Review: Artemis Fowl and The Last Guardian

IS THIS THE END FOR ARTEMIS FOWL?

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 bodies 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?

Artemis Fowl and The Last Guardian is the final instalment in the phenomenally successful YA fantasy/action series by Eoin Colfer. Eoin first introduced Artemis to the world in 2001, already a criminal genius at the age of 12. Living in a mansion near Dublin, his (criminal mastermind) father disappeared and his mother mad with grief, he is convinced of the existence of fairies and is determined to get his hands on ‘The Book’, which could unlock untold riches and also a way to cure his mother.

Described by Colfer as ‘Die Hard with fairies’, the story romps through a brilliant, witty adventure peopled with a varied cast to say the least – LEPRecon officer Holly Short, a fairy, Foaly the tech-wizard centaur, Mulch Diggums the kleptomaniac dwarf and Artemis’ faithful bodyguard, the formidable Butler.

Artemis does succeed in unlocking the secrets of the Lower Elements (he is a genius, after all) but by the end of the book, he and the fairies are beginning to forge a shaky alliance. By the end of book 7 – Artemis Fowl and The Atlantis Complex – the boy genius has assisted the Fairy Folk in saving the world at least five times over.  The Last Guardian sees our heroes reuniting one last time to make a stand against arch-enemy Opal Koboi, who has one final plan to achieve world domination.

I have to say, I felt extremely privileged to be able to read this book before it goes on sale on Tuesday 10th July. At this stage, there’s no need for Puffin to send out proof copies to generate interest, but they did allow a very small number of ring-bound copies to be released to a few lucky bloggers and reviewers. I’m under strict instructions not to reveal any spoilers, but I’ll say what I can…

Any fans of Colfer will immediately recognise his snappy, quick writing style, with plenty of witty humour, up-to-date cultural references and names that play on words; young adult readers will particularly enjoy this, and it’s a refreshing change for a grown-up reader too. Then, of course, there’s the cast of characters who regular readers will know and love. It’s good to note, though, that all our key cast have grown and developed over the series, especially Artemis, and they now show a more mature, sophisticated approach to the disastrous situations facing them. They are not one-dimensional constructs but well-realised and interesting personalities, with histories that readers will treasure.

I found the book a very quick read, as the plot crashes along at break-neck speed. The whole book is set up right from the start with a very quick deadline to thwart Opal Koboi or face the extinction of the human race, so this really helped to keep the pace up. My interest was expertly held, as Colfer revealed each new aspect of Koboi’s plan and the heroes’ counterplanning, piece by little piece. It’s a masterclass in thriller plotting. I also really enjoyed, as always, the interweaving of technology and mythology that is typical of this series and Colfer’s work in general.

The final act is particularly tense, as we understand Artemis may be willing to do something very drastic in order to preserve his family, friends and the human race. Obviously, I can’t tell you what, or if he succeeds, or survives, but it’s a brilliantly emotional piece, and I was genuinely moved as I finished reading. I think Colfer has come up with a perfect way to conclude the series, and fans will feel he has done justice to the characters and story line.

Artemis Fowl and The Last Guardian is available to preorder, and is on sale from Tuesday 10th July, published by Puffin.

Kate Neilan @magic_kitten

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.