Megamorphs #3: Elfangor’s Secret
Publishing Date: May 1999
The Animorphs have been issued a challenge: stop Visser Four messing with Earth’s history using the Time Matrix, or else America will never be and instead everyone is racist and Cassie has a slave and Tobias is in a relationship with Melissa Chapman because Rachel is being re-educated for being awesome. I mean a wild, reckless female in a sexist world. The Animorphs will string along on Visser Four’s time hop and attempt to stop him, but at a price: one of the Animorphs must die.
This is by far the best Megamorphs so far. The time jumping through history can be a little confusing if you’re not American and don’t know any American history, because the whole point of Visser Four’s meddling is to make America weaker and therefore easier to conquer. So the Animorphs follow him through time as he attempts (and sometimes succeeds) to screw up the battle of Trafalgar, World War II, the crossing of the Delaware, and some other historical events I don’t really know much about.
That being said, it’s a hugely enjoyable novel. Applegate handed over her series to ghost writers a couple of books ago and from then on only wrote a handful – a few of the regular series, the Megamorphs, and the Chronicles. Applegate knows her characters better than anyone, and this novel is particularly poignant because each Animorph takes a turn to do something particularly heinous and immoral – murder, and mostly of innocents. It’s easy to pass it by with ‘ah, they’re time travelling, it doesn’t matter’ like I did when I was a kid, but on this re-read, as an adult, it was far more powerful. I understand the consequences and characterisation better.
The only annoying thing is that after each time hop the Animorphs have to figure out where they are. You know how sometimes each morphing description and each introduction to the books in the regular series (Hi, my anme is so-and-so, and here’s the deal; morphing, Yeerks, save the world blah blah blah) can get repetitive and tedious? Well, so did the time hops. Especially when the Animorphs don’t know enough about their history to be certain where they are or what’s going on. It’s confusing to the reader because it’s confusing to the narrators.
Apart from that, it’s a hugely enjoyable novel, and even though because of how it’s laid out (time travel, yo) it really doesn’t impact on the regular series, it’s really worth the read.
Join me for a review of Book #30: The Reunion tomorrow!