's headquarters

New morphs acquired:

  • Jake: Anaconda
  • Cassie: None
  • Marco: None
  • Rachel: None
  • Ax: None
  • Tobias: None

Notable:

  • Jake gives us his last name in this book, because it doesn't matter if people know who he is now. His last name is Berenson.

  • The Animorphs' ages were unclear, and it's still unclear whether they're all in the same grade in school, but Jake claims he was thirteen when the war started and sixteen at the present of the books.

  • In this book Jake refers to the previous Visser One--Eva's Yeerk--as "he." The Yeerk was usually referred to as "she" in other books, and seemed to self-identify as female too.

  • Rachel, in Hork-Bajir morph, thought-speaks to Controllers to ask them to stop shooting. It seems odd that they don't notice she's thought-speaking, because surely they don't think Visser One is there, and he'd be the only thought-speaking person on their side.

  • In the previous book, Ax communicated with the Andalite high command and Tobias knew that he had been doing so but didn't know what was discussed because it was all done in private thought-speak he couldn't hear. What's curious is that in this book, Cassie reveals that she was a morphed flea on Ax's back during these communications, and some of her lines reveal that she knows the full story--which would not have been something she should have had the ability to overhear.

  • The phrase "In a few moment's time" is used, and the apostrophe is in the wrong place. "A few moments' time" is correct.

  • Jake and Cassie actually talk about getting married in this book.

  • Fleas are said not to have much in the way of ability to hear and interpret sounds. It's curious, then, that fleas hiding on Jake's human body can understand what he's saying when he speaks, though in the next book Rachel's narration suggests that with practice a flea can learn to understand speech by interpreting vibrations felt with the antennae.

Best lines:

Jake: I still didn't know how to tell adults, my friends' parents no less, to be quiet and let me do my job.

Jake: "Okay. That's enough, folks, thanks for coming."
Naomi: "You don't just dismiss us!"
Rachel: "Sure he does, Mom."

Jake: He stopped being stupid. But not until the fourth time I demorphed in front of him.

Jake: "I'll need your help to provide a diversion."
General Doubleday: "My help, huh? You need my help? See the stars on my shoulder there, son? I'm a major general, U.S. Army. You're a kid who can turn into a bug."

Jake: After you stand up to the likes of Andalites, Visser One, and Crayak, you don't quiver just because some guy has stars on his shoulders.

Marco: "Oh, there you are. So I guess I can't have your CD collection after all."

Ax: "Will your people choose trust over hatred and revenge?"

Jake: "Where are you guys, anyway? Where on my body did you end up after I demorphed?"
Rachel: "Gotta tell you, cousin, I don't know where we are exactly, and I don't really want to know."
Jake: "Mmmm. Good point."
Ax: "Marco just bit you. If I understand the physiology of flea bites correctly, you will experience an itching sensation later, and then will know precisely where we were."
Jake: "There's a pleasant thought."

Jake: "You don't get a lot of straight-up good or evil choices. You get shades of gray."

Erek: "I was offering you my opinion of your morals and your ethics and your sense of decency. I was speaking an ancient Mesopotamian dialect known for its wide variety of curse words."



Next book: The Beginning, Animorphs #54

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