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"Melissa is still my friend. Maybe somehow I can help her."
"Your job is not to help Melissa Chapman. You're supposed to be spying on Chapman. You're supposed to be finding some way for us to get at the Yeerks, so that we can all turn into wild animals and get ourselves killed."
Rachel and Marco[src]

The Visitor, published in June 1996 and written by K.A. Applegate and Michael Grant, is the second book in the Animorphs series. It is the first book narrated by Rachel.

Synopsis

Morphing is certainly more fun than Sega -- you can soar as an eagle and walk as a cat. But being an ANIMORPH is by no means just fun and games. Rachel knew better than anyone. One of her best friends, Melissa, is acting very strange. And it looks like Melissa's dad, who is also the school's Assistant Principal, may be connected to evil aliens. Rachel can't tell Melissa what the ANIMORPHS have learned, but Melissa doesn't seem interested in talking to Rachel these days anyway. Could Melissa be one of "them?"

With the help of Jake, Cassie, Tobias and Marco, Rachel plans to enter her friend's house as a cat, intent on unlocking the secrets from within. If only Rachel could keep her mind off mice...

If someone told you Earth was under a silent attack, there's a good chance you'd think they were pretty strange. If that same person said Earth's only means of defense depends on the actions and powers of five kids, you'd probably start to look for a quick exit. Guess what? It's all true.

Rachel and her friends knew they were in for some pretty strange stuff from the very beginning. How often do you run into a dying alien who gives you the power to morph into any animal you touch? But that was before they knew what they would be up against. Now they know. And they know what they have to do. Before it's too late...

If someone told you Earth was under a secret invasion, what would you think? Rachel had a hard time believing it, even after she and her friends saw what they saw—and received an incredible power. The power to become any animal they touch.

Rachel knew they were in danger from the start, so when it's suggested that they use their new powers to spy on one of their enemies, she rises to the challenge. But when she discovers what they'll have to do to win, will it be more than Rachel can handle?

Plot

A little over a week later after their last adventure, the Animorphs, minus Tobias, have all learned to morph clothing and have acquired bird morphs, with Jake morphed as a peregrine falcon, Rachel as a bald eagle, and Cassie and Marco as a pair of ospreys. While enjoying flying with Tobias, the Animorphs are shot at by teens drinking in the woods, prompting the Animorphs to attack them and steal their rifle, which Rachel drops into the ocean. They then demorph before walking home, discussing what their next strategy to defeat the Yeerks will be. Jake reveals that the janitor's entrance at their school has been sealed, leaving them without a way to revisit the Yeerk pool. Rachel initially suggests following Tom, as his Yeerk would need to revisit the pool, but Jake, not wanting to risk the Yeerks potentially killing Tom if they find out he was followed by "Andalites", instead suggests gaining intel through Chapman. In order to do so, Rachel is asked to use her friendship with Chapman's daughter Melissa to get close to Chapman himself.

The next day, while at gymnastics class, Rachel approaches Melissa and offers to hang out, although Melissa blows her off. Rachel realizes something is different with Melissa and, while berating herself for not noticing that her friend had changed drastically, begins to suspect whether she might be a Controller. While walking home after class, Rachel is approached by an older man, whom she believes is either late high school or college aged. The man, leering at Rachel, orders her to get in his car. When she keeps walking, the predator becomes angry that she ignored him and runs after her. As she tries to escape, Rachel decides to defend herself by partially morphing into an elephant, which scares the would-be kidnapper off. Upon demorphing, she is quickly spotted by Chapman and Melissa, who are driving home after class. Chapman offers Rachel a ride home, where a shaken Rachel begins to wonder whether Chapman saw her morph. Returning home, Rachel calls the other Animorphs to her house to tell her about her frightening encounter, although the boys berate her for exposing her morphing abilities while Cassie admonishes Rachel for walking home alone and putting herself in a such a dangerous situation to begin with. Rachel then chooses to omit that Chapman was in the vicinity and had driven her home, but does reveal that Melissa is not open to hanging out with her. As a result, the Animorphs decide to shift to a new plan: since Melissa has a pet tomcat named Fluffer McKitty, Rachel is assigned with morphing into Fluffer and entering the Chapman Residence to spy on Chapman.

On another night, the Animorphs gather on Chapman's street, where Tobias directs them to Fluffer's location. When Fluffer jumps up into a tree, Rachel acquires and morphs into a shrew to lure the cat down, although the experience leaves her feeling sick as the shrew mind constantly wanted to feed on nearby maggots. Despite managing to acquire Fluffer, Rachel puts off the infiltration for another night due to her feeling unwell. That night, Rachel has a nightmare where she as a shrew notices a dead cat being eaten by maggots before then eating both the maggots and the dead cat herself, which causes her to throw up.

A few nights later, the team regroups on Chapman's street, where Rachel morphs into Fluffer and enters the Chapman Residence. She notices that Chapman is sitting in the living room staring blankly ahead while Ms. Chapman is cutting vegetables for dinner expressionlessly. As Chapman gets up and heads to the basement, Rachel follows him, and the pair enter a hidden room. Rachel witnesses as "Chapman" uses a holographic communicator to call Visser Three. Chapman's Yeerk, who identifies himself as Iniss 226, speaks with the Visser about their progress in locating the "Andalite bandits", the term that the Yeerks have given to the Animorphs. Rachel is then spotted by Visser Three, who wishes to have Rachel killed since she could be an Andalite in morph, although Iniss convinces the Visser to spare the cat since killing his daughter's cat would garner negative attention. When the call ends, Rachel follows Chapman back upstairs, where she discovers that Ms. Chapman is also infested. She observes as Melissa comes downstairs to ask her parents for help with math homework, although they decline. Rachel follows a crying Melissa to her room and is heartbroken when Melissa asks her "cat" what she did to make her parents stop loving her. Rachel then realizes that the Yeerks controlling the Chapmans cannot simulate parental love as they do not feel the love themselves, and that Melissa was able to pick up on that. Galvanized by her anger that the Yeerks are making children and parents lose love for another, Rachel reaffirms her decision to keep fighting.

The next day, the Animorphs reconvene for a meeting where Rachel tells them she wants to revisit the Chapman Residence. The others question her motives, even asking if anything had transpired, but Rachel chooses to hide the fact that she had been spotted and was nearly killed. Rachel notices Tobias privately thought-speaking with the others before Tobias reveals that he's aware that her true intentions are to help Melissa. That night, the team gathers once more on Chapman's street where Rachel notices that Jake is absent; Marco explains that Jake was grounded and thus couldn't make it. As Rachel morphs into Fluffer, Cassie puts her hand on her back for a while before sending her off. Rachel enters the Chapman home and once again makes her way into the basement, where Jake reveals that he is on her back in a flea morph, having been deposited on Rachel by Cassie. Rachel is caught once more, and this time both Iniss and the Visser believe she must be a morphed Andalite. Visser Three then orders Iniss to bring both the "Andalite cat" and Melissa to him, as he wishes to have the latter infested.

Rachel is then forced into a cat carrier and brought upstairs, where she witnesses both Chapman parents fight back and briefly seize control of their bodies, much to her amazement. Iniss and his "wife" agree that having Chapman potentially seize control in public would cause him to lose his societal status as he would be seen as mentally ill; as a result, Iniss chooses not to bring Melissa. As he picks up the cat carrier and tries to leave the house, Melissa notices and asks her "father" why he is taking her cat away. When he keeps walking, Melissa begins crying and chases after him. Rachel then has Tobias chase the real Fluffer back home, preventing Iniss from potentially changing his mind and taking Melissa. Chapman then places the cat carrier in his car and drives to the abandoned construction site.

At the site, Iniss delivers Rachel to Visser Three, who then inquires as to Melissa's whereabouts. Iniss then relinquishes control of the body so that the real Chapman himself could speak to the Visser. Chapman reminds Visser Three that they had a deal where he would become a voluntary host in exchange for the Yeerks sparing his daughter, which surprises Rachel. Due to Chapman's position being necessary for the invasion and his firm stance that he would rebel if Melissa was taken, Visser Three agrees to spare her and dismisses Iniss. He then orders one of his Hork-Bajir-Controllers to pick up the cat carrier and bring it aboard the Blade ship.

The other Animorphs, having followed Chapman's car, create a distraction using the earthmovers at the construction site. With their attention diverted, Jake jumps off Rachel's back and demorphs in a dark corner on the Blade ship before remorphing into a tiger. Rachel then partially demorphs her paws to form human fingers so that she can unlock the carrier. Remorphing back into the cat fully, she runs out of the Blade ship while Jake lunges at Visser Three. The two cousins then run through the construction site; although Jake is able to take out the Hork-Bajir following them, Rachel is not strong enough, thus forcing to her to hide. Visser Three then morphs into an Unnamed Three-Legged Rock Beast and attempts to crush Rachel, although Rachel is then picked up Tobias, who flies her to safety while the other Animorphs manage to escape as well.

A few days later, Rachel decides to send a typed letter to Melissa, informing her that her father loves her more than she knows and more than he could ever show. Meeting up with the others, Jake remarks that at least they managed to destroy a Bug fighter (which Marco and Cassie had done at the construction site) while also making Visser Three more apprehensive about them. The team begins to discuss what they might do next when Marco, in fake outrage, "protests" against the idea of a 'next time' before Tobias tells them that there will be a next time since they must keep fighting until the Andalites come to save them.

Appearances

Protagonists:

Antagonists:

Other Characters:

Locations:

Organizations:

Mentioned:

Items:

Major/Highlighted Events

  • The Animorphs acquire their bird-of-prey morphs.
  • While walking home in the evening, Rachel is nearly kidnapped and sexually preyed upon by an older man, although she manages to escape the danger by partially morphing into an elephant to scare him off.
  • The Animorphs are referred to as the "Andalite bandits" for the first time.
  • It is revealed that Chapman became a voluntary host in order to spare his daughter from infestation. While Ms. Chapman initially gave herself in to the Yeerks as a voluntary host, she eventually rebelled against her captor but agreed to become voluntary once more to keep her daughter free.
    • The anger Rachel feels about learning that there are children out there deprived of parental love because their parents have been infested gives Rachel her personal reason for fighting in the war.
  • The Council of Thirteen and the Yeerk homeworld are mentioned for the first time.
  • While morphing typically takes a few minutes, Jake is able to demorph from flea to human and then remorph into tiger within a minute, proving that the morphing process, itself dependent on focus and concentration, can be accelerated through sheer will.

Morphs

Morpher Morphs acquired Morphs used
Jake Peregrine Falcon, Flea Peregrine Falcon, Flea, Siberian Tiger
Rachel Bald Eagle, Shrew, Tomcat (Fluffer McKitty) Bald Eagle, African Elephant (partially), Shrew, Tomcat (Fluffer McKitty)
Cassie Osprey Osprey
Marco Osprey Osprey
Visser Three -- Vanarx, Unnamed Three-Legged Rock Beast
  • Jake states that he practiced testing the flea morph prior to the mission with Cassie and Marco. While this may sound like Cassie and Marco also acquired and morphed into the flea, as per canon Jake was the only one to acquire it, meaning he tested it with their help without them also having morphed into it.[1]

Trivia

  • The front cover quote is "No one knows who they are.".
  • The inside front cover quote is, "Nine lives are better than one....".
  • The events of this book take place a little over a week after the first one.
  • This is the first instance in the series where Tobias is referred to as "Bird boy", a nickname that would be used quite often as the series progressed.
  • This books marks the first time an Animorph rapid demorphs and remorphs, with Jake going from flea to human to tiger in less than a minute.
  • ANIBASE: K.A. Applegate originally planned for Ax to make his debut in this book.
  • ANIBASE: While the author doesn't have a cat named "Fluffer McKitty", her own cats do have interesting names: "Rabbit", and "Dick the Evil Foot-biting Cat".

Goofs/Inconsistencies

  • The Answer reveals that the Animorphs were thirteen at the start of the series. In this book, which is stated to be less than two weeks since their first Yeerk pool attack (the events of The Invasion), Rachel mentions Melissa's 12th birthday as having taken place "few years ago" even though timeline wise, it would've just been the previous year.
  • Cassie tells Rachel that at four morphs (elephant, bald eagle, shrew, cat), she has the most morphs out of anyone. However, at that point Jake also had four morphs (dog, lizard, tiger, falcon). This is fixed in the graphic novel, where Cassie instead says that Rachel has four morphs "just like Jake."
  • Chapman struggles to move his mouth or limbs when he regains control of his body, which is chalked up to him not having controlled his body in a long time. However, Chapman gets control of his body back every three days when his Yeerk goes to feed at the Yeerk pool. Additionally, Chapman is a voluntary, so he is not imprisoned while at the pool. A future book also features hosts whose Yeerks relinquish control back to them without leaving their head, and the host is completely able to talk and walk normally.
  • When Tobias is reassuring Rachel about her bald eagle morph, he says, "Relax and let the eagle's mind do the thinking. She knows what she's doing." However, in The Pretender it is revealed that the bald eagle Rachel acquired was male.
  • A mention is made about Yeerks being sent to the Council of Thirteen and the Yeerk homeworld, both of which has been said to be under Andalite quarantine since The Hork-Bajir Chronicles.
  • Shrews are referred to belonging under the class of rodent on p54, but they are actually insectivore.
  • Rachel says "Jake was right" before talking about how she was warned that Chapman might suspect animals acting differently as being a morph. However, Cassie was the one who said that to her, not Jake.
  • When Rachel finds out that Jake is on her back in a flea morph, she remarks that this must be why Cassie had made a point of patting her head, despite the fact that Cassie had been patting Rachel's back. This is fixed in the reprint.
  • On p128, Jake's thought-speak quote ends in a regular quote.
  • On p148, the phrase "Three craft" is supposed to be plural, but it's missing an 's'.

2011 Relaunch Differences

Original Edition 2011 Relaunch
<I can't believe this!> I was really mad. <I'm an endangered species. I'm a bald eagle! What's the matter with those creeps?> <I can't believe this!> I was really mad. <I'm a national symbol. I'm a bald eagle! What's the matter with those creeps?>
When Cassie morphs, she always does it kind of artistically. Like when she changes into a horse, she does it so it doesn't look totally creepazoid — she has a natural talent for morphing. If there is such a thing. The rest of us just let it happen however it happens. The results can be disturbing. When Cassie morphs, she always does it kind of artistically. Like when she changes into a horse, she does it so it doesn't look totally creepy — she has a natural talent for morphing. If there is such a thing. The rest of us just let it happen however it happens. The results can be disturbing.
"Look, Jake, how many times have you been walking around the mall or whatever, and you'll see a girl who seems good-looking from far off, but when you get closer it turns out she's a skank? I mean, if you could see this well all the time—" "Look, Jake, how many times have you been walking around the mall or whatever, and you'll see a girl who seems good-looking from far off, but when you get closer it turns out she's a dog? I mean, if you could see this well all the time—"
Marco looked at him with a mixture of pity and amusement. "Fight crime? Who are you, Spiderman? I'm talking show business. Movies! TV shows! I could go on Letterman. I could be an entire episode of Stupid Pet Tricks all by myself." Marco looked at him with a mixture of pity and amusement. "Fight crime? Who are you, Spider-Man? I'm talking show business. Movies! TV shows! I could go on Letterman. I could be an entire episode of Stupid Pet Tricks all by myself."
It's not one of those real serious gymnastics classes. I mean, none of us is going to be going to the Olympics. When I started out, I had dreams of being the next Shannon Miller. But then I started to grow. I'm pretty tall now, for my age. It's not one of those real serious gymnastics classes. I mean, none of us is going to be going to the Olympics. When I started out, I had dreams of being a gold medalist. But then I started to grow. I'm pretty tall now, for my age.
"Melissa, I was thinking... maybe you'd like to walk over to the mall with me after class? I have to buy a new pair of sneaks." "Melissa, I was thinking... maybe you'd like to walk over to the mall with me after class? I have to buy a new pair of sneakers."
What he saw was me, halfway through morphing into an African elephant. I had about a third of a trunk and most of my huge fanlike elephant ears. My legs were like stumps. My arms looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger's, only gray. And my tusks stuck about a foot out of my mouth. Just to make things extra weird, I still had my normal hair and my normal eyes. What he saw was me, halfway through morphing into an African elephant. I had about a third of a trunk and most of my huge fanlike elephant ears. My legs were like stumps. My arms looked like a body builder's, only gray. And my tusks stuck about a foot out of my mouth. Just to make things extra weird, I still had my normal hair and my normal eyes.
After dinner I called Jake.

"Do you want to come over?" I said. "I got that new CD, if you want to listen to it."
There was no CD, of course. It's just that we always have to be careful. Like I said, Jake's brother, Tom, is a Controller. He could be listening on the extension. Then I called Cassie and Marco and told them the same cover story.

After dinner I called Jake.

"Do you want to come over?" I said. "I got that new album, if you want to listen to it."
There was no album, of course. It's just that we always have to be careful. Like I said, Jake's brother, Tom, is a Controller. He could be listening on the extension. Then I called Cassie and Marco and told them the same cover story.

"You're not still upset over that detention he gave you?" I asked. "Look, if you're going to listen to your CD player in math class with an earphone hidden under your hair, you have to remember not to start singing along." "You're not still upset over that detention he gave you?" I asked. "Look, if you're going to listen to music in math class with an earphone hidden under your hair, you have to remember not to start singing along."
"You know, you have quite a future in burglary," Marco said to Tobias. "You and I can burglarize places, and Jake can be Spiderman and catch us." "You know, you have quite a future in burglary," Marco said to Tobias. "You and I can burglarize places, and Jake can be Spider-Man and catch us."
"It's kind of weird, but also kind of pretty," Marco said. "I'm thinking you could do commercials for cat food. You sing a little song, maybe dance a little. Forget Morris the cat. You would rule." "It's kind of weird, but also kind of pretty," Marco said. "I'm thinking you could do commercials for cat food. You sing a little song, maybe dance a little. You would rule."
"Rachel, take a pill, girl, it's just Tobias," Cassie said soothingly. "Tobias? I think maybe you'd better stay away," she called up to the sky. "Cats are genetically programmed to be afraid of large birds." "Rachel, chill out, girl, it's just Tobias," Cassie said soothingly. "Tobias? I think maybe you'd better stay away," she called up to the sky. "Cats are genetically programmed to be afraid of large birds."
"Yes, but I really, really want it to be a comic book. See, in a comic book the heroes don't get killed. I mean, okay, they killed Superman that time, but it was only temporary." "Yes, but I really, really want it to be a comic book. See, in a comic book the heroes don't get killed. I mean, okay, they get killed, but usually not the big ones, or it's only temporary."
<They're in on this with you?> Of course! That's why Cassie had made such a point of patting my head. She was depositing Jake on me. <They're in on this with you?> Of course! That's why Cassie had made such a point of patting my back. She was depositing Jake on me.
I'd printed it out on my word processor, of course, so she wouldn't recognize my handwriting. I'd printed it out on my computer, of course, so she wouldn't recognize my handwriting.
  • The 1996 cover shows Rachel morphing into a gray cat, although the book describes Fluffer as black and white, in patches. The 2011 Relaunch cover gets it right.
  • Rachel refers to the bald eagle as an endangered species in the original, although in the reprint this is changed to "national symbol." This is because in 1996, bald eagles were an endangered species, but in 2011, when the reprint was published, they were no longer endangered.
  • In the original edition, Marco refers to a woman as a "skank"; in the reprint, it is changed to "dog".
  • In the original edition, Rachel mentions that she had dreams of being the next Shannon Miller; in the reprint, she merely states she wished to be a gold medalist.
  • Rachel compares her arms to Arnold Schwarzenegger in the original, while the reprint merely uses the generic term "body builder."
  • In the original edition, Rachel asks Jake if he wants to listen to a new CD, but in the reprint it is changed to "new album." In a similar vein, it is mentioned that Marco listened to a CD player in class; in the reprint, is is slightly modified to state that Marco was listening to music in class, removing the CD player part as an effort to update outdated references.
  • In the original edition, Spider-Man is written as "Spiderman"; the reprint fixes this by adding the hyphen.
  • The original edition has Marco mentioning "Morris the cat"; the reference is removed in the reprint.
  • In the original edition, Cassie tells Rachel to "take a pill" when she is agitated during a morph. In the reprint, Cassie tells her to "chill out" instead.
  • The original edition has a reference to the "Death of Superman" story arc, when Marco mentions that he wishes they were in a comic book since the characters don't die, with the exception of Superman, who was soon resurrected. In the reprint, Marco merely states "but usually not the big ones, or it's only temporary", removing the Superman reference.
  • Rachel mentions a word processor in the original; in the reprint this is merely changed to "computer."
  • The original edition spells Iniss 226's name as "Iniss two two six". However, later books in the series capitalize the first word of each letter while also using hyphens when it comes to Yeerk names. The reprint reflects this, where it is instead written as "Iniss Two-Two-Six".
  • The original edition spells it as "human-Controllers" whereas the reprint spells it as "Human-Controllers."
  • The original edition uses the spelling "blonde" when referring to Melissa's hair, while the reprint spells it as "blond".
  • The spelling of "Salad Shooter" is changed to "SaladShooter".
  • The original edition uses the spelling "patroling" while the reprint uses "patrolling."

TV Adaptation

The Visitor was adapted as part of the Animorphs TV Series, which aired on Nickelodeon and YTV between the fall of 1998 and the spring of 2000. It was covered in episode five, "Between Friends". The TV episodes did not follow the books faithfully, altering many aspects of the characters' roles within the Animorphs, the events in the war against the Yeerks, and added plot lines that were not present in the books.

  • Chapman didn't take Rachel to the abandoned construction site, he took her to a mansion.
  • Mrs. Chapman did not make an appearance in the episode.
  • Jake didn't stow away on Rachel's back as a flea, he followed Chapman in dog morph.

Gallery

U.S. Images

International Covers

Japanese Illustrations

Re-release Images

References

  1. While Cassie possesses the morph in #6, #4 has her mention animals she's morphed into before, and the flea is omitted. Therefore the wiki treats Cassie's acquisition of the flea as occurring in #6.
  2. http://hiracdelest.com/news/?p=1304
Books
Main Series #1 The Invasion | #2 The Visitor | #3 The Encounter | #4 The Message | #5 The Predator | #6 The Capture | #7 The Stranger | #8 The Alien | #9 The Secret | #10 The Android | #11 The Forgotten | #12 The Reaction | #13 The Change | #14 The Unknown | #15 The Escape | #16 The Warning | #17 The Underground | #18 The Decision | #19 The Departure | #20 The Discovery | #21 The Threat | #22 The Solution | #23 The Pretender | #24 The Suspicion | #25 The Extreme | #26 The Attack | #27 The Exposed | #28 The Experiment | #29 The Sickness | #30 The Reunion | #31 The Conspiracy | #32 The Separation | #33 The Illusion | #34 The Prophecy | #35 The Proposal | #36 The Mutation | #37 The Weakness | #38 The Arrival | #39 The Hidden | #40 The Other | #41 The Familiar | #42 The Journey | #43 The Test | #44 The Unexpected | #45 The Revelation | #46 The Deception | #47 The Resistance | #48 The Return | #49 The Diversion | #50 The Ultimate | #51 The Absolute | #52 The Sacrifice | #53 The Answer | #54 The Beginning
Megamorphs The Andalite's Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs | Elfangor's Secret | Back to Before
Chronicles The Andalite Chronicles | The Hork-Bajir Chronicles | VISSER | The Ellimist Chronicles
Alternamorphs The First Journey | The Next Passage
TV Tie-Ins Meet the Stars of Animorphs
Graphic Novels #1 The Invasion | #2 The Visitor | #3 The Encounter | #4 The Message | #5 The Predator | #6 The Capture
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