Artemis Fowl and The Opal Deception (#4) by Eoin Colfer

Published: April 30 2005
Goodreads badgePublisher: Puffin Books
Pages: 343
Format: Book
Genre: Junior Fiction/Young Adult Fantasy
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

The evil pixie Opal Koboi has spent the last year in a self-induced coma, plotting her revenge on all those who foiled her attempt to destroy the LEPrecon fairy police. And Artemis Fowl is at the top of her list.

After his last run-in with the fairies, Artemis had his mind wiped of his memories of the world belowground. But they have not forgotten about him. Once again, he must stop the human and fairy worlds from colliding—only this time, Artemis faces an enemy who may have finally outsmarted him.

I would like to take this moment to quote myself if I may. Ahem, “What’s great is that there are no grand corporate plots, evil nemesis’ and no fairy political struggle infringing on the human world.” I wrote this about book one and I am actually rather pleased it has taken until Book Four to prove me wrong. Book four was always going to be interesting based on the end of book three, but this took it to another level. Artemis is always a fantastic character, but having to deal with the outcome of the last book, it only added to his charm.

Book four sees the return of dear Opal. Poor Opal has not come out of the last LEP encounter all that well but that is not going to stop her. Revenge is the key theme through this book, always a thrilling subject. As I say, I like how we had to wait to see this grand scheme. We were not thrust into it unexpectedly, and we actually got to see the cause before the retaliation which was brilliant. It was not a knee jerk reaction, nor was it rushed and passed over. Colfer thought this out and it paid off. By waiting as he did, really for the opportune moment, it had the impact and the consequences it needed to suit the world and characters it affected. By now we have history and cause, we know all the characters involved rather well, and it gels together so much better once we have become invested in these characters and their lives.

Like all Fowl books The Opal Deception is very intriguing and you only realise, well, I only realised how clever it was once I had finished. You knew it was clever and amazing and sneaky while it was going on, but then you think about it, and the title and the characters and you go, ‘ohhh, that’s quite clever actually’.

We’re given the same great characters as usual, plus some new ones, each with a witty and unique personality that is executed well. Despite visiting the same people each time, it actually doesn’t get old, even if it does sound like that in reviews. Colfer has created these characters that each time is a joy to see them do what they do. And through the narrative and the events that take place, new sides of everybody are revealed and offers that little something different about them. The story offers twists very early on and doesn’t shy away from anything. This is a little bit of a shock but it is also brave and probably necessary. Though I say this seeing how it ended and guessing where it might go next. The internal struggles described and played out in this book were also very well done, and believable, especially for Butler and Artemis I felt.

I approve very much of how Colfer keeps things in real time as it were. Artemis gets older, life goes on and real life happens amidst all this magical and exciting action and espionage. Can we call it that? I don’t see why not. I recall commenting on how enjoyable it was catching glimpses of a new side of Artemis when he is thrown into new situations, and this continues here. Whether it is his age or his experiences there is a new side of dear Arty seeping through and it is a joy watching him analyse and struggle with himself in his typical manner. But what I found great was how Artemis’ past actions had shaped him, and how without them how different he could have been. It makes you realise where he was in book one and how without realising it he has changed.

There is the usual suspense Colfer offers, but in a different form this time I felt, just as intense mind you, but focused on different expectations. I loved it, it was making me anxious trying to cope with the mystery and suspense of where this story was going. Before it was a lot about the mission or the situation they were in, and the same was true here, but there is also an additional personal suspense I guess you could call it. Less about the adventure and more suspense and guessing about characters and the direction they were headed instead; very unexpected but welcomed. Though really, trying to guess where the story is headed and trying to think a step ahead of Artemis is always a challenge and a pleasure when it comes to these books.

I think book four is a very good turning point in the Artemis saga. So much has changed by the time you are finished this book you really have no idea where it will go, again a little like the previous book, but Colfer knows what he is doing, and he directs us and leads us on the new path. I think these changes make book five more inviting because you essentially start a new saga of sorts, but with the same people you have known for what seems like forever. Definitely one of my favourites so far and one I would really like to read again quite soon.

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