Book 5: The Predator
Publishing Date: December 1996
In Book #5, newly rescued Andalite cadet Ax decides he’d like to go home, so the group decide to hijack a Yeerk Bug fighter.
Marco’s first time narrating an Animorphs book is another one you really don’t want to miss. There are two stand-out sequences: one is when the Animorphs morph ants to infiltrate Chapman’s house and steal a piece of equipment so stranded Andalite Ax can make a Yeerk distress beacon and steal a Bug ship to go home to the Andalite home world. Sounds convaluted, but focus on the ant part. Previously, Marco had morphed a lobster to escape detection and almost been boiled alive. The ant is ten times worse – no, a hundred times worse. The ants have no individual consciousness, and the complete and utter take over of their minds leaves the Animorphs shattered. not only that, but on the return journey they are attacked by an army of ants whose colony they don’t belong to. It’s a pretty horrific sequences, and even though it only lasts a few pages, it makes a memorable impact. This is Applegate’s strength in these books: what it’s like to be a human mind in an animal as animal things happen. Because, let’s face it, ant wars happen every day.
The other sequence that stands out is when Marco finds out his missing-presumed-deceased mother is in fact the host body for Visser One, the most powerful Yeerk outside of the Council of Thirteen. Because this is Marco’s first book, we get a strong look at how he and his dad have dealt with Eva’s death. Marco’s dad hasn’t coped, which is why Marco is so reluctant to be an Animorph. But this is the moment that changed his mind. Like with Rachel in Book #2, the fight has now become personal. The Yeerks took Marco’s mother away and in the process tore a family apart, leaving his dad with severe depression and forcing Marco to grow up very quickly.
While it’s sad that it takes making the war personal for Marco to fight, I do understand where Applegate is coming from. Not everyone can be as heroic as Jake, or as brave as Rachel. All of the Animorphs have their own issues to deal with, and with this book we’ve finally found them all.
Although Marco is considered the ‘funny one’ of the group, there is always a lot of humour when Ax morphs a human, and this is our first glimpse at how he reacts to the new sense of taste. It’s hilariously funny, if a little scary at times, and well worth the read. For continuity purposes, you’d be better off not skipping this one.
Join me for a review of Book #6: The Capture next week!