Book #13 in the series Animorphs by K.A. Applegate.

Disclaimer: If you've heard of Animorphs and you're thinking "Aww, how cute," maybe you should read my introduction to the first book to see how wrong you are.

THE CHANGE

Animorphs #13
by K.A. Applegate

Summarized Plot:

Tobias is trapped in a hawk body and remains the only member of the Animorphs team who can't morph. But he makes the best of his days trying to use his keen hawk vision and flight advantages to track Yeerk pool entrances. He's showing some to Rachel when he mysteriously ends up somewhere he didn't intend to--just in time to guide some escaping Hork-Bajir to safety. The Animorphs find that the poor alien Hork-Bajir--one male and one female--do not have Yeerks in their heads and are the only free members of their species. But the Yeerks don't want other Hork-Bajir to get any ideas, so they bring out all their heavy forces to kill or re-take the free Hork-Bajir. Meanwhile, Tobias keeps getting visions that he can't explain--like where there's a valley to hide the Hork-Bajir--and soon he tires of being a puppet and demands an explanation. Turns out the Ellimist is interfering--and Tobias wants a reward if he's going to be working for the Ellimist's plots. He gets the Ellimist to promise that he will give him "what he wants"--to be human again, presumably--but soon enough he finds that what the Ellimist has given him is his morphing power back. He's still a red-tailed hawk by default. Disappointed but using what he's got, the group manages to trick the Yeerks into believing the Hork-Bajir have jumped off a cliff rather than be taken, and they get them to their new paradise home in this mysterious valley, but Tobias is still confused about what the Ellimist has done for him. He gets a quick ride not too far back in time to acquire his own human DNA so he can become his old self when he needs to, but if he stays too long, he'll be trapped as he was and out of the war.

About this book:

Narrator: Tobias

New known controllers:

  • None

New morphs acquired:

  • Jake: None
  • Cassie: None
  • Marco: None
  • Rachel: Hork-Bajir (Jara Hamee)
  • Ax: None
  • Tobias: Racoon, Hork-Bajir (Ket Halpak), human (Tobias)

Notable:

  • It appears to be a shock to the group that Hork-Bajir could be female, so it seems they must have been thinking of them as genderless or male. What's strange is how Marco fires off a bunch of jokes based on female stereotypes when he hears that Hork-Bajir have females--suggests they might put makeup on their wrist blades, or cry at "chick" movies, or get frightened of bugs and snakes. I somehow doubt Marco would have made gender-based jokes about finding out there were male Hork-Bajir, so this suggests some kind of annoying sexism going on here.
  • Tobias mentions in his narration in this book that he has a pact with Cassie that he won't eat her wildlife patients recovering in the barn.
  • This is the first book after Tobias is trapped as a red-tailed hawk that he gets to morph again.
  • Interesting that in this book, Tobias and Rachel have to morph into a Hork-Bajir couple whose real selves are romantically connected, while Tobias and Rachel themselves are romantically connected . . . but Rachel has the Hork-Bajir male's body and Tobias has the Hork-Bajir female's body.
  • Visser Three doesn't seem concerned that Hork-Bajir getting eaten by wolves would leave alien bones around. It's unclear whether this really doesn't concern him or whether he's just too stupid/ignorant to know that the bones would remain. Alien skeletons could be a major red flag for the media, so it probably should be of concern to Visser Three.
  • When the group is joking about the Hork-Bajir valley being the Garden of Eden, Marco announces that no clothes are allowed in the Garden and demands that Rachel be the first to strip. This is one of the most straightforward risqué comments in the books so far.
  • We find out in this book that we can tell a male Hork-Bajir from a female by looking at their horn blades. Males have three blades and females have two. There is another invisible difference that is "only for Hork-Bajir to know."
  • Tobias gets taken into the past by the Ellimist and is allowed to touch and acquire his human self. This is of course a paradox, but considering that Ax claimed in a previous book that having two of someone existing at the same place and time would cause annihilation of both, it doesn't seem the in-universe physics should allow this meeting.

Best lines:

Tobias: More than any other person alive, Jake held the future of the human race in his hands. Strange to think, huh? That some big, sleepy kid in sneakers and a jacket was the leader of the only resistance to the Yeerk invasion of Earth?

Marco: "Can we please act more mature here?"
Rachel: "Sure, Marco. Why don't you leave and we'll automatically be a more mature group?"

Marco: "I remember when Jake used to be fun. Now he's such a grown-up."
Jake: "I was never fun."

Tobias: "Hah. Right. And eagles may fly out of my butt."
Ax: "Is that possible?"
Tobias: "No. See, that's why it's funny."
Ax: "I understand."



Next book: The Andalite Chronicles

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