Book #37 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
While Jake's out of town, Rachel is democratically elected as the Animorphs' temporary leader, and they get a rare chance to discredit Visser Three. An inspector sent by the Yeerk Council of Thirteen is observing him, trying to document his incompetence, which all rests on his inability to exterminate the Andalite bandits. This inspector has a Garatron host body--it's an Andalite-like creature with super speed. Rachel leads her group on showy missions destroying public places and threatening known Controllers, hoping Visser Three's inability to stop them will be the nail in his coffin. But when her troops try to question her decisions, Rachel becomes more aggressive and insists on more reckless behavior, resulting in Cassie getting captured by the Yeerks in her polar bear morph. Rachel feels she can't handle this and might need to quit, but at this the others rally behind her, and support her in a very reckless mission to crash a plane into a Yeerk pool entrance. There, they have to find Cassie and face the visser . . . but when he decides the Garatron should kill them if it's so easy, he finds out that maybe Visser Three isn't as incompetent as he seems considering what he's up against. It's a rough fight, but the Animorphs escape, and when Jake returns, he's actually fairly proud of Rachel, even though after all this is over she's convinced that being the leader is not for her.
About this book:
New known controllers:
- Christine Kaminsky, a morning show personality
- A toy store manager
- Tasset, owner of a sporting goods store
- Arthur Arundel, a bank manager
- Kirk and Kristen, fitness trainers
- A Kinko's employee
- Three lawyers
- Judge Sally Forensik
- Phil, a hardware store manager
New morphs acquired:
- Jake: None
- Cassie: Cheetah
- Marco: Cheetah
- Rachel: Cheetah
- Ax: Cheetah
- Tobias: None
- This book is ghostwritten by Elise Smith.
- It seems very unlike Jake to leave town and not either appoint a leader or give any instructions. It makes this book read like filler.
- There being no clear second-in-command after Jake, the alliances line up interestingly. Rachel has Cassie as a best friend and Tobias as a romantic interest, so both are more sympathetic to her with Jake gone. Since Ax won't take a stand and his closest friend in the group is also Tobias who is loyal to Rachel, it's clear that when it comes to people willing to follow her, Rachel wins IF the people who love her would actually vote for her. But since Marco is a very good strategist, he would be a good candidate for second-in-command if the others were willing to follow him. His downfall is his caution and indecisiveness, according to Rachel.
- A creature called a Garatron is introduced in this book. It is Andalite-like, but very fast in both movement and speech.
- When the Animorphs are wrecking a toy store, Cassie expresses that Marco should leave the books alone because she feels books are sacred. At the time that Cassie tells him not to wreck anything there, he's standing poised to knock over a section called "Intermediate Series." That's the category the Animorphs books were generally shelved in. Funny.
- There are a couple of errors where someone who has already spoken ends up being given a second line immediately afterwards on a new paragraph as if speakers have changed, but they haven't. It's hard to follow.
- Jake and Rachel refer to there being six Animorphs in this book. In other books they suggest that Ax isn't an "Animorph" because Andalites in the military all morph and don't need a special name to indicate their morphing capabilities. But it makes more sense to call Ax an Animorph since it stands for "Animal Morpher" and he does that, and is part of their team. This is just an inconsistency.
Marco: "But, and no offense, Ax-man, this job is going to require pretty intimate contact with humans. With, uh, society. And let's face it, you still don't accept Earth hours as your own hours. And your favorite TV shows are 'These Messages.' Not good."
Rachel: Being the leader is mostly about other people.
Cassie: "Uh, Marco, you do know Teletubbies are for preschoolers, right?"
Ax: "Eh-oh, Laa-Laa. Big hug."
Tobias: "Okay, that does it, Ax. We need to think about turning off your TV."
Marco: "You're right. But you might want to consider one of those leadership workshops, Rachel. The ones that teach communication skills. Like how not to be a jerk."
Marco: "We have an hour to save your best friend, Jake's girlfriend, and the entire human race. You got us into this, now get us out."
Rachel: I had a terrible idea. A suicidal idea. I half smiled at Marco. "You wanted insane? I've got some insane."
Rachel: "I screwed up. Big time."
Jake: "How many Animorphs were there when you started?"
Jake: "And now?"
Rachel: "Still six."
Next book: The Arrival, Animorphs #38