Book 10: The Android
Publishing Date: September 1997
When the Animorphs notice that a school friend of theirs isn’t entirely human and is involved in the Sharing, the Yeerk front organisation that preys on the socially weak, they decide to investigate, only to find out he’s an ancient android called a Chee created by an extinct pacifist race called Pemalites. The Chee can’t fight the Yeerks, but they can if the Animorphs retrieve a special crystal computer the Yeerks are currently guarding in a high-security compound.
The Android is an important book to read because it introduces Erek King, originally a guest star, a small bit part that evolves over the series and turns into a major ally and strong secondary character. The Chee are powerful allies for the Animorphs, but as they can’t fight, they are reduced to spies and on more than one occasion are the plot point for entire novels. In this novel, the Animorphs slowly discover that Erek isn’t human, and then decide it’s a great idea to retrieve the crystal. Except for Cassie, because she has issues with helping a race that’s been peaceful for thousands of year become violent, even though their creators, the Pemalites, were wiped out by another violent race called the Howlers because they couldn’t fight back.
Once again, the fight also becomes personal for Marco because Jake’s brother, human Controller Tom, hints that Marco and his dad should join the Sharing. This is because Marco’s dad now works for a weapons development company and the Yeerks want his brain. Literally. I find it interesting that Marco’s only keen to fight in his novels because they make it so personal. He was originally the most reluctant until we found out about his mother, and now the Yeerks are after his dad, he’s happy to admit that it’s personal and that’s why he’s fighting. I mean sure, Cassie is a moralising over-thinker but at least she wants what is best for everyone, and is not just thinking about herself all the time.
But hey, that’s Marco for you.
The climax of this novel is pretty powerful. Sometimes the Animorphs don’t win, and sometimes they run away, and sometimes they kind of win and something happens to help them survive, like a deus ex machina. Well, Erek is that role in this novel. He gets the crystal, rewrites his own programming, and slaughters about two dozen people to save the Animorphs from a brutal fight where Marco actually dies (which is why we don’t actively see Erek wreaking havoc, which is a good device because it’s all in our imagination). But Erek’s an android, and he can’t forget anything. He has to relive this awful event over and over. It’s a very powerful moment, when he decides to change his programming back. That’s why the Chee can’t fight: because they are eternal and remember everything.
This is one of those novels you really shouldn’t skip.
Join me for a review of Book #11: The Forgotten next week!