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"Tobias was dead. Jake might still die. And I was going to have to go after David. I was going to have to hunt him down. I was going to hunt him down and destroy him. No, not destroy. That was a weasel word. It was vague, meaningless. I was going to kill him."

The Solution, published in September 1998 and written by K.A. Applegate and Michael Grant, is the twenty-second book in the Animorphs series and the third and final book in The David Trilogy. It is the seventh book narrated by Rachel and her fifth book as sole narrator.


David, the newest Animorph, is not what he appears. His need to control the other Animorphs and Ax is all he thinks about. And the things he does are starting to break up the group.

Rachel and the others know that time is running out. The newest battle against the Yeerks is the most important one yet. And it's not one that will wait. Winning this fight could mean slowing down the invasion. But no one knows what to do with David. Because the newest Animorph is more than just a little problem. He's deadly...


This section needs a rewrite

After having a bizarre dream, Rachel is woken by Ax. He explains that David has betrayed them, and that Jake, in danger, asked him to summon her; he also mentions that Tobias is feared dead, having been murdered by David. Ax and Rachel notice a police car rushing to the mall, and fly there themselves. At the mall, they see a dying tiger lying in a pool of blood. Rachel encounters David, but is able to escape his clutches. As David makes his leave, the police manage to enter the mall, while Ax and Rachel morph into houseflies and hide inside Jake's ear. The paramedics soon arrive, followed by Cassie, her mother and her father. Rachel privately informs Cassie of David's actions while she and Ax decide to demorph and fly to Marco's house for help. Ax tries to fly through his window, but is promptly knocked out by Marco - or rather, David in Marco's morph. Rachel allows David to morph to golden eagle, and leads him on a chase through town. Rachel plans to lure him into the power lines, electrocuting him. But David outmaneuvers her, and almost kills her. Fortunately, David is attacked by a hawk, which turns out to be Tobias, with David, not able to notice it is a red-tail in the darkness, flying away rather than fighting two enemies at once.

Relieved that Tobias is alive, the Animorphs plan how to deal with their new enemy. At school, they are surprised though, when David, in Marco morph, demands the Escafil device, threatening to betray their identities to the Yeerks. Cassie tries to reason with him, but to no avail. Making no progress, David leaves, with Rachel in pursuit. In a secluded spot on the school grounds, Rachel tells him that even if David betrays them, she'd still have time to kill his parents. Having made her threat, she releases him. And Rachel becomes enraged with the way Jake is manipulating her violent tendencies.

The Animorphs formulate one final attempt to doom the Yeerk's plan to make Controllers of some of the world's most powerful leaders. They morph dolphins and travel to the shore of the Marriott resort. Then they morph elephants and rhinoceroses, and ravage the resort bungalows the heads of state reside in. They leave a screaming Visser Three (morphed as 'Tony'), and retreat into the ocean, morphed as dolphins. The plan is a success, but they encounter David, in orca morph. Here David accuses Rachel of threatening to kill his family, and Rachel is hurt by her teammates' silence. While he is threatening the Animorphs, Cassie slips away and remorphs into a humpback whale, with David escaping upon seeing the difference in size between the orca and the humpback.

Rachel returns home and collapses in her bed, and is pestered the next morning by her sister, wanting some comfort regarding Saddler's grave condition. Rachel walks into the bathroom, and is confronted by an invisible David. He challenges her to a personal war, which she accepts. Rachel then accuses Jake of not standing with her against David, and that Jake thinks she is a sociopath. At the hospital, the family visits their dying child. It becomes apparent that he is far from dying; he'd somehow miraculously made a full recovery. Jake immediately suspects David. 'Saddler' then mocks Rachel and Jake, demanding the blue box. Rachel and Jake reconcile, and then begin concocting a scheme to beat David at his own game.

The Animorphs have a mock discussion, and Rachel pretends to have been morally defeated by David, being mocked by Marco the whole time. They meet David at a Taco Bell, and agree to lead him to the blue box, allowing him to verbally abuse Rachel some more. Rachel and David fly to the abandoned construction site, with the other Animorphs following close behind.

Book 22 inside cover rat

Rachel in rat morph at the Abandoned Construction Site

David traps the Animorphs as cockroaches in a Pepsi bottle, and he and Rachel morph rats. They venture into the pipes to retrieve each "piece" of the blue box. David soon figures out the Animorphs' elaborate trap, and Rachel tries to escape, barely doing so. The instant she escapes, a cage door is dropped, trapping David. Tobias swoops down and reveals to David that he is in fact, still alive and freed the other Animorphs from the bottle.

Cassie had plotted out all of David's emotions, gauged his inflating ego, and knew the sociopath would select Rachel as his victim. The Animorphs specifically left a bottle near the site where Rachel and David would go after the blue box so that David would be inspired to use it to trap Ax, Cassie, Jake, and Marco in cockroach morph while Rachel and David go after the blue box pieces.

Rachel and Ax stay behind with David after the other Animorphs leave. Rachel because she says David's anguish won't bother her, and Ax so he can keep track of time and make sure David remains trapped as a rat. Rachel and Ax use their bird of prey morphs to carry David out to a desolate rocky outcrop a mile offshore where many other rats reside. They leave him there, his thought-speak pleading and cursing trailing behind them. Later, Rachel hears someone at school saying the place where they dropped David is haunted, and that you can hear David's cries. Saddler's parents are also forced to deal with the disappearance of their miraculously healed son when the real Saddler's body is eventually found in the hospital's elevator shaft.



Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:



Major/Highlighted Events

  • Ax flies into Rachel's bedroom in the middle of the night, informing her that David has gone rogue and has killed Tobias, and that Jake sent him to fetch her. Rachel is aghast at the news of Tobias' demise and the pair fly to the mall, where they find Jake dying in tiger morph. Jake is transported to The Gardens, where Cassie manages to render him conscious before his morphing clock runs out.
  • Rachel is upset when she discovers that Jake, upon realizing that they might have to kill David, had asked Ax to get her to help instead of Marco or Cassie. Rachel becomes angry at Jake for thinking of her as the teammate who would be prepared to kill another Animorph while also being troubled that she has changed so much from the person she was prior to meeting Elfangor to the present, where she craves combat and high-adrenaline situations. In the end, Rachel realizes her recklessness and her love of war is detrimental and cites that she is moving past her prior excitement, citing it as personal growth.
  • Tobias is revealed to still be alive, having lost sight of David, and David having killed a wild red-tail instead.
  • Jake and Rachel's cousin, Saddler, who is in the intensive care unit after suffering fatal injuries from being run over by a car, is rushed to another floor of the hospital for immediate medical attention as his heart has stopped beating. David cuts the power in the elevator, knocking the doctor and nurse out. David then acquires Saddler, throws his body into the elevator shaft and then morphs into Saddler, assuming his identity. The real Saddler dies, and Jake and Rachel conspire to defeat David, with Jake enraged at David's action.
  • David demands the Escafil Device in exchange for halting his attempts to murder the Animorphs, and decides to torment Rachel, who has become his primary target after Rachel threatened to kill David's parents. Cassie formulates a plan which involves Rachel playing the role of a humiliated girl to feed into David's ego, and creates a trap to deal with David without having to kill him.
  • David becomes a nothlit, trapped in a white rat morph. The Animorphs subsequently maroon him on a rocky island a mile off shore.
  • The Animorphs, unable to stop the Yeerks' plan to infest the world leaders through stealth and also unable to disclose the secret invasion, decide to morph into rhinos and elephants and trash the resort, prematurely canceling the banquet. Despite its simplicity, this works, and gives the Animorphs their second massive victory over the Yeerk forces on Earth, following their destruction of the Kandrona in The Stranger, and their fourth overall, including their efforts in saving Leera.
  • Jake and Rachel's relationship is explored, with Jake revealing that of all the Animorphs, he worries about her the most, with a possible exception being made for Tobias. Rachel becomes infuriated when she believes that Jake thinks of her as a violent Femme Nikita type and is taking advantage of her supposed blood-lust, and is bothered throughout the book with how her cousin perceives her to be. When Jake admits that he does not think of her as a lunatic and genuinely apologizes for crossing a line when believing he could have her kill David, Rachel hugs him, remarking that she isn't the type of person to hug others, and Jake hugs her back.
  • Rachel and Tobias' relationship is further fleshed out, with Rachel realizing she did not realize how much she cared about Tobias until Ax told her that David most likely killed him. She decided to kill David to exact vengeance, and realizes that Jake knew she would have killed David had he killed Tobias. The next day, when David realizes she has feelings for Tobias and taunts her, this prompts Rachel to threaten David and his parents, marking her as David's personal target.


Morpher Morphs acquired Morphs used
Jake Siberian Tiger, Seagull, Bottlenose Dolphin, Rhinoceros, Peregrine Falcon, Cockroach
Rachel Great Horned Owl, Housefly, Seagull, Bottlenose Dolphin, African Elephant, White Rat (Courtney), Bald Eagle
Tobias African Elephant Seagull, Bottlenose Dolphin, African Elephant
Cassie African Elephant Seagull, Bottlenose Dolphin (Monica), African Elephant, Humpback Whale, White Rat (Courtney), Osprey, Cockroach
Marco Rhinoceros Seagull, Bottlenose Dolphin, Rhinoceros, Osprey, Cockroach
Ax African Elephant Northern Harrier, Housefly, Seagull, Bottlenose Dolphin, African Elephant, Human (Main), Cockroach
David Human (Marco), Orca, Human (Saddler), Rattlesnake, White Rat Lion, North American Golden Eagle, Human (Marco), Orca, Cockroach (possibly), Human (Saddler), Rattlesnake, White Rat (becomes trapped in morph)
Visser Three -- Human (Tony)


  • The front cover quote is, "A mistake has been made. His name is David...."
  • The inside front cover quote is, "Hickory, dickory, dock...."
  • During Rachel's bizarre dream at the beginning of the book, she unwillingly morphs into an elephant and accidentally crushes a boy in an orange hoodie. Someone in the building cries out, "Oh my God! She killed Kenny!", an obvious reference to South Park.
    • The reference to South Park puts the events of this book post August 1997.
  • This is the seventh book to feature a cover morph that was not acquired in the book. Rachel acquired her rat morph in The Secret, while helping Cassie with a science experiment.
  • This is the second book (after The Encounter) in which the narrating character does not acquire a morph while another character does.
  • David acquires Saddler and Marco, and thus marks the eleventh and twelfth time that an Animorph has acquired a human morph. If one counts David as an Animorph despite his treachery as well as Ax's acquisition of Jake, Rachel, Cassie and Marco's DNA in The Message as separate instances, this marks the eighth time that one of them has acquired a member of the team.
  • David is the third Animorph to become a nothlit, following Tobias and Cassie.
  • While Rachel and Jake were stated to be cousins, it was not yet revealed by this point how they were related. However, in this book we discover that Rachel's mother Naomi is not related to Jake, meaning that Rachel is related to Jake through her father. Later books would reveal that her father Dan and Jake's father Steve are brothers.
  • Rachel references the rat morphing experience she shared with Cassie in The Secret.
  • ANIBASE : The dedication for this book reads "For Jeff Sampson and all of his friends". The "and all his friends" part has a pretty interesting story behind it: K.A. wanted to dedicate this book to all of the Animorphs fans who took the time to create web pages for her book series. Unfortunately, legal issues prevented her from naming actual fan sites so K.A. ended up changing the dedication, but the meaning is still there. If you're one of those amazing kids who made a website for Animorphs (like Jeff Sampson), then this book is dedicated to you!
  • Scholastic released this book on September 1st 1998, the same day they released Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.


  • Rachel mentions that the summit meeting comprises of the leaders of the United States, Great Britain, Russia, France, and Japan, and that the Yeerks wish to infest all five men. She omits a sixth nation, Germany, which was one of the nations mentioned in both The Discovery and The Threat.
  • The leader of Russia is described as the "Premier", however since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia is led by a President and not a Premier (General Secretary of the Communist Party). Similarly, France is led by a President and not a Prime Minister as mentioned in the book.
  • Rachel refers to her human self as a 'human morph' on p67.
  • Tobias is explained to have lost David early in the evening after he left the barn; however, David left the barn around 2 A.M.
    • It is also said that the red-tailed hawk David killed was a wild one; however, red-tails are diurnal and a wild red-tail would not be flying around at that time, let alone near the trajectory of a golden eagle.
  • David ties up Marco and throws him into his closet, with Marco spending the entire night attempting to free himself from his bonds. However, as Marco has the ability to morph, he could have easily morphed into a cockroach, housefly, flea, ant, termite or wolf spider to be freed within minutes.
  • Rachel remarks that David might have used a flea or cockroach morph while spying in her room and bathroom. However, as fleas cannot hear spoken sound and David was able to eavesdrop on Rachel's conversation with Jordan, he would not have been in a flea morph.
  • David is stunned to know that the Animorphs have spies inside the Yeerk Empire, with Rachel remarking that they never told David about Erek or the Chee. While it is true they never informed him on who the Chee were, they did mention Erek and the Chee as their source of information in both The Discovery and in The Threat.
  • Sara is misspelled as Sarah.
  • Noah Wyle is also misspelled as Noah Wylie on p94.
  • Rachel adds at the end that they never heard from David again; however, she and David were reunited in The Return.
  • Rachel mentions going to school "on zero hours of sleep." However, she was awoken from a dream when Ax arrived at her window in harrier morph, meaning she did get at least a small amount of sleep that night before Ax woke her.


U.S. Images

International Covers

Main Series #1 The Invasion | #2 The Visitor | #3 The Encounter | #4 The Message | #5 The Predator | #6 The Capture | #7 The Stranger | #8 The Alien | #9 The Secret | #10 The Android | #11 The Forgotten | #12 The Reaction | #13 The Change | #14 The Unknown | #15 The Escape | #16 The Warning | #17 The Underground | #18 The Decision | #19 The Departure | #20 The Discovery | #21 The Threat | #22 The Solution | #23 The Pretender | #24 The Suspicion | #25 The Extreme | #26 The Attack | #27 The Exposed | #28 The Experiment | #29 The Sickness | #30 The Reunion | #31 The Conspiracy | #32 The Separation | #33 The Illusion | #34 The Prophecy | #35 The Proposal | #36 The Mutation | #37 The Weakness | #38 The Arrival | #39 The Hidden | #40 The Other | #41 The Familiar | #42 The Journey | #43 The Test | #44 The Unexpected | #45 The Revelation | #46 The Deception | #47 The Resistance | #48 The Return | #49 The Diversion | #50 The Ultimate | #51 The Absolute | #52 The Sacrifice | #53 The Answer | #54 The Beginning
Megamorphs The Andalite's Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs | Elfangor's Secret | Back to Before
Chronicles The Andalite Chronicles | The Hork-Bajir Chronicles | VISSER | The Ellimist Chronicles
Alternamorphs The First Journey | The Next Passage
TV Tie-Ins Meet the Stars of Animorphs
Graphic Novels #1 The Invasion | #2 The Visitor | #3 The Encounter | #4 The Message | #5 The Predator | #6 The Capture