Book 9: The Secret
Publishing Date: June 1997
When the Animorphs discover the Yeerks are going to start logging the national forest behind Cassie’s farm to flush out the ‘Andalite bandits’, the team decide the parasitic aliens must be stopped. Everyone thinks it’s to save Ax, except for Cassie, who doesn’t want her precious trees cut down because that will affect the wildlife.
To stop the Yeerks, the gang decide to morph termites. Termites are similar to ants, yo, except apparently even worse. After nearly getting stuck as a mindless termite slave, Cassie kills the queen to save her friends, and then has an existential crisis as she tries to figure out if killing some stupid bug is worse than what the Yeerks do – namely mass genocide and slavery. It gets a bit preachy.
Cassie goes off on one of her environmental crusades and saves some baby skunks. She can’t figure out how Tobias can eat a baby skunk then try to save the rest. Uh, because he’s not wallowing in morality and feeling sorry for himself like you are, Cassie? Sometimes I think that Tobias has a better sense of nature and predator vs prey than our resident animal expert, the queen of nature. It’s easy to judge when you’re at the top of the food chain. But Tobias is both predator and prey, and he gets how the real world works. Sometimes I wonder if Cassie is simply too sheltered to really ‘get it’.
Incidentally, the skunk morph is the only way to defeat a dozen Hork-Bajir and save the day. Who knew the tree-lovers would have such a good sense of smell? And Andalites? The poor bastards don’t have mouths, so they have no choice but to smell everything.
There are some hilariously funny moments in the book, namely when Ax very calmly informs the Animorphs that the skunk musk makes him feel deranged and he may run away in panic. The termite section is written especially well, because it creeps up on you and smothers you like a well-meaning blanket. But overall, there isn’t anything vitally important to the series in this book, unless you really want to read page after page of Cassie feeling bad for herself and having that crisis of nature I mentioned earlier. You could skip it if you didn’t have time to read everything without missing anything.
Join me for a review of Book #10: The Android next week!