[identity profile] frenchroast.livejournal.com
Okay, I'm a terrible person (maybe not as terrible as David) because it's been a year since the last re-read, AND I left us hanging 2/3 of the way through a story arc. But let's move on now, shall we?

<Ax? Tell me something. When Jake sent you to get help, why did you come for me and not Marco or Cassie?>
<Prince Jake was specific. Get Rachel.>
<Did he say why?>
Ax hesitated a moment. Then he said, <Jake told me Tobias was probably dead. I said this was a terrible thing. And Prince Jake said, "Yes. If David's killed Tobias, we may have to do a terrible thing, too. Get Rachel.">

First off, this is one of my favorite books, if only for the number of emotional punches contained within. This is the first time the other Animorphs start to realize that Jake has become more than just the guy calling the shots--he's using them. Because he's a good leader, he's using them in ways that make sense, but subtly, possibly without even realizing it, and realizing what that means for each of them based on what Jake values them for is interesting. And of course, for Rachel, it's somewhat disturbing.

On top of that, we've got a guy who they tried to save, a guy who is only alive and free because they intervened, and he's trying to kill them. Not to mention, the whole leaders of the free world meet-up they've got to keep the Yeerks from taking advantage of. I love the way they handle stopping the Yeerks here, because it's actually the closest to fun they seem to have had in awhile. It's a bright spot of levity in what is an otherwise extremely dark book.

Then of course, there's the solution they come up with--or really, that Cassie comes up with--for handling David after he's made it clear they can't just leave him to his own devices. It's brilliant, but is it really the best solution? Should they have just killed him and been done with it? I always wonder just how Ax and Rachel really dealt with what they had to listen to at the end.

What did you like about this book? What did you not expect? How do you think you'd have reacted to everything if you had been David?

Next time: #23 The Pretender--the Ellimist continues to fuck with Tobias!
[identity profile] frenchroast.livejournal.com
Before we get started, I wanted to apologize for getting behind on these re-reads. I read this book weeks ago, and then I unexpectedly got a kitten, and I kept forgetting to do the re-read post because kittens are a lot more demanding than I remembered. I will try to have the next re-read post up more quickly. So, again, sorry! I will try to be a better, timelier mod that this community deserves.

≺If the Yeerks don't get you, we will, ≻ I said.

≺Yeah, I know, ≻ David acknowledged. ≺But already there used to be six of
you and now there are just five. Pretty soon, Jake, it'll be four.≻

I've always thought of this as kind of the Empire Strikes Back of the Animorphs books, mainly because it's the middle of an epic trilogy. Right down to the whole "IT'S A TRAP!" when the Animorphs confront Visser Three. Which sort of makes Tobias like Han Solo, only not frozen in carbonite, and David's not exactly Lando. Definitely not as smooth. My analogy is falling apart.

Anyway. Looking back now, it seems obvious that things with David go the way they do, but I remember when I read this the first time, I was completely surprised by the idea that he'd actually betray them. Probably because I wanted to be an Animorph so much, it was hard to understand how anyone could try to kill them.

I would've liked to have seen this happen further in the series/with more build-up. I think if they had ever reached a point of actually trusting him (or more of them trusting him than not) and *then* had David turn on them because of building resentment for all the things that made him turn on the Animorphs in this trilogy, it would've been more interesting. Say, a six or seven book arc instead of just three. If only because it seems a little too quick for them to expect him to actually participate in their missions--a more sensible option would've been to have Erek the Chee pretend to be one of them and keep an eye on him while they were off focusing on this big mission, or anything that wouldn't have plunged him right into everything. Even so, I still have trouble getting how he could, even in the heat of the moment, consider turning to the guy that enslaved his parents for protection; I can't see myself doing that, especially not if I were in any form that might let me go after the dude instead.

Any other thoughts? Agree with me? Think I'm crazy? If you were in David's shoes, and you'd lost your parents/home/everything and were suddenly expected to fight in a crazy war against aliens, would you even be able to cope with that, let alone fight in the war against the Yeerks?

Next time: #22 The Solution--Trapped like a rat!
[identity profile] frenchroast.livejournal.com
"What are we gonna do, run an ad in the newspaper? 'Help Wanted: danger, nightmares, big-time creepiness, no pay? Have you ever wanted to turn into a bug and fight brain-stealing aliens? Well, call 1-800-Animorph.' "

Obviously, this is an important book for the Animorphs, since it kicks off the David trilogy. We get the morphing cube back, which will have a huge impact on the books that come much later. For the first time, we get a new Animorph. We find out that one of the world leaders in the G8 is a Yeerk. It's a lot. I'm trying hard to remember my thoughts the first time I read this, because of course with hindsight, we all know that Ax and Marco are right to not want to add David to the Animorphs. I do remember being really excited about getting a new Animorph, though I was also disappointed that it wasn't going to be a girl.

So, questions for everyone: does anyone think David planned to leave and/or betray the Animorphs right away, or was it a result of something else? Should they have thought through the morphs they had David initially acquire (like maybe no golden eagle, given how it could take out their other bird morphs)? Did everyone enjoy the "Earthling, your son ditched school" line from Marco as much as I did? Can anyone play Clue without thinking of a partially-knocked out Tobias? Has anyone tried to figure out exactly which Marriott Hotel on the coast the G8 leaders were meeting at?

Next time: #21 The Threat--David completely betrays the Animorphs!
[identity profile] frenchroast.livejournal.com

She laughed bitterly. ≺You think we can make peace between human and Yeerk and Andalite? Don't be stupid.≻

≺No, I don't think we can make peace between all humans and all Yeerks and all Andalites. But you and I can have peace. One Yeerk, one human.≻

This is a huge book in terms of tonal shift for this series. I've always thought that this book is where the war loses a lot of its black and white "Andalites/Humans vs. Yeerks" and becomes more grey, more muddled, and more confusing. We learn that not all the Yeerks want to enslave humans, especially not children, but that they also feel trapped and caught up in this war.

I can't say that I really agreed with many of Cassie's decisions in this book, but I also don't think they came out of nowhere, or that she had bad reasons for her decisions. They were all reaching a breaking point, and it's no surprise to me that the Animorph who least liked violence is the first to say "enough."

I love what KA did with the caterpillar/butterfly "natural morph." It also makes me wonder what creatures on the Andalite home world have natural morphs, and if one of them was Escafil's original inspiration for the morphing cube? We'll never know, I suppose.

My only issue with this book is, if Aftran gave up making Karen a Controller and opted to just stay in the Yeerk pool, and Karen apparently wasn't re-infested (since I'd assume a new Yeerk would've ratted the Animorphs out ASAP), how did Karen get out of reporting stuff about her father? Did she have to pretend to be a Controller? That seems like the most logical thing to have happened, but it still puts her in danger. Anyone else have a theory?

Next time: #20 The Discovery--The first book in the David arc. It's Morphing Cube Time!
Mod Note: These next three books, I would like to do in quick succession, simply because they're one story arc, but I do still want to discuss the books individually. I'm thinking one book per week, with a fourth week devoted to the arc as a whole. Does that sound good?
[identity profile] frenchroast.livejournal.com
We were at the mall. At the place where the excellent food places are. I was in human morph. Behaving perfectly like a human. "Exactly, Rachel. Eggs-ACT-lee. Zactly. We arrived back at the precise moment when we were snatched away. We were all yanked away at the same moment, so naturally we all arrived back at the same moment. Yanked. Yanked is a strange word. Yank. Yank-kut."

"Yeah," Marco said. "
That's what's strange: the word 'yanked.' Us turning into mosquitoes to suck some guy's blood so we could morph into him and instead ending up in the middle of some war to control psychic yellow frogs, and oh, by the way, blowing up a small continent full of Yeerks, saving an entire species, then getting back here to find out Coma-man woke up from a mosquito bite delivered by a morphed alien-slash-deer-slash-scorpion-slash-four-eyed centaur, that's all totally normal. That's just an average day. Dear Diary: another boring average day, till someone said 'yanked.'"

First, I want to apologize for getting behind with the series re-reads. I normally do these during my down-time at work, and I haven't had any down-time, and I got behind in my reading on top of that, but it shouldn't be a problem in the future.

Second, am I the only one who forgot a ton of what happened in this book? Marco summarizes it pretty well in the above quote. I think my favorite thing about this book is the Animorphs getting a chance to interact with Andalites that aren't Ax or Elfangor, and what that means for how they approach the war with the Yeerks after this--they start to realize that if the Andalites come, it's A) going to be awhile and B) they might not be the kind of saviors they've been expecting. I think the tone of the books after this shifts much darker. Also, the Leerans have always been my favorite "outside alien" species--at one point, I started writing a Leeran Chronicles fanfic (which, given how old I was when I started writing it, has thankfully never been read by anyone but me).

What are your thoughts? What do you think about Leera, and the Leerans? What did you take away from the Animorphs' interaction with the Andalites? Also, what do you think happened with Aldershot--did the Yeerks eventually get to him or not? Did you like this book or hate it? And, most importantly, when's the last time you had a Cinnabon?

Next time: MM#2 In the Time of Dinosaurs--Sario Rips! Broccoli! T-REX MORPHS!
[identity profile] frenchroast.livejournal.com
"It's OAT-freaking-MEAL!" Marco exploded.

I'm going to come right out and say that I've always liked this book, mostly for the randomness that is Instant Maple and Ginger oatmeal. Has anyone ever found any at the grocery store, though? I remember looking for it after reading this book, and the closest I could find was Maple and Brown Sugar flavored.

Other questions: What do you think happened with George Edelman and the other Controllers with oatmeal-addicted Yeerks trapped in their heads after the war? Have you ever ordered a Happy Meal with extra Happy?

And on a more serious note, on what side do you fall on the should they/shouldn't they use the oatmeal against the Yeerks? Personally, I say the Yeerks brought it on themselves, so I had no problems with it going directly into the Yeerk pool, but I can also understand the argument against, considering it dooms the hosts to be Controllers forever, and we don't exactly know how much it takes or if the Yeerks in the pool would be able to get inside of hosts or not. I wish they could've focused on the voluntary Controllers, because in that case, I figure those who continued to be willing hosts after they realized what was happening are asking for it. Thoughts?

Next time: #18 The Decision--Leerans! Mosquitos! Z-space!
[identity profile] frenchroast.livejournal.com
"Why is it working so slowly? Lee. Slooooow-lee?" Ax asked...
"Look, Space-boy, this is the fastest modem around, okay?" Marco said defensively. "Fifty-six thousand bits per second."
thousand? Not millions, at least? Mill-yuns. Millie-yuns." He laughed. "I like that word. It makes nice sounds in my human mouth."

This book, more than possibly any of the Animorphs books, as we can all tell from the quote above, is probably the most dated when you read it now. But it's actually not just the computer/web-related stuff that dates it--the Animorphs' whole scheme to sneak onto a plane to get to Web Access America (aka: the Animorphs-verse AOL) would probably never work today--for one, nowadays you can't even get near airplane gates without a boarding pass. Did anyone catch anything else?

Despite the disconnect the book has between then and today, I can't help but really enjoy this book, dated though it is. I love the reveal about who Joe Bob Fenestre really is, and I wish there had been more pursuit of that in future books. It also does a good job of tackling the issues Jake is having as a leader, and in a way sets up issues and character dynamics that go all the way to the end of the series. The scenes with Jake's family, the way he describes Rachel, the way Jake leans on Cassie...knowing how the series ends actually gives this book more of a punch than it had the first time I read it.

This was probably the book I was most looking forward to KA reworking for the new releases simply because I had no idea how she would be able to do it and preserve the bulk of the story, so I'm sad those were discontinued before we reached this point; it might have been like getting a partially new book.

Next time: #17 The Underground--Be sure to pick up a Happy Meal with extra Happy!

Mod note: I'm going to try to do these re-reads every two or three weeks from here on out; doing them less frequently than that makes it harder to remember to post them.
[identity profile] frenchroast.livejournal.com
Sub-Visser Seven strutted to meet the alien. He laughed cynically. “It wants to trade,” he said. “This strange creature wants to trade. So. What do you have to trade, alien?”
Neither Sub-Visser Seven nor Chapman had understood a word the other had said. And yet, they understood each other perfectly. Chapman kept his hands raised and made a human smile. Then, very slowly, he stepped back into the shadowed interior of the ship. And when he reappeared, he was shoving someone before him. It was Loren. She was bound with wire. Chapman pushed her viciously. She fell to the ground before Sub-Visser Seven.
“That's what I have to trade,” Chapman said. “A whole planet full of. . . that.”

We've had a few discussions about events from The Andalite Chronicles recently. One thing I'm interested in is the difference between Chapman in this book versus #2/the rest of the series. What do you think caused the change from the guy we see here, who's willing to give up his entire species/planet to be on what he thinks will be the winning side, to the guy we see in #2, who fights to save his daughter? Is it just personal (his daughter vs. billions of strangers) or is there more to it? Or do you think the Ellimist or the Time Matrix had a hand in the change, since there's a lot of tangled threads resulting from that interference?

Is it really Elfangor's fault that Alloran became the Abomination--and what do you think of his choice not to kill thousands of Yeerks versus Jake's opposite decision in the final book, and the consequences related to both?

Most importantly, if you found a yellow Mustang on an alien ship, would you give it a whirl?

Of course, there's a lot more to unpack from this particular book; if you want to talk about something not brought up here, feel free.

For an in-depth look at the book, check out That Other Animorphs Review Blog. It's got a good refresher for those of you who haven't had time to crack open the book.

Next Time: #14 The Unknown
[identity profile] frenchroast.livejournal.com
The Ellimist didn’t laugh. “Tobias, you are a beginning. You are a point on which an entire time line may turn.”

I want to start this re-read discussion with a question: what are your thoughts about what the Ellimist did for Tobias regarding morphing/being human? Was it fair? Was it what Tobias really wanted? How do you think the series would've been different if Tobias had been changed back to human, with (or even without) the ability to morph?

Also, this was the first time we got a good look at the other half of the Yeerk's shock troops, the Hork Bajir. How did this book change what you thought about them?

Next time: The Andalite Chronicles
[identity profile] frenchroast.livejournal.com
Not a good night's sleep. My dad came in from the next room at about four in the morning to tell me I woke him up talking in my sleep.
"You were yelling, 'Crocodile not alligator!'" he said.
Fortunately, he just figured it was stress from the insane day I'd had. He was right. But he didn't know half of it.

Time to get back on the wagon with the series reread. This time, we're discussing #12 The Reaction. Allergic reactions! Jeremy Jason McCole (everyone's favorite Jonathan Taylor Thomas doppleganger)! What did you like, what did you hate? In short, what are your thoughts?

Mod note: Sorry for the huge gap between re-read posts. I'm going to be doing them on a biweekly basis from here on out, and I'll do them in the order they were released. So that no one gets caught off-guard for the discussion, I'll be sure to let you know which book will be the next re-read.

Next time: #13 The Change
blue_rampion: (See my Modhat)
[personal profile] blue_rampion
"There's been an accident. Someone crash-landed a Yeerk Bug fighter. And the Yeerks have been trying to cover it up - quickly. But not before Tobias spots it. So the Animorphs and Ax decide to steal the ship to show the world that Earth has been invaded.

That's when things go terribly wrong. Before they know it, Jake, the Animorphs, and Ax find themselves in another place. Another time. And there's no way home..."

Review by Cinnamon Bunzuh
Video review by Poparena (Part One & Part Two)

(Sorry this is late guys, I've been away and my attempts to post this from my ipad just ended up being too much of a nightmare.)
blue_rampion: (See my Modhat)
[personal profile] blue_rampion
"When Marco runs into his old friend Erek he doesn't think too much of it. He's got a couple of more important things to do. Like helping to save the world. But then Marco finds out Erek's been hanging with some of the kids at The Sharing. And he starts to think that something just a little weird is going on.

So Marco, Jake, and Ax decide to morph and check old Erek out. Just to see if he's been infested with a Yeerk. The good news is that Erek's not a human-Controller. The bad news is that Erek's not even human..."

Review by Cinnamon Bunzuh
Video review by Poparena (Part One & Part Two)
blue_rampion: (See my Modhat)
[personal profile] blue_rampion
"There's something pretty weird going on in the woods behind Cassie's house. The place where Ax and Tobias call home. It seems the Yeerks have figured out one very important thing: Andalites cannot survive without a feeding ground. Visser Three knows the "Andalite bandits" don't feed where he does, so there can only be one other place.

Now Cassie, Marco, Jake, Rachel, Tobias, and Ax have to figure out a way to stop a bogus logging camp. Because if Visser Three finds Ax in the woods, nothing will stop him from finding the Animorphs..."

Review by Cinnamon Bunzuh
Video review by Poparena (Part One & Part Two)

(Sorry this is a little late going up, guys!)
blue_rampion: (See my Modhat)
[personal profile] blue_rampion
"We never should have done it. But we needed a break. You know, some time off from the superhero stuff. A chance to act like normal kids. Well -- as normal as four kids who can morph, a hawk, and an alien can be. Everything should have been cool.

Now Rachel is missing. And there's this...this thing that's after us. But it's not up to me to tell the whole story. Tobias, Cassie, Marco, and Ax were there, too. Even Rachel has some info to add. So go ahead and check this out. And remember not to tell anyone what we're about to tell you. It could mean the difference between life and death. Or worse..."

And now we go back in time (okay, back in time by only one book, but still) to look at Megamorphs #1! We're also doing something new - to start off the discussion, I'm linking two of the other revies of #8 already floating around the net (if anyone know of any other good ones, tell me and I can include them too).

Review by Cinnamon Bunzuh
Video review by Poparena (Part One & Part Two)
blue_rampion: (See my Modhat)
[personal profile] blue_rampion
"Ax is an Andalite, an alien, stranded on a strange planet he’s sworn to defend, even though it’s not his own. Since the Animorphs rescued him, he’s fought at their side, and in that time they’ve come to consider Ax a friend.

But deep inside, Ax knows he isn’t their friend. He can’t ever be. Andalites must always hold themselves apart, even from their allies. As the Animorphs’ past actions start resulting in deaths of innocent people, however, Ax’s loyalty is called into question. Now he must decide whether to reveal the reason for his estrangement — the shameful secret of his people."

The first book from Ax's point of view, and according to recent news possibly also the last one to be re-released. (I'll be putting up a new post soon to discuss this, since if the republishing is cancelled I obviously won't be able to keep posting these according to when the books come out. So, keep an eye out for that. Edit: You can now find this post here)
blue_rampion: (See my Modhat)
[personal profile] blue_rampion
"The last time Rachel and her friends entered the giant Yeerk pool beneath their town things went very bad. This time they plan to be careful, and sneak in as roaches, just to spy. Once they’re inside, though, the team gets caught. But right as things are looking their most dire, everything stops. Everything. Then Rachel and the Animorphs hear a voice. It belongs to a very old, very powerful being, and it says it can save them. But if it does, the Earth will be defenseless."

Sorry this is so late guys, real life has been kinda seriously insane. But better late than never, so here's the re-read! No discussion questions this time, as I have run out. (Unless Scholastic has put up more and I just haven't noticed. Which is entirely possible.)
blue_rampion: (See my Modhat)
[personal profile] blue_rampion
"It was bad when Jake found out his brother was one of them—a Human-Controller, a slave. But that was nothing compared to what he’s dealing with now. When the Animorphs decide to visit the Yeerk’s new base, it seems simple. But then they get caught and Jake falls—just for a moment—into the Yeerk pool. Now they’re out, and his friends can’t see it. To them he’s just like normal. But Jake is screaming for help. His worst fear has finally come true. He’s become the enemy."

This book makes the last one that I have Scholastic's 'Discussion Questions' for, so alas this will be the final time we have them. (Unless anyone wants to make their own for next time?)
blue_rampion: (See my Modhat)
[personal profile] blue_rampion
"Marco never wanted to be an Animorph. He didn’t want the ability to change into any animal he touches. And he certainly didn’t want to be one of a handful of kids that are the planet’s only defense against a secret alien army. His friends know why he feels the way he does. He’s worried about his dad — the only family Marco has left. If anything happens to him, his father will be alone. But something big is about to change for Marco. Something that could finally give him a reason to fight."

I must admit this one's a favourite of mine - it's the first time we really start to get a good look at Marco, we've got the introduction of Visser One, and some good old fashioned nightmare fuel. There's definitely a lot going on with this book - so, what do you think about the events of #5?
blue_rampion: (See my Modhat)
[personal profile] blue_rampion
"It all started with the dreams. But Cassie didn’t pay much attention to them. She and her friends have been having nightmares ever since they acquired the power to morph. But when Cassie discovers that Tobias has been having dreams too — the exact same dreams — about the ocean, and a voice that’s calling to them for help, she decides it’s time to start listening. Now she and the others have to figure out if the dreams are a message, or a trap."

Magic talking whales, anyone?

[No non-spoilery edition this time around, since [livejournal.com profile] reanimorphs hasn't really taken off]
blue_rampion: (See my Modhat)
[personal profile] blue_rampion
"When Tobias and his friends were given the power to morph, they were also given an important warning: Never stay in a morph for more than two hours. But Tobias broke the time limit, and now he’s trapped in the body of a hawk — forever. When he discovers an important Yeerk secret, Tobias knows he has to do everything in his power to destroy it. But to do so, he’ll have to contend with a part of himself that’s wrestling for control. A part that isn’t human."

For a lot of people (myself included), #3 was the book that got them into the series. Do you think that this book will have the same impact and importance for this generation's readers?

[This is the spoilery discussion post for this book! If you want to see the spoiler-free version and have fun discussing the book without considering the rest of the series, head over to here for the one at [livejournal.com profile] reanimorphs.]


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