|This article is written from a Real World point of view.|
- "Look, they turn the ray on Ax in morph, right? If it works they get an Andalite. And they get proof the AMR works. I'm the one. The Yeerks don't know hawk is my true form. They'll think hawk is a morph. They capture me in morph, so they think, as a hawk. They turn the ray on me, nothing will happen. I mean, they won't get an Andalite or a human. They'll decide the ray doesn't work."
The Illusion, published in August 1999 and written by Ellen Geroux based on an outline by K.A. Applegate, is the thirty-third book in the Animorphs series. It is the eighth book narrated by Tobias and the fourth book with Tobias as the sole narrator.
Tobias, the other Animorphs, and Ax already have a few problems: saving the world, keeping their identities secret, finishing their homework. Now they have one more thing to add to the list. The Yeerks have discovered a way to cause a person to demorph. And with this new device Visser Three plans on capturing "the Andalite bandits."
Now what? The Animorphs and Ax realize they have to get rid of the device -- or be captured by the Yeerks. And the risk of getting caught is very high. That's when Tobias comes up with the only possible plan. Someone has to acquire Ax...
This section needs a rewrite
The Yeerks have finished their Anti-Morphing Ray and want to test it. Tobias comes up with a plan to trick the Yeerks into thinking that it doesn't work; if they capture him, they will try to use it on his hawk form, but hawk is his true form now. Tobias acquires Ax, thus allowing him to 'demorph' and reinforce the impression that he is a genuine Andalite, and gets himself captured by the Yeerks. Rachel was supposed to be with him in fly morph to be able to rescue him and tell the rest where the lab was. However, sub-visser Taylor gave them an anesthetic so she couldn't grip to Tobias and fell to the floor.
The Yeerks attempt to forcefully demorph him, which is unsuccessful as he is already demorphed. He is then tortured by the sadistic Taylor with a machine that controls the parts of the brain that induce pain and pleasure. He almost goes insane and nearly dies after receiving heightened, alternating doses of painful and pleasant sensations and memories. He sees painful memories of childhood neglect or battle, after seeing pleasant peaceful memories. This process nearly kills him. Here, he experienced an Utzum, later explained by Ax to be a vision ancient Andalites believed happened at the moment of death to comfort those crossing over. These images are supposed to be passed through DNA. Tobias is spoken to by his father Elfangor who shares with him his own memories of hardship, battle, his moments of questioning himself and his own actions. He reminds Tobias that he is part of a great tradition of warriors in order to comfort him before his death. Tobias is rescued by Ax and the other Animorphs. In the battle he persuades Rachel not to kill Taylor, so as not sink to her level. After the battle Tobias continues to question who and what he is. However he takes comfort in his relationship with Rachel and she kisses him for the first time.
- Visser Three
- Taylor / Sub-Visser Fifty-One (First Appearance)
- Hedrick Chapman / Iniss 226
- Various Taxxon, Hork-Bajir and Human-Controllers
- Dr. Sinegert (Only Appearance) (Death)
- Dr. Singh (Only Appearance) (Death)
- Michelle (Mentioned Only)
- Walter (Mentioned Only)
- Dude (Mentioned) (Flashback)
- Loren (Mentioned Only)
- Professor Powers (Flashback)
- Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic
- The Sharing's Community Center (First Appearance)
- Yeerk pool
- The Gardens (Mentioned Only)
- Ax's Scoop (Mentioned Only)
- Andalite homeworld (Mentioned) (Memory)
- Taxxon homeworld (Memory)
- The Animorphs are notified by Erek King that the Anti-Morphing Ray is functional and ready to be tested, and that the Yeerks are planning to capture one of them during their next fight. Additionally, the Chee have lost track of the AMR. Jake formulates a plan in which one of them gets caught intentionally, thus leading the other Animorphs to the location of the AMR so that they might destroy it.
- Due to the fact that Tobias is a nothlit and the Yeerks are unaware that red-tailed hawk is his true form, Tobias volunteers for the mission, since the AMR would not forcibly demorph him, thereby leading the Yeerks to believe that the AMR does not work.
- In order to make it seem like he is an Andalite, Tobias acquires and morphs Ax, to make it seem like he is 'demorphing' when caught.
- The Sharing has built a new community center, filled with TV specials and three-day gala celebrations.
- Jake and Visser Three speak to one another for the first time.
- Tobias is successfully captured and has the AMR tested on him, which does not work. He is then subsequently tortured by Sub-Visser Fifty-One, who goes by her host name Taylor, as the Yeerks desire another Andalite body to infest.
- It is revealed that both the identity of the human girl Taylor and the Sub-Visser have been combined into one identity and personality, with the Sub-Visser identifying as a human girl who wishes to be popular and worshiped and the girl Taylor who thinks of herself as a Sub-Visser as well.
- Taylor disclosed that she is a voluntary Controller as The Sharing made her beautiful again via cybernetic implants after she was disfigured and lost her and leg during a house fire.
- Tobias is forced to shed his human mind and retreat into his hawk mind to use it as a shield against the pain, prompting Taylor to use pleasure to draw Tobias out of his hawk self. She then uses both in conjunction, causing Tobias to nearly die and experience Utzum, a genetic memory where he views Elfangor's memories and experiences from the past, which protects him from his agony.
- The Animorphs morph fleas and hide on a terminally ill bald eagle from the Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic, which they place outside the community center, knowing that the Yeerks would assume that it is an Andalite in morph and bring it to the AMR. Once inside, they jump off, demorph and assume battle morphs, rescuing Tobias.
- Rachel attempts to kill Taylor when she discovers that Tobias was tortured, but Tobias feels a sense of pity for both the Yeerk and the girl and asks Rachel to spare her life.
- Tobias and Rachel's relationship is explored once again, with Tobias suspecting that Rachel tried to trap him in his human morph, with Rachel citing that his human morph is his true body and that she, as a human girl, would like to be able go out on human dates with her boyfriend. While being tortured, Tobias gives up the other Animorphs to cease his pain, although his revelation is not picked up by the Yeerks. Despite this, he never divulges Rachel; additionally, when he believes he is dying, he focuses on Rachel, mentally remarking that he wants her to be there with him and to be a part of him and his life.
- Rachel kisses Tobias for the first time.
|Morpher||Morphs acquired||Morphs used|
|Jake||--||Great Horned Owl, Flea, Siberian Tiger|
|Rachel||--||Housefly, Flea, Grizzly Bear, Bald Eagle|
|Tobias||Andalite (Ax)||Human (himself), Andalite (Ax)|
|Cassie||--||Housefly, Flea, Wolf|
|Marco||--||Housefly, Flea, Silverback Gorilla (Big Jim)|
|Ax||--||Human (Main), Flea|
|Visser Three||--||Human (Main)|
- The cover quote is "Change happens. Whether we like it or not...."
- The inside cover quote is, "Talk about a family reunion...."
- This is the sixth book in which the narrator is the only person to acquire a new morph.
- This marks the ninth instance where an Animorph acquires another Animorph, with Tobias acquiring Ax in this instance. It is also the fifth instance where an Animorph morphs another Animorph, following Ax morphing Jake in The Capture and The Alien, Cassie morphing Rachel in The Reaction and David morphing Marco in The Solution.
- This is the first and only cover where an Animorph is morphing into another Animorph.
- This is also the first book in the numbered series to feature more than one Animorph on the cover.
- This was the final book cover showing Tobias with his dark brown/dirty blond hairstyle that he had beginning with The Encounter. In subsequent books, Tobias would have a shorter blonde hairstyle that would be used for the rest of the series.
- While being tortured, Tobias has a string of flashbacks, including witnessing Elfangor's death (The Invasion), eating out of Rubbermaid containers while living in Jake's attic (The Encounter), Ax's first day at school (The Alien) and his false hope of being loved by Aria (The Pretender).
- Tobias is able to access Elfangor's memories while being tortured. Ax reveals that is a practice known as Utzum, where memories can be passed down through DNA. However, given that Tobias has memories that happened after his conception, coupled with the fact that Tobias is not genetically an Andalite, Elfangor most likely implanted these memories in The Invasion, when he touched Tobias's forehead and transferred a wealth of information to him (hence how the Animorphs discovered the Yeerks' weakness of Kandrona rays.)
- ANIBASE: This book introduces us to Taylor, the sadistic Sub-Visser who tortures Tobias. She was a voluntary Controller, seduced by the promise that the Yeerks could restore the beauty that she lost when she was disfigured in a fire. Here's what K.A. had to say about a recurring image in her work that got its start with Taylor: "Obviously I have a thing about people with half their face destroyed. I guess the symbolism is just too easy for me to pass up. I do it again in Everworld and Remnants. At least in Everworld I can sort of blame Norse mythology."
- Erek is misspelled as 'Eric' on p24.
- Taylor's right arm is artificial on p71, but she states that it was her left arm that she lost on p120.
- Tobias has a flashback from Ax's first day of school, from The Alien, remembering Marco's remark that Ax looked like a bully magnet. However, in The Alien, Marco's comment was made when Ax was going to the movie theater, not when he went to school.
- Elfangor is referred to as a "War-Prince" in his memories, despite the fact that his rank was that of Prince.
- Taylor/Sub-Visser Fifty-One's dialogue is mistakenly written in thought-speak format in chapter 23.