When you have a teenage genius, a fairy, a centaur and an enormous bodyguard, you can always rely on Colfer to give you ACTION. While the humour is a little more subtle (I suddenly realised: 'SALTON FINNACRE'; it's like Sabina Pleasure in Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider books. Get it? I didn't, for years. And then I DID) and sometimes self-conscious, it is still trademark-Colfer. With sequels, you're always afraid you might not love it, but by page 9 I was all 'RAWR I LOVE THIS BOOK'. And sure, there are weak points, but WHATEVER.
After Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex, we were left in a pretty precarious place, with Artemis suffering from a fairy form of OCD. Book 8 picks up at the conclusion of his treatment - fully cured, according to the notes of Dr J Argon.
This is the last book. The last time we spend time in this world, with these characters. The conclusion has to be big. EPIC. What is more epic than the complete annihilation of humans and fairies? That's what Opal Koboi, Artemis' arch-nemesis, will do - unless the team can stop her. But with the spirits of ten-thousand-year-old warriors possessing little Myles and Beckett, Fowl Manor under siege, and a technodisaster that cuts them off from Haven City, what can they do?
Improvise, of course.
What I loved:
- The friendships: the one that's developed the most over the series is of course Holly's and Artemis'. They trust each other and can rely on each other. Artemis has these heartwarming moments of seeing Holly as if he's never seen her before. This made me choke up a little:
'He wished he could loop the past ten seconds...so he could properly appreciate how fierce and beautiful his best friend was.'
- Myles and Beckett: I don't want to spoil it, but their character development is MAGNIFICENT. Maybe it might even open a door for another book someday with these two at the centre. Oh man, I want this book! I'm wildly speculating, but the more I think about it, the more brilliant the idea seems.
- Butler. Butler Butler Butler. I love Butler. He's a a big huge heart dressed in a stereotype that he's shucked off a million times. He never, ever EVER lets you down.
- Foaly. We get so used to seeing his snark that we rarely see his heart, but oh my, does he have one. Dude.
- Mulch. Nuff said. Cameos from pretty much from everyone important in past books.
- Some big emotional hits. Not telling you any more about that, though.
- Most magnificent of all is Artemis himself. It's impossible not to feel nostalgic throughout this whole book, but Artemis' evolution is what truly brings a tear to the eye. The cold, detached Artemis has become a true and loyal friend, and in the end, this is what it is all about. He is still analytical and calculating, but he's found his heart. I won't be the only person who has genuine feelings for this fictional character, not only because he could be a few people I know.
I am going to miss this world and these characters, like old, well-loved friends. I've been reading right from the moment the first book came out - 11 years ago? Every book a person reads changes them in some way, however minute, and these characters have been real friends to me, even if that sounds cheesy.
May the fours be with you, Artemis Fowl.
PS - There's a short preview of a new series/book from Eoin Colfer coming out in 2013, called W.A.R.P. It looks Good.
on 20 August 2012
After finishing the book, I had a quick flick thru some other reviews of AFLG before starting this review. Obviously I've grown up with this series and everyone else sharing their opinions had their own ideas of how this should end (is this the end?) - I struggled for a while to decide on my rating. So here's my logic on going for the full 5 star treatment.
First of all, thanks to Eoin Colfer for putting together a truly imaginativeand memorable series. Some of it has required some serious concentration to disentangle the story, a great deal of suspension of disbelief, and sometimes an infuriating resorting to convenient story lines to get from one point to another (my personal bugbear was the squandered opportunity of Artemis' memory wipe circa book 3 which could have led to all sorts of fun and conflict, but was reversed far too quickly)
But what has kept me hooked throughout is the development of character and elegance of writing style. Artemis Fowl starts as a precocious, mean spirited, cold and calculating 11 year old who sees an opportunity to gain supremacy at the expense of an entire race of people. It takes considerable literary guile to develop him into a multi-faceted and admirable anti-hero who ,by the end of AFLG, has no hesitation in carrying out the ultimate act of selflessness. I've also been drawn in by the colourful and sharp-witted team around him, his loyal elf ally Holly Short, ever self-sacrificing bodyguard Butler, and the many characters who 've come and gone along the way. The death of Holly's commander Julius Root was a poignant and painful reminder that this was no child's play that Artemic Fowl frequently found himself drawn into.
Mulch is welcome light relief here as he has frequently been. It has been noted that his appearances in AFLG have been somewhat convenient for our heroes' escape from peril, but there has rarely been a literary hero who hasn't relied on a little luck to emerge victorious.
To the book itself, and with some relief I read the first few pages to be met with the reassurance that, following the disturbing lack of our hero through Atlantis Complex, (I've reviewed that elsewhere, and found it more than a little disappointing) Artemis is well and truly back with us, and this time we're straight into the action as all the jetsetting and dimension-hopping has been discarded in favour of getting back to the place it all started, the Fowl Manor outside Dublin, where super villainess Opal Koboi is preparing her ultimate plan for world domination. In true Mission Impossible 4 style, our heroes are cut off from their high-tech support system and have to rely on their own wits and courage to save the day.
Unlike some of the other books, I found the narrative quite straightforward and direct this time. No space-time continuum quandaries or paradoxes to deal with here. There are enough clues from the start to piece together how Artemis will try and outwit his opponent, but it is still satisfying to see him stay one step intellectually of everyone including his firends, and they all recognise this, but this matured Artemis recognises also the qualities of his friends that he has come to rely on in his many adventures.
I've noticed that some were hoping for more loose ends to be tied up - I'm not sure this necessarily leads to a more 'satisfying' conclusion than otherwise it might be. JRR Tolkein spent a lot of time on loose ends with LOTR and that just resulted in a great story that went on for far too long. Would we be happier if the last chapter of AFLG hadn't been written? Is 'The Sopranos' any less of a TV show given that we never find out what happens to Tony? Personally, I think the nuanced and complex relation ship between Artemis and Holly makes far more interesting reading than any Mills and Boon nonsense.
So, 5 stars to Eoin Colfer for delivering the characters we love, doing what they do best, and for coming up with the goods with AFLG after coming off the rails a bit with the previous book. Artemis Fowl, boy genius, we'll miss you
on 12 July 2012
The eighth and final installment in the Artemis Fowl series is a real treat. Where other books suffer from diminishing returns Eoin Colfer's has gone from strength to strength and for me he ends the series with the strongest entry in the series. The Last Guardian reunites us with all our favourite characters from the series such as Holly Short, Mulch Diggums, Butler and of course Artemis himself.
The Last Guardian sees the return of major villain Opal Koboi unleashing her most fiendish scheme to date. By harnessing ancient powers and releasing an army of fairies that have been trapped for thousands of years she intends to completely wipe out the human race and become leader of the People. This is by far the darkest book in the series and Opal's scheme is often incredibly shocking and only works because of Colfer's understanding of his target audience. This is an exciting adventure. There's no slow build up. It kicks off early and the excitement doesn't let up. It's impossible to say a bad word about this book. Colfer draws on the previous entries in the series to provide a genuinely satisfying conclusion to the adventures of Artemis Fowl series. It's a joy to see how well these characters have developed over the last decade especially Artemis who has gone from villain to hero without it ever feeling unnatural.
This is not a book for newcomers but if you've followed Artemis Fowl's adventures over the last seven books then this is a must buy. By the time you the last page you'll be desperate for more and isn't that the best way to end things?
After the huge stumble of The Atlantis Complex, Eoin Colfer manages to get the series back on track for this finale. As expected, it closes off previously established plots without really offering any of its own. It's a very fast flight as Artemis, Holly, and Butler race from a chaotic Haven City in the Lower Elements to Fowl Manor as supervillain Opal Koboi schemes to unlock a magical gate that will erase all human life on Planet Earth.
There are some great ideas here in this last book, but there's not time to develop them. The potentially fascinating idea of Earth grounding to a halt after the destruction of all technology unknowingly reverse-engineered from Fairy tech is never explored beyond a single paragraph as Colfer seems to be only interested in getting to the end as fast as possible and putting this successful series behind him forever. I critisized The Atlantis Complex for being 'phoned-in'. That isn't the case here, but you can still tell that he's grown tired for the character.
It is still a mostly satisfying ending, but I really would have liked the love between Artemis and Holly to finally come to something, but it doesn't. The end goal is all Colfer is interested in, and while it's a fun ride getting there I can't help but feel if his heart was in it more it could have been the explosive finale that the series deserved.
No one will really be disappointed, though I would have preferred a slightly slower pace and a bit more room for developing (and finishing off) characters we have been following for 10 years.
on 8 June 2014
Well, it's finally here: the release day of Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian, the final installment in Eoin Colfer's beloved series. For over a decade children and adults alike have fallen in love with the world Colfer has created for one of the most memorable characters in children's literature - Artemis Fowl. It's always a bit of a nervous moment, isn't it, reading the final book in such a treasured series? It could go so very, very wrong but I'm happy to report that when it comes to this series, Colfer has got things so very, very right.
Artemis is back, smarter and funnier than ever before. He's back on top form, with some of the best dialogue I've read in a long while. Artemis is such a complex character, with so many layers and sides to his personality. He's truly interesting to read about and I'm sure there isn't a reader around who isn't always absolutely rooting for him - despite his sometimes questionable behaviour! But isn't that what makes him such a great character? I'm not always such a huge fan of series but, with books like the Artemis Fowl stories, it's such a wonderful opportunity to really get to know the characters, to watch them grow and grow with them on their journey.
As always, Colfer gives some truly laugh out loud moments in The Last Guardian, which do lighten the tone of what is surely one of the most intense Artemis Fowl books in the series. One of my personal favourite scenes is one of the first in the book, which sees Artemis undergo a therapy session with Doctor Argon, the gnome psychiatrist. I just wanted to share a little passage (from page three) with you, in case you were on the fence about whether or not to pick up a copy of this one:
'From the Case Notes of Doctor Jerbal Argon, Psych Brotherhood:
1. Artemis Fowl, once self-proclaimed teenage criminal mastermind, now prefers the term juvenile genius. Apparently he has changed. (Note to self: harrumph.)
2. For the past six months Artemis has been undergoing weekly therapy sessions at my clinic in Haven City in an attempt to overcome a severe case of Atlantis Complex, a psychological condition that he developed as a result of meddling in fairy magic. (Serves him right, silly Mud Boy.)
3. Remember to submit outrageous bill to Lower Elements Police...
...5. Discuss my theory of relativity with Artemis. Could make more a very interesting chapter in my v-book: Foiling Fowl: Outsmarting the Smarty-Pants. (Publishers love the title: cha-ching!)'
I love just the humour Colfer manages to inject into every situation. It makes his books so much fun to read and I'm sure is a big part of the reason his books are read so widely and by so many different people, young and old.
We see our hero, Artemis, embark on the greatest journey so far; he is tested to his absolute limits, with the fate of humanity resting on his shoulders. Who ever thought the anti-hero we saw in book one would ever be the one fighting to save the planet? It just goes to show how much Artemis has developed and grown since the earlier books in the series - don't worry, though, he hasn't lost his edge.
I'm not going to talk much about the later events in the book, as I know everybody will want this review to be completely spoiler free, though I will say that it was a fantastic ending. Exciting, heartbreaking and warming in equal measure - I'm convinced that fans of the series will be so happy with how Colfer chose to end the series. It's perfect - and real - and that's what counts. Let me know if you make it all the way through with dry eyes - I'll be shocked!
This is simply an unmissable story, absolutely one of the most-hyped books of the year and it thoroughly deserves every bit of buzz it's been getting. Colfer has created one of the most magical and memorable series that I'm sure any of us has had the joy of discovering and I hope this wonderful finale delivers everything all of you hope - do let me know what you think once you've had the chance to read it.
on 20 August 2012
There's nothing quite like the crushing blow dealt when a beloved book series which has been a huge part of and had an enormous influence on your childhood, a series you've grown up alongside, finally comes to a close. However, what plumbs those depths of despair yet further is when that conclusion is unsatisfying.
It pains me to say this, it really does, but for the first time ever Eoin Colfer has, as an author, disappointed me.
Don't get me wrong, the final adventure is superb: an end-of-the-world armageddon-tastic adrenaline rush fit to round off the whole series. Artemis's considerable intellect is called into action to devise an ingenious plan, Holly's determination and field skills are required to pull the heroes over seemingly-unassailable obstacles, Mulch's numerous and varied dwarf talents are at the forefront of every scrape the motley crew get into, Foaly's technical expertise saves the band's (and several others' besides) skins, and Butler kicks butt. The pacing and dialogue are up to Colfer's usual outstanding (an oxymoron?) standards, and the story is the kind of melodramatic, outlandish nonsense we love (yes, that was a compliment) which nicely finishes a series that started when I was but a wee nipper.
Unfortunately, what pains me and angers me and infuriates me is not any of those things above, for those are what Eoin Colfer has always excelled at, but is the simple fact that almost none of the major story arcs which have taken more than one book to build up was resolved.
To my mind, it should be a capital offence to write a book series and leave plot threads hanging loose, on which the reader should "make up their own mind". I mean, I never expected a C.H.E.R.U.B.-style complete map of each and every character's, no matter how minor, life after the events of the series; but at the same time, I didn't foresee a Series of Unfortunate Events-style abrupt ending which answers none of the questions posed by the author throughout the books and which simply leaves the reader thinking the worst thought someone can think about any creative output: "is that it?" I'm ashamed to say it but I genuinely flicked straight past the sneak preview of Colfer's next book hoping for the rest of the book. As another reviewer elsewhere has put it, "if you're looking for closure, you won't get it". For me, it is not the story which has ended - Eoin Colfer has simply picked a point somewhere well before that end and said "I'll stop here", regardless of what else needs to be told.
A very entertaining read, thoroughly enjoyable and definitely worth getting to have the well-that's-over-with feeling, but with an ending which is sure to leave you wanting something more substantive.
on 1 July 2014
The seller delivered quickly, the bad score is for the book. I have bought (for the kids honest) all of the Artemis Fowl books over the years and have found them fun and easy to read. This book is terrible, it's like an afterthought or as though someone else wrote it. There seems to be no plot, it is a disjointed and a terribly written 'story'. I am really disappointed as I've always enjoyed Eoin Colfer. Goodness knows where his creative brain was when he wrote this but it was clearly elsewhere. Really really bad, can't finish it as over half way through and the story has stilll not gone anywhere. Don't waste your money, seriously!
I have followed Artemis Fowl right from the beginning and I have loved the journey.
It has included faeries and pixies, trolls and demons....as well as cool bodyguards and dangerous adventures....Through it all Artemis has been a dangerous criminal mastermind.....fleet of mind but not of body.....his childhood has been one big adventure....
However, Artemis has changed through the stories....he has developed friendships and now seems more loyal to those around him....he cares!....
In this story we see the last of Artemis....its an epic adventure to save the world from Opal Koboi evil pixie.....and to save Atemis's two little brothers...Myles and Beckett....both as interseting as Artemis but only four years old.....
We meet all the usual characters from Mulch to Holly and they just can't help working together as a team...Butler and Juliet are there too, of course...
So, what else is there to say except READ THESE BOOKS!! start at the beginning and don't stop .....I've loved every story and I am sorry to see them end....but maybe.....just maybe ...... we could now start on more of the adventures of Myles and Beckett????? I hope so.....
on 27 February 2013
Friends of mine bought me the first book and I rolled my eyes at them (when they weren't looking). Another kids book for me to read. Another kids book for me to try and read at work, where people happily tell me their kids read that as well. The first book was good but I wasn't blown away. The next year I was given the second book. It was a little better. Soon I was devouring them. I loved the humour, the characters, the ever evolving world. I didn't even mind all the stuff with the demons, which has never quite sat right with me. I didn't mind all the constant one liners or the returning villians. I could relax and enjoy the ride. Then came the classic for me. Fowl vs fowl in the Time Paradox. For me the series has never really been as good since that moment. The penultimate one sank more than swam and now this one. It's not as big or as dramatic as I'd have liked and, for me, it didn't feel like the pay off we deserved. The end is a nice little nod to the fans but I, for one, wanted more. More Butler for a start! That man rocks!
on 23 October 2013
After the mental and physical exertions he endured during the Atlantis Complex, Artemis Fowl is in need of therapy. Well, that's what Doctor Argon thinks anyway. Fortunately, the treatment isn't a total loss since, between wittily identifying ink blots, Artemis learns some interesting information about his family history and about his ancestors' complex relationship with the magical community. Such information is timely indeed as the dastardly pixie Opal Koboi is up to her old tricks again.
Koboi has been imprisoned in the deeps of Atlantis since the LEP [with more than a little help from Artemis] finally caught up to her. However, you can't keep a villainous pixie down and Koboi has hatched a nefarious plan to escape her prison and destroy a fair amount of the world while doing so. Much of her sanity having been lost, Opal has dreams of wiping-out humanity and having herself crowned fairy queen. To achieve this, she plans to use her newly acquired powers to awaken the spirits of the Berserkers, long-dead fairy warriors who have been trapped underground, and have them inhabit the nearest available bodies and go on to wreak mass destruction. In Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian it's up to Artemis, Captain Holly Short and Butler to stop Opal Koboi and prevent the end of the world. It's a busy day all round in fact.
Artemis Fowl has always been very proud of his supervillain/criminal genius status but, while his schemes are certainly always impressive and regularly self-serving, he has been slowly reforming as Eoin Colfer's series has progressed. He's still proud, pompous and often rather infuriating, but Artemis is increasingly prone to using his amazing intellect for good. At least if that good involves helping his friends and/or family anyway. In the Last Guardian Artemis is more mature than ever before and is finally starting to think with his heart, a concept that has previously puzzled him greatly. Colfer has done a great job of developing Artemis and allowing him to grow as the series progresses. Artemis still has all the wit, sarcasm and brains that proved so popular during his previous adventures but he is developing other facets of his personality too.
As ever, in the Last Guardian Artemis is ably [and often humorously] aided by a host of human and magical characters. Loyal bodyguard Butler does the heavy-lifting and also has some cracking one-liners. The fact that everything in the fairy world is woefully undersized for Butler proves very funny on many occasions. Captain Holly Short is Artemis's closest magical ally and always manages to encourage Artemis to trust his humanity. She's a real action hero but is also pretty good at coming up with her own evil-thwarting schemes. Artemis and Holly have been drawing closer over the course of the series and Colfer does provide some hints at their developing relationship. Fan-favourite Mulch Diggums also gets to play the [reluctant and rather malodorous] hero.
Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian is a very exciting book. Perhaps because the series is already so well established, Eoin Colfer doesn't waste time setting up the story but rather starts with a bang and just lets the explosions flow. Although Artemis still manages to find time for some wily schemes, the Last Guardian is a really action-packed book with even more danger than he normally has to face. In addition to saving the world at large, this time round Artemis has to pay particular attention to the trouble that his younger brothers, Myles and Beckett, have found themselves in. Opal Koboi is a great villain and she's not planning to take on the world alone this time. Artemis must therefore face some deadly situations and make some very difficult decisions during the Last Guardian.
The Artemis Fowl books are brilliant action-adventure tales with more than a touch of magic thrown in. Here's to hoping that Eoin Colfer changes his mind and writes another book featuring Artemis and Co.