So there’s a scene in this book that has stuck with me for years, ever since I first read it as a kid. Tobias is in human morph, sitting in a trap he very much knows is there, with an enemy watching, waiting for him to slip up, and he gets some unbelievably unexpected news. The only thing that saves him is that he’s so unused to being a human anymore, he doesn’t really make facial expressions. His face is perfectly blank when his world is turned upside down. I actually think about that scene a lot, and it’s been at least fifteen years since I’ve read the book.
This is a Tobias book, so of course that means it’s Existential Crisis Time. Is he a hawk? Is he a human? Is he some weird combo of both? And now that he knows his father was Elfangor in human morph, is he also somehow part alien? Existential crisis well deserved, in my opinion.
There are two things going on in this book plot-wise. First, a lawyer has been poking around school looking for Tobias, and the other Animorphs inform him that he claims to have a letter from Tobias’s dead father, and that a long-lost cousin has appeared, wanting to take Tobias in and give him a human. All the Animorphs, including Tobias, smell a trap. Second, a Hork-Bajir child has wandered away from the hidden colony, and all the Hork-Bajir and Animorphs search for him, knowing it could be very bad if the Yeerks are the ones that find him.
And of course, their worst fears come to pass. Tobias’s “cousin” turns out to be Visser Three in morph, because the lawyer who found the letter from Elfangor to Tobias was a Controller and nearly shit his pants when he read Elfangor’s name, along with the word “Andalite”. And Bek the lost Hork-Bajir is soon captured by the Yeerks, and they set up a trap to catch the other free Hork-Bajir who will no doubt come to rescue him, and who have been steadily freeing other Hork-Bajir Controllers to join their free colony.
I can’t really remember if Tobias’s identity crisis continues after this, but for now he has managed to find some peace when he realizes that all humans, even ones not trapped in the bodies of hawks, constantly have to make the same choices he does, between the animal side that just wants to survive, or to hurt those going after you, and between doing the oftentimes harder thing of looking the other way, taking the more peaceful, evolved action. There isn’t much story after he finds out the identity of his real father, but he also seems to find comfort in the idea that he, too, has a duty he has to perform, just like his father, and that has to come first.
Next up, oh my god, the Helmacrons