(The Animorphs series, Book 2)
K. A. Applegate
Fiction, YA Sci-Fi
NOTE: In honor of the recent re-release of the Animorphs series, I'm finally posting individual reviews of all 54-plus books, to replace the en-masse series review on my book review website.
DESCRIPTION: A week ago, Rachel was no different than most of the girls at junior high. Then she and her friends met the dying alien Elfangor, and everything changed... even her. Elfangor, in his final moments, gave the kids the power to morph into animals, a weapon to use against parasitic Yeerk invaders. Now Rachel and her friends are the Animorphs, Earth's only defense in a war that nobody knows about... nobody who doesn't already have an alien slug in their brains, at least.
In hopes of finding the Kandrona, a vital component of the Yeerks' survival in their native form, the kids decide to track Assistant Principal Chapman, whom they know hosts a highly-ranked Yeerk. Rachel used to be close to Chapman's daughter Melissa, and while they've drifted apart, she still feels bad betraying a friend. What starts as an infiltration mission quickly becomes more personal - and more dangerous - than Rachel could ever have imagined.
REVIEW: Again, while The Visitor is a fast-paced, action-oriented story, I never foresaw myself reading the entire Animorphs series when I read it. The kids still struggle to accept the responsibility that's been dropped onto their shoulders, with Marco as the most vocal opponent to risking their lives against impossible odds. In this book, Rachel finds her own reason to fight, much as Jake found his in the first volume. Applegate manages to visualize the world as seen through animal eyes, a gimmick that could've easily misfired in the wrong hands. Like most serial stories, for all the struggle the characters go through and the dangers they face, little has changed by the end, with just enough advancement to crawl into the next adventure. I also thought it tried a little too hard to drive home the emotional toll of the Yeerk invasion.
When I saw that the third book would feature Tobias, the Animorph who found himself trapped in hawk form in the first book, I told myself I'd read just one more. Famous last words...