Book 32: The Separation
Publishing Date: July 1999
Rachel morphs a sea star and gets cut in half. In the resulting demorph she ends up as two different Rachels: identical, but as far apart in personality as you can get. One is a reckless psychopath with no competency for long-term thinking: the other is a gentle wuss terrified by morphing but with a strong sense of duty.
The problem is, Psycopath Rachel can’t be trusted. She’s a loose cannon. Wuss Rachel is terrified of morphing. She also can’t be trusted. The Animorphs need to figure out a way to get their old Rachel back, the Rachel that has both of them, the mean Rachel and the nice Rachel inside of her, and knows how to use both of them.
To add in on all of this the Animorphs have a major mission coming up: finding a way to stop the Anti-Morphing Ray. Yeah, that’s a thing. It means is the Animorphs were ever captured, the Yeerks would find out they are human, and bye-bye Animorphs families, hello world domination.
Applegate came back to her long-running series specifically to write this book. She wouldn’t let the ghost writers touch it. It’s evident why: the story of twin Rachels needs someone who knows Rachel inside out to write it. The book is told from both points of view and it’s really scary being in both of their heads. Wuss Rachel is a ditz who thinks about boys and shopping and narrates in Valleyspeak, whereas Psychopath Rachel is constantly contemplating murder and all sorts of gore.
Yes, there are some funny moments – particularly when Marco makes a joke about now there’s two Rachels, Tobias can have and he can have the other. It’s not smart to make jokes around the mean one, though. Mostly the book is a fantastic character study into Rachel, the parts that make her up. The warrior goddess and the mallrat. It’s beautiful watching them come to realise that they need each other.
If you like Rachel, you’ll want to read this next step in her journey. This book also sets up the main plot in the next book, which is one of the best in the series. It also ends with the best ever quote:
<Yeah. Let’s go, Rachel,> [Tobias] said. <The two of you and the two of me. Let’s go.>
Join me for a review of Book #33: The Illusion next week!