December Book Haul

Ah, Christmas. The time where every rectangular present is the chance of another book. This year I was very lucky in the book present department with Santa, family, and friends all realising that my shelves are not filled enough with books and that more is always appreciated. I got quite a few books, some I had been looking forward to reading, a few new surprises which is nice. I shan’t be in need of books to read that is for sure (though honestly, when am I ever?).

More Fool Me by Stephen Fry

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I love Stephen Fry and any chance to keep reading things about him or from him is a good day.

 

Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

I wanted a replacement set for my originals for a while so I didn’t ruin them with
over use. These I can enjoy and not worry, and a bonus all paperback so
I can save my wrists.

 

Grimm Tales for Young and Old by Philip Pullman

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I have been wanting to read this since I heard about it.
I love everything fairy tales and Pullman so together it’s divine.

 

The Forever Man (W.A.R.P #3) by Eoin Colfer

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As an intense lover of Artemis Fowl, I was open to anything Colfer.
This series didn’t grab me immediately like Fowl, but it’s grown on me.

1234 Facts to Leave You Speechless by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson, James Harkin

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I love trivia and I love QI so this was the ideal combo.
This is their 4th book in this series.

The Third QI Book of General Ignorance by John Loyd and John Mitchinson

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These books are awesome because it proves that everything you
thought you knew is actually wrong.

Top Five of 2013

New year means time for my 2013 Top Five list. Like last year these are the books that were real surprises and completely unexpected in just how wonderful they’d be. They managed to get me excited, engaged, emotional, and managed to change how I saw the world just that little bit.

Because I read some pretty wonderful authors as well as books in 2013 I am mixing things up a bit and compiling a top five authors as well as books. I only managed to read 45 books in 2013 because of Uni, other commitments, and “things”, but there were some absolute gems within those 45. Looking at it now, it almost seems like the year of the Young Adult novel which is interesting.

2013 was also the year I read a lot of particular authors or series which was very rewarding, however it also makes choosing a simple 5 rather hard. I am not going to number them because really, it won’t mean all that much, they all could be number one.

Top Five Books

First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde
It was hard to find the right Thursday Next book to choose from those I read, but this won out. The entire nature of the narrative was weird and bizarre as per usual but offered something new and different to the series. Being the fifth book in the series a lot has come before it and a lot comes after it in the next two books but while each book brings new stories and people, there is a common thread through it all and a great sense of familiarity despite each book being very different from one another. It also made me read Pinocchio so that was a bonus experience right there.

Looking For Alaska by John Green
Oh do not talk to me about this book. This like The Book of Lost Things have had messed up my life so much, I mean really it is quite unfair. This is a beautiful story, it is about finding out who you are, trying to find a place in the world, and about friendship and life and all the crazy unknowns about being a teenager. And you truly have to listen to his brother Hank’s song ‘Looking For Alaska‘ which is about the book because it is just as wonderful and emotional as the book itself, and while you can listen to it before reading because it doesn’t contain any exact spoilers, it has so much more meaning once you’ve read the book.

Artemis Fowl and  the Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer
If only an entire series could be selected this would be one I’d pick. This is the eighth and last book in the Artemis Fowl series, and I could easily have also picked the seventh book to accompany it in this list but I didn’t. I think, remembering back to the moment when I finished, this was a much better choice because while the seventh book was emotionally involving and wonderful, I think this one rides of the back of that and brings it to a whole new level combining everything we’ve seen from the series so far. A really exceptional read.

Please Ignore Vera Deitz by A. S. King
I had been trying to find this book for awhile. I cannot remember exactly what made me want to start reading it, I think I may have stumbled on one of A. S. King’s quotes and went from there. Throughout the book there are certainly a number of wonderful quotes about life, society, being a teenager, a friend, someone’s child. However I found it it was worth it on so many levels, I got so much out of this book that made me look at the world just a little bit differently. And after all, isn’t that what a good book should do really?

The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I have wanted to read this for awhile, and with the movie being released now was the time. Like Please Ignore Vera Deitz, this book was filled with so many wonderful insights and poignant moments about life, being a teenager, trying to find your place in the world. Chbosky has a way with words that suit his characters so well. You can picture everything and with Charlie as our eyes you just follow him and watch the world go by. It is really beautiful. There is a mystery around the whole thing and it just sits quietly as the story goes on, offering us an occasional snippet. But the pleasure is really just following Charlie and seeing him experience life, make friends, and uncover things about himself he never thought possible.

 

Top Five Authors

John Green
I read all of John’s wonderful books in 2013, from his first book An Abundance of Katherines, to his most recent release The Fault in Our Stars. His writing style is pretty wonderful, he can express the voice of a teenager extremely well, while also offering multiple profound and insightful moments in deep or seemingly mundane moments and strange circumstances. Away from Looking For Alaska, Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Paper Towns had to be my other favourites.

Eoin Colfer
If we don’t already adore him for his entire Artemis Fowl series, we love him a little more for his new series W.A.R.P. Colfer has a wonderful humour in his writing, the witty nature of his characters and the absurdness that can occur is his books is a joy to read. Colfer’s imagination is captured in his books and there is no end to the surprises that he comes up with in his work.

Jasper Fforde
Jasper Fforde was introduced to me by a friend and here we are a year later and I have been sucked into his books and numerous series and I don’t really feel like coming out. The humour, pure imagination and creativity, not to mention the complete literature focus is more than enough the adore his Thursday Next books, but even others like The Last Dragonslayer have the same Fforde style and engaging nature that bring you into this constructed world and you just cannot wait to see where it’ll lead and through which twists and surprises on the way.

Neil Gaimain
Neil is on this list because it is Neil basically. But I read his novel The Ocean at the End of Lane and it was just excellent. It was such an awesome book that mixed magic and reality, as well as childhood memories and mystery that you really are quite moved by the whole thing. I’ve also included him because his short stories in M for Magic were so haunting and wonderful that you just admire the skills that exists in one person to make you so moved and affected without seemingly doing anything too grand and extraordinary, but in facts hide the extraordinary and magic in the seemingly simple.

Aurelio Voltaire
Getting to review and interview Voltaire about his new book was a serious highlight of 2013 I cannot tell you.  Having fallen in love with his music it was no doubt I loved his book as well. But it wasn’t just my love of his work that makes him great, it is also his wonderfully storytelling abilities. For a first time writer he did an excellent job with his book Call of the Jersey Devil, and his history as a song writer really shines in his descriptions and his narrative. I’m not sure whether Voltaire plans on writing another fiction novel anytime soon, but if he does, I’m sure it will be just as wonderful.

Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian (#8) by Eoin Colfer

Published: July 10 2012
Goodreads badgePublisher: Puffin Books
Pages: 306
Format: Book
Genre: Junior Fiction/Young Adult Fantasy
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Opal Koboi, power-crazed pixie is plotting to exterminate mankind and become fairy queen.

 If she succeeds, the spirits of long-dead fairy warriors will rise from the earth, inhabit the nearest available bodies and wreak mass destruction. But what happens if those nearest include crows, or deer, or badgers, – or two curious little boys by the names of Myles and Beckett Fowl?

 Yes, it’s true. Criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl’s four year old brothers could be involved in destroying the human race. Can Artemis and Captain Holly Short of the Lower Elements Police stop Opal and prevent the end of the world?

Finishing The Last Guardian was like finishing Looking for Alaska and The Book of Lost Things. It is just so divinely written, perfectly executed in its story, storytelling and structure, and just leaves you so emotional and filled with joy and feelings of sadness and happiness and all those half-half emotions, that you just have to stop and sit and just recover for about half an hour to a fortnight.

This final story in the Artemis series and one that exits with a lot of grace, a lot of action, a lot of laughter, as well as suspense and adventure, just like we have come to expect from Colfer and all his characters. As the blurb reveals, an old foe has returned to seek power and most likely world destruction, and once again it is Opal Koboi. There is a point where you do start to marvel at Opal, her plans are extremely clever and complicated, and they are not basic smash and grabs, there is an eerie patience in her that adds to her danger. She is willing to wait for what she wants and doesn’t really care who gets in her way.

Her intent this time around is to bring ancient fairy warriors back from their long-dead state and wreak havoc on the land to bring about the end of humanity. So a little more smash and grab than before but with a great level of complexity attached. After seemingly escaping a paradox in the previous book, Opal creates a new one, this time one that impacts not only on the Underworld, but the human world as well. With the human world in total chaos, and the Underworld trying to stay standing, there is a lot of pressure for Artemis to fix things before they get any worse.

I liked the idea behind Opals plan, it was a great, grand, last book plot, one that I think Opal was ideal at leading. There are so many small details and connections throughout that make it work. Being Opal’s plan there are many individual factors that must work, but there are limitations when stage one events do not always go to plan which creates the suspense and drama.

Colfer leads us into the story and main events with an even pace where we see the resolution of the previous book, one I was very glad about, and then we’re lulled into a nice rhythm and safety before everything erupts. Then you relish as you try and keep track of the multiple storylines that are running simultaneously, all eventuating in the inevitable collision where your anxiety and suspense really develop the further you read.

It is hard not to make this sound like a fast paced action book, and in a way it is, but it also isn’t. If you know the previous Fowl books you know the pace Colfer provides. It is one where there is a lot happening, a lot of drama and action, but while it seems you are racing through things you really aren’t. You get caught up in the emotion and the theories running through your mind about what is going to happen next and you get so involved that it doesn’t matter how Colfer paces it, it flows seamlessly and you just ride it along, opened eyed and mouth agape from what has happened and what on earth possible will next.

We are shown a lot more of the twins Myles and Beckett this time around, as well as Juliet which is nice, though not always as we’d expect. As characters the twins really do grow on you, even in this book when they are not always themselves, there is a strange charm displayed by a four year old possessed by an ancient fairy spirit. When they are not possessed the true Fowl nature and Artemis influence emerges again which either delights you, or you could just think they are already that pretentious at four, where will they go from here? It could go either way. Though Colfer’s decision about the differences between Beckett and Myles is interesting, while it appears one is much further advanced, there are moments when they are both as formidable and intellectual as each other.

What I also enjoyed what that even as the series comes to an end we are still learning about The People, their history and humanity’s role in their past, not to mention more secrets of the Fowls and their estate.  It just goes to show that even in the final book there are still things to learn.

There also seems to be a lot more humour and strange comments from characters this time around. With the stakes so high and with the excitement almost continual in some places, the comments made sound extremely confusing out of context and certainly are abnormal at the best of times. There is something about Artemis and the others that the more peril they are in and the worse things become, the more sarcasm that escapes their mouths. Always a bonus I must say, but even the less sarcastic simple statements of fact can be fairly humorous at times.

Colfer writes in much the same way he always has, it is essentially just another Artemis Fowl book, but with everything that happens in this book that really isn’t true. It is the ultimate Artemis Fowl book. The outcome of seven previous books, watching that little twelve year old grow up through the pages and marvelling at all his antics, not to mention the world of The People, all comes together in 306 pages of bliss.

Moving away from the general drama of Opal and her grand plan, there are some gorgeous moments about the characters. We really see just what the past eight books have done not only to themselves, but to their friendships and outlook on the world. Half the wonderfulness of this book is the characters and who they have become.

As usual Colfer connects to his previous works, and the events in the previous book are not forgotten, not by a long shot. What is wonderful is that even all the emotion we had for Artemis in the previous book resurfaces and we see that even though he is cured, there remains a fear of the Complex returning. It is only happens occasionally but there is a certain moment I adored, it is almost a throw away sentence that you could miss, but in that simple sentence you know that under the chaos around him and the confidence he projects, you know the lingering fear remains that he will return to what he was. In the previous book we s how he saw himself, saw how he saw the world and the people around it, and it rightly terrified him. And in that simple moment where he has to double check he hasn’t reverted you see that he is truly petrified of it returning, and Butler sees it and it is just something that makes Artemis so much more beautiful as a person.

The close friendship of all the characters really shines here, especially the relationship between Artemis and Butler, and Holly and Artemis. With both worlds on the verge of collapsing Colfer keeps the focus well on Opal and certain key characters, drifting only when necessary. You almost forget that humanity is falling apart in the distance, but the relationships really help drive this narrative as much as the events.

As a final book the sense that things are being wrapped up is there, but you do not even notice at the time. Colfer weaves it in from the beginning so we gradually see how things have changed and where characters are in their lives. Familiar faces return, new faces are introduced and you’re almost lulled into thinking it is just another Fowl novel but there is too much emotion and joy and wonderment to ignore that this is Artemis’ finest hour and Colfer is going to make it tug at your emotions through the entire thing, laughing, crying or otherwise. I am giving nothing else away but emotion and vagueness as it is customary, because as another reviewer rightly put it, “to give anything away would be far more criminal than anything Artemis has got up to in the past”.

It is a bit sad to have finished the series, but I couldn’t think of a better way to go out. This book, its beginning, the middle, the ending (oh god the ending!), the detail, the conflicts, the development, the reflection, the references you only just remember in the nick of time, it is utter perfection and an excellent way to conclude a series.

Total, utter, perfection.

Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex (#7) by Eoin Colfer

Published: July 20th 2010
Goodreads badgePublisher: Puffin Books
Pages: 322
Format: Book
Genre: Junior Fiction/Young Adult Fantasy
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl has summoned an elite group of high-tech fairies to Iceland. But when he presents his invention to save the world from global warming, he seems different. Something terrible has happened to him.

Artemis Fowl has become nice.

The fairies diagnose Atlantis Complex (aka multiple personality disorder)—dabbling in magic has damaged his mind, with symptoms including obsessive-compulsive behaviour, paranoia, and multiple personality disorder.

 Unfortunately, Atlantis Complex has struck at the worst possible time. A deadly foe from Holly’s past is intent on destroying the actual city of Atlantis. Can Artemis escape the confines of his mind in time to save the underwater metropolis and its fairy inhabitants?

The general reaction upon finishing this book went something like ‘Oh my gosh I need the next one now. Colfer you have got to stop doing this to me. I don’t even have the next book yet!!! *rushes out to find a copy somewhere, anywhere, like now!*’

This is the seventh book in the Artemis Fowl series and it has not lost its momentum, its wonderful storytelling, nor has it forgotten where it has come from.  The story continues from book six in the same way it doesn’t really. From book six we see the paradox created and Artemis and old foes facing off in a completely unpredicted twist of organised chaos, and now there is a whole other set of new things to deal with as a result.

Due to his years of dealing with and lying about The People and his actions, Artemis has developed Atlantis Complex, something similar to OCD, delusional dementia, and multiple personality disorder. In something of a definite new direction Colfer makes Artemis the problem that requires solving, something inside his own mind that can’t be controlled. There is a wonderful line from Butler about how when Artemis is under threat he just needs to know who to shoot, but when the problem is Artemis’ own mind he is at a loss. I think that is beautiful, and it certain shines a light onto just how close and protective Butler is of Artemis.

What was also wonderful was the pace we’re exposed to Artemis’ condition, nothing was rushed into and while we may not have seen the beginnings of the Complex, Butler describes its slow emergence and how he noticed small things at first until it developed into something that has taken over Artemis completely, something that becomes noticeable to Holly and Foaly. Artemis does well to cover it up, but little things like counting and his paranoia seep through the disguise, things he can’t control and it only gets worse as the story progresses and manifests in different ways. The Artemis way of trying to conceal it and use his own intellect to solve it become slowly overpowered as his reasoning and his behaviour cannot be helped, and he is fully aware of it happening which allow a great insight into Artemis’ mind and the affect the Complex is having on himself, even when he is not exactly sure what is happening.

The blurb makes light of it and almost trivialises it, and I’m not saying having this Complex doesn’t produce some very funny moments, but the way we watch Artemis and those around him deal with this Complex is on occasion so moving and saddening and while the story tries to stay light, it only adds to the magic of the whole situation and Colfer’s unveiling. This is where Colfer’s writing works and we’ve seen it in other books, he offers a seemingly light story that is full of hidden darker meaning with a few obvious serious moments thrown in, mixed through with jokes and humour to fool you into thinking things aren’t as serious as they are.

This approach isn’t relevant just to the Complex however; the other storyline is the threat to Atlantis and the scheme of Turnball Root, former commander Julius Root’s reprobate brother. This brings up its own deeper meaning and serious nature under a cloak of light heartedness. And with multiple events intertwined and connected with Artemis’ condition there are also many other aspects that come into play. As the blurb reveals, the enemy is an old foe of Holly’s, but the attention goes to more than just her, and interestingly, unlike past enemies there is a chance for a lot more sympathy to be given regarding the whole situation.

While you disagree with Turball’s actions for a lot of the book, by the end it leaves you with this pathetic feeling (see original definition of ‘exciting pity or sympathetic sadness’) and you really don’t blame him for anything, which is truly terrible feeling because a lot of bad stuff happens in this book along with the good and you come out the end of it without seeing a real winner or victory. The whole ending is strange, and certainly a little bit darker if you look behind the light heartedness that tries to take the focus. It is like there is a solution but it does not feel like a regular conclusion, things are different than before. Though having said that, the entire book feels different, one enemy is from within the hero’s mind, while the other enemy makes you pity and admire him, it’s a complicated emotion and one Colfer causes and executes wonderfully.

Restricted by avoiding spoilers here because everything is connected and everything is something, but there are a few fun things to talk about to entice and be vague about such as giant squids, interspecies love, Orion, zombies, wrestling, and giant blobs of doom, not to mention the wonderful and typical banter that goes on between all the characters. It really is a nice group effort this time around, characters from all books coming together, all having their part to play both individually and as a team.

There are a lot of things happening, and as I say it all connects, but until it does there are some wonderful moments and scenes where a few characters have a seemingly dangerous but very fun time on their own, people pair up who you do not expect and smaller players get bigger roles this time around. Even away from the sympathy of his condition, Artemis has some wonderful and hilarious moments where the Complex impacts and influences certain situations so it isn’t all serious, and even then the serious moments are filled with humour.

The fact Colfer makes you laugh through this entire book really brings the whole thing together. If not I think the risk of having it too serious and out of sync with the other books would be a failing. It could be seen a serious side step from the normal story trend but I think if you follow the series from the start you see how it is evolving and developing via the characters. Character development means new situations and focuses and really, the entire Complex focus is a key result of all past books coming to a head. Each book is connected and you really can’t have one without the other, like real life where past events influence new ones and Colfer never forgets where his characters have been and how this affects where they should go.

And having past enemies returning is something that works much better I feel than a new enemy appearing each book, people and fairies alike hold grudges and when the moment comes, who wouldn’t take it. That is the angle Colfer is taking. For the reality of the world he’s created it isn’t prone to ongoing villainy and grand master plans all the time, it is the few conniving and manipulative people who keep trying to achieve what they want and then take revenge on those who stopped them before.

I really loved Artemis in this though; I like how different he was. It is like in previous books where he reverts briefly back to the person he was in the beginning and you see this completely new side, but it’s nothing like it at the same time. I adored watching Artemis in his confused and altered state; it was something completely different and certainly unexpected. You knew from the blurb that he wasn’t going to be himself, but all you’re told is that Artemis Fowl has become nice, that does not prepare you whatsoever for what Colfer has in store, it so much more than that. It is so beautifully done, well planned out, well spaced out and so believable it is almost heartbreaking at times when you think too hard about it.

What was fantastic about this book is that you can see the fear in Artemis, not the comic fear from past books where you see him out of his comfort zone, but proper fear from himself and what is happening to him. It is some of the greatest story telling and excellent execution I’ve seen. You get a sorrow for Artemis that you didn’t have before, you fear for him, you are scared for him and you worry about him in such a serious way you didn’t know you could worry for a character before. Colfer is magnificent with this book, Artemis is like we’ve never seen him before and it just works so wonderfully. There is a new side that clashes with the old side, and while we know Artemis is exceptional, he is only human, only a teenager, and after all that he has seen and been scared of, his mind terrifies him the most and you can see it and feel it in the way Colfer tells us his story. It’s simply magnificent and by far one of my favourite Artemis stories.

Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox (#6) By Eoin Colfer

Note: Minor spoilers regarding the ending of The Lost Colony and the outcome

Goodreads badgePublished: August 7 2008
Publisher: Puffin Books
Pages: 430
Format: Book
Genre: Junior Fiction/Young Adult Fantasy
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

 After disappearing for three years, Artemis Fowl has returned to a life different from the one he left. Now he’s a big brother, and spends his days teaching his twin siblings the important things in life, such as how to properly summon a waiter at a French restaurant.

But now his mother is gravely ill and the only hope of a cure lies in the brain fluid of the extinct silky sifaka lemur. Artemis Fowl must travel back through time to steal the lemur. The rules of time travel are far from simple, but to save his mother, Artemis will have to break them all, and outsmart his most cunning adversary yet: Artemis Fowl, age ten.

  This was the book I was most eager to read I think to specifically see the story rather than just general excitement over the overall series. The ending of The Lost Colony opened up a range of questions and with an ending like the one Colfer gave us there was a need to see where the story was going to go or whether we’d be given a chance to see how it got there. So much had changed and Artemis’ world had changed so much that I was eager to see how Colfer handled it. Naturally, being Colfer, and with this entire thing planned to the letter, handled it brilliantly. The transition was seamless, there was no need to awkwardly explain anything, Colfer wove it through the narrative with a smooth fluidity that means as you read you just understood. It was all ok, and you found yourself being engaged and amazed in the new story before you could even think to question anything he had or hadn’t written. Hypnotic and distracting perfection, those are Colfer’s powers.

Thinking about it, new characters have always been welcomed, they added to the expanding world. I think the only question I had, certainly before starting it and not once I had, was about the introduction of the twins and how they would impacted on the Fowl family directly, new Fowl members that made a huge difference compared to the introduction of a new aspect of the Fairy world. But truly, making Artemis a big brother could have failed but it didn’t. Artemis’ character and the fact that the twins have such unique and very Fowl characteristics and unique personalities makes them both a little bit wonderful.

But despite this big change, it is not Artemis’ home life that is especially the focus, yes it is the base reason for the new adventure, but we do not spend the whole novel watching Artemis adjusting to being away for three years and having new siblings quite as directly. Colfer opens the novel in the middle of a situation where we instantly can gauge the relationship between the brothers and the Fowl Manor life. This simple action by Colfer shows us all we need to know, giving us comfortable acceptance over what is happening and what has happened with no need for us to see the missing scenes we know would have taken place. And once we have seen all is well, that is when he takes a sharp turn and sends us on our adventure, this time beginning with Artemis’ mother.

When Artemis’ mother becomes deathly ill and all attempts at curing only make things worse, Artemis enlists the help of the People to try and save his mother. We haven’t seen a lot of Artemis’ parents through the series, sporadically and often with a purpose mainly, and this is similar here but it did not really matter. Angela Fowl is a great character to add to the mix. She gets a little bit more of a role while not really doing anything to begin with, much like Artemis’ father in The Arctic Incident, with the focus more around the intent of healing Artemis’ mother and all the surrounding events, consequences and causalities.

Enlisting the help of Holly, No. 1, as well as Butler, and with no other option at his disposal, Artemis is determined to return to the past to procure the antidote for his mother. The trouble that is it to be retrieved not only in the past from a ruthless young Artemis, but from the Extinctionists he is planning on selling the lemur to. A group of people determined to capture and eat all the rare and endangered animals in the world certainly makes for a different kind of foe than in previous adventures, but naturally not all in as simple as it seems. Time travel soon becomes the least of their problems as new and old dangers appear around each corner.

The Extinctionists are definitely a group that I wasn’t expecting. The idea seems jovial at first but the way their organisation has been developed really can unsettle you if you think too much about it. And reading about these Extinctionists kind of makes you think about where the real ones are in the world, sneaking around with these grossly abused and ill gotten wares, but Colfer manages to raise the issue and bring it to point without harping on about it which is nice.

We see a small part of the old Artemis personality return when he tries to convince the others to travel back through time; this is before we actually see the actual old Artemis of course. With the events following the jump back we are shown a bit more of ten year old Artemis and his life before the events in Book One. I must say ten year old Artemis is almost worse than twelve year of Artemis but only by a little. His childlike compassion is understandable more so than as a twelve year old though. The contrast between young Artemis and his older counterpart is drastic, but having said that we have been gradually seeing an improving Artemis through the series, you do not realise how far he has come until we are forced to see the boy we began the story with side by side. And while we get to see little Artemis and Butler which is fantastic, we also see older Artemis reflect more on who he was and who he is becoming. I always liked tough and no nonsense Artemis but there is room I suppose for caring Artemis as well.

There is a jump between time as we see the present and the past action occur side by side throughout the book, but it is not confusing, at least no more than any other Artemis Fowl novel.  The fact that Colfer is returning to the past is clever, and opens up for a lot of questions about what sparks an adventure, who influenced whom and as Artemis says, if it happened in the past then it has already affected the future.

Paradoxes are hard to manage but Colfer manages this superbly. Going back to the past creates its own issues but the way it links together is fantastic. When authors go back after establishing a certain reality, similar to C. S. Lewis in the Narnia books, there is an advantage to create things and do things that bring about an event or occurrence that’s to come as it were.

This is a terrific story that plays out and it makes you want to keep going if only to see how it could possibly be resolved. In addition there is a reappearance of old characters in large and small ways which is also excellently done. Colfer knows where to have people in a story and where not to. There are reasons people are included and whether they are excluded, no one is anywhere by mistake and nothing is mentioned by chance. There are Artemis’ schemes and sneakiness as per usual but we are also privy to more information, history, and detail about the Fowls than before which is an added bonus. There was even a truly wonderful heartfelt moment with Artemis towards the end which was moving and very brave I thought for him and for Colfer. But as I say, Colfer reveals everything to us marvellously and we are able to appreciate each moment no matter how action filled it is or the circumstance. I even detected an excellent Douglas Adams reference in there somewhere which I sincerely hope was intentional because it made me smile.

You seem to go through multiple adventures at once with this book, just when you think one is over another rises up, and while it seems like a jumbled mess of chaos it works oh so brilliantly you can’t imagine. There certainly seems like a lot of planning involved and I would love to have been there when Colfer realised he could make the connections he does, or even whether it was his plan all along, either way I applaud him.

As per usual there is just so much involved in an Artemis book that you cannot comment on it all, and even then you’d forget something or ruin a surprise so it is mainly emotion here because I am giving nothing else away. The joy is in the experience and unexpectedness as always, not to mention getting swept up in the characters, the chaos, and the pure admiration for the effort Colfer has put into not only each novel but the level of detail in the stories and the worlds in which they’re placed.

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