The Invasion. Based on the novel by K.A. Applegate & Michael Grant; adapted by Chris Grine. Graphix, 2020. 9781338226485
Format: Uncorrected proof
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Science fiction, graphic novel
What did you like about the book? This graphic novel retelling of the first installment of Animorphs, the popular 1990s science fiction series, will have readers clamoring for book 2. Jake, Marco, Tobias, Rachel and Cassie take a shortcut on their way home from the mall, and come upon a crashed alien spaceship. The ship has but one passenger, called an Andalite, and he is mortally wounded from a battle. As he lays dying, he imparts two things to the five friends: information regarding an imminent invasion of Earth by aliens called Yeerks, and the power to acquire DNA from animals which will allow them to morph into animals at will. Yeerks are slug-like creatures that can enter the body of any creature and take over its brain; they arrive on Earth shortly after the Andalite does, and immediately begin their work among humans.
The five kids have to decide whether to use their new morphing powers, and they all have different reasons why they want to, or not. When Jake realizes that his older brother Tom has been taken over by a Yeerk, and the group observes an event called “The Sharing” at which the humans who have been taken over (the ‘controllers’) try to recruit more victims, they formulate a plan. After an exciting zoo adventure where they acquire DNA from animals like an elephant, a gorilla, and a tiger, the Animorphs next head to an underground “Yeerk pool” where the species’ power gets regenerated, and their animal counterparts take over in a battle with the Yeerks, and their leader Visser 3, which inhabits the body of an Andalite. The fight is exciting, and successful, (for now at least), but the kids who can change their bodies into animals come away with a very changed mindset as well.
The classic comic book format and illustration style is a perfect fit for Animorphs. The dialog, presumably lifted right from Applegate’s original novels, flows smoothly – the kids talk like middle schoolers when in realistic situations and dangerous ones, the Andalite’s graceful tone is soothing, and the villains are arch. Nonstop action from beginning to end, which includes some violence and mild gore (and an implied killing at the hands of one of the 5), is sure to attract a lot of excitement, and the story line will keep readers coming back for more.
Anything you did not like about the book? I just wish that the ARC I read was in full color!
To whom would you recommend this book? Readers of the original series will love it, and it will definitely be a hit with upper elementary or middle school readers of graphic series like Amulet, Bone, Zita the Spacegirl, or 7 Worlds.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries
Where would you shelve it? Graphic novels
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Maybe not, but it’s really fun and quick!
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Leigh Russell King, Lincoln Street School, Northborough, Massachusetts.
Date of review: 8/10/2020