Book Review: Animorphs #23, The Pretender

Greetings from Hermann, Missouri!

Yep, that’s right. I’m on my writer’s retreat!

I know, you’re probably thinking “Jonny, what are you doing reading on a writer’s retreat?”

Well, reading for me is a huge source of inspiration for writing, so there ya go. And I have started writing, I’m just trying to settle into relaxation mode, which can be really hard for me.

The wonderful cottage I’ve been staying in for the past several hours is really great, but I am finding myself pacing around a little bit. No worries, I’ll get into the mood soon enough.

One vital update before this review. I was advised just after arriving in Hermann (unofficially) that I will be working remote when I return to Kansas City. Yay for saving gas and for mental health of not constantly being in danger of the coronavirus! But enough chit chat.

I just finished reading Animorphs #23, The Pretender.


Again, I didn’t really remember anything about this storyline previously from my childhood reading of Animorphs, so I just took the plunge once again.


Someone’s looking for Tobias. Someone who says she’s his long-lost cousin. Tobias isn’t sure the person is telling the truth. But she’s really nice, and knows a lot about him. And what she tells Tobias definitely gets his attention.

It seems a lawyer has discovered Tobias’s father’s last will and testament. So, Tobias needs to attend the reading. His “cousin” even offers to go along. But something just doesn’t feel quite right. That’s when Tobias, the other Animorphs, and Ax decide to do a little checking on this “cousin”. And what they discover will change the rest of Tobias’s life….

The Review:



I gave this book five coming of age stars!

The blurb pretty much explains the core plot of this novel with one exception. The free Hork Bajir are a large part of this novel and play a very important role. It even ties into the Hork Bajir Chronicles (the last book). How great is that?

Anywho, back to the beginning. This novel is clearly in Tobias’s POV if you couldn’t tell by the cover. He’s been struggling lately in his hawk form, having difficulty when hunting. To make matters worse, a cousin claims to be looking for him and wants to take care of him.

Tobias and the other Animorphs don’t know what to expect, but go along with the meeting to avoid suspicion. Does Tobias really have family out there that cares for him? Is there something darker underneath the surface of this offer?

It feels kinda dumb saying that this is a memorable Tobias novel since there’s only been what, four of them so far? But I really mean that. This was a great portrayal of Tobias coming to terms with not only who he is, but what he wants out of life and what is most important to him.

Obviously, Tobias is the star, but I really loved his interactions with Rachel specifically this time around. I freaking knew it! (not telling you, you can’t make me!) The others are there too and it felt very well-balanced.

The plot was really great, even though I was skeptical at the beginning. There was a lot of heart in this story, some interesting revelations, and plenty of action too! I especially liked how the Hork Bajir came more into the picture on this one. It really solidified how great this book was for me.

I honestly have no negative things to say. I dare not speak ill of this wonderful book! Though, I will admit, I am well aware that the next one is in Cassie’s POV, so I’m desperately hoping that Applegate doesn’t throw her in front of the bus again.

Definitely give The Pretender a read, it’s totally worth it!

That’s a Wrap!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy reading!

Have you read this book before? What did you think? Do you have a book recommendation similar to this one? Feel free to share in the comments!

If you’d like to see other reviews of mine, feel free to check out my blog homepage or my GoodReads. You can also follow my GoodReads reviews here. There are some great binge-worthy books on there!

Have a great day!

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    • Yeah, he’s kind of the loner of the group given what happened to him. Poor guy, but I’m glad he’s finding himself amidst the chaos of the Yeerk invasion.

      Yeah, after dinner I am finally feeling relaxed. I’ll definitely get lots of sleep tonight for a heavy writing day tomorrow

      • I was drawn to him because he’s the loner. I had suspicions about his origins too. I wonder did this book reveal them. 😊
        Glad you’re feeling more relaxed. Ah, sleep deep and dream of writing.

      • Yeah, he’s definitely intriguing characterwise, but I wont spoil anything. There is a revelation for him here, but I believe the reader is slightly aware of the facts from another book.

        Yeah, time to open up the wine and chillax. I’m currently watching Black Lightning. Love my superheroes!

      • I wouldnt dream of spoiling it for you :p

        Thanks friend! After I get back would you like to start reading that zombie book together? You can certainly start whenever you want, but I hope to start it maybe next tuesday or wednesday.

  1. Have a great time on your writer’s retreat – and yay for working remotely when you return home. And on the subject of Animorphs, I had no idea there were that many books.

    • Thanks friend! I wrote about 1300 words today and may have one more bout of writing before calling it a day.

      I’m sooo relieved to be remote. I got tired of sick people coming in to work and endangering my health.

      Haha, there are 54, not counting the side books!

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