Book #28 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 EXPERIMENT

Animorphs #28
by K.A. Applegate

Summarized Plot:

Erek the Chee informs the Animorphs that the Yeerks have purchased an animal testing facility and a slaughterhouse, and the Chee think the purchases are related. The Animorphs investigate, first checking out the testing facility. They find that chimps are being experimented on but they don't know why, and after a narrow miss with Visser Three, they free some chimps and escape themselves, having overheard that the experiments going on at the slaughterhouse have been successful. With Tobias and Ax morphing bovine animals to get into the slaughterhouse (and the others hiding as flies in their noses), they find that a "Project Obedience" has been underway for some time, which is the Yeerks' plot to find a substance that separates humans from their free will. Supposedly it was effective on chimps and is now effective on humans, and the slaughterhouse will be used to put it into the food supply. But it turns out the results of the obedience serum were falsified because everyone who works for the project is afraid of telling Visser Three that they failed, and the only good results of the mission were freeing some test subjects (both chimps and humans).

About this book:

Narrator: Ax

New known controllers:

  • Humans at the animal testing facility
  • Farm hands at the feedlot
  • Slaughterhouse employees

New morphs acquired:

  • Jake: Chimpanzee
  • Cassie: Chimpanzee
  • Marco: Chimpanzee
  • Rachel: Chimpanzee
  • Ax: Chimpanzee, cow, steer
  • Tobias: Chimpanzee, steer

Notable:

  • This book was ghostwritten by Amy Garvey.

  • Ax has a photo of a cinnamon bun in his scoop.

  • Bodily functions aren't discussed very often in the Animorphs books, despite its being a kids' series (which usually tempts authors into making gross-out jokes). Every once in a while Animorphs involves bird poop or something like that, but in this book we have the Animorphs throwing monkey poop as a weapon while in chimpanzee form, as well as another mention of a real chimp peeing. A rather odd first, but a first all the same.

  • If part of their plan rested on becoming specific animals--to the point where they tagged themselves to specifically replace those animals--it seems unlikely that Ax would accidentally acquire a cow first, then not have to seek out a particular steer to become. It seems sloppy. Especially since they could have just all hidden inside cows' noses in fly morph if that's what most of them were going to do. Having two of them in the morphs of animals that could easily get slaughtered in that environment seems so pointlessly dangerous that it reads like it was a situation deliberately created to induce suspense.

  • Despite their moral objections to morphing sentient creatures, it seems Jake and Marco should have acquired and morphed the Controllers instead of just stealing their clothes. If they wanted the mission to go without a hitch, this seems like a risk they should have taken.

  • The group elects Marco to drive the truck "because he has experience." The only other experiences he has involved very bad driving and accidents. It seems very impractical to let him drive again. This also causes something else that's pretty much unprecedented so far: Marco mentions being given the finger in response to his driving. Obscene gestures aren't usually referred to in these books.

Best lines:

Marco: "Watching a soap, huh?"
Ax: "Soap? No. This show is about humans who are both young and restless."

Ax: Lips form an open hole in the bottom third of a human face. The hole is used for eating and for forming mouth sounds. As well as kissing, spitting, vomiting, and belching. Humans do a great deal with their mouths, most of it rather pointless.

Marco: "How about putting on a shirt?"
Ax: "The men who are young and restless do not wear shirts. I am young. And I am occasionally restless."

Marco: "How about if we just forget all about this and don't tell Jake, and we all go to the mall and see how many cinnamon buns Ax can eat before he explodes?"
Ax: "I have already performed that experiment."
Marco: "Okay, then I guess we go tell Jake and the others and launch off into some dumb mission that'll end up with me screaming and running for my life. Sound good?"

Ax: And we are not dead yet. If I were dead, I could hardly be expected to be communicating. That was humor. I believe.

Ax: Few humans were visible. But we saw a great deal of garbage. Garbage is an important human product.

Ax: "Please make every effort not to drop me!"

Ax: According to Marco, this is known as "Gooberville" or "The Middle of Nowhere." The feedlot was at the vague border of the suburbs and Gooberville.

Slaughterhouse Controller: "I think an Andalite could figure out how to drive a truck. Besides, even an Andalite isn't stupid enough to morph a steer or even a bull and walk into a slaughterhouse. They'd have to be idiots."



Next book: The Sickness, Animorphs #29

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