Book #20 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 DISCOVERY

Animorphs #20 (a.k.a. the first book in the "David Trilogy")
by K.A. Applegate

Summarized Plot:

The Animorphs thought the blue box that gave them their morphing powers was destroyed along with Elfangor's ship, but apparently it hasn't been since Marco sees some kid named David walking around with it at school. David makes a dumb move and advertises the device on the internet to try to sell it, which makes Visser Three very interested. The Animorphs try to get the box, but during their second attempt a battle ensues and the Yeerks get David's parents. David isn't able to go home, and the Animorphs decide to adopt him and make him part of their team (since they now have the capability to give others the morphing power with the device). However, Marco believes David might be a poor choice for their first Animorph convert; he has some suspicious personality traits that rub Marco the wrong way. Despite that, they give him the morphing power and get him some morphs he can use, and then he's included in his first mission: a world leaders' meeting is happening nearby, and Erek the Chee told them at least one of the leaders is already a Controller. They need to figure out which one and more about the Yeerks' plans, but when they see the President's helicopter get abducted and invade the Yeerk Blade ship, they find out that Visser Three has kidnapped the President for morphing purposes, and they barely have time to figure out what to do about it before they fall out of the President's helicopter and into the air, ending on a cliffhanger.

About this book:

Narrator: Marco

New known controllers:

  • David's dad
  • David's mom
  • At least one of the world leaders coming to a secret meeting Security guards at the hotel

New morphs acquired:

Notable:

  • K.A. Applegate, despite being a female writer, does a pretty good job writing males sometimes. (Not that that should be surprising; it's just notable.) Marco has been pointed out to be sort of unintentionally sexist and sort of entitled sometimes, and his attempts to "compliment" women by saying something offensive and then being whiny about them not taking his compliments right was handled realistically.

  • We learn that the morphing cube that gives people morphing powers is called the Escafil Device.

  • Cassie's risky behavior in the previous book had repercussions: Marco doesn't trust her much at all and is still dealing with that. It's nice to see that the risks she took and the way she endangered everyone had a lasting effect in a realistic fashion.

  • It's unclear why Tobias didn't steal the morphing cube when he had the chance. It seems a lot more likely that swooping in, grabbing it, and escaping would work much better than delaying--both because of possible interception and because multiple birds flying in the window is more likely to get noticed than just one. It also doesn't make sense that Tobias isn't big enough to carry the cube because when Rachel's larger bird morph is brought in, it's stated that she's too big to fit through the window.

  • It's unclear why David thinks he's playing it smart by having a time-delay on his e-mail. Sending out his address to a person who wants to come over and see his mysterious blue object only a little before he gets home from school "so the guy can't just rip him off while he's at school" makes no sense. If people wanted to rip him off, they could wait until the next day to come over if they wanted to, so who does he think he's fooling, and why couldn't he just send the mail once he was home?

  • Marco clicks on "the AOL icon" on a computer at one point, despite the fact that their AOL substitute in a previous book was called "Web Access America."

  • There seems to be a contradiction here in how e-mail works. Marco repeatedly refers to yanking out the phone cord as a way to stop David's e-mail from going out, so they must be on dial-up. But from context, it seems whatever ISP they use couldn't have been signed on for the e-mail to go out; if David has AOL, it's unlikely he has some alternate way to get online during the time this was written. (The phone was also used for a phone call during the time Marco was trying to access the AOL software, but it's possible the family had two phone lines.) How did the e-mail go out if nobody was signed on? I also don't think that mail could be set on a timer through AOL, but that could be incorrect; unsent mail was usually stored in a local (on the computer only) file, not a web-based one.

  • Marco notes at one point that he's had two, four, six, and eight legs but never no legs before becoming a snake. Technically, while morphing a trout, a dolphin, and a shark, he had no legs then either.

  • One of Visser Three's morphs is a monster called a Dule Fansa. It has cone-like protrusions at the ends of its arms that can become projectile weapons, and it is big and purple.

  • Marco notes that American citizenship is very important to him because his mother was born in another country.

  • The narration seems rather deliberate about not telling the reader what battle morph David was given, though it is revealed that he got it at the zoo. The next book reveals that it was in fact a lion.

  • This is the first cliffhanger-ending book since Animorphs started.

Best lines:

Marco: The Andalites are very, very advanced. I hear they even have a Web browser that actually works. Not to mention that whole faster-than-light space-travel thing.

Marco: "Look for a pool. It was sort of kidney-shaped."
Ax: "A pool? A Yeerk pool?"
Marco: "No, just a human pool."
Ax: "I've never heard of such a thing. Are they necessary for reproduction?"



Next book: The Threat, Animorphs #21

As with all affairs that involve a preliminary experience, the first kiss is infamous for playing the role of the gateway when leading one into the marvelous garden that is known to many as love. And so it was no exception to Queen Duanne, the honored royalty whose search for the elusive path to that delightful paradise will be witnessed by us.

Pressured into matrimony with another carrying the gift of royal lineage and prowess those many years ago, Queen Duanne felt strangely unfulfilled by such a milestone. It was true, all of her family rejoiced at the seemed resolution to her woes of solitude and the reassurance of being guaranteed a heir at last; she had felt indifferent toward her then-newlywed spouse, and many a night had passed with unfruitful introspection. Outsiders and friends of the royal family thought it odd that she did not appear to be at all actively appreciative of the fortunate circumstances of which she was a part, and these gossips troubled her and her empty marriage.

She weaved idly in her bower to hasten the monotonous pace of time, burdened by these everpresent unresolvations. Preoccupied with these rote tasks and yet also unfathomably plagued with ennui, she often caught herself examining other things in the meantime. It is to be noted that from the polished glass of the windows she could look into the neighboring flats and observe the people within, slaving away at their usual bourgeois matters. On this particular day there walked a fair dame rearranging the items of her own bower, and she had caught the eye of Queen Duanne.

It was not a glance of the usual admiration that girls often platonically bestow on each other, but an inexplicable fascination with her presence. The Queen had been staring at her for quite some time, and was startled when the woman had looked up and noticed the Queen's apparent interest. Queen Duanne felt suddenly awkward and stricken with an exciting panic, and dared herself to look back at the woman.

The woman was smiling, leaning over her ornately carved chair to display a glimpse of plump cleavage, which made the Queen turn red at once, pretending to herself that she was repulsed by her risqué behavior. Ashamed at having staked the possibility of kindling ever more rumors, the Queen promptly rose to pursue other matters that needed attending to.

All throughout the day, the sight of the mysterious woman of the window lingered on the Queen's mind. Unlike the problems that Queen Duanne was accustomed to entertaining, these new thoughts were pleasant. Surely she could not have enjoyed the interaction? She most certainly could not have been one of those women who pursued fleeting insubstantial affairs of trifling romance with other women, or so she had thought.

The Queen always fancied a stroll by night outside the palace walls to quell her restless thoughts. On that particular night, Queen Duanne was surprised to have discovered the woman similarly milling about on the cobblestoned roads, left deserted in the wake of midnight. Still shaken by the odd afternoon encounter, the Queen tried to avoid such sin-mongering mischief, but was drawn to the novelty of the woman's feminine nature. The Queen fixed her gaze upon the woman, who did so in return; establishing an unspoken communication, they retreated to an alcove. It was the woman who made the first move, holding the Queen by her waist and gracing her lips with one of those occasions of facial contact that is hard to come by. The Queen's skin was flushed, and, quite unsure of what to make of this newfound thrill, she wrapped her thin arms around the woman's shoulders in return, and if you had seen them, you would've thought that they were two cherubs descended from the goodness above to infuse the chilled air with the fire of attraction. The Queen knew at once what she was missing in her marriage, and the woman knew at once why the Queen rejoiced in her arms.

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