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- I will only be reviewing books I own. No working from memory alone. I own books #1-54, but am missing #48. Reviewing from memory can be unfair and faulty, and I wish to approach each book fresh.
- I wonít be reviewing the side books. I donít own any of the Alternamorphs, none of the Chronicles, and only one of the Megamorphs, #3. Now, if I can find them at the local library I will review them, but otherwise I will stick to what I have. So for now that means only Megamorphs 3 will be reviewed but no others.
- I wonít be reviewing the TV series in this liveblog. Unless someone can point me to a good channel or playlist where most of them are. Iíve had trouble trying to track down each episode on Youtube. If so, that will be a separate liveblog, and done after this one.
1. Tracking the development of the seriesí plot over time.
2. See the purpose for writing each book. How does it advance the plot?
3. Locating the difference between KA Applegate and her various ghostwriters.
4. Understanding what makes the charactersí develop and tick.
5. Identifying the structure of Animorphsí universe.
6. Identifying the themes of series and how they emerge and are supported.
7. Fun!Sounds heavy, but Iím confident the series can support them. Thatís why I loved the series and why its page on this wiki is so big. If you havenít read the books: hereís a one-minute summary.
- Five kids walking through a construction site one night find a dying alien Andalite warrior named Elfangor, who tells them Earth is being invaded by aliens called Yeerks. The Yeerks are tiny slug-like critters that infest people and take over their brain, allowing them to begin a secret invasion. To counter this, Elfangor gives them morphing ability, which lets them acquire the DNA of animals and transform into them. The power comes at the price of trapping you in the animal body forever if you stay in it for more than 2 hours. A minute later the Yeerk Big Bad Visser Three eats Elfangor and the kids escape and form the guerilla resistance group dubbed the ďAnimorphsĒ, who will fight to defend Earth while they wait for the Andalite navy to arrive and save everybody. And so, the books begin. Have fun!
Book 1: The Invasion. So, the cover. Honestly, I donít like that this cover is the image for the seriesí page here. Itís one of the ugliest, being the very first one. This one seemed to use computer models to change the kid on the cover from a boy to a lizard, but that only led to unfortunate results. Iím glad all the later books abandoned computer models. The corners of each page also first establish the seriesí fun tradition: a flipbook of the bookís protagonist morphing. This one has our main character Jake transforming into a green anole lizard, and it looks way cooler than the cover. Why could they have used this one? It shows his whole body transforming! Looks like they actually used a real picture of a lizard too, not an awful model. Best of all, halfway through Jake looks like a Velociraptor. The book opens with the gang of kids that will become our protagonists joining up for a simple walk back home. But along the way they encounter a descending alien ship. The introduction and dialogue of the gang can feel a little cheesy today, and the aging references donít help, but maybe thatís just me speaking as now a decade older than I was when I first read this book. The part with Elfangor is nothing we havenít seen before. I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin, etc. Canít write anything about his personality, though thatís excused by him being about to die. But that all changes once the Yeerks arrive. Applegate really shows her strength her in describing feelings. You really feel like these kids are terrified. All the detail, their stomach churning, their teeth chattering, giving a visceral description of fear. You might even start feeling pretty afraid yourself, and given what theyíre seeing you canít blame them.
- If you've never been really afraid, let me you— it does things to you. It takes over your mind and your body. You want to scream. You want to run. You want to wet your pants. You want to throw yourself down on the ground and cry and beg please, please, please, please don't kill me! And if you think you're brave, well, wait till you're cowering a few feet away from from a monster who can turn you into coleslaw in about three seconds flat.
- ďGeez, Jake, donít you understand? I know what I can do and what I canít do. I canít make plans and tell people what to do. Iím not the leader. You are.ĒI laughed rudely. ďIím not the leader of anything.ĒHe just looked at me with those deep, troubled eyes Ė eyes I can now see only in my memory. ďYes, Jake, you are the leader. You are the one who can bring us all together and help us defeat the Controllers.Ē
- ďLook, why do we have to deal with this? I say we just forget it. We never talk about it. We never morph. We just deal with our own lives. We could get killed! Donít you get it? You saw what happened to the Andalite. I mean, this is radical stuff, Jake. This is real. Real! We could all get killed. Look, I think these Controllers* are jerks. But if something happened to meÖ my dad. He wouldnít be able to handle it.Ē*Tobias was looking at Marco with this sideways look, like he thought maybe Marco was some kind of coward. I knew better. Marco had his reasons.
- Marco as he acquires a gorilla: ďI loved your work in King Kong Versus Godzilla.Ē
- ďNow do you see why itís crazy to think we can beat the Yeerks? I mean, come on: we can barely beat zoo security.Ē
- As Jake tries to acquire a tiger: ďAcquire? Acquire what? You canít acquire anything about him. Heís the acquirer, and youíre the acquiree. Heís going to acquire your butt for dinner! Heís going to acquire you and spit out the bones!Ē
- ď[The tigerís] magnificent. But letís get out of here before he shows us why heís king of the jungle.Ē
- ďWhat is the matter with him?Ē I exploded. ď[Tobias has] got a two-hour limit and we donít know how long this is going to take!Ē
- Tobias swooped down and perched on Rachelís shoulder. It surprised me a little. Why would Tobias perch on Rachelís shoulder? And she didnít seem annoyed. She rubbed her head against him a little.
Some real Early Installment Weirdness here, most notably the infamous error where Jake uses thought speak as a human. The rest I won't point out for possible spoilers. They really make a surprising amount of progress here considering how long the series lasted; by the end I was half wondering if the Yeerks would be defeated right here and the rest of the series would be about something else.
Indeed. And Tobias sucks his finger because his cat scratched him earlier even though that injury should have been healed by his morphing. And yet later, Marco explains out why morphing heals them... I had the opposite reaction; I was wondering how they were going to manage to "blow up the Yeerk pool" when they didn't have any explosives. Still, it's true, they were really on fire for the first few books! Then things would settle down to Monster Of The Week.
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