|This article is written from a Real World point of view.|
Megamorphs #1: The Andalite's Gift, published in May 1997 and written by K.A. Applegate, is the first book in the Megamorphs series, a set of companion books to the Animorphs series. With respect to continuity, it takes place between The Stranger and The Alien. It is narrated by all six members of the Animorphs.
We never should have done it. But we needed a break. You know, some time off from the superhero stuff. A chance to act like normal kids. Well — as normal as four kids who can morph, a hawk, and an alien can be. Everything should have been cool.
Now Rachel is missing. And there's this... this thing that's after us. But it's not up to me to tell the whole story. Tobias, Cassie, Marco, and Ax were there, too. Even Rachel has some info to add. So go ahead and check this out. And remember not to tell anyone what we're about to tell you. It could mean the difference between life and death. Or worse...
The Animorphs plan to have a lazy summer, with several Animorphs attending a pool party and Rachel going to a gymnastics camp. However, before she can leave for the camp, Rachel, in her eagle morph, is attacked by jays, who cause her to crash and lose consciousness. When she wakes up, she's human again, but now has amnesia.
Meanwhile, Jake and Cassie are attending the pool party. Because Marco was not invited, he decides to sneak in, and he takes Ax along. The two of them morph into mice and crash the party. After they are done terrorizing the guests, they run into the basement to demorph. However, when they demorph, they are attacked by a massive flying tornado monster. It destroys the house before abruptly dissolving into dust and leaving. The Animorphs regroup and discover that Rachel never made it to the gymnastics camp. Jake, Marco, and Tobias head into the forest to look for her. As Jake and Marco morph to wolves, the creature begins to chase after them, and they realize that its drawn by the energy generated through morphing. Moments before they are about to collapse from exhaustion, it flies away.
Rachel gets captured by a crazy old lady, who was a Controller, by locking her in a wooden shack and setting fire on it. Rachel inadvertently morphs into a grizzly bear to escape, and is then attacked by the creature. The two begin to fight, until Ax encounters them mid-combat. He begins to morph and the creature captures him and returns to the Blade ship, delivering Ax to Visser Three, where Visser Three explains that the creature is called Veleek (which means "pet" in the Yeerk language) and that it came from Saturn. Rachel demorphs and makes her way into town, where she hides out in an empty house. When police surround the house and tell her to comes out, she morphs into an elephant and breaks through the side of the house.
Meanwhile, Jake, Marco, and Cassie notice the Veleek floating through the air as dust, and they steal Cassie's father's truck in order to chase after it. The Veleek attempts to capture Rachel, but she is too heavy for it to lift. Marco, driving Cassie's father's truck, drives near the Veleek while Jake begins to morph into his Siberian tiger morph to attract its attention. As the Veleek chases Jake, Marco morphs into the gorilla to save Jake while also driving the truck, although he proceeds to crash into Rachel, breaking her leg and causing her to hit head on the concrete. This restores most of her memory, but the Veleek captures Marco.
Marco and Ax, now prisoners of Visser Three, are on board the Blade ship. Ax morphs into a flea and hides on the Visser's body. He slightly demorphs and remorphs to attract the Veleek. The Veleek begins to attack Visser Three, causing Visser Three to order the water turned on. In the confusion, Ax and Marco escape from the Blade ship and are plummeting back to Earth, but they quickly morph into their raptor morphs, moments before they hit the ground. From this event, the Animorphs realize that water is a fatal weakness that the Veleek possesses.
The next day, Cassie develops a plan: the Animorphs head out to sea, where Cassie finds and acquires a humpback whale. She morphs into a cockroach, and Tobias flies her as high up as he can. While the remaining Animorphs morph and demorph dolphins to keep the Veleek distracted, Cassie demorphs and then morphs into the whale, all the time falling back to the sea. The Veleek attempts to capture her but cannot carry the whale's weight, and it is dragged into the sea, where it is killed. The Animorphs then marvel over the fact that have secured an actual victory for once in their fight against the Yeerk Empire and swim back to shore.
- "The Crazy Lady" (First Appearance) (Only Appearance)
- Melissa Chapman (Mentioned Only)
- Visser Three locates a creature residing on Saturn and names it Veleek, meaning 'pet' in Yeerk language. After Visser One freed the 'Andalite bandits' from his custody ("The Predator") and the destruction of the Earth-based Kandrona ("The Stranger"), there is talk among the Yeerk Empire that Visser Three might be demoted to Visser Four or Visser Five due to his inability to deal with the 'Andalite bandits'. In order to secure Earth and prevent 'Andalite' interference, Visser Three has the Veleek mutated to seek out morphing energy, in a bid to capture the bandits and to bring them to him.
- The Animorphs prepare to enjoy the summer as normal kids; Jake, Cassie and Rachel are invited to Darlene, a rich and popular girl's pool party, which Marco is not invited to. Rachel forgoes her invitation as she has been accepted to a summer gymnastics camp. On the way to camp, she decides to pay Tobias a visit in her bald eagle morph, but is attacked by crows and slams into a tree, where she is rendered amnesiac. Marco and Ax morph mice to crash Darlene's party, but due to their morphing, attract the attention of the Veleek, with Rachel inadvertently saving them, and later Marco and Jake as well, with her morphing. After Ax is captured by the Veleek, the Animorphs play a game of 'keepaway' using their morphing abilities to prevent the Veleek from capturing any more of them, finding Rachel and restoring her memory in the process. After discovering that the Veleek is fatally weakened by water and that it cannot carry heavy loads, they hatch a plan: by morphing into bottlenose dolphins, they lure the Veleek out to the ocean, while Cassie acquires and morphs a humpback whale and allows the Veleek to ensnare her. The weight of the whale causes the Veleek to fall into the ocean, where it is killed.
- Despite heavy hints in the previous books (namely The Invasion, The Encounter and The Stranger) that Tobias and Rachel have feelings for one another, this is the first time in the series where it is explicitly stated, with Cassie having told Jake about her suspicions regarding the two. When deciding to go to camp for the weekend, Rachel looks at Tobias while telling the group to be safe, which Jake and Cassie remarking on their supposed attraction to one another. On the way to board the bus, Rachel decides to pay Tobias a visit, claiming that she takes care of him, and later on, after gaining amnesia, Tobias is the first person whose name she remembers.
- Following the events of The Stranger, where the Animorphs demorphed and morphed in front of human-Controllers, Visser Three explains to Ax that his lieutenants have been attempting to convince them that the 'Andalite bandits' are in fact human. However, upon seeing Ax, who is obviously an Andalite, Visser Three dismisses the thought. He briefly reconsiders it when Marco refuses to demorph or speak to him, but is unable to entertain the notion any further as Ax causes the Veleek to attack him.
- After Ax's rescue in The Message, in the following three books (narrated by Marco, Jake and Rachel), all three admit that they consider Ax as one of them. However, in this book, Ax mentally remarks that he does not consider himself an Animorph, but that he is merely fighting alongside them for the time being.
- Ax reveals that as per Andalite tradition and customs, since Visser Three killed Elfangor, he is now burdened with the task of killing Visser Three as an act of revenge. This burden is explored further in the next book, The Alien.
|Morpher||Morphs acquired||Morphs used|
|Jake||--||Wolf, Siberian Tiger, Bottlenose Dolphin|
|Rachel||--||Bald Eagle, Grizzly Bear, African Elephant, Bottlenose Dolphin|
|Cassie||Humpback Whale||Housefly, Squirrel (Magilla), Bottlenose Dolphin (Monica), Cockroach, Humpback Whale|
|Marco||Mouse||Mouse, Wolf, Silverback Gorilla (Big Jim), Osprey, Bottlenose Dolphin|
|Ax||Mouse, Flea||Mouse, Human (Main), Flea, Northern Harrier|
The Andalite's Gift 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 first Megamorphs book was covered by the thirteenth episode, "The Forgotten", which is the name of the eleventh book in the series (the TV episode bears no resemblance to its namesake book). 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
- Despite carrying the name of The Forgotten, this episode is based on one of the plot lines from The Andalite's Gift. The Veleek and its associated plot line were also not present in the episode either.
- The Animorphs knew of Rachel's bald eagle morph in the book series; Jake knew best of all which morphs each one of the Animorphs had and could use in battle. In the TV series, the other members are unaware of the fact that Rachel possesses a bird morph, a hawk much like Tobias' morph.
- The Crazy Lady is named Fran in the episode, while she was nameless in the book. Also, the episode ends with her spying on the Animorphs before fleeing back into the forest; this was perhaps meant to imply that she would be a recurring character. In any event, this proved to be her final appearance.
- This book does not feature a cover quote or inside cover quote.
- This is the only Megamorphs book to not involve any time travel or distortion.
- This is the first Animorphs book to feature narration by more than a single character.
- Cassie is the only one who is not in a battle morph on the cover; this is because she never morphed into her wolf form in this book.
- This book marks the first time in the series where Marco drives (in human and gorilla form) and crashes into things.
- At the end of this book, Marco declares that their defeat of the Veleek is their first true victory against the Yeerks, even though they destroyed the Kandrona in the previous book, The Stranger. This is because they believe those actions did not hurt the Yeerks much until they learn the aftermath of their actions in the next book, The Alien.
- This is also the first book where Ax narrates, predating any of his own books. While each chapter header in Megamorphs includes a small icon showing the face of the chapter's narrator, Ax's chapters have no icon; he also does not appear on the front cover, or in the illustration. Ax's physical appearance would not be revealed until his first book, The Alien.
- It is mentioned for the first time that Andalites have multiple hearts.
- This book and The Andalite Chronicles were the only books in the series which were published as separate parts in order to be released faster. The Andalite's Gift was released in 2 books, while The Andalite Chronicles was released in 3 books. Both were later compiled into one complete book later on. However, because of this (The Andalite's Gift), The Andalite Chronicles remains to be the only book in the series with 3 covers total.
- The Crazy Lady introduced in this book was once a Controller but was somehow freed from the Yeerks. She lives alone in the woods to avoid being recaptured. It is theorized by many fans that this is the same woman who rode Cassie to freedom and was the only prisoner set free from the Animorphs' first assault on the Yeerk Pool during The Invasion. It is also possible that she was one of the first Controllers affected by the instant ginger-and-maple oatmeal that renders Yeerks insane, brought up in The Underground.
- The Veleek is from Saturn and is the only alien life form to be from Earth's solar system. Visser Three takes credit for discovering the Veleek and named the creature.
- Three sets of two trading cards (one for each character) were given out as promotional items at the time this book was released. The sets were Ax-Tobias, Marco-Cassie, and Jake-Rachel.
- The UK Animorphs Books contain trading cards inside Books 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and MM1. These trading cards look different from the American ones on the front, but the stats on the back are the same or very similar to the American MM1 promotional trading cards.
- Ax correctly deduces that Visser Three modified the Veleek to be attracted to morphing energy signatures, which are emitted by anyone who is morphing or demorphing, a theory that the Visser confirms. However, in The Discovery, it is revealed that the morphing cube used to give the Animorphs their powers was still in the Abandoned Construction Site at this time, and in The Hidden, it is proven that the cube gives off the same morphing energy signature that the Animorphs and Visser Three emit whenever they morph. With the cube giving off the same signature and the Veleek being altered to locate morphing signatures, the Veleek should have found the cube, as it would give off a constant and permanent signature as opposed to the Animorphs, who would only emit the energy whenever they were morphing or demorphing.
- Early on in the book, Marco explains how there are two forms of thought-speak: a private one, where you can choose whom you would like to share your thoughts with, and an open one, where anyone can hear. However, later on in the book, Marco wonders whether it is safe for him to communicate with Ax using thought-speak in Visser Three's presence, with Ax assuring him that it safe so long as Marco keeps it private, informing Marco of the differences as if Marco was not already aware. Additionally, all six of the Animorphs have used private thought-speak among themselves in both Visser Three and Visser One's presence before, in The Predator.
- Cassie explains to Rachel that the Yeerks cannot catch them in 'human morph'.
- Marco jumps out of the Blade ship in gorilla morph and mentions that he is two miles above the ground. It would take an average human approximately one minute for them to fall two miles, and Marco, in his gorilla morph, which he mentions is four-hundred pounds, would plummet in mere seconds. Yet Marco has time to have banter with Ax, demorph, and remorph as an osprey before avoiding ground impact.
- Visser Three orders the two remaining Bug fighters, who have cameras mounted on their fronts with the footage streamed to the Blade ship, to keep an eye on Rachel, who is wounded in her elephant morph. Despite this, the two Bug fighters decide to do an aerial swoop for a few minutes before returning to keep an eye on her, allowing Rachel and Cassie to demorph publicly on a suburban street and escape detection.