Book 13: The Change
Publishing Date: December 1997
Tobias is ending up where doesn’t meant to be, at the exact right time and place to rescue a pair of escaped Hork-Bajir. Who is the puppet master, and can the Animorphs help the Hork-Bajir in time to escape the Yeerks?
This is one of those novels that is too early in the series for Applegate to have a strong grasp on what the rules of the Ellimist’s game is. It may be that he was allowed to free two Hork-Bajir because his opponent did something equally as evil – a balancing of the scales, you might say. But once again, like Book #7, The Stranger, it smacks of the Ellimist interfering because he’s a deus ex machine.
Not that this is a bad thing. No, this book is brilliant. This is our first real look at native Hork-Bajir, free aliens – and my god, are they adorable. Scary as fuck, yes, but also incredibly sweet and simple and afraid of offending their alien rescuers (the Animorphs, I mean). There is one scene where it is revealed the Hork-Bajir eat bark, and that’s why they have blades. They offer some to Tobias, out of courtesy, then accidentally infer that Earth bark is not as good as native Hork-Bajir world bark. Then they try to make it up to Tobias by saying that Earth bark is good as well.
There are dozens of other such interactions, sweet little scenes that made me fall in love with the Hork-Bajir all over again. The Hork-Bajir Chronicles is one of my favourite Animorphs books, and I love reading about them.
This is a novel not to miss out on because Tobias isn’t willing to be someone’s puppet without payment. He demands something monumentally huge from the Ellimist, and when it’s delivered, there is an eternal debate on what it is that Tobias actually wants. He is granted his morphing power back, and the Ellimist twists time to allow Tobias to acquire his own DNA. This begs the question of, did Tobias ever want to be human again, or did he just want to be able to fight? Is his crappy home life better than life as a bird?
This is also one of the earliest books where the Animorphs make a grand plan to outsmart Visser Three, where everyone is essential and has a role to play, and it actually works. It’s awesome when you see it come together, and they all lived happily ever after.
Really, don’t miss this book. It’s amazing.
Join me for a review of Book #14: The Unknown next week!