What’s so great about Eoin Colfer’s second book in the Artemis Fowl series is that we really start to see that Artemis has a side of him that isn’t criminal and another that is just a teenage boy who misses his father; in other words, he’s a human character that we can relate to, something that wasn’t as prominent in the first book, and it adds a whole new twist on Artemis’ relationships with Butler and the People, particularly Holly. Artemis was definitely the enemy of the People in the first book, but now they turn to him for help (after accusing him of supplying weapons to goblins, of course, but who could blame them?).
The messages of being “green” and protecting the environment and non-violence that was introduced in the first book continues into this one, though it’s given through a new topic this time around: radiation. More particularly, nuclear warfare, though it’s never explicitly stated. Without giving away any details, the plot of The Arctic Incident brings the characters to Russia, where radiation is abundant. Holly and Commander Root in particular have to be careful because they more susceptible to radiation poisoning and would be dead within minutes of exposure. Colfer’s message is clear: nuclear war, and violence itself, is unnecessary and deadly. A good message to be telling kids.
This second book in the Artemis Fowl series lives up to the first one in every way. We see Artemis applying his genius in real-time in a situation that doesn’t involve kidnapping and ransom – at least, not a situation when he’s the kidnapper. We see his relationships with others change, and we see that there’s a different life in store for him that we haven’t seen yet: a life where he has both parents and in which his relationship with the People is not one of malice but of friendship. Though it looks like Artemis and Holly have said goodbye forever, you never know what Artemis might have up his sleeve next. (also, we already know that there’s six more books…so yeah, there’s that)
Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
P.S. – Read my review of the graphic novel adaptation of this book here!