Friday, July 25, 2014

RetroActive Book Review: Animorphs #1 - The Invasion

Animorphs Book #1: The Invasion

If I’m going to be completely honest I was disappointed that the Goosebumps books didn’t hold up better. I had such a genuine love for those books that I wanted them to be as good as I always remembered. Perhaps it was that disappointment that lead me to go into Animorphs with low expectations.

Most of my childhood was made up of Goosebumps and Animorphs books, I was expecting that reading this series would somehow destroy my memory of the series (which I never finished). I was very much wrong. 

K. A. Applegate never speaks down to her readers and goes out of her way to make the stakes actually matter. In this day and age when most children’s entertainment centers around the dangers of ‘not being popular’ or ‘the guy you like not liking you back’ it’s great to be remembered that some children’s authors chose to write hero stories.

In the first installment we have the origin story of the Animorphs. A group of 5 friends (Marco, Tobias, Rachel, Cassie and our narrator Jake) encounter a dying animal when cutting through an abandoned construction site to get home from the mall. The alien (called an Andalite) warns the children of an alien invasion in their town. Slug like creatures called Yeerks have landed, they enter through your ear and take over your body turning you into a ‘controller’. You know longer have any free will or thought. He knows that he will be killed shortly by the evil Vissar Three (the only yeerk to control an Andalite body) and gives the children his power to morph into any animal. The only rule is don’t remain in a morph for longer than 2 hours or you will be trapped in that body forever.

The Yeerks witness the children running away (but luckily don’t see their faces). It’s at this time that they start to realize that their own family members, teachers and police department are under Yeerk control. While reluctant at first they decide they must fight or Earth will lose this war. Their first goal is to save Jake’s brother Tom who is a controller. While trying to save Tom they discover (a) that the local organization The Sharing is ran by Yeerks as a means of finding more people to control and (b) that the Yeerks must soak in a Yeerk pool every three days. The Yeerk pool is located under the school. 

With the plan of saving Tom while his Yeerk is in the Yeerk pool the 5 sneak in and attack. A bloody battle ensues and the animorphs save one woman and kill a controlled Police Officer who knew their true identity but fail to rescue Tom. While hiding Tobias overstays the 2 hour limit and remains trapped as a Red-Tailed Hawk. 

The group make a pledge to fight until more Andalite’s come and help them. 

I’m genuinely excited to re-read the other 54 books (yes you read correctly, it’s a long fucking series). 

Matt Kelly is the host of the popular podcast The Saint Mort Show, a frequent contributor to, the founder of Chords for Cures and the co-writer/co-director of the upcoming comedy Describing the Moon.

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