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The Message (1996)

The Message (1996)
3.8 of 5 Votes: 4
0590629808 (ISBN13: 9780590629805)
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The Message (1996)
The Message (1996)

About book:     Cassie's turn to narrate, and to find her reason to fight the Yeerks. But more than that, both her and Tobias are receiving a message in their dreams, a call for help. And it's up to Cassie to decide if that call is real, and if it is worth risking all the Animorphs' lives to find out who or what is calling for help.    It's only now that I get the joke about the dolphins names' at The Gardens... they're named after the characters of "Friends".    Some more fun/favorite quotes from this book:  "I was busy watching my taped reruns of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," Marco said, giving Rachel a sly look. "Last night it was the one where it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood." -- page 18  Marco's cooperative mood hadn't lasted long. I knew it wouldn't. Marco is never happy unless he's complaining about something. Just like Rachel is never happy unless she has something to fight against. And Tobias is never happy, period. He thinks if he's ever happy, someone will just come along and take his happiness away. -- page 29  Typical guy. [Jake] had the totally bad timing to show up when I looked like Ms. Manure. -- page 40  "If you think we should pursue this, you know Rachel will be right behind you. Me, too." [Jake said]  "And Marco?" [Cassie said]  Jake grinned again. "Marco won't be right behind you. He'll be several feet back." -- page 42  He flew straight up out of the water, like a sleek, pale gray torpedo. Eleven feet long from nose to tail. Four hundred pounds. He simply flew into the air, seemed to hang there, ten feet above the surface of the water, took a skeptical look at us, gave us his permanent wise-guy grin, and slid back beneath the water so smoothly that there was barely a ripple.  "That is a dolphin," I said to Marco.  "Okay, I like that. That is excellent," Marco said. -- page 79-80More under the spoiler:(view spoiler)[  "It will be strange morphing something so intelligent," Rachel said.  "Yes," I agreed. Strange, and ... wrong, somehow. I felt a twisting in my stomach. "How is doing this any different than what the Yeerks do?"  Rachel looked surprised. "Yeerks take over humans," she said. "Besides, they don't morph, they infest. We don't take over the actual animal, we just copy his DNA pattern, create a totally new animal, and then --"  "And then control the new animal," I said.  "It's not the same," Rachel insisted. But she looked troubled. -- page 53  "I'm scared all the time now, Cassie," [Marco] said at last. "I'm scared to fight the Yeerks, and I'm scared of what will happen if I don't. I look at Tobias, and what happened to him scares me to death. What if I get stuck in morph someday? And most of all, I am scared of ... of him. -- page 82  "If someone gets hurt ... killed ... just because I have these dreams -- I can't make that kind of decision." [Cassie said]  "Yes, but can you decide to do nothing? That's a decision, too." [Marco said]  I had to smile. "Marco, you know, for a guy who's always joking around and being annoying, you're awfully smart."  "Yeah, I know, but don't tell anyone. It would destroy my image." -- page 84[Cassie talking to Jake]  It was on the tip of my tongue, but then it seemed ridiculous to say it. So instead I said, "Look, don't ever get hurt, okay?"  He smiled that smile. "Me? I'm indestructible."  The way he said it, I almost believed him. But then, as he went his way and I headed toward home, I glanced up at the sky.  Against the blaze of sunset I saw a flash of russet tailfeathers. Tobias. Our friend, who had been trapped forever in a body not his own.  None of us was indestructible. -- page 90  Jake answered [Ax's question about did his brother Elfangor die well]. "He died protecting us, and defying the Yeerks to the end. At the very last moment he struck with every weapon he had."The Andalite closed his main eyes for a brief moment. /My brother was a great warrior. His cousins loved him. His enemies feared him. No more can be said of any Andalite warrior./ -- page 112  /I am Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill./  We all just kind of stared.  "Ax," Marco said. "Pleased to meet you."  /Who is your prince?/  One by one we looked at Jake.  "Oh, give me a break," Jake said. I am not anyone's prince."  But the Andalite had stepped forward. He bowed his head and lowered his tail. /I will fight for you, Prince Jake, until I can return to my cousins./ -- page 115  Shark!  I'd been distracted by the explosions.  Ax had morphed a shark.  /Oh, good choice, Ax,/ Marco said. /You morphed a shark./  /Is it wrong?/ the Andalite wondered.  /Your species and ours are mortal enemies,/ I explained.  /Oh. I have a lot to learn about Earth./ -- page 123  WHUMP, WHUMP, WHUMP.  /A sound like that?/ Marco asked.  /Yes,/ Ax said. /I guess so. I did not recognize it. I have only heard it once, and that was in school, and I wasn't paying attention./  It almost made me laugh, the image of an Andalite classroom where Andalite students zoned out on the lesson just like we did. But it really wasn't a good time for laughing. -- page 131  I had lived my entire life without feeling hatred. It is a sickening feeling. It burns and burns, and sometimes you think it's a fire that will never go out. -- page 134  I felt the terrible hatred surge in me again. But I didn't want to end my life that way. I would not die with hate in my heart. That would be one victory I could deny Visser Three. -- page 135  People who argue about how smart whales are, or whether they are as smart as humans, kind of miss the point. Whales will never read books or build rockets or do algebra. In all those areas, humans are smarter. Humans are the great brains of planet Earth.  But it isn't necessary to believe whales are as smart as humans to believe that they are great. They don't have to know words to sing songs. They don't have to be anything but what they are to be magnificent. And even though I don't really know what a soul is, I know this -- if humans have them, then so do whales. -- page 140  "But we do understand." [Jake] met my gaze. "We do understand what's at stake. And we'll do whatever we have to do to win."  I knew what he was trying to tell me. We'd used the dolphins to save them. We'd used other animals to save them, too. And that made it okay. -- page 143  "Is that you, Tobias?" I asked.  /Yes. You ... you found an Andalite!/  "Yes. Tobias, meet Ax. That's his nickname, anyway. Ax, meet Tobias. Tobias is one of us."  /Sort of, anyway,/ Tobias said dryly. /I liked this morph so much I moved in permanently./  The Andalite was shocked. /You were trapped?/  /Yes./  Ax turned his eyes on me, then looked from each one of us to the next. He seemed very solemn. /You have paid a price for the gift of my brother, Elfangor./ -- page 145  "I chose male because I am male. Word. Male. Is that a good choice? Ch-oy-ce? Chuh chuh choy-yuss?" He twisted his lips around and stuck out his tongue. "Strange," [Ax] said.[...]  "Ax?" I said. "Don't talk to any strangers on the way home, okay?" -- page 147-148 (hide spoiler)]

And now, still following the pattern, Cassie finds her reason for fighting (it's like loyalty missions in Mass Effect, I swear to god). This book always lodged pretty well in my memory and I really like it, because WHALES and DOLPHINS and SHARKS, and another terrifying alien morph from Visser Three, and bonus: the book introduces one of my favourite fictional characters of practically all time (Ax ♥).Favourite quotes now added: (view spoiler)[Mostly, if you want to know what I look like, picture a girl in overalls and leather work gloves, biting her lip as she concentrates on trying to force a pill down the throat of a badger.Jake once took a picture of me doing exactly that. He has it next to his computer in his room.Don't ask me why. I would be glad to give him a picture of me in a dress or something.Rachel could loan me the dress. But Jake says he likes the picture he has.***We were in Rachel's room the next day, after school. Her room is so neat. Straight out of a magazine, you know? Like everything matches or goes together. She has this bulletin board where she puts little wise sayings on Post-it notes.I drifted over to the bulletin board and read "'Don't think there are no crocodiles just because the water is calm.' - Malayan Proverb."Just beside that was "'If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.' - Sun Tzu."It made me a little sad. In the good old days, Rachel would have had a bunch of quotes about being a good person or whatever. It just showed how much our lives had changed.In a very short time we had all grown accustomed to a world of fear and danger. We had arrived at Rachel's house separately. We had each checked to make sure we weren't being followed. We had planned the afternoon in advance to be sure that Rachel's mom and her two sisters would be out. We had even had Tobias fly over the area looking for anything unusual.That's what our lives had become. That and quotations full of paranoia and battle.***Marco's cooperative mood hadn't lasted long. I knew it wouldn't. Marco is never happy unless he's complaining about something. Just like Rachel is never happy unless she has something to fight against. And Tobias is never happy, period. He thinks if he's ever happy, someone will just come along and take his happiness way.***[Jake] grinned. He has a great smile. It appears kind of slowly, like it doesn't quite belong on his serious face.[...]"If you think we should pursue this, you know Rachel will be right behind you. Me, too.""And Marco?"Jake grinned again. "Marco won't be right behind you. He'll be several feet back."We both laughed.***"Well, as you know, we have six dolphins here. Joey, whom you've met, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, and Rachel."***<What's happening?> Tobias called down. <Marco sounds hurt.><He is,> Jake answered tersely.<Oh, man. I don't want to die as some fish,> Marco cried. <I don't want to die out here. My mom drowned. I'm going to die just like she did. My dad...>***I knocked on the door. From inside I heard Marco's voice. "Dad, there's someone at the door. Put on your bathrobe, okay?"There was a delay, and then the door opened. Marco looked annoyed."Cassie. What are you doing here?""I wanted to talk to you.""To me? What about?""About yesterday," I said.He hesitated. "Look, I'm spending the day with my dad, okay? We're thinking maybe we'll... you know, do something together.""That's good," I said. Over Marco's shoulder I could see his father. He was wearing a bathrobe and sitting on the couch. He was staring at the TV. That was normal for any dad, I guess, on a weekend morning. But I had the feeling that Marco's dad was always sitting right there in front of the TV.***He laughed, and hearing him brought the laughter out of me.We both just stood there and giggled like idiots for a few minutes. It was that laughter you get after something really tense has happened. Relief laughter. "We're still alive" laughter.***"You know what was strange about yesterday?" Marco said."What?""The sharks. They were so totally deadly. I mean, we worry about Hork-Bajir and Taxxons and Visser Three. You kind of forget that right here on little old planet Earth there are creatures just as tough and dangerous. It would be funny if it wasn't some alien that ended up getting us, but some normal Earth creature."I didn't think it was funny at all.Marco grinned at my stone face. "Okay, not funny ha-ha. More like funny weird."***"First, we believe that somehow a surviving Andalite, or maybe more than one Andalite, is trapped out in the ocean.""Hopefully Andalites can hold their breath for a really long time," Marco joked."Second, Cassie believes she can find this Andalite, thanks to the information from the whale."Everyone kept a straight face for about ten seconds. Then, all at once, everyone cracked up."Information from a whale," Marco repeated, giggling.<Have our lives gotten really weird, or is it just me?> Tobias asked.***It was extremely dull waiting for an hour, with nothing to do but try and guess what was in the big containers all around us. On the other hand, we knew what we had to do next would definitely not be boring.So basically, we were happy to just be bored for a while, huddling together to stay warm in the whipping ocean breeze.***I wished I could forget what Ax told us. I wished I could stop seeing the pictures in my head of an Earth without birds and trees. An Earth where the ocean was empty and dead.<Don't you know whom you're fighting?> the Andalite had asked.Yes.Now I knew.***<Tell me,> Ax said. <I have the feeling that this body I am in might be able to fight. Is this true?>I grinned inwardly. <Yes, Ax. Sharks can fight.><Then, Prince Jake, shall we deal with these Taxxon scum?><Don't call me 'prince,'> Jake said. <And the answer is yes. Let's go kick some Taxxon butt.>***<It is a very large creature that swims by shooting water out of three large chambers. It makes a sound-->WHUMP, WHUMP, WHUMP.<A sound like that?> Marco asked.<Yes,> Ax said. <I guess so. I did not recognize it. I have only heard it once, and that was in school, and I wasn't paying attention.> (hide spoiler)]
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Still not liking the new re-release covers. Also, I miss having the little morph in the bottom corner that you could animate by flipping.This volume has the first example I've noticed of the re-release "updating" technology.(view spoiler)["Rachel," Jake interrupted, "I think I have something that may be interesting." He pulled a videocasette out of his bag."Cool. A piece of prehistoric technology," Marco said."Not everybody has DVR," Jake said. "I guess no one else watched the late news last night?" (...) "Rachel, can we go downstairs and use your mom's old VCR?"Also later it mentions them using the internet to look something up, which probably wasn't commonly used by kids in 1996 when this book first came out. Honestly, I think it's more likely that, if they were going to update to the technology kids would "typically" use, they probably would have been using the internet to view the video clip as well. (hide spoiler)]
In The Message it was time for Cassie to narrate. From what we gather from the previous books, Cassie loves animals and conveniently, her parents are vets and they have a farm and wildlife rehabilitation clinic which greatly assist the Animorphs in obtaining DNA for their morphs. The books starts when Cassie and Tobias have both been dreaming of the sea and they feel someone out there is asking for help; they think it may possibly be an Andalite. The Animorphs decide to scoop out the sea with dolphin morphs. It was quite exciting to explore the ocean and reading about whales, sharks and dolphins. The Animorphs notice Yeerk ships are also scouring the sea. The plot in this book was not as eventful and the showdown with Visser Three was not as exciting as the previous books. This was partly made up for with the introduction of Ax, Prince Elfangor's brother, who brings additional hope for Earth (and some humour surrounding his human morph!) . I would go far as to say Ax stole the show in his brief appearance. I guess Cassie was not too interesting because she didn't have some conflict set up for her. There are hints of something between Jake and Cassie but this was not as captivating as what is shared between Rachel and Tobias. I felt like I didn't find out much about Cassie that I didn't already know from the descriptions already given by Jake, Rachel and Tobias. Overall, still an enjoyable read.
The fourth book sees the introduction of a new character. This is largely a plotty book, rather than character development, this time, though Cassie does struggle with a couple of ethical questions. They don't seem quite convincing to me -- but it makes sense that she does ask questions, so it didn't bother me too much. It was nice to read a book in which the morphing is mostly fun and playful, and in which all of earth seems to join in on the side against the Yeerks. It's a little too touchy-feely, but with Cassie as the narrator, it's okay. She isn't really my favourite character, so that's probably why I liked this book a little less.One thing that does get tiresome is the formula for the very first chapter. They state their names, tell you they can't tell you a lot of stuff, reintroduce morphing... I can see why, it allows people to join in mid-series, but at the same time, it gets irritating, especially when you're reading the books all at once.
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