Book 31: The Conspiracy
Publishing Date: July 1999
Jake and his family have to attend a family funeral, and they’ll be gone to the middle of nowhere for four days. No Yeerks. No Yeerk pools. No Kandrona rays. Tom isn’t happy, but Jake’s dad is adamant. Now Jake and the Animorphs have to keep Jake’s dad alive, or Jake will have to make the ultimate choice: his father, or his brother.
This most certainly was not one of my favourite books when I was a kid. I didn’t like the reactionary element – the Animorphs are put on the defensive, trapped as they are by their anonymity and the whole Tom-is-a-Controller thing. I didn’t like how Jake basically hung around, waiting to defend his dad, reacting when necessary and being limited in what he could do. Because Tom was a high-ranking Yeerk, the Animorphs couldn’t just randomly keep showing up to wreak Andalite damage wherever Jake’s dad went.
I found it frustrating.
However, as an adult, I appreciate much more how Jake’s hands are tied. He can only react, but not in a way that will make the Yeerks think that Andalites are involved. He needs to do it more subtly than that. One of my favourite sections is when the Animorphs decide to go on the offensive to take the attention away from Tom and kidnap a higher-ranking Yeerk, their assistant principal, Chapman. It’s really intense and an enjoyable read because for once the Animorphs get to make the first move.
Even the climax is frustrating, because like in the previous novel with Marco, Jake has to decide to kill a family member. But there’s no one there to hold him back. Jake thought he could do it alone, so he left the other Animorphs behind. However, there are other similarities to the previous novel as well. Marco managed to stay emotionally uninvolved, and Jake proves he can’t do the same thing when it comes to his dad. That’s something I only picked up on as I re-read the books. Marco and jake have to make the same calls, except Marco’s more ruthless than Jake, who’s the leader. It’s very interesting watching their different approaches to their family members, and well worth the time to take to read.
Join me for a review of Book #32: The Separation next week!