|This article is written from a Real World point of view.|
- "The morphing cube. We can't go it alone anymore. The Yeerks know us. They know our names. They know our faces. If the take us down, there's nobody to replace us. The resistance is finished. It's time to build our forces. Reinforce our troops. [...] Cassie, recruiting handicapped kids, or differently abled kids, or whatever we should say, might be our only chance of survival."
"Our chance of survival. What about theirs? We're going to use kids less fortunate than us to keep us alive? Why are we so important? Why are we more important than anyone else?"
"That’s not what we're saying, Cassie. Handicapped people live on this planet, too. When I say 'our' chance of survival, I'm including every human being on Earth. Everyone has a stake in this fight. Why not give other kids the power they need to fight back?"
- ―Jake and Cassie to the other Animorphs
The Ultimate, published in January 2001 and written by Kimberly Morris based on an outline by K.A. Applegate, is the fiftieth book in the Animorphs series. It is the fourteenth book narrated by Cassie and the eighth and final book with Cassie as the sole narrator.
Really big trouble is an understatement these days. The war between the Yeerks and the Animorphs is full on - and it's definitely going to get worse. But Cassie, the other Animorphs, and Ax have a lot more going on than just trying to stay alive. Now they've got to actively protect their families and the free Hork Bajir. And they no longer believe they can do it alone. The Yeerks are just too powerful.
So Cassie and the others have to ask themselves a very important question: Is it time to increase their numbers? They all remember too well what happened with David - the Animorph gone bad. But this time do they really have a choice?
To be added
- James (First Appearance)
- Collette (First Appearance)
- Kelly (First Appearance)
- Timmy (First Appearance)
- Toby Hamee
- The Ellimist (Mentioned Only)
- Chee (Mentioned Only)
- Tom / Tom's Yeerk
- Visser One
- Blue Band Hork-Bajir
- Various Taxxon, Hork-Bajir and human-Controllers
- Edriss 562 (Mentioned Only)
- David (Mentioned Only)
- Crayak (Mentioned Only)
- Jordan (Final Appearance)
- Sara (Final Appearance)
- Pedro (First Appearance) (Only Appearance)
- Craig (First Appearance)
- Erica (First Appearance)
- Julio (First Appearance)
- Liam (First Appearance)
- Tricia (First Appearance)
- Jessie (First Appearance)
- Judy (First Appearance)
- Ray (First Appearance)
- Elena (First Appearance)
- Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul (Mentioned Only)
- Steve (Mentioned Only)
- Jean (Mentioned Only)
- Dan (Mentioned Only)
- Mr. Tidwell (Mentioned Only)
- Nora Robbinette (Mentioned Only)
- Mertil-Iscar-Elmand (Mentioned Only)
- The Animorphs now reside with most of their family at the new Hork-Bajir Valley, with Jake shirking his leadership role, as he blames himself for having their identities exposed and allowing his parents to become infested. After a meeting with everyone else, Jake is chosen as leader by the adults as well, with the exception of Rachel's mother Naomi, who has tried to flee the camp and refuses to initially follow Jake as he is a child.
- Jake decides that they should use the Escafil Device to create new Animorphs in order to reinforce their troops and have a contingency in the event that they are killed. Marco suggests that they recruit children as opposed to adults, citing that adults cannot cope with a shattering reality, while Cassie offers recruiting handicapped children since there would not be a risk of the recruits being Controllers, due to the Yeerks deeming them as defective.
- Jake, Cassie and Marco travel to a children's rehabilitation hospital where they encounter James, Collette, Kelly and Timmy, sharing their story and granting them the power to morph. James agrees to join under the stipulation that he would choose his own members and lead the disabled Animorphs.
- The Auxiliary Animorphs are formed and the Animorphs expand from six members to twenty-three.
- While attempting to recruit more members at a school for blind children, the Animorphs are ambushed by Tom and the Blue Band Hork-Bajir, who take the core Animorphs (minus Cassie) as well as the Escafil Device in custody. At Marco's bequest, Cassie calls the Auxiliary for support and the eighteen Animorphs manage to liberate the other five.
- As Tom flees with the morphing cube, Jake stalks him in tiger morph, preparing to kill him and retrieve the cube. Cassie, believing that Tom should escape with the cube for reasons she is unsure of, coupled with a desire to save Jake from crossing a personal line by killing his brother, attacks Jake, allowing Tom to flee with the cube, although her treachery is not exposed to the rest of the group.
- The events of this book, and subsequently the series at the moment, take place in September 2000 at the earliest.
- Cassie mentions The Patriot, which released in the United States on June 30, 2000. Cassie also mentions their current disappearance from school, which means that it is currently the school year and not summer vacation, making it currently September at the very earliest.
- It is revealed for the first time that Cassie and the other Animorphs have begun to wonder whether Tobias intentionally trapped himself in red-tailed hawk morph in The Invasion to escape his human life, although she states that they haven't asked him to confirm their suspicions.
- Jake, Cassie and Marco use various unnamed morphs while demonstrating their powers to the Auxiliaries. Additionally, Tobias uses an unspecified morph to heal from his injuries inflicted by Visser One.
- The battle morphs acquired in this book and used by Ray and Tricia are revealed in The Answer.
- The cover quote is, "Now there are no more secrets...."
- The inside cover quote is, "No more lies...."
- As of this book, all of the Animorphs' parents' first names are known, with Cassie's mother, Marco's father and Jake's parents' names revealed to be named Michelle, Peter, Steve and Jean.
- This marks the twenty-fifth time that an Animorph is acquired, the fifth and final time that Rachel is acquired, the fifteenth time that Tobias is acquired, and the fourteenth time that Tobias is acquired in his red-tailed hawk form.
- Tobias is acquired by thirteen Auxiliary Animorphs in this book and has now been acquired fifteen times, counting the acquisition of his human morph (The Change) and Loren acquiring him in the previous book (The Diversion).
- This also marks the second and final time that at least two Animorphs have had their DNA acquired in the same book (Tobias and Rachel), the first instance being when Jake, Rachel, Cassie and Marco had their DNA acquired by Ax in The Message.
- The liberation of Eva and the subsequent death of Edriss 562 (The Revelation) and the incident with the campers (The Resistance) is mentioned.
- Jake stalking Tom in tiger morph and preparing to kill him was a recurring nightmare Jake had earlier in The Capture.
- ANIBASE: This book features physically disabled kids who end up becoming an adjunct team of Animorphs, and the author of this book was thrilled to have a chance to write about people who are usually ignored by the public and are vastly misunderstood. She has personal ties to people with disabilities and has been striving to find a way to make the lives of the handicapped better.
- "People have no idea how heroic disabled people -- particularly disabled adults -- really are, " she says. "Isolation, segregation, and community disinterest are pretty much the norm for disabled adults. But I know this will change when, and if, enough people are made aware of the problems."
- Cassie states that Elfangor gave them the Escafil Device before he died, although the Animorphs received the cube much later after retrieving it from David's possession.
- Cassie and Rachel both remark separately that they have been fighting the Yeerks for months. In The Answer, which takes place shortly after the events of this book, Jake reveals that it has been three years since they received the power to morph and joined the Andalite-Yeerk War. In fact, it has been at least eight months in-universe time since the last book narrated by Cassie (The Unexpected) as that book takes place in January 2000 while The Ultimate takes place in September 2000 at the earliest.
- On p29, Jake says that the only reason he became the leader is because Marco had proclaimed so. However, in The Invasion, it was Tobias who appointed Jake as their leader.
- When the Animorphs are having a private meeting on p40, Tobias is in his human morph. However, on p43, he is back to his red-tailed hawk form without explanation.
- Ax's reply about understanding on p46 is written in quotation marks, when it should be in thought-speak as he is in Andalite form.
- Cassie states that they've learned how to morph slightly less skintight clothing, while still being relegated to wearing bike shorts. However, Jake reveals in The Resistance that the Animorphs had learned how to morph non-tight clothing such as jeans.
- On p64, "patronizing" is misspelled as "patronzing."
- When the Auxiliary Animorphs morph and demorph, they are seemingly clothed, despite the fact that they did not learn how to morph minimal clothing yet; additionally, they were not wearing skintight clothing prior to morphing.
- During their trip to the school for the blind, Cassie morphs into housefly and realizes that they are being watched, which causes Tom and the Blue Band Hork-Bajir to seize the morphing cube and take the other Animorphs as hostages. However, since they were being monitored via camera, the Yeerks should have seen Cassie morph into a housefly and thus should have known she was in the room and was unaccounted for.
- Cassie picks up Tobias on p131, and says all he needs to do is demorph and remorph to heal his injuries. Tobias is not in morph, so the order should be reversed.