|This article is written from a Real World point of view.|
- "It would be suicidal. I cannot imagine Prince Jake approving of such an action."
"Yeah, well, Jake's not here. And if he had been I guess none of this would have happened."
"So, it's Jake's fault? That he trusted us to handle situations while he was away? That we chose you as interim leader? That you made a mistake and now want to bail on us? I don't know, Rachel. Maybe you really don't deserve to be leader."
- ―Ax, Rachel and Tobias
The Weakness, published in December 1999 and written by Elise Smith based on an outline by K.A. Applegate, is the thirty-seventh book in the Animorphs series. It is the eleventh book narrated by Rachel and the eighth book with Rachel as the sole narrator.
When Jake has to leave town for a family thing, the other Animorphs and Ax figure life will pretty much be normal until he gets back. But when Tobias discovers Visser Three's newest feeding place, the kids decide they have to check it out.
But there's no assigned leader. Now Rachel, Tobias, Cassie, Marco, and Ax have another problem: Who will be the best one for the job? Because being in charge isn't just guts and glory. It's about making decisions that will mean the difference between life...and death.
Jake goes on vacation, Rachel becomes leader of the Animorphs (much to Marco's distaste). During a failed attempt to kill Visser Three using cheetah morphs, they learn that he is being observed by an Inspector representing the Council of Thirteen, a Garatron-Controller, a superhumanly-fast alien that physically resembles an Andalite. So they attempt to discredit Visser Three in front of the Inspector by attacking various known-Controller-operated or-owned businesses.
The first attack is at a news station, where they go in without any recon, as suggested by Marco. Rachel notices a tour group passing by during their attack and learns later with Cassie, by watching a store's television, that an old man with a heart condition dies of a cardiac arrest during the attack on the station.
Her recklessness, however, almost kills Cassie when she is captured in morph by the Yeerks. But, with some encouragement from Marco, Rachel leads a rescue mission where Marco, in cobra morph, poisons the Inspector, who attacks after some careful prodding by Visser Three. With its enhanced metabolism, the effects of the poison rapidly take its toll on the Garatron, and he dies. Afterward, Rachel talks to Jake, who returns home from his vacation.
- Visser Three
- The Inspector / Garatron
- Various Hork-Bajir and human-Controllers
- Hedrick Chapman
- Mrs. Chapman
- Council of Thirteen (Mentioned Only)
- Tom's Yeerk (Mentioned Only)
- Taylor (Mentioned Only)
- Dan (Mentioned Only)
- Naomi (Mentioned Only)
- Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul (Mentioned Only)
- Tom (Mentioned Only)
- Steve (Mentioned Only)
- Nanook (Mentioned Only)
- Sara (Mentioned Only)
- Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic
- The Sharing's Community Center
- Yeerk pool
- The Gardens (Mentioned Only)
- Jake has gone on a family trip and thus the Animorphs are temporarily left without a leader.
- Tobias discovers Visser Three's new feeding pasture and the Animorphs, minus Tobias, acquire and morph cheetahs in an attempt to assassinate him. However, their efforts are thwarted by the Inspector, a Garatron-Controller with superhuman speed who has arrived on Earth to compile an evaluation report on the Visser's progress.
- Rachel becomes the interim leader of the Animorphs.
- Rachel decides to launch various attacks at Yeerk-run establishments in order to make the Visser look incompetent in the eyes of the Garatron. However, Rachel's actions cause an innocent old man to die of a heart attack and for Cassie, in polar bear morph, to become captured by the Yeerks.
- Rachel and Tobias' relationship is discussed, with Rachel revealing that she has strong and inevitable feelings for Tobias that she believes she had prior to knowing Tobias. She also remarks that she is aware that Tobias loves her.
- Rachel and the other Animorphs trespass onto a private airport, where they steal a private plane and fly it into a building that houses a secret entrance to the Yeerk pool.
- While at the Yeerk pool, Visser Three challenges the Inspector to annihilate the 'Andalite bandits'; however, Marco, in king cobra morph, bites the Inspector, whom the Visser leaves to die from the poisoning. The Visser then allows the Animorphs to escape from the Yeerk pool.
- Jake returns and assumes leadership of the team once more.
|Morpher||Morphs acquired||Morphs used|
|Rachel||Cheetah||Bald Eagle, Cheetah, Grizzly Bear, Polar Bear (Nanook)|
|Tobias||--||Polar Bear (Nanook), Human (himself)|
|Cassie||Cheetah||Osprey, Cheetah, Wolf, Polar Bear (Nanook), Seagull|
|Marco||Cheetah||Osprey, Cheetah, Silverback Gorilla (Big Jim), Polar Bear (Nanook), King Cobra (Spawn)|
|Ax||Cheetah||Northern Harrier, Cheetah, Human (Main), Polar Bear (Nanook)|
|Visser Three||--||Unnamed Putrid Flesh Creature|
- The front cover quote is, "Jake's not around. Who will take his place?" This was the second cover quote to end with a question mark.
- The inside front cover quote is, "The time has come....".
- Rachel mentions the judge she'd met during the oatmeal episode (The Underground), the sporting goods store Controller and Tobias's torture in the community center with the Anti-Morphing Ray (The Illusion) as well as Jake's previous dilemma with killing his brother to save his father (The Conspiracy); Cassie also mentions the instance when she performed brain surgery as well her solo rescue mission to the Yeerk pool (The Sickness).
- This book was sold in a clear cellophane wrapper, also containing a small plastic keychain featuring the often-used 'A' logo.
- According to the Anibase, K. A. Applegate used this book to stress the differences in individual strengths and weaknesses of the Animorphs, using Rachel's lack of leadership abilities (despite her heroic warrior abilities) as an example.
- Elfangor and Ax's full names are missing a hyphen after the first and second names.
- On p44, Tobias has a line of dialogue spread across two paragraphs.
- Cassie says her niece loves Blue's Clues on p47, even though she was explicitly stated to be an only child in The Conspiracy.
- However, Cassie most likely meant 'niece' as in a cousin's daughter.
- Sara is misspelled as 'Sarah' on p126.