|This article is written from a Real World point of view.|
- "I didn't know what world this was. I didn't know what time this was. A world before or after or parallel to mine? A bizarre reality that had somehow imposed itself on the one I was used to accepting? My own personal nightmare? I didn't know. But I knew the Yeerks were strong in this place. They owned this city. They owned the people in it. But they didn't own me."
The Familiar, published in April 2000 and written by Ellen Geroux based on an outline by K.A. Applegate, is the forty-first book in the Animorphs series. It is the fourteenth book narrated by Jake and the ninth book with Jake as the sole narrator.
Jake is just a normal kid. Well, as normal as possible considering he can morph animals, and he's in a war against parasitic aliens. But as unbelievable as it sounds, something even stranger has happened. One morning Jake wakes up, and he's twenty-five years old.
Okay. Maybe it's a nightmare. Or maybe Jake's just lost it for a while and misplaced a few years. And there's another problem. The world Jake-the-kid went to sleep in has changed. It's ruled by the Yeerks. Jake has to find out if the other Animorphs and Ax are still around. Still somehow fighting. Or if he's really on his own...
This section needs a rewrite
The story opens in the middle of a particularly violent battle. As the battle becomes more and more hopeless Jake orders a desperate retreat leaving Marco and Rachel to fend for themselves. The Animorphs all escape, but barely. Tensions are high and Cassie begins to break down, again questioning the violence and killing that come with battle. Jake responds to her without much sympathy.
Exhausted, Jake returns home and Tom finally seems suspicious of him. He falls asleep. When he awakes he realizes that he is a version of himself ten years older living in New York City on an earth that has already been completely taken over by the Yeerks. Everyone assumes him to be a Controller with a Yeerk named Essak 241275 in his head. Jake follows the crowd to his work, but skips his stop in order to investigate this strange new world. He doesn't know how he has come to be in this time and place and suspects that it is some kind of alternate or parallel timeline created by the Ellimist or Crayak.
He discovers that there is a terrorist organization called the Evolutionist Front (EF) which is composed of Yeerks and their hosts who believe that forms of biological evolution and mutation should be explored instead of the enslavement of sentient species. He encounters Cassie, who is a Controller and one of the leaders of the organization. She is a brutal and calculating terrorist who will use any tactics to sabotage the Yeerk Empire. She persuades Jake to help her foil a Yeerk plot to turn Earth's Moon into a Kandrona sun, and tells him a contact will approach him with details later.
It seems that time and space do not always follow logically in this futuristic world. Jake travels to his place of work, and there he is haunted by the image of the many creatures he has killed in battle. He is then taken in to be interrogated about EF activities. His questioner is a Controller Marco who is Visser Two, and the leader of Earth. Marco has also captured Cassie and threatens to kill her if Jake does not work with him against the EF.
Jake's EF contact turns out to be an unrecognizable crippled Rachel, scarred from years of battle. She gives him instructions where to meet the head of the resistance, saying that he will recognize him when he sees him. Jake follows her instructions and encounters a fully grown Andalite whom he believes to be Elfangor. It is in fact a cold and indifferent Tobias. Tobias explains that he stayed in morph as Ax, and explains to Jake that his brother Tom killed Jake while he slept ten years ago. He seeks Jake's help in foiling the Yeerk plan to convert the moon into a Kandrona ray-emitting sun. Jake protests that this will mean certain death for Cassie and Tobias responds that sacrifices must be made in war.
In a race against time Jake is faced with a choice to either save Cassie or the world. Jake chooses to save "what must be valued above all else". Jake is then instantly back in his bed the next morning. He hears a voice in his head which he has "never heard", saying it is not the Ellimist. He describes the voice as both young and old, male and female, like distant thought speak. The voice simply says "Interesting choice. They have strangely segmented minds: conscious, unconscious, and an ability to reconcile both. They will bear more study, these humans...".
- Marco's Yeerk (Visser Two/Three) (First Appearance) (Only Appearance)
- Orffs (First Appearance) (Only Appearance)
- Steve / Steve's Yeerk
- David (Hallucination)
- Howlers (Hallucination) (Flashback)
- Taylor / Sub-Visser Fifty-One (Mentioned Only)
- Visser Three (Mentioned Only)
- Crayak (Mentioned Only)
- Tom / Tom's Yeerk
- Justice (First Appearance) (Only Appearance)
- Essak 241275 (Mentioned Only)
- Leerans (Hallucination)
- Jean (Mentioned Only)
- Council of Thirteen (Mentioned Only)
- Ragsin Building (First Appearance) (Only Appearance)
- New York City
- Yeerk homeworld (Mentioned Only)
- Andalite homeworld (Mentioned Only)
- Taxxon homeworld (Mentioned Only)
- Abandoned Construction Site (Mentioned Only)
- Jake returns home after a deadly fight, wearing his morphing suit and with traces of Hork-Bajir blood on him. He is spotted by Tom, who watches Jake as he sleeps.
- Jake wakes up the next morning to find himself in a dystopian New York City ten years into the future, where the Yeerks have conquered Earth.
- Jake's age at this point is revealed to be fifteen, thus showing that quite some time has eclipsed, as he was in middle school in The Invasion.
- While in the future, Jake remarks that he looks ten years older and cites that he must be twenty-five. Later, Cassie and Tobias confirm that the events Jake remembers as having taken place the day before was exactly ten years ago, to the day, and Jake shortly after refers to his older self as twenty-five again. The official summary on the back of the book also states that he is twenty-five.
- Jake discovers that after he went to sleep, Tom discovered he was an 'Andalite bandit' and had him infested, which led to all of the Animorphs, except Tobias and Rachel, becoming Controllers. Cassie has engaged in a symbiotic relationship with her Yeerk and has become a terrorist while Marco is now the host body of Visser Two.
- Jake encounters Rachel, who is missing an arm, an eye, and both of her legs. Jake wonders why she has not used morphing to heal herself, and discovers that he too cannot morph. However, Jake is able to morph into a tiger shortly after and then loses the ability to morph once more, only for it work later on, much to his confusion.
- Jake meets Tobias, who had trapped himself in Ax morph and now resembles Elfangor. Tobias informs Jake that he is supposed to be dead, revealing that Tom had killed him in his sleep that night ten years ago, thereby explaining why Marco was surprised to see Jake alive and why the Yeerks were surprised when witnessing Jake morph into a tiger.
- Jake observes flashes of an old red-tailed hawk, abrupt changes in weather, the inconsistency in morphing capability and finally, the fact that Marco is referred to as both Visser Two and Visser Three, and he begins to strongly suspect that the world he is experiencing is not based in reality.
- The Yeerks plan to convert the moon into a sun that emits Kandrona rays, and Jake is forced to choose between saving Cassie or saving the world. As he makes his decision, the reality ends, proven to be a simulation inside Jake's mind run by unknown entities. Jake then wakes up in the real world and decides to call Cassie, although he retains his memories of the simulated reality.
|Morpher||Morphs acquired||Morphs used|
|Jake||--||Siberian Tiger, Peregrine Falcon|
|Rachel||--||Grizzly Bear, Bald Eagle|
|Tobias||--||Andalite (Ax; trapped in morph)|
|Marco||--||Silverback Gorilla (Big Jim)|
- Tobias only morphs in the simulated reality Jake experiences, and thus is not actually trapped in Andalite morph.
- The cover quote is "They're out of sight. You're out of mind..."
- The inside cover quote is "All grown up and no place to go..."
- This is the second book in the numbered series where no one acquires a new morph, and the third overall, following The Conspiracy and VISSER.
- This is the last book to feature Jake's original cover model.
- This is the sixth book where an Animorph finds themselves on Earth outside of their hometown, with the events in the simulated reality taking place in New York City.
- This book, published in April of 2000, features a future New York City set around the mid-to-late 2010s that has most of the skyscrapers destroyed, with an exception made for the Twin Towers, which are left standing and unscathed.
- If one counts Jake experiencing another reality set in the future as "time traveling", this would be Jake's sixth time traveling through time and his second time visiting the future.
- The nature or identity of the entity responsible for this simulation remains unknown, as this event it is never mentioned afterwards in the series.
- Through Jake's window you can see a rather futuristic billboard for cat food featuring cameo cat extraordinaire, Orson, the cover artist David Mattingly's cat!
- Jake describes Hork-Bajir blood as purple blue, despite previous books describing it as a red and green-blue.