Hey all, Dani here.
My work week is over! I am so ready for the weekend because I have BIG plans…and by that I do mean that I have big reading plans. Because that’s what I do pretty much every weekend now. I read, I blog, I watch TV, and I play video games. Oh, and I guess I do need to do a couple of errands and such.
Anyway, I asked yesterday in my Weekly Wrap-Up if anyone would be interested in me doing a nostalgic throwback review of my recent re-read of one of my childhood book obsessions, and I had one person say that they would love to hear my thoughts. That’s good enough for me, and the review I was going to post for today isn’t quite ready yet, so I’ll give you this one instead.
This is a book I read to fulfill the prompt of “It’s Gonna Be May”: read your favorite 90s novel or throwback read for the Calendar Girls Springtime Whirl reading challenge and boy was it a 90s throwback for me.
Also, reading this book definitely made me want to hunt down the episodes of the short-lived TV show and watch those over again too, so…if I do that I might do a show review at some point in the future too.
Oh, and they re-released a few books of this series a couple years ago with new covers…and I think they are hideous. I would not have even tried to pick up these books if they had these new covers 20 years ago. Gross.
Anyway, let’s get started.
Publication Date: June 1, 1996
ISBN: 0590629778 (ISBN13: 9780590629775)
Sometimes weird things happen to people. Ask Jake. He may tell you about the night he and his friends saw the strange light in the sky. He may even tell you about what happened when they realized the “light” was only a plane — from another planet. Here’s where Jake’s story gets a little weird. It’s where they’re told that the human race is under attack — and given the chance to fight back.
Now Jake, Rachel, Cassie, Tobias, and Marco have the power to morph into any animal they choose. And they must use that power to outsmart an evil that is greater than anything the world has ever seen…
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
Okay, yes, I had to give this two different ratings and I’ll explain that here in a moment. Let me just soak in the fact that I haven’t read this book in about 20+ years. I think I re-read the books a few times as the series was in progress, but the longer the series went on, the less I went back to the earliest books. And yet it’s amazing how much of the book I still vividly remembered.
So yeah, I gave this re-read two different ratings. The 5 stars is for the nostalgia feels, because this series was just super special to me. I can’t imagine what my childhood would have looked like without the adventures that Jake, Rachel, Tobias, Cassie, and Marco (and later Ax) took me on. These are books that I can’t imagine getting rid of any of them. They hold a place of honor on my bookshelves.
But I’ve read a couple thousand books since these were published and I read them, so my reading tastes have refined and evolved, and I’ve become a better reviewer and rater of books. So, though I dearly love the characters and the story and this series, I also realize that it is not even close to perfect, though it was perfect to me as a 8-12 year old. That is why I also have to give this book a rating of 3.5 stars.
This was a decent introduction to the characters and of course there are a lot of questions left unanswered because the Animorphs themselves are not given answers; they have to learn it themselves as they did not get enough time with Elfangor.
Oh man, and this was such a nostalgia trip on the pop culture references too. I mean, come on, Jake bragging about his ability to play some of the arcade games at the mall because he has a SEGA at home. It honestly made me laugh out loud.
So much is hinted at in this book, and looking back on it as someone who has read the whole series, there are so many moments that become much more important, though new readers (and of course the characters) don’t yet realize that.
Is 24 years long enough before discussing spoilers? I’ll just put it this way, I’m venturing into series-as-a-whole-spoiler territory here, so this is the end of the spoiler-free review. Feel free to jump ahead to the purchase links if you need to, or the comments section if you want to say hello.
It’s spoiler time.
I just loved that Tobias was the one who spent the most time with Elfangor after his ship crashed, and in the context of just the first book it just seems that Tobias is particularly sensitive to this alien visitor, but when you get much deeper into the series…I think it’s Megamorphs #3 Elfangor’s Secret, you learn that Elfangor is actually Tobias’ father, and Elfangor probably realized it in those moments there at the end, and so he tried to impart as much knowledge as he could to his son so that he would be able to fight back against the Yeerks.
Rachel is still a fierce badass to me, even all this time later. She doesn’t take crap from others, and she stands up for her friends, and it’s obvious why people like her. She’s just really cool.
I love that Marco is the least sure about this whole fight the alien invaders and morph into animals thing, but then he’s also the one who gives the group the name Animorphs. He’s also pretty wonderfully sarcastic and funny, which just makes him an enjoyable character.
But I can say that I also love that the first book in this series hints at so much real-world drama and issues for these characters. Tobias’ home life is crap, Marco is dealing with losing his mom and how that has affected him and his dad, etc. etc. They have so many “standard pre-teen” issues to deal with already, and then you throw the added to-do of save the world from alien invaders to the mix. It’s a lot to handle.
All right, I’ve probably talked about this first book enough already. I’m actually tempted to continue re-reading this series. Would you guys be interested in me reviewing each book in the series, or would you want a few books bundled together into each review, or some other variation? Let me know in the comments.
Where to Get a Copy
Oh, and fun fact, apparently they are going to release a graphic novel series adaptation of Animorphs, with the first installment to be released October 6, 2020. Umm…I might have to buy these.