Review: The Underground

Series: Animorphs: #17

A secret weapon against the Yeerks?

Cassie suddenly laughed. It was a cynical laugh. I didn’t know she was capable of a cynical laugh. “And all the rights and wrongs, and all the lines between good and evil, just go wafting and waving and swirling around, don’t they?”

Yeah. Of course things couldn’t be that easy.

It’s another in the series continuing to dig into just how terrible some of the things these kids (and don’t get me wrong–they are so young for any of this) find themselves doing. For the most part, they’ve survived unscathed. And they have a certain amount of plot immunity. But even that, you can’t expect to hold out forever.

In any case, it’s an intense book, somewhat offset (and at times I would even say weakened) by the constant ridiculousness of said ‘secret weapon’. One strange bit, so far as I remember… it’s never mentioned again. Perhaps I’m just not remembering it, it has been a while, but it seems a weird thing to drop.

But worth the (re-)read.


Random thoughts (spoilers):

The ongoing thread making light about a former(ish) Controller with a now insane Yeerk in his head getting committed is… both amusing and more than a bit insensitive.

Cassie sighed. “I don’t think the patients probably like to be called nuts,” she said.

“Of course not,” I agreed. “They’d have to be nuts to want to be called nuts.”

Marco gave me a discreet low five behind my back.

<Cassie’s right. It’s not politically correct to call nuts nuts,> Tobias said.

Cassie looked at me. “You know, I could swear I heard that bird talking. I must be nuts.”

It feels very teenager. So power to that I suppose.

Speaking of which, now that I’m in a more spoilery section, let’s talk about the secret weapon:

A food that could destroy Yeerks! “What is the food, Mr. Edelman?”

“Oatmeal,” he said. “But only the instant kind. And then, only the maple and ginger flavor.” He shook his head. “Yeerks cannot resist the addiction, once exposed. And they slowly, but surely, drive themselves mad. There are dozens of men and women like me. In places like this. On the streets. Or worse.”

… but why.

And then we have scenes like this:

<What about the Happy Meal?> Cassie asked.

<Why is the meal happy?> Ax asked.

Tobias decided to answer Cassie’s question. <That’s how you signal. That’s the code. You go up to the counter and say “I’d like a Happy Meal. With extra happy.” That’s the signal.>

So… do Yeerks have a sense of humor or not? Because that’s delightfully surreal.