Book #17 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 UNDERGROUND

Animorphs #17
by K.A. Applegate

Summarized Plot:

After stopping a suicide, Rachel and her friends find out that Yeerks go insane after they consume instant maple ginger oatmeal. The man who tells them this has a Yeerk in his head who's been driven insane by this substance, and he is institutionalized because the Yeerk won't leave (since the oatmeal is also a substitute for Kandrona rays). The Animorphs decide to try to find a way into the Yeerk pool to poison some more Yeerks with oatmeal, but their first plan is foiled by stolen Andalite technology and their second plan involves very slow going as moles tunneling into the pool. Their entrance ends up a disaster, though, because Rachel falls into the pool and some of the others are injured and captured. Rachel has to help cause a diversion and threaten Visser Three himself with oatmeal poisoning before she and her friends can escape.

About this book:

Narrator: Rachel

New known controllers:

New morphs acquired:

  • Jake: Mole
  • Cassie: Mole
  • Marco: Mole
  • Rachel: Mole
  • Ax: Mole
  • Tobias: Mole, bat

Notable:

  • Oatmeal (a specific flavor, instant variety) is said to "modify a Yeerk's brainstem," causing them to stop needing Kandrona rays. This may be science fiction, but that seems impossible. Kandrona is a Yeerk's food source and being deprived of it is frequently referred to as being "starved." It makes no sense that modifying an organism's brainstem would cause them to no longer need the food its body has always thrived on. It would make sense if the Yeerk needed to continue to be exposed to the agents in the oatmeal, but there shouldn't be a substance that permanently alters their physiology to not need their equivalent of food ever again, since it doesn't explain where the Yeerk's nourishment comes from after that point.
  • Rachel seems to be dealing with some pretty serious claustrophobia here which affects her even when she's morphed as a mole. There don't seem to be any other places in the story so far where Rachel has seemed terrified of closed-in spaces, so it's hard to tell why it's coming up now.
  • It's revealed in this book that Yeerks have mouths and are blind in their natural state.
  • There was no follow-up on the effects of the oatmeal being released into the Yeerk pool. Surely them having to clean the oatmeal out and refill the pool, and deal with a bunch of crazy but physically healthy Yeerks, affected the Yeerks somehow, but the Animorphs never saw signs of that.

Best lines:

Cassie: "Who else has the willies?"
Ax: "What are willies?"

Jake: "I guess we go toward that. Unless anyone else has any ideas?"
Marco: "I have an idea. We get out of here, go back to the mall, and see how many Cinnabons Ax can eat before he explodes."

Jake: "Okay. So here's the plan. We watch till someone orders the Happy Meal with . . . what was it?"
Tobias: "Extra happy."
Marco: "Is it just my imagination, or did the Yeerks develop a sense of humor?"

Rachel: "Gotta get out of here, man. This cold is slowing me down."
Ax: "Yes, this body has no ability to regulate body temperature. What a strange idea. You humans do many unusual things."
Rachel: "Ax, I don't think we're exactly responsible for--"
Ax: "Yes, I know. I was attempting to make a joke. A human-style joke."
Marco: "Great. Funny Yeerks and now a wannabe-funny Andalite."

Rachel: There must be something kind of liberating, just being able to say "I'm scared" like it's no big deal. I can't do that. I don't know why. I just can't.

Jake: "Battles that involve oatmeal are just never going to end up being historic, you know? Gettysburg? No major oatmeal involvement. The Battle of Midway? Neither side used oatmeal. Desert Storm? No oatmeal."



Next book: The Decision, Animorphs #18

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