Book #36 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 MUTATION

Animorphs #36
by K.A. Applegate

Summarized Plot:

After discovering a terrifying Yeerk experiment to turn Hork-Bajir into aquatic creatures (which failed, at the expense of fifty Hork-Bajir lives), Jake also finds out that the Yeerks have a powerful ocean ship called the Sea Blade. He wants to go destroy it because they're going to use it to find the Pemalite ship (among other things), so they investigate. But after damaging it in a fight between their whale morphs and the Dracon-capable ship, they notice it getting rescued by strange human-like aquatic creatures. Following it in to make sure it's destroyed, Jake and the others discover another world at the bottom of the ocean. This Atlantis-like city is populated by amphibious humanoids called Nartec who collect human shipwrecks and preserve their crews in creepy taxidermy. The group gets to meet their queen, Soco, and she is pleasant to them but ultimately arranges for them to get their DNA harvested and become specimens themselves. The Nartec are desperately trying to stop themselves from inbreeding to extinction, so this is how they cope with it. After narrowly escaping the operating tables with Tobias's help, they try to recover the Sea Blade ship and hope to use it for escape before destroying it, but they find Visser Three aboard, with whom they must make a deal in order to break the security measures to fly it. They briefly work together in fighting off the attacking Nartec, but then they manage to turn against the Visser and go their separate ways to escape.

About this book:

Narrator: Jake

New known controllers:

  • None

New morphs acquired:

  • Jake: Whale (orca)
  • Cassie: Whale (orca)
  • Marco: Whale (orca)
  • Rachel: Whale (orca)
  • Ax: Whale (orca)
  • Tobias: Whale (orca), Nartec

Notable:

  • This book is ghostwritten by Erica Bobone.

  • The experimented-upon Hork-Bajir, Hahn Tunad, is dying on Cassie's dad's stainless steel operation table when the narration describes him. But then a couple pages later when Jake tries to pull an oxygen tank over to him, Hahn is described as being stretched out on a makeshift bed of hay bales. This is clearly an inconsistency since they did not move him.

  • Interesting that Jake notes that many prey animals include "wanting to find mates" in their instincts, but no mating instincts have been discussed in any of the Animorphs' morphing experiences.

  • The Pemalite ship should not be accessible to living creatures if Erek hid it "where only an android can reach it" in a previous book.

  • Rachel saves Jake from drowning in this book, and the narration specifies that she is an orca at the time. However, when Jake takes a survey of who else is there, he counts "two sperm whales and three orca." It's not clear who's who if that's the case. Rachel has to still be an orca, but Tobias is the only other person besides Rachel who ever acquired the sperm whale. (Cassie sure had a chance to, but didn't.) This is most likely just an author mistake.

  • There's a typo: Ax says "On my commnad" instead of "command."

  • Another typo involves a thought-speak tag pointing the wrong way on Jake asking about "the visser."

Best lines:

Jake: At any given point, on any given mission, maybe half the team was going to be difficult in one way or another. Including me, of course. Maybe especially me.

Ax: "This is so irrational and strange that I assume it must involve humans."

Jake: "The weapons they used on us? Human weapons. We want to hate them for what they do? Maybe we should stop helping them do it."



Next book: The Weakness, Animorphs #37

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