The Alien, published in May 1997 and written by K.A. Applegate, is the eighth book in the Animorphs series. It is the first book narrated by Ax.

This article is written from a Real World point of view.


Official Description

What would you do if you were the only alien trapped on a strange planet? Probably freak out, right? Well, that's what Ax feels like doing. But as an Andalite warrior-cadet, he has to be pretty cool about stuff like that. He's been hanging out with the Animorphs ever since the Dome ship was destroyed by the Yeerks and his brother, Prince Elfangor, was destroyed by Visser Three.

Life on Earth is pretty different for Ax. But there is one thing he, Cassie, Marco, Jake, Rachel, and Tobias have in common. Something that one alien, four kids and a hawk know they have to do...stop the Yeerks...

Plot Summary

After destroying the Kandrona on the top of the EGS tower[1] and defeating the Veleek[2], the Animorphs decide they deserve to take a break and teach Ax stuff about humans. They talk optimistically about how they would see people freeing themselves of the Yeerks because the lack of Kandrona means fewer Yeerks can survive, but haven't. Later, when they take Ax to the movies, they see a man's Yeerk is dying publicly, and the Animorphs figure the Yeerks won't be able to cover this up. But Ax knows the truth - the Yeerks will simply kill former hosts they cannot infest. As they leave, Ax notices a policeman-Controller pull a gun on the free man. But as much as he wants to, he can't tell the humans the truth because of Andalite law regarding giving information to other species.

When the Animorphs take Ax to school the next day as Jake's cousin Philip, their teacher's Yeerk dies too. Chapman appears and orders the students to leave and kills the non-Controller teacher. Jake and the other Animorphs are very angry with Ax because they feel betrayed. Ax retorts that they wouldn't have destroyed the Kandrona if they would have known, to which Jake replied that Ax still had a lot to learn about humans.

Inside cover picture where Ax in his human morph as "Phillip" walks the halls of the Animorphs' school.

That night, Ax feels very sad, lonely and confused. While running, he ends up at Cassie's house. She asks him to join her and her family for dinner because she sees that he's very sad. Ax, shocked at the fact that she noticed how he was feeling, accepts the offer and morphs into Jake. He has a good with Cassie's family, having dinner, chatting, and watching TV before leaving.

The next day, he meets with Marco to go to a bookshop, as Jake said: "Show him that we trust him, let him learn about us, then, he may trust us." However, Marco forgot the money they collected for him to buy a book, so they go to Marco's house to pick it up. While Ax is waiting for Marco in the living room, he plays with what he thinks is a game on Marco's dad's computer, which he calls "fix the mistakes", but later it turns out that he had developed a new highly advanced system that he knew must be destroyed. But before he does it, he uses it to communicate with his home world with Tobias' help, at the local observatory. During the communication, after giving his report and explaining how Elfangor gave five human youths the power to morph, a higher-ranking Andalite makes Ax assume all the responsibility for Elfangor's action and is consequently forgiven. As Ax is speaking with his father and assuming the duty of avenging his brother by killing Visser Three, he's interrupted by a Controller, whose Yeerk is named Eslin 359. He explains that his loved one had died because of Visser Three, when he chose to sacrifice some Yeerks after the Kandrona's destruction. To avenge her death, Eslin sabotaged one of the shuttles that carried the Visser's favorites, which explained why Controllers were losing it. Eslin then tells Ax that he knows where and when Visser Three goes to feed his Andalite body, thus leaving him vulnerable. He gives Ax a note with the time and place on it.

Ax decides to go alone and not to tell the others. He arrives at the location and morphs into a rattlesnake and waits. When Visser Three arrives, Ax strikes, biting and envenomating him. Ax then slithers off and is midway through demorphing when he encounters a Hork-Bajir, but before it kills Ax, the Animorphs arrive to save him because Tobias had been able to read the note the Controller had written with his hawk eyes. Having been poisoned, the Yeerk Visser Three leaves his host body and escapes. The now freed Andalite begs Ax to kill him, but Ax is unable to kill his fellow Andalite, a War-Prince named Alloran-Semitur-Corrass. He asks Ax to deliver a message to his family, that he is still alive and that he hasn't lost hope, as well as tells him to keep fighting.

Two days later, after some thinking, Ax decides to tell the Animorphs the truth, about the law of Seerow's Kindness, which states no Andalite is to ever reveal technology or secrets to other alien races. The law was named after an Andalite named Seerow who, during an expedition to the Yeerk homeworld, gave Andalite technology to the Yeerks because he felt sorry for them for neving having left their planet or seen the stars. Later, the Yeerks used that technology to start conquering the galaxy and other races, and trying but not succeeding in conquering the Andalite homeworld. Contrary to what Ax had expected, the Animorphs don't blame the Andalites for their problem. They recognized the good action and told him to keep trying, but to be more careful the next time. But last but not least, Marco thinks since Ax wants to tell the truth more, he and the others should know how Andalites eat. Ax tells them that he eats from his hooves by absorbing the nutrients from crushed grass.

Ax returns to the observatory again and blackmails Eslin to call his home planet one last time. Ax deliver Alloran's message, and he announces to his homeworld that as of then, his home is Earth and that he will tell the Animorphs everything. He reasoned that if the Andalites had done the same with the Hork-Bajir, they may not have been enslaved.


Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:



Contributions to the Series' Story Arc


Morpher Morphs acquired Morphs used
Jake -- Peregrine Falcon, Siberian Tiger
Rachel -- Bald Eagle, Grizzly Bear
Cassie -- Osprey, Horse, Wolf
Marco -- Osprey, Silverback Gorilla
Ax Rattlesnake Human (main), Human (Jake), Northern Harrier, Rattlesnake


  • The cover quote is, "He's only human. When he wants to be...."
  • The inside front cover quote is, "Look who's talking....", which is a reference to the hit 1980s film Look Who's Talking starring Dan Aykroyd of Ghostbusters fame.
  • This is the third book in which the cover art does not depict a morph acquired in the book. Ax acquired his human morph by mixing the DNA of the four human Animorphs in a process called the Frolis Maneuver, performed in the fourth book.[3]
  • This book came attached with a pair of Ax bookmarks with it. The bookmarks come with humorous tear-off corners, as if Ax bit into them
  • This book is the first to have the earlier printings feature a shiny dark color around the Animorphs logo on the cover. For books #1-7, all earlier printings had the 'Animorphs' logo on the cover with a white background, replaced in later printings with a shiny color. Starting with book 8, all book covers had a shiny color either on the Animorphs logo itself, or the background color.
  • This is the first time Alloran is freed from his imprisonment, albeit briefly.
  • This is the second book in which the narrator is the only person to acquire a new morph.
  • This book begins with a prologue, showing a flashback of what happened to Ax before he was rescued. He was with other Andalite warriros on a dome ship, and he stayed in the ship's dome because he was an aristh who was too young to fight. The other Andalites stayed in the other part of the dome ship which detached from the bridge and eventually was destroyed by Visser Three's blade ship, killing all of the others.
  • Elfangor and Ax talk about defeating Yeerks and refer to them as 'slugs', a creature featured on Earth. Although Elfangor lived for a few years on Earth, it would seem odd as to why he would refer to them as such in front of any other Andalite, due to the fact that no one except him and another captain are aware he lived on Earth. However, it is possible, due to the fact that Andalites have been known to study Earth and its television programming, that Andalites learned about slugs and began to refer to the Yeerks as such.
  • The cover of this book is the first time ANY alien is depicted on the cover. It is also the first official image of an Andalite. The preview ad for this book, found inside Megamorphs #1, had the text "cover shows an alien morph!" because this was a first for the series.
  • This book has the first physical appearance by Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill and the first appearance of Ax's human morph.
  • Ax said that Hork-Bajir are biologically hardwired to go on the warpath every 62 years, but that's not true. Hork-Bajir never knew the concept of violence or fighting until the Yeerks came and enslaved them. However, Ax's knowledge isn't always accurate, as he has confessed to the others that he often was distracted in cass and thus never paid attention. [4]
  • Jake and Marco take Ax to the movies, and they see a Star Trek: The Next Generation movie. Ax comments that the male Klingons look like female Ongachic, and the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) looks like a Hawjabran Freight ship.
  • Ax mentions in this book that when he is in human morph, he can not use thought speak. However, he uses it later[5], as does Tobias.[6]


Original Release Gallery

International Covers

International Back Covers

2011 Release Gallery

Main Series #1 The Invasion | #2 The Visitor | #3 The Encounter | #4 The Message | #5 The Predator | #6 The Capture | #7 The Stranger | #8 The Alien | #9 The Secret | #10 The Android | #11 The Forgotten | #12 The Reaction | #13 The Change | #14 The Unknown | #15 The Escape | #16 The Warning | #17 The Underground | #18 The Decision | #19 The Departure | #20 The Discovery | #21 The Threat | #22 The Solution | #23 The Pretender | #24 The Suspicion | #25 The Extreme | #26 The Attack | #27 The Exposed | #28 The Experiment | #29 The Sickness | #30 The Reunion | #31 The Conspiracy | #32 The Separation | #33 The Illusion | #34 The Prophecy | #35 The Proposal | #36 The Mutation | #37 The Weakness | #38 The Arrival | #39 The Hidden | #40 The Other | #41 The Familiar | #42 The Journey | #43 The Test | #44 The Unexpected | #45 The Revelation | #46 The Deception | #47 The Resistance | #48 The Return | #49 The Diversion | #50 The Ultimate | #51 The Absolute | #52 The Sacrifice | #53 The Answer | #54 The Beginning
Megamorphs The Andalite's Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs | Elfangor's Secret | Back to Before
Chronicles The Andalite Chronicles | The Hork-Bajir Chronicles | VISSER | The Ellimist Chronicles
Alternamorphs The First Journey | The Next Passage
TV Tie-Ins Meet the Stars of Animorphs

TV Adaptation

The Alien was adapted as part of the Animorphs TV series, which aired on Nickelodeon and YTV between the fall of 1998 and the spring of 2000. The eighth book in the series was covered in episodes eight, "The Alien (episode)". The TV episodes did not follow the books faithfully, altering many aspects of the characters' roles within the Animorphs, the events in the war against the Yeerks, and added plot lines that were not present in the books.

Changes from Book to Episode

  • Rachel, Cassie, and Tobias were not featured in the episode.
  • In the book series, Jake and Marco took Ax to the movies, and what they saw was a Star Trek: The Next Generation movie. But in the TV show, the movie they saw was an old black-and-white monster movie.


  1. The Stranger
  2. The Andalite's Gift
  3. The Message
  4. The Hork-Bajir Chronicles
  5. The Proposal
  6. The Resistance

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