The Stranger - Katherine Applegate
Brought to you by The Moonlight Library!Rachel’s second go at narrating gives un Anifans (I just made that up, am I cool or what? … *crickets*) a real fight that for the very first time seems likely the Animorphs will lose… except that some interdimensional galactic space god called the Ellimist keeps interrupting to save their asses.No, seriously. This entire book is a giant game between the Ellimist and the yet unmet Crayak (hint: the Big Red Eye from the end of the last book, #6: The Capture). In fact, according to later mythology as yet undeveloped, this book should never have happened because the Ellimist did exactly what he isn’t supposed to do: interfere directly with the lives or mere mortals.OK, so the Ellimist isn’t technically a god. He just seems that way because he’s super advanced and interdimensional and galactic. But he’s a sneaky bastard. The Animorphs decide to spy on the Yeerk pool again and nearly get swallowed by a Taxxon, and the Ellimist chooses then to reveal himself and offer to spirit away our young heroes and their loved ones to a remote planet like some interdimensional galactic environmentalist trying to save the wolves or whatever. But the Animorphs don’t accept, because, yo, they don’t run away from a fight. So while they’re yabbering on, they find a way to escape, and when the Taxxon swallows them they manage to escape in a really hyped up and not questioned much fight scene where Rachel morphs a bear for the first time because she’s feeling the pressure to be tough and brave ALL THE TIME.And so it goes. The Ellimist drops hints while he’s talking/showing the Animorphs stuff, including a twisted version of the future where the Yeerks win, Rachel is a Controller, and Tobias has been barbecued. Except, once again, this future doesn’t make sense, because Visser Three thinks Ax is a human… and yeah. Everything’s twisted and spooky and by the end of the book all the Animorphs have managed to do is destroy the Kandrona… which is like a huge freaking deal and the Ellimist used his intergalactic weasel ways to show them where it was, which would TOTALLY violate his deal with Crayak.Maybe I just think about this way too much.That is the reason this book frustrates me so much. Rachel is awesome, as usual. She is not fearless, but she is brave, and she feels the pressure to be the Animorph’s flag bearer, always the first one in, the most violent, the biggest, baddest morph. And yeah, she acquires a bear, which becomes her standard battle morph. Because seriously, do you really expect the blonde mallrat airhead to be the one to morph a grizzly freaking bear?But although Rachel does share some very sweet moments with Tobias, this book is much less focused on character development and more on being a badass book that you shouldn’t ask too many questions because honestly at this point in time the rules of the game between the Ellimist and Crayak haven’t even been invented yet. The book is like a giant KASU (that’s Katherine Applegate Screws Up, for you non-Animorphs obsessed peps). However, it does have a major effect on the next couple of books, the first Megamorphs and #8, the Alien, so it shouldn’t really be missed. Also, the bleak future world where the Yeerks win? Totally depressing and very, very sad.