An unnumbered special "Chronicles" book in the series Animorphs
by K.A. Applegate.
Disclaimer: If you've heard of Animorphs and you're thinking "Aww, how
cute," maybe you should read my introduction to the first book
to see how wrong you are.
THE ANDALITE CHRONICLES
by K.A. Applegate
Elfangor was once a young Andalite cadet, but despite his humble beginnings he had quite a significant role in the Yeerk/Andalite war. In a flashback during which he transmits his memories from the last twenty-one years, Elfangor tells the story of his first battle, his rescue of two alien-kidnapped humans, and his involvement with a weapon of massive importance: the Time Matrix. While simply trying to take the kidnapped humans back to Earth under the command of a disgraced war-prince, Elfangor and his co-cadet Arbron end up having to change their plans and chase the renegade aliens because they are probably going to sell the Time Matrix to the enemy Yeerks. They end up on the Taxxon home world, but their plans to get the amazing weapon before the Yeerks find out it's there get very distorted when Arbron gets trapped as a Taxxon whose body he was using as a morph, and their Andalite commander gets his body stolen by a powerful Yeerk who later becomes Visser Three. Loren, the female human who was kidnapped, develops a special bond with Elfangor during all this, but the male human, Chapman, tries to sell out his fellow humans to the Yeerks. A fight for the Time Matrix and some surprising compromises come out of this, but soon Elfangor is tired of fighting and tired of not knowing what's right. He adopts a human morph and escapes to Earth using the Time Matrix--so he can hide on the planet and marry Loren. Sadly, his idyllic life is not to be his for long, because the Ellimist interferes and tells him he's not where or when he's supposed to be. But, though he chooses to sacrifice and have himself put back where he belongs in space-time, he knows he is leaving a legacy because he gave Loren a son.
About this book:
New known controllers:
- Alloran (the future Visser Three)
- Loren (temporarily)
- Chapman (temporarily)
New morphs acquired:
- Elfangor: Taxxon, human
- Arbron: Taxxon
- Alloran: Taxxon
- In the beginning of this book the narration says that Elfangor was "too weak to morph," which is a bit surprising since the Animorphs appear to have managed to morph themselves into life-saving alternate shapes in order to erase their injuries. Despite the fact that Elfangor can think clearly enough to give technology, information, and instructions to the Animorphs when he meets them, he's "too weak to morph" because of his injuries. It seems in previous books the Animorphs have morphed while practically unconscious and also mortally wounded, so it's unclear what kind of injury could have put Elfangor in that position.
- It's understood that this is supposed to be coming from an alien's perspective and that it's limited in that it must use the English language to tell us about their adventures if it wants to communicate with English-speaking readers. But despite that, there are many Earth-centric language uses that probably could have been avoided for more realism. The narration is peppered by such Earth references as comparing Yeerks to "slugs" or a ship to a "spider," a field measured in "miles," and a dome made of "plastic."
- We're introduced to the alien species the Skrit Na, which are odd creatures that go into cocoons. In their pre-cocoon bug-like phase, they're not very intelligent and they're called Skrit, but after they come out of the cocoon they're transformed into Na--slender gray aliens with four limbs--and they have a propensity for stealing creatures and artifacts from other planets for their own amusement.
- The "Maximum Burn" setting is used several times throughout the book to accelerate quickly, but for some reason Elfangor elects not to use it when returning Loren to Earth because he says relativity would have caused three years to pass on Earth while taking only hours from them. It's unclear why he doesn't seem to be concerned about this eventuality the times he used Maximum Burn before and after this.
- It's in this book that we find out Andalites have a translator chip that figures out languages by listening to them and can translate, which explains their ability to understand alien species. It does not work on written language.
- The Andalite government is said to be run by an organization called the Electorate.
- In this book we learn that Andalite families are normally permitted to have only one child, but in times of war when they may need more bodies, some families are allowed to have two. Elfangor marvels over the thought that some might even be able to have three or four in the future but doesn't think it will come to that.
- Continuity glitch: Elfangor refers to "both his hearts" in this book, which suggests Andalites have two hearts. But in a previous book, Ax's narration refers to having three hearts (because two of his have to stop beating to make a body for a single-heart organism).
- The Time Matrix in this book is said to have been created by the Ellimist, which is odd since the Ellimist himself is capable of manipulating time through his own devices. But this is not a continuity problem because he may have had some kind of reason behind creating it for others' use, and that is unclear.
- An Andalite home-world animal called a djabala is mentioned in this book as an animal they use for morphing practice. It's small and has six legs. They also practice with a kafit bird, which Elfangor also has in his repertoire.
- Elfangor describes the Taxxons as "nauseating," which is odd because Andalites can't throw up.
- The Yeerk government is also explained in this book: they have a "Council of Thirteen," and one is the Emperor of the Council but no one knows which one because they fear assassination. Below that Council are the Vissers.
- We also find out that there is a standard language between interstellar species called Galard.
- Chapman in this book is of course the teenage version of the guy who grows up to be a host for an important Yeerk who uses his position in the community to influence folks to join The Sharing. He must be a hateful person to be able to use his entire planet's population as a bargaining chip for personal gain, but oddly enough, he seems like a decent guy in the future (when he became a Controller because the Yeerks promised they wouldn't infest his daughter if he did). There's no evidence that someone could be that selfless if they were willing to do what Chapman did as a young person in this book. This really should have been an unrelated character since there was no significance to choosing him for this role, nor were there any future repercussions.
- Toward the end, the Time Matrix created a new world from the mental input of three characters' home worlds as they wished to go there: the Andalite home world, the Yeerk home world, and Earth. But this is a bit hard to believe since the Yeerk involved had never been to his own planet. Another Chronicles book states that the Yeerk who later became Visser Three was born in a tank on a ship, and that it was "all he knew." It's hard to imagine that a realistic Yeerk home world could have been created from his memories, with a full pool and the green sky, if he did not have those memories and should have been imagining someplace he'd actually been.
- This book has cheeky references to "Bill" and "Steve," friends of Elfangor's in college when he studied computers. Of course, he's suggesting that Bill is Bill Gates and Steve is Steve Jobs, and that his own hints inspired them to become the pioneers they were.
- This book was originally released as three separate small volumes, so once it was released combined it was rather awkward because there were many rehashings of previous sections' happenings even though it was the same book.
- Editors ought to put on their glasses: Chapman said "who's side are you on?" and it should have been "whose side."
Arbron: "It fires an energy beam which causes an exceedingly painful death. Which is why we'd really prefer it if you didn't fire it."
Arbron: "Earth must be hysterical. Humans falling forward and back, falling all over the place. No wonder they are so primitive. They probably spend all their time just trying to stand up."
Chapman: "We're not going to be kept out of a place just because the weather's bad. We adapt."
Alloran: "The new ideal: warrior, scientist, artist. It's not enough to be a fighter anymore, eh? They want a gentler, more balanced, more intellectual warrior nowadays."
Elfangor: Loren did a thing she called "sitting." It's funny to see at first. But of course very practical for a two-legged creature.
Alloran: "Even those who return from war may never really come home."
Alloran: "It's your first time. You fought well. Both of you. It's always hard the first time. And it never gets easy. But I need you both. Now."
Alloran: "War is not about striking brave poses and playing the hero. War is about killing."
Elfangor: "I don't think I could stand to be the only person alive who knew the truth. And I don't think I could stand having you forget me, Loren."
Next book: The Unknown, Animorphs #14