I took a break from the wonderful, but incredibly intense Biskaya to finish The Encounter, the third Animorphs book, as some lighter reading. By the way, the last time I mentioned Animorphs, I linked to the free ebook downloads because I remembered Katherine Applegate having said that it's ok to pirate her books. Now, when I checked, I saw that she said that while the books were out of print and not available as official ebooks. So, while Applegate and I seem to agree that pirating a book is better than not reading it, I am going to link to the publisher from now on.
And. Let me tell you. Sure, the Animorphs series is lighter than Biskaya in most ways, but The Encounter is intense in exactly the way that I remember the Animorphs series from when I read it as a kid. I read the first two books from a distance, mostly just remembering what they had made me feel back then. But this one, this one hit my feels.
Each of the Animorphs books is told from the perspective of one of those unfortunate kids who got alien morphing powers to save the earth from aliens. In this one, it's Tobias' turn. Tobias used to have one of those usual human bodies, but got stuck in hawk form early on. Up to now, we got brief glimpses into what this might be like for him. That he missed some human things, but didn't mind that much, because his human life wasn't that great anyway. In this one, we get to hear everything about how shitty and hard it is when you are stuck in birdshape and unsure about your own humanity, while your friends continue to very clearly be humans. And wolves. And fish, fish in grave danger.
His hawk feelings are strong and he can't just lock them out. He hunts for the first time and has trouble processing that. Feeling far removed from humanity, he gives in fully to his hawk part for a while. He feels attraction to another hawk, and is torn between the comfort it promises and the human friends/alien missions that need his attention.
I love how it's not just one thing. Sure, Tobias has a lot of bad feels. But he's also, you know, a happy bird and a loving and loved human.
Other than that, The Encounter is a highly captivating story about the virtue of sabotage. Everything is hecka dangerous and people mostly survive by chance, and I was going "aaaaaaaah" a lot of the time. It's wonderful.
Again, sometimes I'm a bit annoyed by the way animal instincts and behaviors are portrayed, but of course, these things will always be heavily colored by any writer's views on human society, and honestly, it's not bad. Yeah, wolves work differently and stuff, but we can just imagine that part.