Book #5 in the series Animorphs by K.A. Applegate.

Disclaimer: If you've heard of Animorphs and you're thinking "Aww, how cute," maybe you should read my introduction to the first book to see how wrong you are.


Animorphs #5
by K.A. Applegate

Summarized Plot:

Ax wants to go home, so the Animorphs make a plan for building and using a communication device which will enable them to signal and then steal a Yeerk ship. After some hijinks at the mall and some unexpected problems controlling an ant morph, Marco tells Jake he wants to stop participating in the missions because his father was destroyed by the loss of his mother and he doesn't want to add to the sorrow if he dies. After they finally signal the evil aliens, they fall into a Yeerk trap, discovering that the Yeerk rulers Visser One and Visser Three do not like each other. Despite being captured, they are released by Visser One's soldiers as part of a ploy to make Visser Three look bad, but by the end of this fiasco Marco has decided to remain in the fight; after all, he's discovered that the stolen body that Visser One is using is that of his own mother.

About this book:

Narrator: Marco

New known controllers:

  • A mall cop
  • Marco's mother

New morphs acquired:

  • Jake: Lobster, black ant
  • Cassie: Black ant
  • Marco: Lobster, black ant
  • Rachel: Black ant
  • Ax: Lobster, black ant, northern harrier


  • Andalites communicate through thought-speak, and it's easy to imagine that it wouldn't necessarily need to be a particular language to succeed in communicating with alien species. But it does seem odd that when Ax is in human morph, he appears to just know the language (even though he's prone to playing with sounds when he speaks). It doesn't appear that particular knowledge should come with a human brain when an alien uses one as a morph, so it's unclear how he speaks English.

  • Marco regularly refers to his mother as "dead" in this book even though it's been established that she actually just disappeared and is presumed dead. That helps make his mother's appearance much more unexpected than it might have been otherwise.

  • While dealing with the lobster morph, Jake makes use of Ax's ability to keep time independently of using a watch for the first time. Ax is shown to be able to accurately gauge how much time they've spent in morph, which is a handy talent for their future missions.

  • In this book Marco finally has a very personal reason to keep fighting instead of a very personal reason to back out of the fight. He also seems to be beginning to realize that his sense of humor does indicate a type of strength, even though he is also unrepentant about being cowardly sometimes.

  • Since the Animorphs continue to avoid revealing their true last names in the books for fear that the Yeerks will use the information to find them, it seems ridiculous that they could point out a biological relationship between Visser One and Marco. Obviously, Visser One knows who her son is. Which would mean that any Yeerk on Visser One's side could find him immediately. It would have been better for the books to not break the fourth wall and pretend they're talking to people who are in the same universe as they are.

Best lines:

Marco: I'm not exactly Arnold Schwarzenegger. I'm not even average height for my age, though I make up for it by being incredibly cute. And charming. And witty. And modest.

Jake: "Marco doesn't believe in optimism."

Marco: "Two years since my mom died. And I don't know what to do. I don't know whether I should talk to my dad about it, or just let it pass. But I know one thing--this would be a really bad week for me to turn up dead."

Marco: Sometimes I really hate having a conscience.

Cassie: "I wonder why these people moved?"
Marco: "Maybe they didn't like living next door to a Controller who is part of a conspiracy to take over the world. Or else maybe they just don't like assistant principals. I could understand that."

Rachel: "You grind my nerves sometimes, Marco, always joking the way you do. But keep it up, okay? We need a sense of humor."

Next book: The Capture, Animorphs #6

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