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The Alien (1997)

The Alien (1997)
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3.83 of 5 Votes: 3
ISBN
0590997289 (ISBN13: 9780590997287)
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English
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scholastic paperbacks
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The Alien (1997)
The Alien (1997)

About book: The Alien represents the end of the First Age of Animorphs. It is Ax’s first time as narrator, and so with this book, all of the six Animorphs have had a chance to tell their story. As with the introductions to each of the human Animorphs, this book lets us hear in Ax’s own words why he is fighting the Yeerks. Thanks to his knowledge as an Andalite, he also allows Applegate to share more background about the Andalite–Yeerk war. The human Animorphs begin to break down the last of Ax’s barriers, so he can finally become one of them. We and they now have more context, and going forward, this is going to be a whole new war.Because, thanks to Ax’s brief contact with the homeworld, we know that the humans are on their own for now. The Andalites don’t consider Earth a priority. So it will be up to the Animorphs to do their best to hold the fort until the Andalites get around to sending a fleet. Once again Ax manages to come so close to killing Visser Three, only to be foiled at the last moment by something resembling morality. Pah! If Ayn Rand were writing this, it would be all:<My name is Alloran-semitur-Corrass, and you must kill me, young aristh.> The Randalite and former host of Visser Three, body weakened by the venom as his mind was obviously weakened by a lack of will that allowed the Yeerk to take it over, could not stand on his own. He was weak, and therefore he was useless.<Yes.> I had nothing but contempt for the older Randalite before me. <For you stand in the way of my obtaining what I truly desire. You cannot help me, and so I have no reason to help you.>My tail twitched and severed Alloran’s head from his pathetic body. I had briefly wondered what I would feel when I killed one of my own people. Then I realized that was irrelevant. Sentiment had little place when considering how one could best achieve one’s goals. Alloran was weak. I am strong.Later, Cassie would approach me to discuss these ideas. Of all the humans, she is the one least suitable to living in the perfect society these humans will achieve if they prove strong enough to throw off the shackles of the Yeerk oppressors. Prince Jake has it within him to be a great leader of men, if he can only actualize his self-worth. Rachel understands the need to take what is not offered. Even Marco, beneath his callous veneer of humour, is aware that the objective nature of reality around us means that one must always accept what happens and act accordingly, rather than rejecting events and living in a fantasy of the past.Cassie said, “You must be sad you had to kill Alloran. He was once a proud warrior of your people, was he not?”<He was a war-prince. But he lacked the strength and core moral character to succeed.>“Did no one try to help him when he was taken by the Yeerks?” Cassie and her father run a primitive medical facility where they treat injured members of lesser species on Earth. Her father does not even charge the fair market value for this service! Sometimes, I wonder if Randalites and humans will ever truly be able to co-exist. Despite the greatness of a few individual thinkers in this species, many of them are weak and clamour for hand-outs and “support systems.” It boggles the mind, that an entire species could be so lazy.<To help another person is to make them weak!> My tail quivered in anger, and a thing rose in me. How could Cassie not see that? Had she already been corrupted by the vile collectivist Yeerk philosophy? I steadied myself, then launched into a six-hour lecture on the nature of individualism and its triumph over collectivism—the benefit of thought-speak, obviously, being that I would not have to pause for breath, and Cassie would be unable to ignore my words of wisdom.OK, maybe I was channelling Terry Goodkind towards the end there….Still, my point stands. Ax shows Alloran mercy. Acts of mercy are important moments in Animorphs, because this is a series about war and the effects of war on what, we must remember, are essentially conscript child soldiers. An Andalite warrior, rather than an aristh, might indeed have cut Alloran down to rid the world of the threat of a Visser Three with morphing powers. Ax’s time among humanity must have corrupted him.And he takes responsibility for Elfangor’s indiscretion. I vaguely remembered this, but it was so chilling to see it happen again. This is the first time Applegate really shows us the level of Grade A Quality Douchebag that the Andalites, like any fictional advanced alien species, tends to be.Of course, the main attraction of Ax as the narrator is his status as the outsider—not to mention being an alien. In addition to dropping tidbits—or outright sharing information with the reader—he is just hilarious. For example, take this from one of the diary epigrams at the beginning of a chapter:Books are an amazing human invention. They allow instant access to information simply by turning pieces of paper. They are much faster to use than computers. Surprisingly, humans invented books before computers. They do many things backward.Oh, those silly humans. Always doing stuff backwards! I have no doubt Applegate includes this as a bit of a shout-out to her devoted fanbase of loyal young readers. Books are amazing. More than that, however, this quote is just one in a long line of examples where Ax expresses his appreciation for human things we consider mundane. Chocolate. Cinnamon buns. Chili. OK, most of it is food. Our technology—excepting books, I guess—is primitive. Yet throughout The Alien, Ax remarks how humans are … well, remarkable. How in a century we’ll be out among the stars, hanging out with Andalites.Prepare yourselves, hoofies. We’re coming for you.If this is the end of an era, then it is a great ending. We’ve met all of the team now, gotten to know them, their thoughts, their desires. Up until this point there have already been hints at the deeper, more mature game Applegate wants to play. But with the next book, the series begins its inexorable transformation into a darker, much more adult story. The Animorphs now fully understand the existential ramifications of what it is they are doing. But just how far are they willing to go to protect their planet? Who and what will they sacrifice if it means winning?And is Ax ever going to learn to control his taste buds?Tune into the next review to find out!My reviews of Animorphs:← Megamorphs #1: The Andalite’s Gift | #9: The Secret →

You know, I'm not sure if I have a juvenile sense of humour, whether it's nostalgia or Applegrant are just so funny they can make me laugh for about five minutes straight. And I don't care, because the movie theatre scene and the scene with Marco's dad were priceless.There was also a heartwarming moment between Ax and Tobias and I just want to smother those two with fairy floss or something because they're so adorable and their friendship is awesome and they respect and complement each other so much. (Considering it's one of about three moments in the series addressing their friendship, I'll take it. That's a hell of a lot better than we got for Rachel and Cassie, and yes, I'll keep bringing this up every review. Too bad.)Aside from that, it was all the stuff Ax can't/won't tell his friends because it's classified, and I really like this because it's kind of a national (er, planetary?) source of shame for these guys. It gives them a bit more depth as a species. Ditto with the thing in #25, but we'll get to that. And the subplot with Alloran, well, I'll just leave that because I can see why Ax chose to do what he did.
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Reviews
Jen
Ax gets to narrate his own story for the first time, and I was struck by the fact that the beginning felt jarringly human. I like that we get to see Ax interacting with his fellow Andalites--especially his brother--but their banter felt way too much like a ten-year-old boy of Earth. I don't mean that he should have been more mature, but it didn't segue into the "otherness" once he finds the Animorphs for me.Again, my favorite thing about this series is Applegate's refusal to shy from big stuff. The Andalites' response to Ax's brother's actions is right on for how folks try to deal with uncomfortable facts (which is to say they avoid them like the plague), and I loved seeing Ax battle with what right and wrong were in the context of obedience. I'm also glad we get to know more about Ax and his people and their connection to galactic politics; very imaginative.
Janelle Dazzlepants
The Animorphs take Ax to school for a day so he can learn to be a more believable human, when one of the teachers goes nuts and reveals that not only is there a Yeerk in his head, but it's dying from Kandrona starvation. When Marco takes Ax to his house, Ax accidentally rewrites some of Marco's father's computer programming, which unintentionally gives humans a window into zero space. Giving other races advanced technology contravenes the Andalite law of Seerow's Kindness, but Ax figures he can
Beth
Poor Ax. Stuck on a strange planet all by himself and homesick, and then he finds a way for E.T. to phone home. I'm really surprised Marco's father didn't go deeper into finding out how the code got modified. If he didn't do it, someone had to of. My thoughts would have been that it would have been someone hacking in, which in that case, it would have been a security issue. Gotta love the world of fantasy where things don't have to make sense. Though back then, there weren't as many hackers and it wasn't as much of a threat as it is now.It's amazing how many things that I find now that make me think, "Why did they do that? It doesn't make sense. It would be easy to get caught." But then it all works out. I know I was a child and this is a series made for children, but it seems so obvious to me now. I have to wonder though, how much of that is because I was young and things went over my head and how much was because I was so naive about technology and how security and other such stuff worked.
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