Jan 23, 2019

The Warning

Animorphs #16
by K.A. Applegate

This one had me hooked again. In spite of its silly moments (some very literal potty humor, which Ax totally does not get) it turns very serious and dark near the end. Please be advised, if you haven't read this far in the series, there will be spoilers--.

At the beginning, it occurs to one of the Animorphs to type "Yeerk" into a search engine- and what do you know, they find some websites about their alien enemies, including a (very clunky) chat room. They can't quite tell if the anonymous users are humans in the know, or Yeerks posing as such in order to set a trap. But they can't ignore the possibility of finding more people who actually know about the alien war, so they try to hack the system to learn their identities. It doesn't work. Their next plan (which baffled me) is to travel to the headquarters of the online company that runs the chat room, and access the system there. It's very dated, technologically. But amusing. They travel via plane in the form of flies- and Jake experiences some serious trauma- he nearly dies in fly morph when someone swats him- is actually loosing consciousness as his friends pull him to safety- and struggles to pull himself together afterward. A big part of this book is about Jake's difficulty continuing in the leadership role- it's incredibly stressful, he's often at a loss to make the best decision especially under pressure, and his friends start to lash out when his choice goes wrong, or he can't tell them what to do, instantly. In fact at the end of the book Jake and Cassie have a heated argument over a serious moral issue- and it doesn't get resolved.

Several times moral quandaries come up. When at the company headquarters, some of the team immediately suggest secretly morphing the employees so they can gain access without drawing attention- but is it okay to use another person's DNA without their knowledge or consent? Later they attempt to break into a rich person's fortressed mansion- their first attempt to scope out the place as birds of prey goes awry, Rachel gets stunned and trapped inside the building, Ax is nearly torn apart by the guard dogs- so Jake acquires a new morph of rhinoceros and simply storms the place by force. What they discover inside is a shocker. The guy they were hoping to find is a Yeerk- not only that, he is a renegade and survives without the special Yeerk pool by cannibalizing his own kind. This means doing away with the innocent people who are the other Yeerks' hosts, which makes Cassie immediately want to kill this guy, but Jake stops her- letting him live since he's killing lots of Yeerks on a regular basis. So which is the lesser evil? It ends on that note.

My only issue with this book is I find it so improbable how readily the enemy explains things to the Animorphs when they have a confrontation in the last chapter or so- of course it neatly explains things to the reader as well, but really? who would just tell it all like that.

Read this one as an e-book.

Rating: 3/5                 160 pages, 1998

more opinions:
Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tales


Thistle said...

I liked the conflict about morphing into other humans or not. While I don't agree with their decision in this book, it was still interesting to read. I can see why they made it, but this is a war, and they have no resources, no numbers, compared to their enemy. They should not hamstring themselves more than they have to.

Jeane said...

I think you're right. Jake was counting numbers in his head of how many enemy the visser's twin would take out- and Cassie had a gut reaction to the way the dude stayed alive, but I kept thinking: this is a very powerful member of the enemy, even if he isn't doing anything active right NOW, he could be dangerous later on.

Thistle said...

Yeah. I try to cut them slack because they're teenagers. Not only do they have no experience with war, they have little life experience. They are improving, but they need to improve a heck of a lot faster.

I'm so curious about how the series is going to end!