by K.A. Applegate
This book is outside the usual chronology of the Animorphs series, being a prequel that tells of Elfangor\’s youth as a warrior-in-training and his involvement in the war against the Yeerks. It\’s a book I probably never would have picked up if I wasn\’t reading the series- being mostly battles between alien species on various planets and in outer space. But I got drawn into the story and actually enjoyed most of it. At first, young Elfangor is eager to prove himself in battle and disappointed when he\’s given a lowly task along with his fellow and rival Arbron. They intercept an alien ship run by the Skrit Na- who have on board two humans they have captured and also a dangerous device the Time Matrix built long ago by those legendary all-powerful Ellimist. Apparently the Skrit Na don\’t know what the Time Matrix thing is, but they\’re going to deliver it to the Yeerks so instead of taking the humans back on Earth, the Andalites wind up on the Taxxon home world trying to retrieve the device and ending up in a huge battle against the Yeerks (who have parasitized most of the alien Taxxons).
Lots of stuff happens. It gets complicated. The character of Elfangor grows and he struggles a lot with making moral decisions in tense moments of warfare- something his superior scorns at- an older Andalite embittered by the war. There are Taxxon rebels holding out against the Yeerks. Arbron gets stuck in morph and becomes a key player in the Taxxon rebellion. We find out some serious backstory details on how Visser Three came to be- how a Yeerk was able to take over an Andalite body. Elfangor feels he is to blame, an error in judgement on his part leading to what happened. There\’s also backstory on Chapman- in this book he\’s a young man- and a total jerk. The other human involved, a young woman named Loren, is a much more sympathetic character and a very strong female role.
For all that, there\’s some pretty weird happenings in here. The asteroid part? I totally can\’t wrap my head around that, and sure hope it gets explained in a later book (but I wouldn\’t be surprised if it never is). The time travel events stretch credilbility (even in a story about alien invasions I expect some sense!) and the part where Elfangor, Loren and the future Visser Three end up in suddenly created wacko universe was just so- odd. I don\’t know why parts of this kept reminding me of A Wrinkle in Time. It had a similiar vibe to it all.
The book neatly ends up at the scene that opens the first in the main series, The Invasion. Elfangor is a significant character there, giving the Animorphs the forbidden power to morph into any being they can touch. With all the Andalite honor code and strictness, it\’s kind of surprising Elfangor would give this to a lesser-advanced species, but this book makes it clear that he develped a soft spot for humans due to his experiences. Also he finally had confidence that humans could be stronger and more resilient than they look. Which is why he gave a key power to a bunch of kids on Earth, pitching them into the unseen battle against the aliens.
This one is on my e-reader.
Rating: 3/5 pages, 1997