Book Review: Animorphs #1 — The Invasion

Hmm, I’m not sure what genre Animorphs is. It feels like young adult disguised as middle grade, although it’s apparently marketed as YA in the first place. Simple writing, no swearing, but very heavy stories. Regardless, Animorphs has been my favorite series for over a decade. And, as long as the relaunch goes well, I can’t wait to go through this epic series all over again!

I’ve also been working on an “I ❤ Animorphs” tribute page, which I’ll hopefully put up soon, along with the review for #2 — The Visitor. C:

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NEW Cover for Animorphs #1 — The Invasion

When five kids take a shortcut home from the mall through an abandoned construction site, the last thing they expect to see are flying saucers and aliens. But that’s exactly what happens; they see a dying Andalite prince stumble out of a damaged Andalite Dome ship, and he spills out chilling secrets that will change their lives forever.

Earth is under attack. A parasitic species called Yeerks — slug-like creatures who enter another living being through the ear canal to take control of their host’s body — are invading Earth, infesting humans, turning them into Controllers.

Jake, Marco, Tobias, Cassie, and Rachel are given the power to morph into any animal they touch. But will it be enough? Because the Yeerks are everywhere, and anyone can be a Controller — your teachers, your friends, even your family…

/skip to general information1, more thoughts2, grading3, or final impression4.

ORIGINAL Cover of Animorphs #1 — The Invasion

Now, this is my type of book!

I thought I read this in French (“L’invasion”) in school as I remember seeing a copy in my classroom, but now after reading this now (whooo relaunch! /worships Scholastic), I don’t think I actually had! Or my memory is terrible and I just don’t remember how it went. The Invasion should have been totally predictable, as I’ve read most of the other books in the series (including #53 and #54) and naturally the first book’s events are often mentioned. Yet I was just as engrossed with The Invasion as I always was with Animorphs books. I’m falling in love with the series all over again!

As the first book to the series, it does a great job. I couldn’t ask for anything more, which is quite a feat, as I usually spend half the time reading books thinking, “I could’ve written this so much better!” The writing style is the signature simple, fast-paced awesomeness that is almost (almost!) “meh” in the first half of the book, but really picks up in the second half, when a ton of action starts!

I loveloveLOVE that Animorphs is being relaunched. Even if it’s only for the first few books. Many people have already purchased/read the books, but this is still a wonderful opportunity to introduce new people to the series. The ‘thought speak while human’ KASU was fixed, and references were updated (“Sega” to “gaming console”), but otherwise the book remained untouched.

Like I said, the price of the books went up a few dollars because of the expensive lenticular covers. Although $7.99 ($6.99 in the US) is a bump up the original $5.99, and will definitely haunt me if 20+ are relaunched, I have no problems shelling out the cash for my favorite series of all time. If you’d like to get into the series, I’d recommend getting the first 5 — one book in each kid’s POV, which also covers the arrival of the last member of the main cast… dun dun dun!

1. general information

name: Animorphs: The Invasion
author: K. A. Applegate
number in series: 1
genre: young adult (science fiction)
narrative point of view: first person.
narrative tense: past tense.

2. more thoughts

readability: Animorphs are my favorite books, period. They’re short, fast-paced, and true page-turners. Don’t mistake “straight to the point” writing for “dumbed down“. These are written in first person POVs of pretty young kids, so I’m super grateful that it’s devoid of flowery prose. Short chapters + huge font  + so much action = can’t put it down!

what I enjoyed: EVERYTHING. It’s the perfect opening book to the series. Even starting it with “My name is” and having a lot of info dumps doesn’t detract from the overall experience.

what I disliked:  Nothing. If I dug deep, I guess I’ll say that the whole way the Animorphs got their powers was a little too convenient. But if Elfangor hadn’t managed to give them so many pointers before he died, the Animorphs would’ve died shortly afterwards, and it wouldn’t have been a good series at all. |D

hooked on the series: HECK YEAH! It’s a decent book on its own, but The Invasion is totally setting up for an epic series. I’m kind of mad that I’m typing this review instead of digging into more Animorphs books!

3. grading

premise: AMAZING. Four (awesome and totally relateable) kids learn from a dying alien prince that evil parasites (who enter living creatures by their ears to take over their minds… nightmare fuel much) are invading Earth, and are given the power to transform into any animal they touch as their only weapon to defend Earth! …dude, a premise doesn’t get much better than this. 10/10

characters: Animorphs has some of my favorite characters ever. Even though this is the first book and the characters haven’t really been fleshed out yet, you can tell that they’re awesome. Trust me, they get even cooler. I love that my Animorphs OTP is already being hinted at. 8/10.

plot:  Considering this was a very short book and the opening for an epic series, the plot is pretty much perfect. I’ll keep the rating reasonable, because some of the others have even more mindblowingly awesome plots. 8.5/10.

writing style: This is where I start doubting whether Animorphs is young adult and not middle grade. The writing style is exactly what I want; simple, interesting, and perfect for fast-paced action. Animorphs is written convincingly in first person (I won’t spoil their ages, which is revealed late in the series, but the kids are still pretty young, so yeah, it has to be written simply). The Invasion is even more simply written than some of the others, and while I love it (I grew up with this series, and it influenced my own writing immensely), it’ll definitely be jarring for people used to “sophisticated” adult fiction prose. 8/10.

OVERAL GRADE (not an average)9/10 (so hard not to give it a perfect score! :B).

4. final impression…

While the books work fine as standalone (I never read them in order), Animorphs is definitely better enjoyed as a series. The universe is so amazing, and the books just get better and better! (Although your mileage may vary once the ghostwritten ones start.) Animorphs are very short books (I’m guessing around 30k each) à la Goosebumps/TBC, and they’re reasonably priced. If you don’t mind a simplistic writing style, this is a MUST READ series.p the series.

If you enjoy long, uneventful books, stay away. This is literally the opposite; short, concise, engrossing, and filled with plot and action. [/butthurt because of The Host, don’t mind me! >3>] The Invasion is exactly what I expected, and even more! …I don’t care if that doesn’t make sense. All I’m saying is that it’s a great book! :’>


About lily.

My life revolves around writing and enough geeky hobbies to annoy my parents.

Posted on 08/08/2011, in Animorphs, Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. The fact that I found this book in my elementary school library definitely makes it not for young adults. XD

    • But it’s actually marketed as young adult, believe it or not! It was was rather traumatizing reading a scene in the 6th book (the first I read) where the main characters morphs into a fly and gets swatted, and his guts spill out of his body, and his friends try to carry him but his legs get ripped off and he’s dying and… LOL, you get where I’m going! 😛

      Pulled from it’s Wikipedia article; “Horror, war, dehumanization, sanity, morality, innocence, leadership, and growing up are core motifs of the series.” Sounds pretty heavy for a children/middle grade series, so I’ll take their word that it’s young adult… XD

  1. Pingback: R.I.P. Animorphs? « ★ l i l y the w r i t e r.

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Animorphs #2 — The Visitor « ★ cool rich and popular

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