Book #9 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.


Animorphs #9
by K.A. Applegate

Summarized Plot:

Yeerks are trying to cut down the forest that Ax and Tobias hide in, because they think it's the only place a group of Andalites could be hiding. Cassie and the others must morph into termites to investigate a building guarded by a force field, but the experience is horrifying to Cassie when she has to kill a termite queen to survive. She also feels responsible for a skunk that got injured by Dracon beam fire (which was aimed at her group), so she decides to take care of the mother skunk's babies for her. She ends up having to face Visser Three with some creativity, taking into consideration all the laws of nature, including kill or be killed.

About this book:

Narrator: Cassie

New known controllers:

  • Guards of the building in the woods

New morphs acquired:

  • Jake: Termite, skunk
  • Cassie: Rat (white), termite, skunk
  • Marco: Termite, skunk
  • Rachel: Rat (white), termite, skunk
  • Ax: Termite, skunk


  • The kids who come in and randomly decide to try to kill Rachel and Cassie while they're in rat morph seem to lack real motivation. It seems possible that someone might try to kill a rat if it shows up unexpectedly and bothered them, but it seems very unlikely that these punks would go after rats and try to kill them with their own hands and feet. Rats are big. They aren't bugs. Squishing or smacking one would be really messy.
  • Sometimes it is not said when characters got their morphs, and in this case the great horned owl morph's acquisition is undetermined. It was clear from #6 that Cassie and either Marco or Rachel had this morph, and in subsequent books Rachel used the owl morph, but it wasn't said conclusively that Marco had it. Now in this book everyone morphs owls, including Ax (who didn't use an owl morph in #6 because he was pretending to be Jake). The most likely time for everyone but Jake to have acquired the owl was during #6, but since he has this morph too, at least some of the acquisition has to have been done behind the scenes.
  • Similarly, the termite acquisition appears to have been done mostly in the mall. It must be assumed that Ax either acquired it earlier or acquired it later offstage, because he cannot absorb animals' DNA when in his human morph.
  • The logging company is said to be called "Dapsen Lumber Company." According to Ax, the word "dapsen" is a rude word in the Yeerk language.
  • The commissioner who escaped being attacked and captured by the Yeerks wasn't mentioned again. He didn't exactly see any Yeerk secrets, but the Yeerks tend to either eliminate or infest anyone who might cause trouble for them. It seems strange that the Animorphs would have him delivered to a hospital and then never follow up on whether he was still unmolested, but it's true they can't protect everyone.

Best lines:

Rachel: "You know, school's been out for ten minutes, and here I am, still at school. This can't be right. It's unnatural."

Cassie: That's the thing about Rachel--she's always willing to help talk you into doing something you probably shouldn't do.

Marco: "We're fighting to save the world from the Yeerks. Who cares about some ecology, tree-hugging, recycle-your-cans stuff?"
Cassie: "I do."

Jake: "You know how I mentioned you can't eat cigarette butts or dryer lint? Add engine oil to the list."
Ax: "Yes. There are many rules for eating."

Marco: "I'm just saying if we're going to be superheroes we need to do something about these stupid outfits. We look like refugees from a Bulgarian gymnastics competition."

Marco: "Cassie's been the only sane one for so long. Welcome to the loony bin, Cassie. Save the skunks! Hug the trees! Let dogs vote!"

Ax: "I believe the smell is causing me to become deranged. I may have to run away in panic."

Visser Three: "You do realize that one day I will have you all. With all your clever tricks, I will still find you."
Ax: "No, I do not think so. We are sure to smell you coming."

Next book: The Android, Animorphs #10

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