The Ellimist Chronicles
Publishing Date: November 2000
Narrator: Toomin “Ellimist”
The Ellimist Chronicles follows the adolescent and later life of Toomin the Ketran – better known as the powerful inter-galactic space weasel the Ellimist – as he rises to power and meets Crayak, his equally unearthly arch-enemy.
The Ellimist Chronicles is one of the most glorious books ever written. It’s short, topping in at just over a regular Animorphs book, and unlike The Hork-Bajir Chronicles and Visser, it was never sold in hardback – which is a pity, because it’s just as good as the Hork Bajir Chronicles.
I absolutely love the Animorphs books that don’t take place on Earth because unlike a lot of sci-fi authors Applegate actually puts effort into her alien creatures. The Ketrans are a race of four-winged, two-armed, taloned people who live on floating crystals 300 miles above boiling lava-swap lands that burn up the crystals upon impact. To live on the crystals the Ketrans have to provide lift, and as the crystal grows, it can support more Ketrans. It’s almost symbiotic, but not quite. One of the greatest things about the Ellimist Chronicles is that a lot of the slang and jargon aren’t translated, but it’s easy enough to catch on. Toomin thinks a lot like how a winged person might think, and I think Tobias’ books have been a huge influence on this.
Although Toomin’s story is essentially a tragedy, I love watching his rise to power. He starts off as a gamer boy on his homeworld, becomes a space captain, an alien prisoner, a super-computer, a barbarian when he runs for cover among the early Andalites, and finally the all-powerful space and time bender we know in the Animorphs series. He’s an idealist and wants to create peace in the galaxy, and can’t help but insert himself, sometimes to disastrous results. I love that he created the Pemalites to continue his own work, and since he named both the Andalites and the Pemalites it’s obvious to see where the similarities in their names comes from.
The only issue I have with the book is that when the Ketran world is attacked and the crystals (and Ketrans) are destroyed, I don’t understand why the surviving Ketrans don’t go back and find a developing crystal to make their new home. I think it has something to do with the fact that Ket is no longer a secret, that they’ve been attacked once and can easily been attacked again, but this is never addressed in the book. The surviving Ketrans simply spend sixty-odd years trying to find a new home, one similar to their own. And they never seem to understand just how unique their own planet and people are.
Because the prologue and epilogue are a part of the final books in the regular series, because the world-building is first class, and because Toomin interacts with Andalites, Pemalites, and Crayak, I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to be read at this point in the series or later (before #54). Although it is not in itself essential, and does not contribute to the Animorphs own arc, it does help round out the Animorphs world and provide a ton of backstory, much as the Hork-Bajir Chronicles did. I love this book and it’s one of my favourites in the series.