Book 23: The Pretender
Publishing Date: November1998
Tobias has been contacted by a long-lost cousin who wants to take him in after the reading of his father’s will. One of the free Hork-Bajir babies has gone missing. Tobias is having an identity crisis. Just your average day for your average Bird-Boy.
Like I said, this novel is pretty much about Tobias’ identity crisis. Mostly it flitters between his inability to defend his territory from another hawk, and his indecision on whether he can permanently become human again and bow out of the war. He fights between being too human and being too hawk and in his moments of weakness ends up sinking to his lowest ever – eating roadkill. But hey, whatever it takes to survive, right? He can’t depend on the other Animorphs to bring him food when his only problem is the other hawk he won’t fight – oh year, and did I mention every time he tries to hunt he gets these weird flashes of head-hopping that is never really resolved?
I love Tobias. I love his angst and his indecision – which in itself is another decision. I think he’s brave and valiant and he has a strong sense of what’s right and wrong tempered with his predator’s view of the world. So it pains me to see him hang out with Rachel and have her not really understand why he won’t permanently become human again. Not even for her.
And who exactly is the pretender? If you don’t know the spoiler, the fact that Tobias’ mysterious cousin Aria is really Visser Three in morphs suspecting the homeless kid who disappeared around the same time the Andaliate bandits appeared, then the pretender might actually be Tobias. He’s pretending to be a bird. Or maybe he’s pretending to be human. Either way it fits him perfectly.
This book is important to the overall storyline, especially if you haven’t read the Andalite Chronicles. This book reveals that Elfangor was Tobias’ real dad. It’s a pity we never see Ax’s reaction to this revelation. I think sometimes the guys refer to each other as uncle/nephew, but they’re more focused on the best friends forever aspect. Anyway, because Tobias is awesome and you should love him, you’ll enjoy this as one of the better Animorphs books. Don’t miss it.
Join me for a review of #24: The
unbelievably stupid aliens Suspicion soon!