Book #26 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 #26
by K.A. Applegate

Summarized Plot:

The Ellimist suddenly shows up wanting to play a game. Essentially, he is in a battle of epic proportions with an equally powerful creature named Crayak, and the Ellimist wants peacefulness and growth among the sentient races while Crayak wants there to be one master race that he controls. So the Animorphs team, plus Erek the Chee, have to agree to fight a team of seven Howlers, which are creatures who killed Erek's masters, the Pemalites. They are spirited to another world where the indigenous species is called the Iskoort--they're somewhat like very pushy alien salespeople--and the Ellimist is determined to save them for some reason the Animorphs can't comprehend.

The Howlers prove to be impossible to beat, as a fight between one of them and the whole Animorphs team ended in a draw, so Jake is left with figuring out a way to beat them and also figuring out why the Iskoort are so important. With their Iskoort guide, whom they bribe by selling hair and memories, they research Howler history and find that they have a collective memory and have succeeded in destroying every race they've encountered. When Jake discovers that Iskoort are actually distantly related to the Yeerks and are a strange symbiotic species, he realizes that their importance is in showing the Yeerks a different way. But before they can survive the Howlers to encounter the Yeerks and provide an example, the Animorphs team has to beat these unbeatable fighters.

When Jake manages to acquire one, he taps into their collective memory and discovers they're oblivious children who don't know they're slaughtering people. Using the Iskoort memory recorders, Jake manages to transfer this vital information into the collective memory of the Howlers, which makes Crayak voluntarily remove these creatures before the secret gets out. They've made quite an enemy of this superpowerful being, but they've got the Ellimist on their side . . . not that that's a particularly comforting thought.

About this book:

Narrator: Jake

New known controllers:

  • None

New morphs acquired:

  • Jake: Howler
  • Cassie: None
  • Marco: None
  • Rachel: None
  • Ax: None
  • Tobias: None


  • This book opens with a prologue--not the usual fare for Animorphs--and makes reference to the events of a previous book, when Jake was infested with a Yeerk. He remembers that after the Yeerk died, he saw a vision of a creature with a red eye that could see him. Way back when that happened, readers had no context to understand who/what was looking at him, but in this book we finally get to find out what that was all about.

  • The Iskoort race is introduced in this book. They communicate through thought-speak like the Andalites, but have a honking/wheezing ability for vocalizing, which comes from their stomachs. They are very pushy, like alien salespeople, wanting to sell or receive services without a care for whether the targeted party is interested.

  • Not that it's impossible, of course, but it's odd that of all the people to lose balance and be knocked off a platform, it'd be Rachel, who's a gymnast and has experience balancing on various gymnastic equipment.

  • The Howlers are introduced part-way through the book; though they've been mentioned before as the executioners of the Pemalite race, they've never been described until this book. The narration describes them as being on the large side of man-sized, formed out of a black lava-looking substance with red cracks, having blue eyes, and having a rotating mid-section and human-like hands with a set of wrist claws above them. They regenerate limbs and have a powerful howl that can paralyze victims. They also carry a lot of weapons, and--unbeknownst to most--have an extremely carefree, happy disposition, not entirely unlike the Pemalites. Making war is a game to them, and they're all children.

  • Cassie is unusually cynical and pessimistic in this book, though she's still very caring and empathetic. Jake's narration comments on how unusual this is several times.

  • This is also the book in which Jake and Cassie have their first kiss. Rachel's response is, "It's about time."

  • A thought-speak tag failed to close during a conversation shortly after Jake morphed a Howler.

  • The other races that the Howlers had destroyed up to that point besides the Pemalites were called Graffen's Children, Mashtimee, Pon, and Nostnavay. They will also be attacking the Sharf Den in the future.

Best lines:

Tobias: "The Ellimist."
Marco: "I don't know anyone else who can just stop time whenever he wants. Unless it's that new math teacher."

Marco: "Like Andalites are badder than we are? What are we, wimps? Me in gorilla morph, you as you, let's go. We'll see who kicks whose butt."
Cassie: "Yeah, that would be the sensible thing to do. You two fight."

Jake: "I know this sounds crazy."
Marco: "Uh, Jake? We've been over the line into crazy since Elfangor said, 'Hey, kids, wanna turn into animals?'"

Guide: "Someone must buy what is created in the great factories and small craftworks."
Rachel: "Exactly."
Guide: "The economy cannot function without people to buy things."

Rachel: "Guide, you are finally making sense."

Jake: Marco's always saying you choose how to see the world. That you can look at what's funny and cool, or you can focus on all the things that aren't. So I tried to follow Marco's advice. I tried to turn my dreams to Cassie.

Next book: The Exposed, Animorphs #27