Book 23: The Pretender

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Book 23: The Pretender

Post by Tobias_Marco » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:30 pm

<I try to be honest with people as much as possible, most people with Asperger’s Syndrome are incredibly honest. I’ve heard that some people believe that this is because we lack imagination. That is the worst BS (Bad Science) that I have ever heard. The truth is that we don’t see the point in lying, after all, the only reason to lie is if you are trying to hide something more important than the truth, and the only reason I can see that would be THAT important is saving a life. So unless it’s to save a life I probably will not lie to you. I will however make up stories to entertain and hopefully educate.>
<So I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while now. That’s because a lot happens in this book. This is clearly not a ‘filler book’ in a filler book there is just one story and it has little or no impact on any of the other books. That is defiantly not the case here. I’m not 100% sure but I think it’s safe to say that anyone who says Tobias is their favorite Animorph probably lists this book as one of their three favorite Animorph books. If I wanted to pick five books that encompassed who Tobias is more than any others I would pick 3, 13, 23, 33, and 49. If you call yourself a Tobias fan and you HAVEN’T read these books then you really haven’t gotten to know Tobias yet.>
<WARNING: By this point in the series MM1, MM2, the Andalite Chronicles, and Hork-Bajir Chronicles have come out. Please don’t read this book until you read all of those books. ONE of them, and I will not tell you which one, has something important hinted at in it that comes up in this book.>
<There are at least three stories that you could follow. The first follows Tobias as he faces another red-tailed hawk that it coming into his territory during a time of ‘insufficient prey’. The second involves a woman named Aria who could potentially change Tobias’ life forever, the third involves a young Hork-Bajir named Bek who is in some trouble that the Animorphs have to deal with.>
<As always I’m going to start by telling you what you can skip, starting on page 5 paragraph 1 all the way to page 2 paragraph 7 has only information that is repeated in every single book.>
<That being said most of you aren’t even going to bother reading the book, and just refresh yourselves by reading a detailed summery from Tobias_Marco.>
<It all starts with a drought that is making it hard for Tobias to find prey, as if that weren’t hard enough there is another red-tailed hawk who unable to find enough food in his own territory has come to see if he can kick Tobias out of his. We see Tobias hunt a baby rabbit as a hawk does, only he has a flash of what it would be that baby rabbit. He misses his prey and ends up with his face in the dirt. Then mommy rabbit kicks him when he’s down; right in the face. However the rival hawk sees all this going down and steals the baby while mom is distracted with Tobias.>
<Tobias fly’s off hungry as all get out wonders if maybe, just maybe he is wearing a straight jacket in a padded room somewhere next to guys who think they are Napoleon and George Washington. (Also in the padded cells next to him are Daniel Jackson from Star Gate: SG-1, Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Clark Kent from Smallville, George Edelman may or may not be there too.) Tobias spots and eats raccoon road kill. Rachel sees him eating the road kill and begins to worry about him.>
<No missions as they are all still recovering from the whole David fiasco (please read books 20-22 for full details). However Rachel wants to see Tobias, so he sneaks into her bedroom window. Rachel is sitting in bed wearing a Chicago Bear’s jersey and reading Goosebumps # 61: “I Live in Your Basement!” by book light. It seems that while at school Rachel was hanging out with Melissa (wait, she’s still in these books?!?) in between classes when Melissa’s dad, Vice-Principal Chapman came by asking about Tobias, it seems he hasn’t been to school in months (Read: Book 1 page 1).>
<Now picture this Tobias believes that both of his parents are dead, if they aren’t dead than they are out of his life for reasons that Tobias can’t even begin to guess at. He was being handed off between an aunt and uncle who didn’t care about him, they never wanted children and certainly never asked for one. Each thinks that it is better to watch Tobias for a year or so and then pay for a ticket to send Tobias across the country to the other one (because a plane or train ticket is A LOT less expensive than taking care of a teenage boy for 6 months to a year, he does need food, clothes and school supplies). Tobias’ uncle is a drunk who never pays Tobias any attention, and his aunt made him do chores all the time, any clothes, books and toys a pre-Animorphs Tobias had after the loss of his parents came from Goodwill, Value Village and other places like that, second and third hand, he was lucky if the new jeans he got only had holes in the knees. When Tobias was trapped in morph both were told that Tobias would be permanently staying with the other one. Neither one cared enough to send him a birthday or Christmas card or gift. They were just glad to get him out of their lives. That is the last time anyone (who isn’t an Animorph, or an alien being with time altering powers) ever knew or cared about Tobias, where he was or how he was doing…until now.>
<It seems that a young woman named Aria says she is Tobias’ cousin (must be from his father’s side, because his mother’s siblings don’t seem the parenting type), who has just come back to the USA and found out that nobody knows anything about Tobias’ current whereabouts. She wants to take Tobias in and give him a real home and a family. EVERYTHING Tobias never had before. Tobias also says that when his father died there was no Last Will and Testament.>
<NO SPOILERS: From what I’ve read in fan-fics a popular idea is to write about Tobias’ sister (who may or not be a twin), however nothing in ANY of the books says anything about Tobias having any brothers or sisters. Here is what Tobias may or may not know about his family that we can figure out from what we have read so far. His parents met when Tobias’ mother was a teenager, they went to the same college together and only had one child, Tobias. Then ‘something happened’ maybe two somethings, making nether one of them able to take care of him. In this country when a child is without parents they are often taking to an orphanage, or raised by members of their close family. It seems logical that at that time there was a family meeting to figure out what to do with Tobias. Aria must have parents, yet Tobias wasn’t sent to live with them, they had already raised one child, why couldn’t they raise another? You can debate why among yourselves, they aren’t mentioned and as far as Tobias knows they could be dead. He only knows of three living relatives at the moment, the aunt and uncle who don’t care about him (believed by me to be his mother’s brother and sister) and this cousin (possibly from Tobias’ father’s side of the family.) However because Aria was in Africa she was hard IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE to contact. Tobias is sent to live with the aunt and uncle, each for a short time then sent to the other. While living with his uncle he goes to school in the Animorph’s home town. Tobias is a bully magnet. You can read more about what Tobias’ life was like in MM4.>
<Sorry for the tangent there, I felt it was important to get into Tobias’ head so that we could see what motivates his thought process for the rest of this book.>
<Tobias goes to meet with his father’s lawyer, he sees all the others in place, except his on-call grizzly bear who is hiding in the laundry mat. He morphs into a human and puts on clothes Rachel bought for him.>
<Tobias meets with the lawyer, a man named DeGroot (rhymes with boat), who inherited this paperwork from his own father. Tobias orders a coke, loudly. Tobias is told that there is a letter to be read to Tobias on his next birthday. This letter is from Tobias’ REAL father, a man different from the man Tobias thought of as his father.>
<We are told that Aria is the daughter of Tobias’ great-aunt (Still possibly on his father’s side). She is “a very acclaimed nature photographer and she’s been on a long term assignment in Africa.” She wants to meet Tobias.>
<Tobias leaves the lawyer’s office and plays with the Mounds bar to let the others know that everything is alright. Ax has…something smeared all over his face. Tobias checks the newspaper, his birthday is this month (inside cover of the book says Nov 1998 if that means anything), today is the twenty-second. Tobias thinks his birthday MIGHT be the twenty-fifth. I’m guessing his birthday had been ignored for years even BEFORE he became a hawk, just another clue we have about how messed up Tobias’ pre-Animorph days were.>
<Someone follows Tobias, yet he has eyes in the sky who help him lose them. Then it finally hits him. SOMEONE MIGHT ACTUALLY WANT HIM!!!>
<Tobias flys and thinks about what this all means and how each of his friends will react to this news. Jake and Cassie give him time to think. Tobias heads for the valley of the free Hork-Bajir for the 3rd time in his life. First when it was formed (book #13).The second time when he heard the tail of the Yeerk invasion of the Hork-Bajir world (Hork-Bajir Chronicles) and now today. This time the Hork-Bajir expect him, somehow the Hork-Bajir ‘seerer’ Toby knew that he would come. Tobias is told that a young male Hork-Bajir named Bek is missing, that he has laft the valley.>
<The valley has been searched, Bek is not there. He does not know how to lead others back to the valley. Toby admits that she has been leading Hork-Bajir raiding parties to a secret Yeerk facility outside of the Animorphs city and freeing more of her people. Tobias agrees to get the other Animorphs to help look for Bek.
Tobias is in the medow watching the other hawk hunt and miss, soon there will have to be a fight, one way of the other. Tobias trys to catch a baby rabbit and once again has a vision of being the rabbit.
<What is happening to me?!> I yelled to an empty sky. <What is happening to me?>
<The next day in Cassie’s barn Marco rages about how they never get any down time. He does this for about 3/4th of a page.>
”…When do we get to turn off the power and put down the joystick and just veg out with some HBO? When do –“
“When do we get to shut you up?” Rachel interrupted. “When do we get to switch you off? I mean, good grief, Marco, you act like you have something better to do. Before we became Animorphs your entire day consisted of figuring out which girl to annoy next.”
Marco grinned. “And now I always know which girl to annoy next.” He put his arm around Rachel and lay his head on her shoulder.
She laughed and shoved him away.
It was just a dumb little routine, but I felt a flash of jealousy.
<Then the Animorphs talk about what could have happened to Bek, than Rachel and Tobias are sent to spy on Aria and DeGroot. Tobias admits to not knowing when his birthday is.>
<Tobias watches Rachel morph into a male bald eagle, than they fly over to Aria’s hotel room. Tobias tells Rachel about this other bird stepping into his territory.>
<Rachel and Tobias spy on Aria.>
I didn’t answer. The truth is, I hadn’t really heard Rachel. I was off in my own mind, watching the strange woman who said she wanted to take care of me.
Why? Why would someone want to take care of me? She didn’t know me. So why? Because of some vague family loyalty thing? Maybe. I guess some families are like that. You know, they feel connected to anyone who shares a biological connection to them. But my family wasn’t that way. Not the ones I’d met, anyway.
My mother disappeared and my father died when I was little. I barely remember either of them. I had pictures, or course. Back when I was human. But now when I tried to remember them I couldn’t tell whether the memories were real or just something I’d made up.
<Aria gets a phone call, then leaves. Rachel and Tobias follow her.>
<Aria gets in a taxi cab, and Tobias and Rachel follow her by being crazy enough to ride on top of a police cruser, then release and in a totally cool move Tobias snags a helicopter…only for the taxi cab he’s following to stop, making his totally cool move completely pointless (unless you count impressing the girl and he totally nails that).
<Are you telling me how to fly?>
<No, sir!>
<Rachel and Tobias check out “Frank’s Safari Land and Putt-Putt Golf” with a sign that says “ALL NEW! DEADLY MIDGET FREAK! THE LIVING RAZOR!” Rachel steals a man’s toupee and gives it to an alligator so that she and Tobias can sneak inside.>
<Note: Rachel gives the toupee to an ALLIGATOR; she has an allergic reaction to a CROCDILE in book #12.>
<Inside there are many different kinds of animals, all in cages way too small. Rachel suggests they get Cassie to talk Jake into letting them stomp this place into the ground. In a separate room on a raised platform is the “ALL NEW! DEADLY MIDGET FREAK! THE LIVING RAZOR!” it is Bek the little lost Hork-Bajir. (Did anyone NOT see that coming when they read “THE LIVING RAZOR!”?)>
<Aria says Frank could call this freak an alien and suggest he improve the conditions of the other animals. Then Aria leaves…by way of limo.>
<Back in Cassie’s barn they realize thay HAVE to go in and get Bek out, however they also realize this could easly be a trap. Then they all do some home work. Ax says that human science is wrong and we have no idea how most of this stuff actually works. Then they head over to “Frank’s Safari Land and Putt-Putt Golf” to give it a little Animorphs style remodel. The sign now says that he has the first ever actual space alien.>
<Jake turns off the lights and Rachel, in her elephant morph, remodels “Frank’s Safari Land and Putt-Putt Golf” to give the animals more light and fresh air…yeah, THAT’S what she’s doing. Anyway, a group of controllers sent by Visser 3 are also there looking for Bek. Somehow I don’t think they want to take him home to his parents…or at least not without a huge raiding party.>
<Cassie, Marco, Jake and Ax join the “remodeling” we haven’t seen this level of destruction since David’s bedroom. There is a reason The Animorph-Yeerk remodeling company doesn’t get a lot of repeat business. Then Visser 3 shows up and surprisingly knows the name of the escaped host who Tobias’ Hork-Bajir morph is based on.>
<Visser 3 morphs the monster of the day, the Kattid, an 8 legged flying green seahorse that spits acid. Tobias loses Bek and both sides leave.>
<Tobias throws himself a pity party.>
<Tobias?>
I jerked, startled. I recognized Ax’s thought-speak voice and calmed down. He comes around sometimes. We are the weird couple of the galaxy: the alien and the Bird-boy.
<Hey, Ax-man, what’s up?>
<Up is the opposite of down. Although, of course those terms are meaningless outside the context of a distinct, localized gravity field.>
<Ax and Tobias watch Aria for a day and around 3pm she is seen saving a little girl’s life.>
<Tobias flys into Rachel’s bedroom and they have more of a boyfriend/girlfriend moment than Jake and Cassie have in every Animorph book put together. Tobias’ birthday is tomorrow.>
<Tobias realizes that he has no reason to stay a hawk and every reason to become fully human. He makes the choice to live life as a human with Aria as soon as the next battle is done.>
<The Animorphs and Toby make the battle plan.>
Toby nodded. “That is true. But the Hork-Bajir will respect themselves. A fool is strong so that others will see. A wise person is strong for himself. The Hork-Bajir will be strong for the Hork-Bajir. That way, when the Yeerks are all gone, we will still be strong.”
<Tobias considers what it means to be truly human.>
<Last minute recon and getting trapped, 4 Hork-Bajir and a bunch of bugs get captured by Yeerks.>
<Tobias escapes, morphs into a Hork-Bajir, and simply asks for the key. He gets the key.>
<Now picture this; you are Tobias, guarding 4 Hork-Bajir and 5 Animorphs, what do YOU think he does next?>
Jake ignored the remark. <We have to take that weapon and blow it up. Quiet and fast. We want to be in there before anyone has a chance to react.>
There was a moment of expectant silence.
Then Marco said, <Rachel! What’s keeping you>?>
<Oh, I forgot,> she said. And then, in ture Rachel style, she yelled, <Let’s do it!>
<Thank you,> Marco said, <We can’t run off on another idiot suicide mission without the blessings of the always insane Xena, Warrior Princess.>
<…The attack begins.>
<Also, yes I did just purposely copy the typo in Marco’s line above. Check page 131 if you don’t believe me.>
<Tobias learns that Aria is one of Visser 3’s morphs.>
<I’ll say that again, the only family that Tobias has ever had, who wants to show him any kind of love at all, is Visser 3, sworn enemy of the Animorphs and all the people of Earth.>
<Tobias wishes he were dead. He is now lower and more heart broken than he has ever been in his ENTIRE LIFE…and on his birthday no less.>
<Cassie asks where Tobias was shot.>
<Tobias goes in to face DeGroot and Aria/Visser 3 alone, without any form of back up at all. Meanwhile the others would attack the weapons site they had hit earlier. This would throw Visser 3 even more off Tobias’ tail…no pun intended.>
<The reading of the letter of Tobias’ REAL father, Mr. Alan Fangor, a.k.a. Andalight Prince Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul.>
I cannot say that I love you, my son, because I do not know you. But know that I wanted to love you. Know that, at least.
<Tobias has to deal with the biggest emotional surprise and let down of his entire life up to this point.>
<Tobias acquires, kills, eats, and morphs the mother rabbit. He vows to protect these little baby rabbits. Then he wakes Rachel up in the middle of the night and they have some birthday cake.>

<For some reason Wikipedia does not have a page for this book, it is as if Crayak removed all sign of it from existence, so here is Cinnamon Bunzuh report.>
The Summary
Tobias is having trouble eating baby rabbits because of liberal guilt or something. But that's not important. What's important is that Chapman is trying to find Tobias, who is apparently registered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Some lawyer has a letter from his father to read to him, and also a cousin named Aria wants to adopt him.

The free Hork-Bajir have misplaced one of their children, so the Animorphs go looking for him. But it is while following Aria that they find the missing Hork-Bajir, Bek, locked in a cage in a roadsize zoo. Aria lectures the owner about the poor living conditions of his animals. The Animorphs try to rescue Bek, but the Controllers beat them to it.animals. The Animorphs try to rescue Bek, but the Controllers beat them to it.

Toby plans a raid on the place where she suspects Bek is being held. Along with some free Hork-Bajir, the Animorphs infiltrate the place and rescue Bek. But during the fight, Visser Three arrives...as Aria. Aria has been Visser Three in morph the entire time. Tobias sits on the ground and angsts while everyone else tries to blow each other up.

On Tobias' birthday, he goes to the lawyer to have his father's letter read to him. Aria is there too. The letter reveals that Tobias' father was Prince Elfangor, as seen in The Andalite Chronicles. Tobias pretends that he thinks the whole thing is stupid and his father was obviously a lunatic, and leaves in disgust. Then he goes off to cry.
True education, true science, true religion is the search for truth.
Matthew 28:16-20, John 3:14-20

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Re: Book 23: The Pretender

Post by gh astly » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:09 pm

As per usual, great summary, TM. :) I liked how you went my route and included the Cinnamon Bunzuh summary.
This was a book that I honestly liked quite a bit (if I didn't know TM was as big of a fan of Tobias as he is, I would have asked to host this one :P ). There are a few things that I can complain about, and trust me, I probably will, but overall, it's one that I liked a lot, maybe a little more than I should.
The big thing about this book that I didn't like about this one isn't necessarily a problem with this book, but more a series as a whole, and it's the fact that Tobias being Elfangor's son really doesn't have much impact on anything else in the series; it's really only brought up in passing. You'd think that if KA would drop as many hints as she did and make a book devoted to the reveal the series would bring it up later on with more than a passing mention.
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Re: Book 23: The Pretender

Post by Visser_5.1 » Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:43 pm

23 summery: Tobias is given just a taste of hope only to bring him down lower than he ever though possible!
"What the Hell" Avril Lavigne

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Re: Book 23: The Pretender

Post by SamilinCorrathGahar » Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:50 pm

<Then the entire universe caught fire like a marshmallow dropped into a camp fire.>
<Yes, it is I, Captain Samilin-Corrath-Gahar of the Andalite ship Ascalin, and ruler of everything .>

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Re: Book 23: The Pretender

Post by gh astly » Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:57 pm

Still would have been a more satisfying conclusion than 54.
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Re: Book 23: The Pretender

Post by kheetor84 » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:00 am

The whole "here's a relative" thing was suspicious from the start to me. But the end where there was a "will" or a "last will and testament" from Elfangor to Tobias... Oh man. THE FEELS!

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Re: Book 23: The Pretender

Post by gh astly » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:05 am

That definitely was a tough part to read for everyone who was attached to Tobias's character. Especially the ending. . . .
:cry:
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Re: Book 23: The Pretender

Post by Tobias_Marco » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:45 am

<From then on Tobias was raised by TigerHawk from Transformers Beast Wars.>
True education, true science, true religion is the search for truth.
Matthew 28:16-20, John 3:14-20

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Re: Book 23: The Pretender

Post by lady_summoner » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:19 pm

This is one of my favorite books in the series. I love the plot, Tobias’ inner monologues and pretty much everything. The day after I read it for the first time, I ran up the school steps to loan it to my friend. I handed it to her and practically shouted, “Read this today!” Then we talked about the whole series for the next few days.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is how poorly the Visser planned in this book. First they send a tail after Tobias after his first meeting with DeGroot. That doesn't make sense when they don’t want any potential bandits making a connection between DeGroot /Aria and the Yeerks. Then Aria takes a cab to Safari Land but has a probably familiar looking limo pick her up from there. And somehow Tobias thinks the biggest clue he should have seen was her checking her hair?

guitarhero01234 wrote:The big thing about this book that I didn't like about this one isn't necessarily a problem with this book, but more a series as a whole, and it's the fact that Tobias being Elfangor's son really doesn't have much impact on anything else in the series; it's really only brought up in passing. You'd think that if KA would drop as many hints as she did and make a book devoted to the reveal the series would bring it up later on with more than a passing mention.
Elfangor being his father does save him in book 33. Also I think it helps deepen his relationship with Ax. At this point, they’re not even watching soaps together yet.

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Re: Book 23: The Pretender

Post by gh astly » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:54 pm

lady_summoner wrote:Elfangor being his father does save him in book 33. Also I think it helps deepen his relationship with Ax. At this point, they’re not even watching soaps together yet.
Wow, how did I not think about that when I wrote that comment? Maybe I should re-read through the series sometime soon.
Animorphs: The Abridged Series. Post there so I'm not lonely.

So just shut your face and take a seat, 'cause after all, we're just talking meat. And music?

Well, it's just entertainment, folks.