Book 38: The Arrival
Publishing Date: February 2000
An elite team of Andalites lands on Earth to assassinate Visser Three and immediately demand that Ax chose a side: his people, or his family. With the Animorphs demoralised at the prospect of the Andalite fleet giving up on Earth, Ax joins the Andalites only to uncover a bigger conspiracy that would leave ramifications through the war against the Yeerks.
I love reading Ax’s books. I love his formal voice, his love of humans, his pride in his own people. I love reading about humans from an alien’s point of view, and this book is one of his best because it rocks Ax to his core, and us readers along with it. Ax has to come to terms with his family falling apart and his loyalties changing to his people. I always thought Ax would be loyal to the Animorphs until the end, not just because they took him in and looked after him and protected him and taught him about humans, but because of Tobias as well. Ax and Tobias’ relationship is friggin’ deep, yo. But when a pretty, brilliant young female Andalite comes along, she turns his head and leaves his loyalty torn.
I loved the inclusion of the four Andalites in this book. Each one had a distinct character and showed us a different aspect of Andalites. Ax’s sexism is so inherent against Andalite females, and although he doesn’t think the same way about human females (Rachel would knock his head off) it’s always amusing to see his shock at the way Estrid was treated differently, and assuming it was because females were treated differently in the military. The Andalites a deeply sexist race – they back it up by saying a female’s tail blade is smaller, therefore she is less suited for fighting and more suited towards science and the arts – but Estrid almost defeats Ax in a tail fight despite no formal training. Estrid’s a tough, but naïve young girl, and is clearly in over her head.
I also love Ax’s deep and unabiding love for the humans, and his moral stance on what is and isn’t acceptable in war. Is it moralising? Sure. Does it have a place in a war? Probably not. But it’s admirable and wonderful to read about. TO think that an alien loves humans so much he would betray his own people for their survival… it hits the romantic in me.
Overall this novel should probably be read – not because it is that essential to the overall story arch, but because it shows us readers the many shades of grey that Andalites come in, and why good guys can sometimes be bad guys, and it showcases Ax’s loyalty to the humans, and most importantly, it shows what happens when anyone other than the actual fleet comes to Earth. The Animorphs still idolise the Andalites even though they’ve been let down so many times before. This is no different.
Join me for a review of Book #39: The Hidden next week!