Book Review: Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian

Phyl CampbellStarred Page By Phyl Campbell, 6th Aug 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2an6qhtk/
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Children's Books

The final book of the Artemis Fowl series is a must-read for followers of the series, but works as a stand alone if you like a good fairy adventure with very little romance. This book has a lot to offer in the way of female characters as well, so those who enjoy fantasy, wit, fairies -- and want high adventure that isn't just for and about boys, well, this may be a novel for you!

Juvenile Genius

Artemis Fowl is a boy genius. Perhaps one would call him an evil boy genius, though he now wishes to be referred to as juvenile genius. The brain child of author Eoin Colfer, Fowl has been tormenting magical folk in Ireland since 2001. It started when the boy-genius was 12 and decided to kidnap a fairy, specifically Captain Holly Short of the Lower Elements Police. Seven books and several graphic novels later, mud people (as fairies refer to humans) are assured that Artemis Fowl: the Last Guardian, is the last in the series.

The Problem With Genius

First, a problematic thing: I have no problem believing that Artemis Fowl is a genius. However, even with an entire book devoted to a time paradox, I have trouble believing that Artemis has had the uninterrupted time to carry out several intricate plans which are never mentioned until the exact moment they are critically important to getting him out of whatever mess he is neck-deep in. While this complaint Is in no way limited to the Artemis Fowl series, if one is the type of reader who just can’t rest with that sort of thing, then this may be a series to skip.

There are two instances in TLG where such pre-planning is highly unlikely CAUTION: SPOILERS! First, there is a mysterious laser-in-a-plane that Artemis has created while he was supposed to be body-building. His bodyguard (named Butler) did not know about it. However, the bodyguard’s sister did. The brother and sister are incredible close, and both are bodyguards for the Fowl family. It is stretching my suspension of disbelief that it never came up and Butler had no idea of its existence.

The other is the very specific steps Artemis takes to ensure his ability to be cloned, including the cloning capsule that a fellow inventor knows about but Artemis’ best friend doesn’t know about. They wait six months to tell the bodyguard, and the ONLY DNA they have on the boy genius that has been plaguing them for years is a kiss on a fairy’s forehead. This is implausible because the human and the fairy have even switched eyeballs at one point – there is very little about the human that has not been medically repaired by fairy power from down below. And in all the time that he has spent among the Fair Folk, not a trace of DNA save for a kiss? For a boy who’s thought of everything, I just don’t see his leaving so much to chance.
OK – I’ve said plenty about that. Now for the good stuff.

Colfer's Gems

Colfer makes great use of fantastic creatures – fairies, centaurs, pixies, gnomes, trolls – he has a great sense of space and a great way to convey how all these creatures can live underground and undetected by humans. And his lead character Artemis Fowl really is a gem. I do believe that he can speak several languages and dialects – human and nonhuman. I do believe he is a flawed youth who tries to better himself as he grows. The humor in this book – and I’m sure even I missed some of the jokes – is masterful. I mean, there’s an Irish gnome warlock named Shayden Fruid (Schadenfreude – is it as obvious to everyone else?) who betrayed all the Fair Folk and even sent his own mother up the river, trading her with a neighboring clan. And the centuries-ago battle between Shayden Fruid and another warrior led to the creation of the Beserker Gate. This magical gate trapped all the warriors’ souls underground in Ireland until something would come along at a later date to break the curse. Of course, the only thing that cares to find the gate is evil – and only Artemis, Holly and their team can stop it. If it can be stopped. Because if the Beserker Gate is opened, all human life will be destroyed. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

The Good, Bad and Ugly about this Book

I gave this book a 4 star review on Goodreads. I don’t think it’s as good as the first. I don’t like that it’s the last book in the series (allegedly) and so many loose ends are left, well, loose. I do and don’t like that it basically could be read as a stand-alone novel. Colfer does a good job of re-capping previous events from the previous books in such a way that even though I had not read an Artemis Fowl in at least three years, I had no trouble picking up where the adventure left off. However, now I’m actually wondering if I read the seventh book. UPDATE– if I read them, I don’t remember them. Although I may be a genius, the last AF I remember was an audiobook from 2007. According to Wikipedia, books six and seven came out in 2008 and 2010, respectively. Even I can’t read books before they are published. And in reading TLG, I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything. That does not encourage me to go back and see plot points I’ve missed, which is bad for Colfer. I know it is difficult to write several books in a series without casting seemingly parallel adventures, but an author writing to an uber-intelligent audience should rise to the task quite a bit better, in my humble opinion. In reading the comments from other Goodreads critics, there is quite a bit of agreement on that score. Fans will forgive a lot; critic will detract a lot. I hope I have done my fair share of both.

Not Your Average Book for Children

The Artemis Fowl reader is likely someone who is viewed as a misunderstood genius, nerd, or geek. This reader has generally above average intelligence, a quick, dry wit, and the need to overthink things. The vocab content is high; the ideas are higher – discussing theoretical physics, quantum mechanics, biochemistry, and artificial intelligence – all while delivering a fast paced adventure. But the problem with so-called geniuses reading a book about a genius is wanting to find fault with the author or the characters. And if that’s a serious problem, then perhaps the good thing about Colfer’s book is that he created Artemis to have started out rather wealthy – with his own bodyguard and everything – so that the average child prodigy would not have the means lying about to test the theoretical physics or quantum mechanical theories expressed herein.

Other Books to Enjoy

Supposedly, a movie featuring the Artemis Fowl series in production, though even the author doesn't hold much hope for it to be in theatres soon. If it does come, the first movie will capture the first two books. Maybe it will look something like this fan-made trailer:

If reading this critique makes you think you might enjoy the same kinds of books I do, you might want to take a look at:

Wall and the Wing

Divergent

Dystopian Fiction

And of course, I'd love to hear your ideas, either in a COMMENT or as a fellow Wikinut writer. If you're new, get started HERE. To see more of my pages, go HERE.

Tags

Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer, Evil Genius, Fairy, Fantasy, Genius, Holly Short, Juvenile Literature, Phyl Campbell, Ya Novel

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- phylcampbell.com -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
6th Aug 2014 (#)

a great review indeed Phyl...thank you..wonder at the movie coming...glad they have made Outlander into a TV serial on Starz...

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author avatar Etc.
6th Aug 2014 (#)

Yes, I think I MUST read it. I'm going from here to Amazon.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
7th Aug 2014 (#)

Thanks, ladies!

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author avatar spirited
7th Aug 2014 (#)

an in-depth review Phyl,

with a name like(Artemis Fowl) that I probably would not have thought that book had any merit without your review. I would have thought it was about a hen-house! LOL

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
7th Aug 2014 (#)

Ha Ha! And I've also learned that some girls are named Artemis. Pretty sure the author meant for Fowl to be a play on Foul -- nasty or displeasing -- which he expected the evil genius to be!
Thanks for the comment!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
7th Aug 2014 (#)

Thanks for the review, Phyl. Do not know what catches the fascination of children to become a wildfire like Harry Potter - siva

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
7th Aug 2014 (#)

Siva -- that I knew the answer!! But I would say it starts with a great publicist, which Rowling had before the first book came out.

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author avatar snerfu
7th Aug 2014 (#)

Good catch there Phyll, fantasy certainly fascinates and your review adds more excitement. Guess it should be read, Fowl or beast here is to the feast!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
7th Aug 2014 (#)

Ha ha Snerfu! Thanks!

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author avatar Kingwell
24th Aug 2014 (#)

I like your reviews and I also like to read.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
25th Aug 2014 (#)

Thanks, Kingwell. Reviews are fun and easy to write, and reading helps keep us young and thinking. I hope to continue to do lots of both!

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