Sunday, 12 August 2012

ARTEMIS FOWL: THE LAST GUARDIAN

Artemis Fowl:The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer

First of all, kudos to Eoin Colfer for typing "Artemis" about a thousand times now, I seem to be unable to type it correctly on the first go, so if there are typos...

Anyway, this is the eighth Artemis Fowl novel, and if you haven't read the first seven, go do it now. Don't let the fairies put you off, I hate fairies and I love these books.

The Last Guardian picks up...some time after the last book (I'm sorry, it's been a while, I'm hoping to re-read the whole series at some point soon), Artemis is recovering from his Atlantis Complex and enjoying spending time with his twin little brothers. Then of course, Opal Koboi engineers another plot to escape prison/destroy the world. And only Artemis can stop her.

Okay, I know I've already said I love these books, but I feel compelled to say it again - I love these books - because honestly, I was disappointed with this instalment. I think the main problem is Opal Koboi. I think she's been a really good villain in the past, but I'm tired of her now. It's all the same. I think this instalment needed a fresh, new villain, and falling back on Opal Koboi felt a bit halfhearted to me.

That aside, I also had troubling picturing what was going on. I've always had a fairly clear idea of what the fairies, trolls, dwarfs and pixies all look like, and the Mud People just look like regular humans, but this time I really struggled. See, the Guardians are ghostly fairy creatures which rise up an inhabit the closest bodies. Sadly for them, on the Fowl Estate, the closest bodies are rabbits and ferrets and a couple of four year old boys. I couldn't envisage small animals and toddlers giving orders and racing into battle. It didn't matter that I knew they were being inhabited by ghost-y things, I couldn't see it at all.

And the ending...I don't know what to say about the ending without spoiling it for anyone, but I wasn't happy with it. I've since discussed it with someone who didn't have a problem with it and discovered that it's just me being picky, but the ending didn't work for me at all. And since it looks like this is the last we're going to see of Artemis, I think our criminal mastermind deserved a better send-off.



2 comments:

  1. Being a fellow-fanatic of the Fowl world Artemis inhabits (yep, Artemis just took me 3 goes) I've also enjoyed the entire series. The Eternity Code wins my prize for Best in Show simply because of the timing.

    Love Eoin as I do, he does seem to have kind of a 'peaks too soon' nature about him in everything I've read of his. The pace of the book starts off well. Things happen and the merry journey is underway but then 'Oh... That was the ending of the book? What happened? What did I miss? Did I turn 80 pages at once? Where was the Sherlock-esque twist that solves everything? Am I awake? Am I dead? There was no... Oh damn."

    Then you've got to wait another 6 months for another installment. Love it - but just... Damn.

    It's because (I think) Eoin gets so drawn into the little clever bits of Foaly's kit, Artemis' smugness and Butler's... Butler's... Awesomeness (apologies) that he forgets that a plot has to have some goings on before you hit climax.

    I hate to be crude about it, but I just wish I could have a War & Peace sized Artemis novel, or that we could look forward to 'Artemis Fowl II - The Senior Years'. When Butler's old and grey (properly - as he does seem to be invincible now). Maybe he has a son and that son is learning the ropes. And we need Artemis and Holly to get together and we need Mulch Diggums to actually get caught for more than 5 lines. We need Foaly to invent a gadget so impressive and mind-blowing that you've got to read the paragraph he introduces it in, 8 or 9 times. I want fireworks, I want splendour, I want magnificence, I want grandeur, I want Artemis to smug himself into a spot so tight that it takes a tiny bit of effort to break him out - maybe even pushing one of the characters out of their comfort-zones for a minute - tops. I was not expecting the final installment to be so... 'Meh'

    As for Koboi, I agree. Megalomania is fun up to a point. We needed this time to have an actual equal to Artemis' genius. Lesley, you're the writer, why couldn't we have a real life Artemis equal?

    It was a disappointment. A fun disappointment, but a disappointment nonetheless. Something akin to hearing a joke you've heard before but couldn't quite remember the punch-line to, until you heard the start of the punch-line, at which point you join in with the joke-teller and end up half sniggering, half snorting thinking to yourself "Wasn't even that funny anyway."

    I adore the story, I can see the characters. I know and am devoted to them all, I just wish for a little bit more. Have epics like HP and Game of Thrones ruined my love for short books of infantile yet wholly rewarding glee?

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    Replies
    1. Honestly, I think now he went a book too far, or wrote a book because the publishers demanded it and not because he had an idea for a new instalment. I think the main problem is that Artemis has now had a full character arc - he's become quite "human" now, which is unthinkable when you consider where he started the series. I think it was time to end the series, as sad as that thought makes me, but this wasn't a good way to do it.

      Villains are tricky, especially in children's books. They can't win. They can win a few rounds, but the hero has to have triumphed by the end. But at the same time, you can't have a new villain every book because it's implausible that enough bad people exist that are clever enough to pose a problem for Artemis. Bringing them back several times is the easiest and, really, the most sensible thing to do. I don't think Opal was ever the right choice for a long-term villain, she was just available when it became clear that one was needed. Honestly, I kind of miss the days when Artemis was the villain. As for why we can't have an Artemis equal, we've seen so much of him and his development that we can believe the things he does. To introduce a new villain who is well-matched with him would bother most readers because why hasn't this person hit our radar before? Why have they appeared out of nowhere? If you're going to have someone equal to a hero like Artemis, a true arch nemesis, they have to appear at the beginning of the series, preferably the very first book. Or that's my theory, anyway.

      I don't think your enjoyment of books like this has been ruined, I really think this instalment was inferior to the others. Except the second one. I hated the second one.

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