Animorphs-The Science Fiction Book Series
Alien invasion-Teenagers to the rescue-Effect of wars on one’s personality
Written by K.A.Applegate and published by Scholastic,Animorphs is a series of 54 books describing how Yeerks-an alien species- invade mother Earth. The Yeerks are told to be slugs which enter one’s mind through the ear and take control of the human body making the human helpless and at the mercy of the controlling Yeerk. Yeerk infested humans are termed Controllers in the book.
Another species that goes by the name of Andalites are the ones who carry the flag of destroying The Yeerks. They are blue colored centaur type warriors,with a pair of eyes attached to stalks which give them a 360 degree vision. They have a deadly tail blade which is built for the kill. They have no mouths and talk through ‘thought speech’.They are a vastly developed alien species and have developed a technology ‘Morphing Cube’ which gives its beneficiary the power to attain the DNA of other species just by touching it.
Other alien species also get a mention in the book namely Hork-Bajir,Gedds,The Che and Taxxons.
In the first book ‘The Invasion’, an Andalite war-prince who has some good memories of Earth-Elfangor- gives the morphing cube to five passing teenagers. Before dying,he tells them that with the morphing cube they need to attain the DNA of powerful creatures in their world and need to take on the Yeerks who have invaded Earth.
The five teenagers-Jake,Marco,Cassie,Tobias and Rachel find the reality when they actually morph for the first time. K.A. Applegate for all her creativity and awesome skills at understanding animals and human feelings both fails to give a proper idea of how morphing takes place.She describes it in lengths in every book but every time leaves the reader clutching at straws.
These five teenagers are then joined by Elfangor’s younger brother -Aximili-who landed on Earth with him,as they start a guerilla war against the Yeerks. They have to keep their secrecy because a Yeerk invested human is the same as any other person. The battle commences and since the Yeerks don’t know that Elfangor gave humans the morphing cube,they take them to be a group of Andalites who are trying to abolish their devilish plans.
These teenagers take different morphs and try to damage the plans of the Yeerks by failing their plans. The writer has done a lot of research for every morph and describes the working of the brain of every single animal with accuracy and makes the reader feel the feelings of any animal.
In the ensuing battle,Jake becomes the leader of this group called ‘Animorphs’. Marco-Jake,Rachel- Cassie and Tobias -Ax are told to be excellent friends.Their relations with each other are well defined and grow as the series continues. Jake- Cassie and Tobias- Rachel are the two romantic couples in the series.
The writer quite clearly has a very good idea of the characters ,their personalities and their reactions to different matters.Their most peculiar qualities are
Jake-The defacto leader is the one who remains torn between practicality and morality,the one who wants to win the war and also does not want any casualties. He has an excellent instinctual brain.
Cassie-The most caring and loving,she seriously hates wars and only continues on fighting for the humans effected by the Yeerks.Her morality and feelings for even their enemy also borders sympathy.
Rachel-She is the complete opposite of Cassie. They are the two extremes of human nature.She is blood-thirsty and is ready for the kill whenever she sees her enemy.
Marco-He is the most practical of the lot. Very funny and extremely smart. He depicts how most humans are. Practical in approach and does not shy away from killing someone for the ‘greater good’
Tobias-He becomes the ‘red tailed hawk’ in the second book and remains so for the rest of the series. Lost in himself,in discovering himself,his life and way of thinking is complicated. Has complete confidence in Jake and is moral to an extent.
Aximili Isgarrouth Isthill-Shortly called Ax. His role is actually very funny. An alien in a human world, his takes on human behavior and actions are worth a read as his opinions are from an ‘outsiders’ point of view’
K.A.Applegate shows how humans react to wars and how their personality changes with every battle. The effects on these teenagers are excellently written,showing how their beliefs take a hit and they go against their will on many occasions,putting their lives on the line to save the human race. It also tells how much divided a human mind can be when it comes to wars. While reading,Cassie’s points have as much weight as Rachel and Marco’s. She shows how a human mind works and that it likes itself to be seen as victimized even when the other race is fighting for its survival.
The effects of war last for a long time as Jake leads his group to victory as he and his accomplices win the battle against the Yeerks. Rachel dies in the final battle as Jake asks her to do a suicide mission for him,enraging Tobias and Cassie(showing their moralistic approach) while Marco takes Jake’s side hailing his practicality.
Jake,who at the end also orders to kill thousands of Yeerks(in their real state),loses it at the end of the book, weighed down by his own guilt of ordering Rachel to die as well as the casualties caused on his orders in their different battles. He becomes a war-torn soldier who takes solidarity and never remains the same.
Rachel’s character is said to ‘come out in the open’ by Cassie in the book.She understands that Rachel was always blood-thirsty and that this war had given her the platform for her vivacious actions.
Marco remains unhinged by war as he survives the battle with all his charming qualities,taking to the World’s applause after the victory and becoming a super star.
Cassie as well moves on and keeps working for the animals and other alien species,letting the world know that every creature has the right to live and that for them survival is just as serious as it is for humans. As humans kill goats and other animals for their survival,other species have a right to target humans as well for their survival-a route taken by the Yeerks. This feeling of Cassie really stuns a human brain and makes us think of how our mind does not think of other species as a living creature.
Rachel’s death makes Tobias all the more quiet as he regrets her death, in the later years only joining forces with Jake and Marco to look for Ax as K.A.Applegate finishes the book as it started-Fighting.
I can surely conclude that K.A.Applegate though does not have the writing qualities of writers like J.K.Rowling when it comes to describing a given location or a fight scene, her extraordinary talent at penning down human feelings and emotions,a take of a stranger to human race on humans and animal behavior are stellar and well worth a read.
These books are a treat not only for people who look for sci-fi action but also a real joy for those who like to read books regarding human emotions and behavior.