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...
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 then gets 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. Tobias, alone and trapped, tries to get demorphed unsuccessfully since 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. (Ax mentions that Andalites no longer believe this.) 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. Andalite? Human? Hawk? However he takes comfort in his relationship with Rachel and they kiss for the first time in the main series.
|Morpher||Morphs acquired||Morphs used|
|Jake||--||Great Horned Owl, Flea, Siberian Tiger|
|Rachel||--||Fly, Flea, Grizzly Bear|
|Cassie||--||Fly, Flea, Wolf|
|Marco||--||Fly, Flea, Silverback Gorilla|
|Tobias||Ax||Human (Main), Ax|
|Ax||--||Human (Main), Flea|
- 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.
- 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."
- This is Part 2 of 2 of the Anti-morphing ray story. The first part can be read in #32 The Separation.
- The long awaited wish from the fans of one of the Animorphs morphing Ax is done here, as Tobias morphs him to pretend to be demorphing in front of the Yeerks, it's also the 1st and only cover (outside of the Megamorphs) to show 2 Animorphs members on the cover at the same time.
- This was the final book cover showing Tobias with his dark brown hairstyle that he had beginning with The Encounter. Starting with book #43 The Test Tobias would have a shorter blonde hairstyle that would be used for the rest of the series.
- This isn't the last we see of Taylor. She returns yet again in #43: The Test.
- The cover animation for this book was used as part of Ax's Animorphs Sanctuary Screensaver instead of being part of Tobias's, since the only thing Ax had morphed on the covers up until this point was a human (#8), a mosquito (#18), and a cow (#28).