Okay. Rachel and the other Animorphs have finally found the new entrance to the Yeerk pool. They've even figured out a way to sneak in. The infamous roach morph. But they didn't count on roaches being a Taxxon delicacy. This time escape doesn't look so good.
And then everything stops. Everything. The feasting Taxxon, the human-controllers, the Hork-Bajir. Time. Now Rachel, Cassie, Marco, Jake, Tobias, and Ax are in for their wildest trip ever. They're going to get the chance to decide whether they want to stay on Earth and fight the Yeerks. Or go to another planet. And the guy giving them the choice says he can save them. Now all they have to do is make the choice...
One night, Rahcel and Cassie are at the circus with Rachel's dad, Dan and sisters, Jordan and Sara. After the show, Rachel and Cassie sneak around back where Rachel morphs into an elephant so that she could teach the elephant trainer a thing or two about mistreating elephants.
The next day, after some reconnaissance work, Marco and Tobias tell the others they found an entrance to the underground Yeerk Pool. The Animorphs decide to infiltrate the pool and to try to find the location of the Earth-based Kandrona by going in as cockroaches. Once inside the complex, however, they get caught on the tongue of a Taxxon. As they are about to be devoured, time freezes and they feel themselves being forcibly brought out of morph, where they discover they're in a cafeteria filled with Controllers. They run and meet a unfrozen human, it was Tobias. They are then introduced to an all-powerful being called the Ellimist, who is the cause of all this. He tells the Animorphs that he cannot interfere with other species, but when they are in danger of becoming extinct, he can step in and save a sample. He informs them that he wants to preserve part of Earth's beauty, along with some humans, because the Yeerks are going to win the war in the future.
The Animorphs ask how much time they have to consider the offer, but the Ellimist tells them that they must decide now. If they choose yes, they, their families, a few other humans, and a few Earth animals would be transported to another planet, but if they choose no, everything would be returned to the way it was before the Ellimist's arrival. The group puts the decision up to a vote, and during the deliberation, Jake and Rachel notice a dropshaft and a human frozen in the act of moving up in it. The Animorphs choose not to accept the Ellimist's offer and are immediately back in their cockroach morphs on the Taxxon's tongue. They get swallowed, but start demorphing and Ax uses his tail blade to slice open the Taxxon's stomach, which gets the attention of all of the Controllers. They run as they begin to morph again and fight their way to the dropshaft, with Rachel morphing into a grizzly bear she secretly acquired the other night and goes into an uncontrollable rage. She snaps out of it and they all escape the Yeerk pool.
Later, Rachel has problems with making a choice of her own. Her dad is moving to another city in another state, and he wants Rachel to come along with him, but Rachel is overwhelmed by the decision of whether or not to go with him and return to a normal life, or to stay to continue fighting the Yeerks. Eventually, the Ellimist appears to the group again to give them the choice one more time. To aid in their decision, he transports them to a grim future in which the Yeerks have enslaved Earth, and they meet Visser Three, who is now Visser One, and a grown-up Rachel, who is now a Controller. Rachel notices, with some confusion, that most of the skyscrapers and buildings in the city have been leveled except for one: the EGS Tower. This tower stood at the base of a large, open Yeerk pool and was covered with a shiny dome. After they return to their own time, the Animorphs reverse their earlier decision and accept the Ellimist's offer. They expect to be immediately whisked away, however, nothing happens.
Rachel is disconcerted by this and concludes that the Ellimist did not transport them because he wanted a different answer. While thinking on it, she realizes that only because of the Ellimist's first appearance were they able to see the dropshaft and know that there was a chance to escape the Taxxon's grip. She then determines that during the trip to the future, the Ellimist was once again simply trying to show them something that he could not overtly tell them without interfering. She remembers the EGS Tower, deduces that the Kandrona must be located there, and gathers the rest of the Animorphs for a raid.
After a vicious battle just before dawn, the Animorphs manage to take the top floor of the tower, where Rachel uses her elephant morph and shoves the Kandrona out of the window, destroying it. The Ellimist appears to them again, and confirms Rachel's suspicion that even he cannot tell the future, and humans might win the war yet. Later, Rachel goes to see her dad off knowing she's not going with him and he understands. As he leaves, Rachel see Tobias up in the sky, saying the others are waiting for them, and she sets off to meet with them.
- The Ellimist (First Appearance)
Contributions to the Series' Story ArcEdit
- The Ellimist is introduced.
- Rachel's Grizzly Battle Morph is introduced.
- Dan moves to the east coast and offers to take Rachel with him. She declines.
- It is established the Ellimist has the power to alter the Nothlit effects of morphing.
|Morpher||Morphs acquired||Morphs used|
|Jake||--||Cockroach, Siberian Tiger|
Great Horned Owl, Grizzly Bear.
|African Elephant, Great Horned Owl, Cockroach, Grizzly Bear, Bald Eagle|
|Marco||--||Cockroach, Silverback Gorilla|
- This is the first book in which the narrator is the only person to acquire a new morph.
- The Ellimist was inspired by the Star Trek character Q, and the novel Flatland.
- The Ellimist briefly demorphs Tobias to human. This is the first time Tobias is seen as human since The Invasion and show the Ellimist has the power to alter the Nothlit effects of morphing. Tobias is next seen as human in The Change again at the hands of the Ellimist.
- The cover quote is, "This time there may be no way out...."
- The inside front cover quote is, "A little something to bear in mind...."
The Stranger 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 seventh book in the series was covered by the twelfth episode, "The Stranger", along with the fourteenth and fifteenth episodes, "The Leader" (Part 1 & 2). 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 EpisodeEdit
- In the book series, the Animorphs rarely acquired morphs if they did not have a specific use for them. In the TV series, Cassie encourages this behavior, acquiring whenever they can.
- Ax is captured by several Controllers with rope lassos; it is clearly established in the book series that it is nearly impossible to sneak up on an Andalite from behind. Ax would also be able to quickly cut through the ropes and escape his captors.
- In the TV series, the Animorphs meet the Ellimist when they are captured in a net by the Yeerks in the forest, as they search for Ax. In the book series, the Animorphs were infiltrating the Yeerk Pool as cockroaches when they were suddenly swallowed by a Taxxon and about to be digested. Allowing Rachel to notice a human-Controller flying up a drop shaft is the Ellimist's subtle interference, allowing the Animorphs to escape the Yeerk pool once they burst from the Taxxon's stomach. The Ellimist shows the kids the future so that they may deduce the location of the Kandrona, atop the EGS tower; in the TV series, the point of showing them a Yeerk-controlled future is so that Rachel may bring a knife back to their reality, allowing them to escape the Yeerks' net trap. The Animorphs discover the location of the Kandrona by overhearing a telephone conversation between Tom and another controller regarding the new Kandrona's installation.
- The Kandrona in the TV series, unlike that in the books, emits a visible red light ray.
- The only non-Andalite to morph in "The Stranger" is Rachel, into a lion; the attack on the Kandrona that was a key plot point of the book occurs in the "The Leader (Part 1)". Cassie and Rachel are left to destroy the device, while Jake and Marco are aboard the Pool ship, a plot line from The Predator.