February 18, 2017 by Zoë
This is the first Animorphs book I ever read. I picked it up because there was a picture of a girl turning into a cat and I figured that looked pretty awesome. It was not at all what I expected it to be, and if I’m honest, I actually didn’t understand a lot of what was going on. Rachel glosses over a lot of the backstory with Elfangor and the Yeerks and even at one point mentions that you have to go to Jake to get that information. The first time through, this made it a bit hard for nine-year-old me to understand what the Yeerks were all about. Nevertheless, it had me hooked.
One of the most jarring things for me about going back and reading The Invasion is that in that book the Animorphs haven’t yet started worrying about concealing the fact that they’re humans and not Andalites. They do a whole lot of morphing in the Yeerk pool while only minimally concealed. In this book, however, they’ve realized that the Yeerks think they’re Andalites and they’ve decided that this is a good pretense to keep up. This read-through, the jump between book one and book two, at least in this aspect, was pretty noticeable.
Obviously this is Rachel book, so we meet her family, but as it turns out, Jordan is already showing glimmers of being a really interesting secondary character. Of the secondary characters, Jordan and Melissa are two that I think can make for–at the very least–really interesting AU fanfic. Jordan is only a couple of years younger than Rachel, and especially later in the series it could make sense for her to join the fight. More on that (much) later.
On an unrelated note, in this book, Visser Three morphs a Vanarx, which Chapman then refers to as a “Yeerkbane.” Does this morph or this species ever come back? I can’t remember. It just seems weird to me that there’s something that evolved specifically to suck Yeerks right out of their hosts. But I suppose there’s the chance that it’s just some random animal and Visser Three uses it to suck out Yeerks and so they’ve started calling it “Yeerkbane”…?
Also, this is the first book in which Marco drives.
Necessity to the series
This book is just as necessary as the first book. The Animorphs are still establishing themselves and trying to figure out what the Yeerks are all about. And they’re still making lots of mistakes.
- We had all returned to our human forms, but Tobias was still a hawk.
Tobias will always be a hawk.
- “We need to find another way to get at them,” I said angrily. It bothered me, imagining Tobias back in that maze of never-finished buildings mourning for the Andalite.
“Get at who?” Marco asked suspiciously.
“The French, Marco,” I said sarcastically. “Who do you think? The Yeerks, duh.”
- “I was just thinking how you look like the same old Rachel, but now you also have an elephant, a shrew, an eagle, and a cat inside you. That’s four morphs. That’s more than any of us.” She looked thoughtful. “We don’t really know very much about this morphing thing still. I wonder if there is a limit to how many morphs you can do.”
“I guess we’ll find out,” Marco said darkly. “Probably at the worst possible time.”
- “I know I’m just your little sister by two years, but you would tell me if something bad was happening to you, right? I wouldn’t tell Mom or anyone. You could trust me.”
- Next time Marco asked why we were fighting the Yeerks, I knew I would have a whole new answer. Because they destroy the love of parents for their daughter. Because they made Melissa Chapman cry in her bed with no one to comfort her but a cat.
It was a small answer, I guess. I mean, it wasn’t some high-sounding answer about the entire human race. It was just about this one girl. My friend. Whose heart was broken because her parents were no longer really her parents.
- But Cassie put her hand on Marco’s arm. “Don’t ever let any of this get in the way of spending time with your dad,” she said earnestly. “He needs you. We need you, too, Marco, but your dad comes first.” She looked at Jake, then at me. “There isn’t much point in doing any of this if we forget why we’re doing it.”
- <There will be a next time,> Tobias said. <There will be a next time until the Andalites return.>