Book 11: The Forgotten
Publishing Date: October 1997
A prototype Bug fighter crashes into a local supermarket, and the Animorphs decide to steal it and land it on the lawns of the White House. But after a brief tussle with Visser Three’s Blade ship, the Animorphs find themselves flung half a day into the past, and trapped in South America. Meanwhile, Jake has been having flashforwards about the jungle, and flashbacks about his normal day. What the heck is going on?
Ladies and gentlefucks, allow me to introduce you to a concept we will visit again, so listen up: the Sario Rip. It is a hole in space time. A massive energy explosion caused it, and sent the Animorphs not only back in time but to South America, in the middle of the rainforest, in nothing but their morphing outfits and bare shoes. Fun fun. They have until the time the explosion happened in the first place to re-create the explosion, or else the anomaly, the impossibility to having two of the same people existing in a normal space time continuum, will cause each of the doubles to annihilate themselves.
This novel is actually about what happens when Jake screws up. He doesn’t often screw up, but in this case, he does screw up, and he screws up big. Sometimes I wonder if it’s fair that the very few times he does monumentally screw up in the series, he’s given the chance to undo it all. But I digress. Yes, Jake is the leader. Yes, he gets some good ideas. But ultimately, the Animorphs lose this alternate-universe battle, and that’s why Jake’s been having flash-forwards-and-backs, and why reality snaps back together to give him the chance to never do any of it.
The Animorphs suffer in the rainforest. Applegate does a brilliant job of showing us just how harsh the environment can be. Monster bugs. A million birds. Piranhas. Monkeys. Jaguars. Add in Visser Three, who can morph anything, and a bunch of tireless Hork-Bajir and Taxxons who seem strangely at home in the land of giant insects, and you’re pretty much screwed. Unless you, too, can morph anything you touch. And just in time, the Animorphs manage to acquire a jaguar rather conveniently and also learn to appreciate the jungle from a predator’s perspective. They have their usual Visser Three fight, where the Visser spends more time taunting than anything else while the Animorphs remain stoically silent, and in the end, Jake kills the Visser using a poisoned spear from a friendly Amazon tribesman.
Except that (spoiler) Jake dies, too. So reality snaps back together and Jake changes his mind about going after the bug fighter. It never happens. Except that at the start of the book, Jake gives us the usual, “This is really happening and everything is true” spiel, and it never actually happened.
So OK. No monkey morphs, no jaguars. No dead Visser Three. Equally, no dead Jake. And a story that never happened, and that no one but Jake remembers. This, ladies and gentlefucks, is what we call a filler novel, and it is the first instance that you can really skip over without missing anything at all. The concept of the Sario rip will be re-explained when it’s re-introduced. But overall, it’s still an entertaining novel and Applegate’s descriptions of the rainforest and her torturing of her characters are well worth the read, even if she does in the end helicopter author them all to safety.
Join me for a review of Book #12: The Reaction next week!