Artemis Fowl and The Arctic Incident (#2) by Eoin Colfer

Published: May 6 2002
Goodreads badgePublisher: Puffin Books
Pages: 288
Format: Book
Genre: Junior Fiction/Young Adult Fantasy
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Someone has been supplying Class A illegal human power sources to the goblins. Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit is sure that the person responsible is her arch-enemy, thirteen-year-old Artemis Fowl. But is he? Artemis has his own problems to deal with: his father is being held to ransom and only a miracle will save him. Maybe this time a brilliant plan just won’t be enough. Maybe this time Artemis needs help…

After Artemis’ attempts to restore his family fortunes using ransom and blackmail, his focus shifts to finding his father. Held up in a prominent boarding school Artemis, now thirteen, devises a plan to escape and  track down his missing father. Using the skill and sly wit we’ve come to know and love from Artemis he is soon on his way to rescuing his father with Butler ever present at his side.

In a different style to that of the previous book, Artemis has no interest in tracking down the People, however this does not mean they are not looking at him. There is something suspicious going on underground and with the events of the past still present in the LEP’s memory, the finger is pointed in Artemis’ direction. This suspicion brings Holly and Artemis together once more as she intercepts his travels and for the first time takes him down into her world where it is soon revealed that there is something a lot bigger and sinister going on than they first thought.

One of the things I really enjoyed in this story was that the underground world of the People was explored to a greater extent, and not just as a connection to Artemis’ story. As a civilization and a race Colfer weaves this wonderful image of their world and how it operates. We are invited into their world starting with the greater picture, we see their laws and issues, and their daily routines, and we get to see how they live as a society. With this extensive look and separate storyline we are also introduced to new characters such as the pixie Opal Koboi, more goblins and a sinister Frenchmen to name just a few. It is not all new faces however, with plenty of familiar faces both above and below ground; dwarf criminal Mulch Diggums, technology whiz centaur Foaly, and LEP Commander Root return with Holly, as do a few others, each with the humour, quirks, and unique personality that we grew fond of the first time around.

As these two worlds overlap to help each other solve their own mysteries, they do so with a growing trust and a cautious but more cooperative and friendly partnership than they had in the past. As much as I liked the humour and interactions between characters in the first book, I do think when both sides are cooperating and being friendlier it makes for very different comments, wit, and interactions; not necessarily better, but different. Either way it is really unfair to compare them side by side, they are a progression of a story rather than separate works really, both were really enjoyable reads. The great thing I’ve found about Colfer’s writing is you can enjoy reading about Artemis’ world on its own, you can enjoy reading about the People’s world on its own, and some how it still manages to get a little bit greater and more enjoyable when the two worlds collide, no matter whether it is friendly or not.

What I like most about these books, it isn’t just the wit and the irrepressible charm these characters have in their own individual way, and as much as I adore the writing style Colfer has, what I love most in these books is mainly Artemis. There is something about that boy that makes you love and be in awe of this kid and how he logically thinks things through, plans everything and knows everything that needs to be known at the time. Though we do get to see a new aspect of Artemis in this book, it is great watching him squirm ever so slightly in an environment he is not used to. He begins to grow as a person and we see this as he shows a more moral side, and he becomes less of an evil schemer as others take the reign; this works especially well since most of the action involved in this book is based around the LEP world. He has not changed completely mind you, there are some classic Artemis moments when he is in his element, but seeing the new side was a treat.

There are twists and turns as always in Colfer’s narrative and we get to see action from everyone’s point of view which is always a great thing. Colfer does not just switch between characters as the story progresses, he lets us experience the same event from everyone involved. This is a brilliant choice because each character offers so much, and is so complex in their own right that usually any time anything is happening it is the work of every one throwing something into it. Artemis’ brilliance and cunning excelled in this book. As I say, you get to see a different side of him, but not so much you can forget the calm, calculated thirteen year old who is so meticulous no matter what his circumstances. I do hope he stays this way through the remaining series. A brilliant read, as funny, action filled and cleverly created as the first, and it is certainly a great stepping stone into book number three.

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