Book 5: The Predator

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moonie_knifey
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Re: Book 5: The Predator

Post by moonie_knifey » Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:02 am

Marco is my favourite character, so obviously his books get bonus points from me at the very beginning. To tell the truth, when I read this one for the first time (about 3 or 4 years ago), I didn't expect his mother to be Visser One, and I loved that twist. And that was before I knew how this plot would develop in later books. Now I know and I can't wait to read it.
The only thing I didn't like was Ax morphing in the shopping centre; it seemed far-fetched to me. I mean, people would certainly talk more about an event like this. There were dozens of witnesses and unless they were all turned into controllers, they would spread the news about an alien invasion/mutants. (Moreover, it's rather probable that there were some cameras in the shops, so there should be some footage of Ax morphing).
All could be explained with Yeerks keeping everything secret, but it just seemed to me that the Animorphs left too many tracks that day... false bomb alarm, the lobster woman, etc.

Other than that, the book is excellent, like many have already said. It has it all; it's funny and scary, and moving, and it has Marco as the protagonist, hee hee.
I think it's interesting how their most nightmarish experience yet is not with Hork-Bajir or Taxxons or Visser Three, but with little tiny normal Earth ants.
I get the impression that Applegate doesn't want to underestimate above all small, seemingly harmless animals. Acquiring cats and cockatiels is apparently more dangerous than acquiring bears or killer whales, or other vicious predators people are more likely to fear.
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Re: Book 5: The Predator

Post by louli » Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:21 pm

I love Marco - he's so much more than just the comic relief of the group.
It's interesting to see how the group dynamics are developing this early on. At some point each Animorph discusses feeling trapped into the role everyone expects them to play, with perhaps the exception of Tobias who is physically trapped in another form. It's interesting that Marco and Rachel especially really feel this way early on but they don't seem to understand it about each other.

It's hard to know if Marco really would have left the group had he not seen Visser One. In this book, his mom becomes his motivation to stay in the fight. But
Spoiler:
in #30, he's willing - or so he thinks - to sacrifice her to get rid of Vissers One and Three. He comes to accept that he's fighting for a greater cause. And none of them can really leave the Animorphs - Cassie tries in #19, and of course Megamorphs #4 has the whole group experiencing life without Elfangor and it's not great.
BabelFish42 wrote:I think Marco would've have been the next best choice for a leader if Jake wasn't available.
I agree.
We do see
Spoiler:
Marco acting as leader behind the scenes in Book 31 (Jake's family dilemma) when they can't trust Jake to act rationally in protecting his father
.

Marco is so wise for his age. His belief that you can always choose the way you view the world - I think that strongly influenced my preteen approach to life. :yes:

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Re: Book 5: The Predator

Post by Menno » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:13 pm

Another thing I forgot to mention about this book: On p133, Ax says that an Andalite-Controller is an "unnatural abomination." Well what about human-Controllers and Hork-Bajir-Controllers? Don't the other races of the galaxy have as much right to freedom as the Andalites? I think this is the first major hint that Andalites consider their species to be superior.

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BabelFish42
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Re: Book 5: The Predator

Post by BabelFish42 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:09 pm

louli wrote:It's hard to know if Marco really would have left the group had he not seen Visser One. In this book, his mom becomes his motivation to stay in the fight. But
Spoiler:
in #30, he's willing - or so he thinks - to sacrifice her to get rid of Vissers One and Three. He comes to accept that he's fighting for a greater cause.
Hmm. True. But at that point, he's older and I think he realizes there's no future for him or his dad or anyone else if they don't win. So... his main motivation is still his family, I'd say. He's just a bit older and wiser, and realizes that, if he really cares about his family, this is what he has to do. He doesn't try to save his mom in that book b/c he really doesn't think there is any possible way to do it.
louli wrote:Marco is so wise for his age. His belief that you can always choose the way you view the world - I think that strongly influenced my preteen approach to life. :yes:
Same here :) Dude, so much of my own personal philosophy was shaped by this series, it's kinda scary.
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Re: Book 5: The Predator

Post by btlizard » Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:52 pm

First, I agree with everyone that the first Marco book is pretty great. Honestly, any book with Marco as the narrator is pretty great IMO. Off-hand, I can't think of any of his books that I didn't like, and with every other character, there was at least one of their that I did not enjoy (some more than others, without naming names). I like the fact that Marco can think through things to see the necessity of certain actions to reach a desired outcome (end justify the means). It may be ruthless at times, but in a war, that's what you have to be sometimes. (I'm probably getting ahead of myself here, though, as much of this is developed in the future.)

Regarding this book in particular, the plot twist definitely makes the book, and there is plenty of interesting action before that, but I gotta say that I hated the initial premise of the book. Especially looking back after having read the whole series, I realize I did not have a great impression of Ax early on. I like his character later, but early on, he definitely shows his arrogance and naiveté in regard to military matters and just generally how to behave in a war. Later on, we can see his character development and improvement when we get to see him contrasted with other Andalites as in #18 or #38. In addition to his arrogance (he constantly belittles humans and their technology, etc. starting with this book and continuing on for a few dozen), despite not having fought in a single battle (exclusing the Taxxon "battle"), the following actions by Ax really make me think very little of him as a first impression:
  • First, the whole book is about Ax wanting to get home because he's homesick. This puts the other Animorphs, their entire mission, and the future of the human race in general in jeopardy. (I think if Visser One was really aware of who they were, she probably wouldn't have taken the actions she did.) This is entirely selfish and cowardly on his part. He talks about the importance of honor and wanting to fight against the Yeerks, but then he wants to run away as soon as he can. I understand that this was the plot that was needed for KAA to divulge Visser One as Marco's mother, but still...it makes Ax look like a pretty weak ally early on.
  • Second, twice Ax runs off in the mall when they are trying to get supplies for the device he wants to build. Even if you want to attribute this somehow to the "instincts" of the morph, I can't imagine it should have been that difficult to control. He knew they were on a strict time schedule for morphing; he knew they were doing this for him. Yet, he completely loses focus of their mission and runs off like the child he apparently is. I would expect more out of the Andalite aristh training.
  • Thirdly, when Ax is being chased at the end, he begins MORPHING into his Andalite form right in front of everyone. By now, he should understand the importance of secrecy in public with the Animorphs. This could very easily have caused all three of them to get caught and killed/infested. But, even the simple exposure here puts the Animorphs and their mission at risk. I understand that Ax was frightened because he was being chased and perhaps defaulted to his "battle form", but still, he should have been smarter than this if he is supposedly so much smarter than the humans. This is just a general result of his prior negligence as well.
Another thing in this book is that when they all turn into ants and are nearly killed, Marco has nightmares. This is understandable, but this experience freaked out everyone (and probably gave them all nightmares). Marco even mentions that everyone is freaked out afterwards. My problem with this is that in later books, Cassie and others (but especially Cassie) try to pin this all on Marco, that this experience only shook him and him alone. This is probably due to the fact that Jake nearly gets swatted to death as a fly in book #16, but it just makes me annoyed because it is a poor account of what happened, and it never gets corrected.

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Re: Book 5: The Predator

Post by kebrennan » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:29 pm

Wow, way harsh on Ax. I find his development realistic if you take into account that he is a kid, and an alien kid at that. He was on the dome ship mostly to observe and continue his education. He didn't expect to fight any more than a jrotc kid expects to have to liberate Syria. The other animorphs didn't have a choice about fighting--it was their planet. Ax on the other hand was stuck in a conflict that he had little stake in, and he had responsible adults that he could turn it over to. They just happened to be 82 light years away. What would a human kid do if they crash landed in the middle of an alien war?

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Re: Book 5: The Predator

Post by kebrennan » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:33 pm

I agree with your point about the ant morphs, though. Particularly since from the team's perspective it's Rachel who is the most freaked out. She's the one who acts out the next day.

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Re: Book 5: The Predator

Post by Sini » Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:55 pm

kebrennan wrote:Wow, way harsh on Ax. I find his development realistic if you take into account that he is a kid, and an alien kid at that. He was on the dome ship mostly to observe and continue his education. He didn't expect to fight any more than a jrotc kid expects to have to liberate Syria. The other animorphs didn't have a choice about fighting--it was their planet. Ax on the other hand was stuck in a conflict that he had little stake in, and he had responsible adults that he could turn it over to. They just happened to be 82 light years away. What would a human kid do if they crash landed in the middle of an alien war?
But Ax was in the military on a ship to fight a battle on Earth. He went to go liberate it but freaked out when he had to do it without the rest of his military, a totally reasonable reaction, especially since he is just a kid. But I think some of your comparisons were a little off

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Re: Book 5: The Predator

Post by BabelFish42 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:12 pm

Sini wrote:
kebrennan wrote:Wow, way harsh on Ax. I find his development realistic if you take into account that he is a kid, and an alien kid at that. He was on the dome ship mostly to observe and continue his education. He didn't expect to fight any more than a jrotc kid expects to have to liberate Syria. The other animorphs didn't have a choice about fighting--it was their planet. Ax on the other hand was stuck in a conflict that he had little stake in, and he had responsible adults that he could turn it over to. They just happened to be 82 light years away. What would a human kid do if they crash landed in the middle of an alien war?
But Ax was in the military on a ship to fight a battle on Earth. He went to go liberate it but freaked out when he had to do it without the rest of his military, a totally reasonable reaction, especially since he is just a kid. But I think some of your comparisons were a little off
Yeah. JROTC kids don't get sent overseas to war zones, at least not that I'm aware of. Not that I blame Ax for freaking out a little. He never expected to be stranded on Earth alone fighting with a bunch of alien kids. But he did come to Earth expecting to fight and be in danger situations.
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Re: Book 5: The Predator

Post by astrael » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:00 pm

I have to point out...Ax didn't come to Earth expecting to fight-arisths don't participate in battle. That's why he was in the dome in the first place