It turns out nostalgic love isn’t always as strong as I thought it would be. I started this reread excited to be back in a world I absolutely loved when I was in grade school, but shortly after beginning the first book, the series wasn’t what I expected or remembered. Despite my fond memories of the characters and Sweetbeeps loving the series when he read it a couple years ago, I wasn’t compelled to read more than two books.
I was bored with the plot and characters and the writing wasn’t as strong as the middle-grade I’ve been reading recently. I was going to give the third book a shot, but after some thought, I realized I didn’t care about anything that was going to happen next and I was better off wasting my time. But I did write up brief reviews of the first two books, so I figured I’d share.
By Eoin Colfer
My Edition: Hardcover, 280 pages, 2001, Hyperion, ISBN: 0786808012
Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a genius and a bit of a criminal mastermind. He’s discovered the existence of fairies and plans to gain access to their secrets in order to exploit them for the store of gold they have hidden away. Once the gold is in hand, Artemis plans to use some of it to track down his missing father. But when he kidnaps Captain Holly Short, he quickly discovers he hasn’t completely outsmarted the fairy community.
I was wild about this series as a kid, but apparently not wild enough to finish, as I’ve (pathetically) only read four of the eight books. In order to continue on, I have to start over, as I haven’t read these since probably around the time they were first published. I remembered next to nothing about the plot, so at least it was like experiencing the book for the first time.
I have to say, I was expecting a rush of nostalgia when I started reading and really didn’t get it. The characters did feel familiar in a relatively short time, but I wasn’t basking in the glory of the reread. Artemis is rather one-dimensional – he’s driven and smart, a regular old pre-teen Sherlock (with a hint of Moriarty) but his motivation is lacking and it left him flat. I’m hoping to see more development in future books.
The fairy tech is fun and Foaley (the computer-geek centaur) and Holly are my favorite characters. Dwarves literally eat dirt and shit it out in order to make tunnels – I’d forgotten about that – so there are plenty of poop and fart jokes to amuse younger readers. There’s also the “fairy alphabet” running along the bottom of the pages that readers are supposed to decode in order to read the message. That just served to show me that I’m just as disinterested in code cracking at thirty as I was at fifteen.
Hoping for more as the series progresses!
Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident
By Eoin Colfer
My Edition: Hardcover, 277 pages, 2002, Hyperion, ISBN: 0786808551
About a year has passed since Holly’s kidnapping and she finds herself seeking out her arch nemesis, Artemis Fowl. Something fishy is going on with the goblins underground – they’re armed with advanced weapons that have been banned and Holly suspects a human is funding them. An intelligent, teenage criminal mastermind, if her hunch is to be trusted. Only, it turns out Fowl isn’t behind the weapons and the two make a deal. Artemis will help Holly track down the dealer if she helps him track down his father, who appears to have surfaced as a hostage in Russia.
Yet again, I find the characters lacking. Foaley was enjoyable in the first book, but he grew stale. I do still like Holly more than anyone else, but still didn’t find myself all that invested in her. Artemis is unfailingly smart – and while much like a young Sherlock, he lacks the emotional depth (and flaws) of his predecessor. He’s just smart and rich and even when his plans seem to backfire, they don’t really.
Obviously, I know this is an eight-book series and as he’s the titular (heehee) character, the danger he’s in won’t lead to death, but I wish the stakes were higher.
The plot was meh, the villains were meh and revealed way too soon. I wish there had been more secrecy regarding the pair and that readers had been given time to take a guess at who might be behind the illegal weapons dealing.
Mulch the dwarf returns, so once more there’s an abundance of shit, fart and ass jokes. No, please!
I did find a couple of the chapter titles amusing: To Russia With Gloves and Mulch Ado About Nothing.
I’m going to push on for at least one more book. My nostalgia for the series really hasn’t kicked in, yet I still recall how in love with these books I used to be and I know Sweetbeeps read and enjoyed them a couple years back.
If I’m still indifferent about the plots and characters after the third book however, I don’t think I can soldier on.
2018, the year of calling it quits! I’m not going to force myself to spend time reading books I’m not enjoying, simply because Kid Milliebot loved them. There’s no time for books I don’t enjoy! I ended up trading the series to a used bookstore for credit. Hopefully they’ll bring someone else a lot of enjoyment – I’ve had my time with the series and it’s just not for me anymore.