Animorphs: The Capture
So… my entire index page is now covered in Animorphs recaps. I am officially obsessed. Again. I started a Tumblr pretty recently, mainly to interact with other Animorphs fans, I’m not going to lie, but I’d love to follow you guys. If you have a Tumblr, friend me! Or is it “follow me?” I’m not down with the Tumblin’ lingo yet. 😉 Anyway, I have a regular blog post coming your way soon. I get not everyone is into Animorphs.
The Capture was one of my favorite entries in the series when I was younger. It wasn’t my top favorite. That spot belonged to The Departure, but this book is a lot like The Departure in many ways. The covers are even very similar, both yellow, and both cover morphs featuring bugs. I really enjoy the up-close and personal view of the Yeerks these books provide. I wish this book had a little more Yeerk in it.
This is the first cover of a bug morph, and it’s pretty cool. I like the fly. I like the angle of the morph. I like the color of the background. The only thing I really don’t like is Jake’s pose. What is up with his right arm?
Tagline: Now, he’s one of them . . . .
Ugh, this is not how you use a four-dotted ellipsis. That space is killing me. Refer to my comments on the tagline from The Message for my grammar lesson on these. 😉 As for the content of the tagline, it’s not bad. It’s actually super engaging and probably excited me when I first grabbed the book as kid.
Here is the new cover. Again, I’m not commenting on these because I haven’t seen the physical copies with lenticular covers.
Also, here is the cover of The Departure, so you can see the similarities I discussed above:
Let’s see. Both are books where an Animorph becomes a Controller. Both covers feature bug morphs. Both backgrounds are yellow and smokey. Both titles end in “-ure.” Could yellow equal Yeerk?
There’s a little fluff at the beginning with Jake trying out his roach morph, but I’m going to go ahead and jump to the excitement. The Animorphs morph roaches to spy on a meeting of The Sharing. The Animorphs have learned that the Yeerks intend to turn a hospital into a Yeerk factory. The Yeerks estimate with the hospital, they will be able to turn out 200 new Controllers a month. What’s more, Visser Three shows up to the meeting in human morph and informs the high-ranking Controllers that the governor is checking in to that hospital for a minor procedure and will be checking out as one of them.
Jake finds out that his brother Tom’s Yeerk is in charge of the hospital project, and he fears what will happen to Tom if the Animorphs put a stop to it. The Animorphs consider not stopping the project to keep Tom safe. That made sense to me as a kid, but having just read it, I was like, “what the heck?” Is Tom more important tham another Human Controller simply because he’s an Animorph’s brother? How is that fair? How is that just? The Animorphs decide they need to stop the project, which is the right decision.
A controller notices five cockroaches on the floor, and Visser Three has a human controller straight up killed for suggesting the cockroaches aren’t a threat (because cockroaches are everywhere). Fool! Don’t you know there are ANDALITE BANDITS on the loose? Jake is nearly killed by bug spray, but Tobias Airlines swoops in and picks him up. The Animorphs all make it out safely.
Cassie comes up with the bright idea to morph flies to infiltrate the hospital. The Animorphs get in and make it into a closet which conveniently has a jacuzzi which has been turned into a makeshift Yeerk Pool. Jake demorphs and connects stripped cables of the jacuzzi to boil the Yeerks alive. The Animorphs are discovered by Controllers, and one begins shooting. A ricochet bullet hits Jake in the side of the head and knocks him unconscious, head first into the boiling Yeerk Pool.
The Animorphs get him out. Cassie morphs a horse, and Jake is able to ride her to safety. As he wakes up, he feels strange. He soon realizes he has no control over his body. Something in his head is thinking out loud, and he very slowly realizes that he has been infested with a Yeerk. The Yeerk is unable to cover his disdain for Ax, the Andalite in the Animorphs, and curls Jake’s lip. Ax immediately realizes Jake is a Controller and puts his tail blade against Jake’s throat.
The Yeerk in Jake’s head tries to convince the Animorphs that Jake is not a Controller, but digs himself a deeper hole by calling Ax “Andalite filth.” The Animorphs tie Jake up in an abandoned shack someplace. Ax acquires and morphs Jake so his family won’t realize he’s missing, and Cassie, Rachel, and Marco take turns guarding Jake with Tobias.
Yeerks have to return to a Yeerk Pool every three days to soak up Kandrona Rays. It’s like their food and water. Without it, they “starve.” By keeping Jake tied up for three days, the Animorphs figure they can rid him of his little Yeerk problem.
Jake gets to know the Yeerk in his head. His name is Temrash 114. Before Jake, he controlled Tom. He had just received a promotion and was waiting at the hospital to become the governor’s Yeerk. Because Temrash 114 controlled Tom, this book is very much about Tom. Jake learns that Tom joined The Sharing to impress a girl. He thought the girl was cheating on him and busted into a secret meeting where he saw Visser Three’s Andalite body. The girl was not cheating on him, but was a Controller, of course. After Tom saw too much, he too became a Controller. Jake learned that Tom fought the Yeerk in his head. Jake learned that Tom was willing to do anything to keep Jake, his little brother, safe.
Temrash tries to escape by making Jake’s body morph several times. His body is picked apart and eaten by Cassie in Owl morph as he tries to morph a Peregrine Falcon. He is pushed upon the rival wolf pack from The Encounter when he tries to morph a wolf to escape. He even tries to morph an ant, but is pushed back by an ant colony. The latter is actually paraphrased to us rather than shown in a scene, which leads me to my main problem with this book.
Jake didn’t become a Controller until more than 60% through the book. His time with the Yeerk was amazing to read, but it felt rushed. I would have rather had more time with the Yeerk and less time with the cockroach at the beginning of the book. Just saying. A little more Yeerk, a little less cockroach.
The Fugue begins at dawn on the third day, which is the slow death of a Yeerk suffering from Kandrona Starvation. The Yeerk tells Jake that this will not be pleasant for either of them, but that Jake will learn a lot. The Yeerk is in agonizing pain all the way up until the end of his life. He final words to Jake are, <So, you win . . . human.> As the Yeerk dies Jake feels different. He can see through things, in things. I guess he’s more connected to the workings of the world. His final image is of a red eye looking at him. We later learn this is Crayak, but that’s for another book. Jake comes to and sees Cassie beside him. She lets him know it’s over, and he sees a withered, dried up Yeerk on the ground.
The next day, Jake partway morphs to wolf, just enough to change his voice, and makes a call to Tom. As Tom listens on the other line, Jake says, “Don’t give up, Tom. Don’t ever give up.”
The “capture” probably refers to Jake being captured by the Yeerk in his head, though it could also refer to the Yeerk and Jake being tied up by the other Animorphs. Digging way too deep into this, a “capture” can be a memory or a snippet of time. The Yeerk plays Jake memories of his time with Tom.
I was reading this last night at bed time and really could not put it down. I ended up finishing before I fell asleep around midnight. I was literally smiling when I was reading the last 40% of the book. The Animorphs really came through for Jake. It touched me how there for him they were. Cassie was there by his side. Tobias, Rachel, and Marco, as well, did everything they could to save Jake. It was really incredible to read.
My one issue with this book, as I wrote a couple times above, is the Yeerk scenes felt rushed and too short. 40% of the book was not enough Yeerk for me. This book was more about Jake’s relationship with Tom, however, so I get why Applegate took her time getting into the Yeerk section, putting more time into Jake pondering his feelings on Tom. That led to another issue I have, which is why Tom is more important for the Animorphs to keep alive than any other Human Controller. I get it’s personal for Jake, and I get that Jake is human, but they literally contemplated allowing the Yeerks to infest 200 new humans a month. Also, I know what happens at the end of the series, and just imagine what would have happened had Jake been less worried about protecting Tom early on. Just something to think about.
I know Applegate needed to end the book, but is it just me, or did Temrash give up too easily? If he knew he was going to die, why not die trying to escape rather than accept his fate and sit there and starve?
As I wrote above, this book was one of my favorites when I was a kid. It stands strong today.