So Cassie is the killjoy Animorph, apparently? I wasn’t a part of the fandom back in the day, and I’m still not, so I really have zero idea what other Animorphs fans think of plots and characters. I just know what I think, and I always liked her when I was a kid, perhaps because I have a permanent streak of killjoy in me myself. I was always the first kid asleep at slumber parties by several hours (if I didn’t call my mom to come pick me up first). I obeyed the rules because I liked them. I could never really turn off my brain enough to want to do stupid fun things.
Anyway, I never thought of her as a killjoy. I thought of her as the voice of reason, the empathetic and moral center. The others need that perspective. Even if being that sensitive of a person most of the time meant she didn’t have an easy time of it. For instance in this book.
The Secret refers to the secret of where “the Andalite Bandits” have their feeding grounds. The Yeerks think the Animorphs are Andalites, and they’ve realized that like Visser Three’s Andalite host, Alloran, the other “Andalites” must need feeding grounds, too, and there’s only one other place nearby that could be. So what do the Yeerks do? They set up a logging company to establish a presence in those woods and try to smoke the Andalite Bandits out. Thing is, even though they’re mostly wrong, Ax and Tobias do live in those woods, not to mention that Cassie’s barn is nearby, and they’ve used the woods for any number of missions. Operation: Shut Down the Yeerk Logging Company, commence!
Each POV characters’ second book has significantly upped the ante on dealing with the ongoing trauma of being in this fight, and Cassie’s book is no exception. She’s tired and frustrated and the constant violence and extra time spent with the Animorphs is starting to wear on the rest of her life. Her grades are in the toilet, she’s lying to her parents constantly, and she’s legit got some wicked PTSD.
I really liked all her meditations on right and wrong, nature, humanity, etc. I liked that there weren’t any straight up conclusions at the end of it. And there’s this adorable plot involving an injured skunk mother and her little skunk kits.
There were a couple of moments that didn’t work for me because they didn’t seem well thought out, either on the part of the Animorphs or the part of the author(s). The opening scene, for one. The only reason they have Cassie and Rachel both morph the rat, when just Cassie would have been fine, is so that the boys could find them, and Cassie and Rachel could attack them as rats, har har. If Rachel had remained human, like should have happened, she could have chased those boys off. Also, why didn’t they just morph onto the table? If they weren’t going to be smart about it, they could have at least acknowledged how dumb that move was. The scenes involving Cassie killing the termite queen, and defeating Visser Three with her skunk butt, were also similarly slipshod. They worked more than the opening scene, but only by the thinnest of threads.
All in all, not the best book of the series, but pretty good all the same.
Next up, we’ve got Marco and the Chee, which I call for a band name.