Read The Hork-Bajir Chronicles by K.A. Applegate Free Online
Book Title: The Hork-Bajir Chronicles|
The author of the book: K.A. Applegate
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Loaded: 1677 times
Reader ratings: 6.6
Edition: Scholastic Paperbacks
Date of issue: October 1999
ISBN 13: 9780590036467
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 368 KB
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Dear nine-year old Mike,
Hi, me from when I was nine. How ya doing? Actually, don't tell me - I can probably guess. You're probably relatively fine. You'd be in fourth grade, and not much happened this year. So you're fine.
Anyway, right now, you're into a series called Animorphs. It's pretty awesome, isn't it? Right now, you hold the belief that anyone around you could be a controller. Well, I'm here to reassure you that... this belief will never go away. You'll always have it. But anyway, it's a very cool war story, full of action. And whether you realize it or not, you're making meaningful connections to the characters.
Well, I'm writing this from my fifteenth birthday. And today, I just finished reading The Hork-Bajir Chronicles for the first time. You've probably heard of it. You might be disappointed that you won't get to read it as a nine year-old. But don't be. The wait will be long, but when you do get to read it, you're going to appreciate it on a much deeper level than nine year-old you ever could. You'd enjoy it now, but you wouldn't see it for everything it is. So I'm going to try to give you as good of an explanation as possible as to why it's so good.
See, one of the difficult things about writing aliens is that their lack of humanity is used as an excuse to not treat them as people. By that I mean, the author writes them in an unrealistic way because they're aliens, not humans. They're all evil, or they're all good, or they're all stupid. No shades of grey to it. But K.A. Applegate has so much more skill than that. She writes aliens that are treated as people, but they aren't humans, if that makes any sense. When she writes about aliens, she does it with lots and lots of complexity in a whole host of ways.
First off, the culture. People often forget how different aliens would be from humans when writing about them. People forget how astoundingly different the culture would be. But not Applegate, as I'm sure you've guessed. There are all sorts of things that the Andalites and the Hork-Bajir and the Yeerks say and assume that show that they're fundamentally not human, both on a small level and on a big level. For example, Dak Hamee (the Hork-Bajir) says that he feels 'like he'd eaten yellow bark' at one point, because the Hork-Bajir cultivate bark. Or how Aldrea is bad at being self-conscious about how the things she does as an Andalite aren't universal. Like, she says that no one would be surrounded by walls unless they had to be, not, "No Andalite would be surrounded by walls." That makes sense for her, as a character and as an Andalite. You'd think Applegate would be at her weakest when writing about Yeerks, but it's just the opposite - she's stronger than ever. She does an amazing job of showing how the Yeerks would feel when gaining senses for the first time, and why they'd want to take over galaxies.
And yet even though Applegate paints them as not-human, they're still people, if that makes any sense. All of the characters - even Visser frickin' Three - are very well-developed. All of the characters are understandable - from Seerow, who accidentally gave aliens extremely advanced technologies, to the aliens that betrayed the Andalites to get hosts. None of the species are entirely good - the Andalites are shown to be very misogynistic and incompetent, which is a far cry from how we've seen them before now. Nor are any of the species entirely evil - in fact, Applegate does a great job of showing why the Yeerks have to infest other species. It's easy to think, "How could they not?" My point is that everything is done with complexity. There are no shortcuts taken here.
But you, nine year-old Mike, won't understand that. You'll have to wait six years before you'll appreciate it in the way I do. Which brings me to the point of this letter.
Don't be afraid to grow up. I know it's scary, but trust me, it's already worth it. Middle school is going to suck, but high school is going to be, like, ten times better. That's how life will be - there'll be ups and downs, but overall, I think it'll get better, not worse. And you won't lose who you are now. I mean, I'm still talking about how amazing Animorphs is, even though I started reading the series when I was you. And now, I have a much deeper understanding of why it's so amazing and worth loving. And ultimately, I wouldn't trade that for being back in elementary school. God no. So don't be afraid of time. It's going to pass whether you want it to or not, so the only way you'll be happy is if you decide you want it to.
Fifteen year-old Mike
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