Return to The Test (essay)

Book #43 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 TEST

Animorphs #43
by K.A. Applegate

Summarized Plot:

Tobias feels good about helping a lost boy get found, but he took a risk to do it--he thought-spoke to the boy and to his father, and ends up getting some newspaper fame for his trouble. But since some well-meaning clinic folks found him after he was injured, he's trapped in a cage in a facility trying to heal him.

Then one night, attracted by the publicity, Hork-Bajir come in and try to steal him. A group of human-Controllers counters, making it look like two factions of Yeerks are fighting to get him. Tobias ends up being stolen by Taylor, his old torturer from a previous book. But she doesn't do what he expects; she tells him part of the Yeerk population is rebelling against the current administration, and she wants his help striking against the Yeerk pool under the town.

After some confusion, the Animorphs negotiate with Taylor and come to a plan involving Ax and Tobias morphing Taxxons to dig a path to the Yeerk pool, which Taylor will fill with natural gas and kill them all (including the hosts). But since Taylor has quite a history of deception, they don't know if they can believe her, even though striking at the Yeerk pool sounds really promising.

Cassie is morally opposed to killing innocents in the pool, so she abstains from the mission. Tobias and Ax have to face the fierce Taxxon hunger as they dig the tunnel, but when Taylor becomes a double-crosser in a way they didn't quite expect, they have to figure out her motivation and what it has to do with the enemies of the Yeerks. . . .

About this book:

Narrator: Tobias

New known controllers:

  • Ms. Powell, a math teacher
  • Brent Starr, a news anchor

New morphs acquired:

  • Jake: None
  • Cassie: None
  • Marco: None
  • Rachel: None
  • Ax: Taxxon
  • Tobias: Human (Taylor), Taxxon

Notable:

  • This book was ghostwritten by Ellen Geroux.

  • Tobias is trying to rescue little Bobby, but has to go for help because he "doesn't have a morph that can haul Bobby out of there." Tobias's large land morphs include a polar bear, a horse, and a bull, not to mention his own human self; "I don't have a morph for that" seems like a poor excuse.

  • When Tobias is imprisoned after getting injured, he claims he can't morph even though the Yeerks might come and get him, because there are video cameras recording him. After the humans left, it would have been much more practical to morph into a fly and get out of the cage than it was to just sit and wait to be found. Tobias seems to be making a lot of stupid decisions in this book.

  • This book incorrectly uses the term "jerry-rigged." The accepted terms are jerry-built" or "jury-rigged." Something that's "jerry-built" is inexpertly thrown together and it's always an insulting term. "Jury-rigged" just means that you rather ingeniously thought of a temporary solution.

  • This book again mentions "AOL," even though their fake version of AOL in a previous book was called "Web Access America."

  • In this book they say that Taxxons are only given as hosts to low-ranking Yeerks, because their insane hunger is very hard to master. But in a previous book, it's established that two of the Council members--the highest-ranking Yeerks in existence--have Taxxon hosts (albeit Taxxon hosts who are fed scraps of meat nearly constantly).

  • Two new Andalite terms are introduced in this book: unschweet, which is a process of cutting an Andalite's fur as a dishonor, and notallssith, which means being unable to control a morph.

  • It's been said in other books that sometimes Yeerks try to escape a dying host's head "before the death reaches them." And yet in this book Taylor suggests she will survive if she crouches inside the skull of her host inside a reinforced metal shell. It seems like if the host dies, she should die too regardless of whether the Yeerk's physical body is preserved--unless she disengages completely from the brain somehow, and that isn't specified.

Best lines:

Tobias: I didn't realize that torture doesn't end when you're freed.

Tobias: Ever have something work out so perfectly, you feel you could fly? That's how I felt--and the cool thing was, I could actually do it. I could actually fly.

Taylor: "Good. It would be much harder to solicit help from an Andalite who's dead."
Tobias: Help? Yeah, and Rachel will pass up a sale at Express, Crayak will win the Nobel Peace Prize, a Yeerk slug will turn down a promotion.

Barista: "Uh, what can I get you?"
Taylor: "Decaf latte with skim."
Tobias (in morph as Taylor): "Triple espresso. Heavy on the cream and the sugar."
Taylor: "You dare abuse my body, you filthy grass eater?"

Marco: "Well then, what am I waiting for? Sign me up! An army of cold, power-hungry Yeerks can't control the Taxxons. Not to worry. The short kid who got a B-minus in gym won't have any problems."
Rachel: "You got a B-minus in gym?"

Marco (when Ax in Taxxon morph won't move or answer): "It's a comprehensive system failure. Can't be fixed on-site. We'll have to haul this beauty back to the shop."



Next book: The Unexpected, Animorphs #44

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