Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer
Our intrepid anti-hero Artemis Fowl returns again in this second instalment in Eoin Colfer’s best selling series. Artemis, having been installed at a prestigious boarding school by his now recovered mother Angelina, takes great delight in confounding the school psychologist and taking leave as he pleases to pursue his other 'interests'. In this book that happens to be the whereabouts of his father after confirmation is received that he is still alive and being held to ransom by the ‘Russian Mafiya’. Artemis, together with faithful servant Butler, must rescue Artemis Senior but they are going to need help.
Deep underground, Goblins are smuggling contraband, human contraband and that means there has to be a human plotting together with the power hungry, fireball throwing lizards but who? And to what end? Holly Short intends to find out and her first point of call is her old ‘friend’ Artemis.
Foaly is paranoid, as always, and can’t shake the feeling that the Council’s faith and increasing weapons contracts are ill placed in Koboi Industries. In sunny LA Lance Digger, a very short millionaire has developed a rather interesting hobby that involves entering film stars homes in an unorthodox manner that can only lead trouble – but he’s used to that!
All the wonderful characters from the first book are here and the development of these continues to delight and adds a sense of familiarity; like visiting old friends.
Treachery, revenge, and a good smattering of humour ensure that this sequel is just as enjoyable and entertaining as the first book and again leaves you hungry for more. Eoin Colfer’s superb writing and comic timing has provided us with a book that is a stimulating read for both adults and children alike and devilishly addictive.
The YA binge is still in full swing with no sign of slowing, and this time I'm reading Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer. In this second outing for Artemis Fowl, Colfer has really stepped up his game to produce a very fun story that establishes Artemis Fowl as a real hero along with being an enigmatic criminal mastermind.
The Arctic Incident takes place a few months after the events of the first Artemis Fowl book, with Artemis having received a ransom letter asking for a large sum of money in exchange for his father. The criminal mastermind is busy trying to come up with a scheme to free his father without having to pay the ransom, but as his scheming continues it becomes obvious that he will need help from the fairies if he is going to rescue his father. In the meantime, the fairy underworld is trying to combat a prolific smuggling threat, and as Commander Root and Captain Short try to come up with a plan to stop the smuggling, it becomes obvious that they will need help from Artemis Fowl. The two teams unite, and action ensues.
The first thing I noticed about this book was that the writing was cleaner, leaner, and much easier to follow. I flew through this book in a matter of hours, and I attribute this to the fact that I didn't have to do any re-reading of any sentences to try and understand the message the author was trying to convey. Also gone are the environmental and human bashing agendas - this is book that is all about character and plot, and it just works.
The character development has also seen a marked improvement since the previous outing, with Artemis, Holly and the gang all being given a few extra layers of complexity to flesh them out as more than just representations of human emotions. We get to see that there is some humanity in Artemis, and watching him play the reluctant hero may not be quite as entertaining as watching him play the criminal mastermind, but it is much more rewarding.
The Arctic Incident seems a significant improvement from the first book in a number of areas, particularly in character development and actual writing skills, but the plotting is still a bit segmented and disjointed. There are two distinct stories here, but there is hardly any integration between these stories and as a result the plot just seems to jump around haphazardly.
So two books in and I am completely sold on Artemis Fowl. If the first book doesn't convince you to read the series, then this second book almost definitely will. With all the dark, grim, gritty fantasy, out there today, Artemis Fowl and the YA crowd provides a fun, cleansing alternative.
Ryan Lawler, 8.5/10
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