What do you do with that time after Christmas, when the pile of new books is daunting, and you need to relax? For me, ’tis the season to reread. This feature will run over the next several weeks as I (and maybe Shar) read books again and see what we think compared to our original impressions.
This is one of my favourite MG series ever. I have read the Atlantis Complex and The Last Guardian more recently, and I especially love the Atlantis Complex (bivouac). My brother reads these over and over, and I really like them. The combination of humour, action, magic, fighting, likeable, developed characters and intelligent plots are what I particularly remember about the earlier books in this series and why I recommend it to any boy looking for an engaging book with no romance (boys can be picky!)
So, over the last two days I have reread Artemis Fowl and the Opal Deception and Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code (in that order). Next up is Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident, then Artemis Fowl, if I can get my hands on it (*opens digital library window*)
So, what does my fifteen-year-old self think about rereading Artemis Fowl?
One thing that I particularly noticed was the witty dialogue. Foaly, Artemis, Holly, and especially Mulch: Colfer has a way of getting inside his characters heads and making them funny. I think this element is partly what makes it so appealing to boys. I read a lot of high fantasy and dystopia and I really appreciate the humour.
“Mulch was not impressed. “I’m not impressed”” -Opal Deception
“Just because these people were murdering gangsters didn’t mean that they had to be rude”- Eternity Code
“If stupidity was a crime, these guys would be public enemies numbers one and two”-Eternity Code
And yes, I did just literally leaf through the book to find those quotes.
I also really like the way that magic works in these books. Healing and shielding take a toll on the user. Holly especially has powerful magic and she uses it all the time. The natural advantages, like Mulch’s tunneling skills, are also really well thought out, as is the technology. Eoin Colfer has a really great imagination and he uses it so that magic and advanced technology fill plotholes and provide incredible odds which Artemis and co. must defeat.
I will admit that I had a bit of a crush on Artemis when I was twelve. It was the Irish accent that really got me.
Another thing that I like about these books is that the action never stops. Fairy technology stolen. Healing. Plane flights (what sort of carbon footprint does Artemis have anyway?) Lower Elements. Villan. Plan. Insurmountable odds. Plan B. Magic. technology. Near death. Megalomaniac villan escapes. Aaaaaaaaaggh trolls. etc. The switching between different locations really works well with the plot and keeps things moving, while giving further insight into the characters. In the Eternity Code, I particularly liked the extracts from Artemis’s diary, which kept things moving smoothly and also showed how much he had changed.
Having a villain- or at least a villain at the start- as a MC is always a risk, as they can be unlikable. But, as Artemis saves the world (over and over) he develops. It is understandable why he chooses what he chooses, yet his continual character development really makes him intriguing, and lets the reader be interested in his story. This also stops the novels, a series of eight, from becoming formulaic or predictable.
As the series goes on (and I’m reading the earlier books), Colfer shows us Holly’s perspective, and Foaly’s and Butlers’, and Mulch’s. The depth of characters, even in difficult circumstances, means that this is more than a written-to-make-twelvie-boys-read series (though it is that as well), it means that with characters coming from all over the place, these books are very identifiable. They are full of heart. Eoin Colfer has what all good authors have :a understanding of the complexity of people and an ability to write about it.
In conclusion : rereading these books is not only relaxing, it makes me happy. Artemis and his team still get up to mischief, and they are very entertaining along the way.