Publishing Date: January 1999
Narrator: Edriss 562 (Visser One)
Visser chronicles the life of Edriss 562 before she becomes Visser One. It focuses on the silent invasion of Earth and is told mostly through speaking narration and a memory dump – which means that most of the novel happened way in the past. The Yeerk Edriss 562 stole a ship and went off on an unauthorised mission to find the only rumoured Class Five species yet discovered; the vulnerable, numerous, clever and dexterous humans of Earth.
Visser is one of my favourite Animorphs novels because it shows how even the most evil of creatures is not 100% evil. Edriss loved, as a human Controller, and fell in love with humans. She has her own personal reasons to the slow, silent invasion style the Yeerks are using on Earth rather than Visser Three’s all out war. However Edriss is on trial for sympathy towards a host species and a slew of other offences that could result in her immediate termination.
Edriss is a clever Yeerk and knows how to manipulate others. She’s adept at figuring out her situations and what she can do to come out on top, and she’s helped in this novel by her host, Eva, who knows that Edriss’ death would most likely mean hers. Meanwhile, they both know the biggest secret of all: Eva’s son is Marco, a human who is morph-capable, and perhaps the rest of the so called ‘Andalite bandits’ are, too.
Edriss’s story is one of my favourites because we see Earth through her alien Yeerk eyes, and she learns a lot about humans in the process of finding the best way to conquer them. She moves through several hosts and manages to keep her eye on the prize – Earth’s conquest – even if she does get a little sidetracked by a culture very different to her own. My favourite part in the whole novel is when she realises she has to call upon the ‘Andalite bandits’ for help to discredit Visser Three and maybe lead to his own death – although Edriss and Visser Three are enemies, they are still both Yeerks and Vissers, and it is interesting seeing how far Edriss will go. Are the enemies of her enemy her friends? Or are they only doing as she requests because her host is Marco’s mother and her is trying to save her life, and her life alone? The Animorphs have reasons to want Edriss’ slow and subtle invasion of Earth to continue: there is no way they could fight an outright war.
One thing the novel does not mention is whether or not Eva was a member of The Sharing or whether she was initially a volunteer host. I can only imagine Eva being taken kicking and screaming into slavery, but I would like to know how Edriss happened upon her because the why is obvious: Eva is a mother, and Edriss wants that experience. It might just be that Eva was the one random mother Edriss chose, but I’d like something more than that.
This book, although being part of the spin-off series, and mostly taking place in the past, does contain a scene in the present world that directly impacts upon the Animorphs and they make an appearance in the book. Therefore I think it is necessary reading to enjoy the series overall.