Book 33: The Illusion
Publishing Date: September 1999
Tobias and the Animorphs need to stop the Yeerks’ newest invention: the anti-morphing ray. This means one of the Animorphs needs to ‘prove’ it doesn’t work. The only one who can do that is Tobias – his nothlit body is a hawk, so any forced ‘demorph’ would fail.
This book is one of the most harrowing in the series. Not only does the darkness stem from Tobias’ own sad home life, but it features torture by an insane Controller and the most incredible and gory fight scene written into the Animorphs series. In short, it’s awesome J
Tobias isn’t ‘captured’ until about halfway through the book, and before that we get a lovely scene where he needs to practice morphing Ax (so he still has an ‘Andalite’ morph). Tobias and Ax are related, in a weird way. This scene makes me smile and breaks my heart a little. Ax may be millions of miles away from his home world and people, but Tobias is his nephew and Ax wants to share his culture with the strange, broken human boy.
Similarly, as Tobias slowly moves towards death, he experiences a strange Andalite fable called utzum, one that Ax does not entirely believe in. I’ve always loved the romantic idea of Tobias being part Andalite, but when you look at it really, morphing is all about DNA. He actually has no part of Andalite in him at all, not even the human part of him. He would have inherited some stranger’s genes (Elfangor’s human morph) along with his mother’s, so I’ve never really understood how he can experience Andalite things such as Ax’s cry for help in Book #4, or this utzum.
Of course, when you love Tobias and are watching him be tortured to death, you can suspend your disbelief, ignore the plot holes, and focus on how Elfangor is his daddy and Tobias is actually the son of the greatest Andalite hero ever. And that’s how he’s strong enough to not only withstand the torture, but to let his torturer go when the other Animorphs finally show up to rescue him and Rachl puts two and two together and understandably flies into a rage in grizzly morph.
Join me for a review of Book #34: The Prophecy next week!