Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian

Going out with a bang – that is how I would describe the eighth and the last book in the Artemis Fowl series. As always Eoin Colfer manages a fine juggling act between plot and characterization. Through the books, characters grow dynamically as do relationships which allows each book to stand independently yet rewards faithful readers of the series with an understanding of the characters now and earlier.

Nowhere is that clearer than with Artemis Fowl himself. From arch enemy of the Fairy people, to friend and equal partner - in Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian, AF stands in stark contrast to his selfish, cynical, lonely self of the first book. Here he has moved on from being the youngest criminal mastermind in history to juvenile genius (as he prefers to style himself!). This is an Artemis who is very much part of the world – he is close to the fairies (having saved the world multiple times in their company), is a doting elder brother to his twin brothers and generally more  connected to the world around.

Colfer does not neglect some of my old favorites from the older books either. There is N°1 – demon warlock and fairy friend who first appeared in Artemis Fowl and The Lost Colony and continued to make appearances in the later books. N°1 makes a brief appearance here to tell us that he is going to be busy on the lunar colony for a few years. There is Commander Trouble Kelp– doing a good job of being LEP leader. And there is Mulch Diggums – kleptomaniac dwarf and provider of many laughs who continues to do what he has done best – steal from the Mud people.

But this is not some sentimental revisiting of friends. Like every other Artemis Fowl novel, this novel is packed with action and loads of adventure. There is nail biting suspense and enough fiendishly clever plot twists that assure us that Artemis may have mellowed but certainly hasn’t lost his touch!

Opal Koboi, imprisoned and apparently powerless, has not given up her plans to conquer the world. With typical cunning and impeccable planning, she comes with an idea that sets her free and she will only stop when she has destroyed the world as we know it and most of the fairy folk down below.

Unwittingly helping Queen Opal, as she now styles herself, are the Berserkers, the spirits of long dead warriors, sworn to protect the fairies against the Mud people. Schooled by Opal who pretends that she is the saviour of the fairies, the Berserkers possess the bodies of Juliet Butler and Myles and Beckett Fowl – Artemis’ twin brothers.

 How will Artemis fight against his own brothers? Or Butler harm Juliet even knowing that warrior spirits possess them? At their side stands Captain Holly Short, loyal and brave as always. With the help of Mulch Diggums and the wizard of all gadgets, Foaly, can our brave trio stop Opal before she succeeds?

It is a close run affair, I tell you. But if Artemis cannot pull a few dozen aces out of his sleeve, then who can you depend on this side of the earth? Only this time, the price for the aces may seem too high. The action never slows for a moment and Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian is a fitting ending to a grand series.

A fairy land underground and real fairies (although you won’t find them in any fairy tale ever heard!), an interesting hero, some science fiction, extreme fantasy, lots of hi- tech gadgetry, humor (some of it of the really gross kind, read sections on Mulch Diggums and his flatulence for example!) action and adventure – what is there not to like in an Artemis Fowl book?

The last book also includes a sneak peek at a new series Colfer is writing – it features a young hero, Riley and if the first chapter is anything to go by, and large dollops of adventure and magic to help the plot along.

I confess I will miss Artemis Fowl dreadfully. Especially Colfer’s trademark irreverent, tongue in cheek humor. But like millions of other people around the globe, I expect I will hang on to the series for an occasional dip into its pages… after all, the world is infinitely richer for Artemis Fowl’s know it all take on it!

No comments:

Post a Comment