Tag Archives: Artemis Fowl

The Supernaturalist: The Graphic Novel (2012) – Colfer/Donkin/Rigano/Lamanna

From the same people who teamed up to bring us the graphic novel adaptations of the Eoin Colfer’s first two Artemis Fowl books comes the graphic novel adaptation of Colfer’s The Supernaturalist. In my review of the original book, I complained about how everything moved so fast that I had problems picturing things in my head, even when I slowed down and re-read passages for clarification. I had hoped that the graphic novel would clear up some of those things and help me to see certain aspects of the book more clearly. In a way, it did, but I didn’t agree with the way everything was portrayed.

For starters, why do the lightning rods look like guns? A “rod” is a straight, stick-shaped piece of wood/metal/etc…guns don’t look like that. I also didn’t care for the way the Parasites were drawn; I had imagined little blue beetle-like creatures, similar to R.A.L.P.H. from Spy Kids 2. And, lastly, Cosmo looks too effeminate for me…at least, he does while he still has hair. When the hair is gone, he looks better, but the way he is shown on the cover (he’s the one in the front) just looks bad. I suppose I can’t complain, though; you know what they say – beggars can’t be choosers. Still…I wish things like those had been closer to how I initially envisioned them.

The artwork is sharp and the colors are nice, though the limited color palette used (a sort of grungy, dark one) would not have been my initial choice. It works, though, and it does a great job of capturing the tone of the book. Satellite City is not a nice place to live, and this choice of color palette emphasizes that point pretty clearly.

Like the Artemis Fowl graphic novels, The Supernaturalist is very condensed and occasionally choppy and understandably so. It’s not like they can make the graphic novel the same length as the book, and I had just finished re-reading the book anyway, so it didn’t really bother me. What did bother me, however, is how the artwork was occasionally drawn across both the left and right pages – something that would have been fine if they did a better job of indicating when the story continued across the page gap. There were too many times when I would read left to right, top to bottom on the left page, confused, only to glance at the top of the right page and discover that the artwork from the left had continued onto the right in one big panel. I got quite irritated.

Aside from those one or two little quarrels, The Supernaturalist: The Graphic Novel makes for a nice companion to the original book; as is the case with the Artemis Fowl graphic novels, it is better to read one (the book) or both, but never the graphic novel alone – you miss out on too much when you choose not to read the book, just as you would with watching a movie adaptation of a book. Overall, the Artemis Fowl graphic novels look better and flow better, though…in my opinion, of course. Read them all and decide for yourself!

Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)

-Chad

P.S. – In case you missed it above, read my review of the original book that this graphic novel is based on here!


The Supernaturalist (2004) – Eoin Colfer

Written by the author of the acclaimed Artemis Fowl series, The Supernaturalist takes place a thousand years from now in a place called Satellite City, where much of the city is controlled by a satellite that rests high in the atmosphere, above the thick layer of smog and the thinning ozone layer…so yes, Eoin Colfer’s usual themes of environmentalism are just as present here as in Artemis Fowl. The main character is an orphan named Cosmo Hill, and he lives at the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys, where he and the other boys are used as lab rats for testing dangerous hygiene products and various chemicals. Eventually, he is introduced to a team of people that calls themselves The Supernaturalists. They spend their time hunting and destroying creatures called Parasites that feed on the life force of dying people.

The Supernaturalist features the same wit, humor, and creativity found in Eoin Colfer’s other books, and, like Artemis Fowl, the technology is advanced; we see windows that automatically tint to match the outside light, mechanical bridges that are used to travel across rooftops with ease, and rods that shoot projectiles containing electricity, goo, or cellophane. Colfer expertly sets up this world where everything is controlled by a corporation, where lawyers act as the law enforcers, and where these Parasite creatures are growing in number, making The Supernaturalists’ jobs even more difficult. These characters have dark, emotional pasts that we see develop throughout the book; Cosmo, who has never known his parents, wishes for a family that eventually comes to him by way of The Supernaturalists. Stefan, the group’s leader, lost his mother to the Parasites, making his fight against the Parasites a personal one, though he discovers that what he thinks to be truth is all a lie.

While the plot is fantastic and filled with twists and turns that will always keep you guessing, I took issue with the amount of information Colfer was expecting us to take in. Unlike in the Artemis Fowl series, where there are often moments for things to slow down and be better explained, The Supernaturalist comes across something new, gives a brief, hardly adequate explanation and then speeds on to the next moment. I often had difficulty in picturing objects or events in my head because I felt like I didn’t have a detailed enough explanation. Now, I’m not saying that I would have liked Colfer to go all Tolkien on us and spend five pages describing a tree (exaggeration; note: I really like Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings), but slowing down just enough to properly introduce new objects, ideas, or situations would have been helpful.

Aside from this small issue, The Supernaturalist is a thrill ride that manages to entertain and to teach on high levels. Satellite City almost parallels the world’s current state: concern for environmental welfare, a growing nuclear threat, and the implications of an ever-evolving technological society are all issues addressed at some point in the book. These lessons – or warnings, as they very well may be (they do feel rather Bradbury-esque at times) – don’t overshadow the story, though, which is begging for a sequel…a sequel that Colfer has reportedly already outlined. If you enjoy Colfer’s other works, The Supernaturalist will certainly be a treat for you; if this is your first Colfer book, then prepare for quite an enjoyable read.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)

-Chad

P.S. – Read my review of the graphic novel adaptation of this book here!


Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception (2005) – Eoin Colfer

For the most part, The Opal Deception is just as captivating a book as the first three of the series, but it does have its problems this time around. Everything seems to work out just a little too perfectly for Artemis: Holly arrives just in time to save his life above the surface, and later, when he’s about to be killed yet again, it’s not his brains that saves him, but another timely appearance by his trusted companion Butler. It’s all just a bit too coincidental for my taste, and, really, we don’t see much of Artemis in his element – that is to say, thinking of genius plans to accomplish some task – in this book. I suppose it could be considered a nice change for Holly, Mulch, and Butler to stand in the limelight for a bit, but it is Artemis’ mental capabilities that first drew us in to the story. In fact, Holly could honestly be considered the main character of this book; she debates over whether or not to accept a promotion, she mourns the loss of a friend and father figure, and she takes charge of a situation that could have claimed both hers and Artemis’ lives.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an Eoin Colfer book without a lesson to communicate to the readers; this time, Colfer stands out against animal cruelty. He does this by making references to the villain’s personal luxury transport shuttle, which is decked out with seats made from real animal fur. This choice of decoration sickens all of our protagonists, including the lukewarm criminal Mulch Diggums, who declares the fur to be “repulsive”. I think that the author has made his stance on killing animals for their fur pretty clear.

The fourth book in Eoin Colfer’s acclaimed Artemis Fowl series, The Opal Deception, while it doesn’t match the level of excellence seen in the first three books, is an enjoyable read that will please fans of the characters. While we may not see so much of the wit and genius of the title character that made us all fall in love with the series, it’s a bit of a treat to see the formerly supporting characters stand out and shine a bit.

Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)

-Chad


The Artemis Fowl Files (2004) – Eoin Colfer

I’ve owned The Artemis Fowl Files for several years, probably since it was first released back in 2004. Imagine my surprise when I picked it up and started reading…only to realize that I had never read it before. What a great, new experience!

“LEPrecon”

The first section of The Artemis Fowl Files is a short story titled “LEPrecon”. It tells us the story of how Holly was first initiated into Recon, which turned out to be quite an entertaining read. We are introduced to a character that we wouldn’t normally meet until later in the series, which is interesting (though I don’t remember how he’s introduced later, so the continuity might not quite line up).

Colfer sticks with his formula of communicating an important message to his readers, and this one has to do with doing what you’re told versus doing what is right. Not much else to say about that, but it’s definitely another good lesson to learn.

“LEPrecon” is short, but I enjoyed it a lot.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)

Additional Material

There’s not really much to talk about in the large middle section of the book. There is a diagram of how the LEP use magma flares to ride pods to the surface that’s kinda cool, and there’s a couple of equipment diagrams and “interviews” with the main characters and with the author. None of that is too important, though; the real treat is the Gnommish decoder. In case you’ve never picked up an Artemis Fowl book before, you may not know why you’d need a Gnommish decoder. What Colfer does is provides a code in “Gnommish” along the bottom of most of the books in the series. These codes tell stories or convey secret messages and whatnot, and it’s the first real code to be provided to the readers; previously, you’d have to compare symbols and letters with a translation of a passage written in Gnommish in the first book of the series. Quite a handy tool for those who are interested.

Though the decoder is nifty and the other stuff is mildly interesting, nothing in this section is necessary. I personally would have preferred another short story or something like that. Oh, well – beggars can’t be choosers.

Rating: 2.5 (out of 5)

“The Seventh Dwarf”

The book ends with another short story titled “The Seventh Dwarf”. Despite being a decent read, I had one main issue with it. It takes place between the events of the first and second books, but it almost seems to ignore the second one. The story has appearances from all of the main characters, which is the problem: none of these characters were supposed to interact with each other in between these two books. In The Arctic Incident, Holly talks about “the last time she saw Artemis” and stuff like that. While Colfer did a good job with making sure that Mulch was still considered dead by the People, though.

An entertaining read, but it doesn’t feel “canon” – I think that’s the proper word here.

Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)

Overall

It doesn’t contain much to justify the title The Artemis Fowl Files, but it’s worth the purchase for the short stories alone, especially “LEPrecon”.

Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)

-Chad


Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code (2003) – Eoin Colfer

The third entry into Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series, The Eternity Code, holds a special place in my heart because it was the first book of the series that I read as a child. Out of order, yes, but I went back and read the first two immediately after.

(it stands to reason that you shouldn’t read this if you haven’t read the previous two books in the series; mild spoilers ahead)

The Eternity Code follows the sequence that Colfer has set up for us so far. In the first book, Artemis and the People are enemies. In the second, Artemis helps the People. And now, in the third, the People help Artemis. The relationships between the characters have matured more and more, and Artemis especially is different than the 12-year-old boy who we first met; he now doubts his criminal behavior and realizes exactly how important all of these people in his life are to him. Though he is disconcerted by his father’s reappearance and apparent shift in morals, Artemis knows that he can’t continue his criminal lifestyle any longer.

Colfer continues transmitting moral messages in this book, with a new theme this time, introduced by none other than Artemis Fowl Senior. This time, though, the focus is less on environmental concerns and more on how unimportant gold is in the grand scheme of themes. Mr. Fowl imparts this message to his son:

“…I thought about my life, how I had wasted it gathering riches whatever the cost to my family and others around me. In a man’s life, he gets few chances to make a difference. To do the right thing. To be a hero, if you will. I intend to become involved in that struggle.” (p. 156, US 1st ed. paperback)

Money is nothing…family and relationships are everything. Bless you, Mr. Colfer!

A complaint that I had voiced in my review of the final book in the series, The Last Guardian, was that Colfer tends to explain things that don’t need to be explained to someone who has read the previous books in the series. But it dawned on me while reading The Eternity Code today – that’s the point! Colfer does a splendid job with writing each book with the intent that anyone, even someone new to the series, can pick up any book in any order and still get plenty of enjoyment out of it. Sure, picking it up midway through the series doesn’t give you all the details and whatnot, but that won’t stop someone new to the series from really enjoying the book.

The Eternity Code is as smart and funny as ever, and it even has a sort of Mission Impossible feel to it. The characters are great and the dialogue is snappy. I feel no guilt at all in giving this book top marks along with the first two of the series. Bring on the graphic novel!

Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

-Chad


Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident (2002) – Eoin Colfer

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)

-Chad

P.S. – Read my review of the graphic novel adaptation of this book here!


Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident – The Graphic Novel (2009) – Colfer/Donkin/Rigano/Lamanna

Like the first one, the graphic novel for The Arctic Incident is a visual treat that is a very faithful adaptation of the source material. In fact, both graphic novels largely feature direct quotes from the books on which they were based, which is both a blessing and a curse. Oftentimes, the direct quotes are words by the author that were not actually spoken by the characters, but are rather given from the outside. Using quotes like this in the graphic novel usually requires attributing them to the characters on hand, which often comes across as awkward and unnecessary.

I also feel like the potential of the graphic novel format was wasted. Yes, I’m glad that they were faithful and that they looked great, but why would you only adapt it? Why not give it something new that you wouldn’t get from the book – aside from pictures, of course. There were a couple of instances in The Arctic Incident‘s graphic novel where you get pages that are intended to be background information, but even these are sometimes direct copies from the book. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to maybe sneak in background information in the same manner that wasn’t in the book. Give us something new to chew on.

However, one thing that I really do enjoy about the graphic novels is that it gives me a chance to clear up some things if I had trouble visualizing something from the book on my own. Since Colfer was directly involved with the creation of the graphic novel, it’s safe to say that, for the most part, what we’re seeing is how he initially envisioned the characters he created, as well as the situations he put those characters in.

Despite its flaws, The Arctic Incident: The Graphic Novel is very good – an excellent companion to its book counterpart. If you choose to read only one, read the book.

Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)

-Chad

P.S. – Read my review of the original book that this graphic novel is based on here!


Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel (2007) – Colfer/Donkin/Rigano/Lamanna

THE GRAPHIC NOVEL

The story is very well-adapted by the author and Andrew Donkin, and the art/color are quite vivid and a pleasure to behold. While most of the characters looked differently than I imagined, getting to see this world come alive was just the best. If you like the book, buy the graphic novel. However, I would definitely recommend it as a companion to the book; it’s too (understandably) choppy to stand on its own.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)

-Chad

P.S. – Read my review of the original book that this graphic novel is based on here!


Artemis Fowl (2001) – Eoin Colfer

After reading The Last Guardian, I thought it would be appropriate to go back to the very beginning for a series readthrough, something that I haven’t ever done with the Artemis Fowl books before. I started the first one last night and finished it this morning after waking up.

Reading this book was almost like stepping into a time machine, going back to when I was a sixth grader reading it for the first time. It was even better this time around because I read the first book immediately after finishing the eighth and final book, so I was able to see all of the references that The Last Guardian made to the beginning of the series; for example (mild spoilers ahead), the closing paragraph of The Last Guardian is the first paragraph of Chapter 1 of the first book (spoilers end here). The flashbacks don’t start there, as we see references to certain gadgets or characters that were created at the start, only to be brought back or mentioned at the end. At the end of a series, it’s always satisfying to know that the author cares about bringing things full-circle for his/her readers.

I’m straying away from the first book, so I’ll focus only on it now: Artemis is at his most sinister, and it’s delightful. When I first read this, I was Artemis’ age, so it was almost empowering to imagine this kid who was no older than I was accomplishing so much. Another part of the appeal of this book was that there’s not necessarily a true hero – who do I root for? Who is the villain? There isn’t a “hero” because the title character, who you’d expect to be the hero, is a criminal mastermind who is using his superior intellect to kidnap for ransom. Despite his genius, though, we do see a glimpse of Artemis’ humanity every once in a while, which is refreshing because it grounds the character and gives us something further to identify with.

As for the People, that is to say, the elves, pixies, dwarfs, centaurs, and trolls that Artemis is taking advantage of, their world and existence is so beautifully imagined by the author that I’ve had the same vivid pictures of the various characters in my head since I was first introduced to this universe 8 years ago. Perhaps the most impressive part of their world isn’t the beings, which are merely re-imaginations of classic mythical creatures, but instead the technology. Everything from Neutrino 2000s to iris cams to time-stops to bio-bombs is incredibly detailed and, to a 12-year-old especially, super cool! Even now, I wish that I could sit down with the centaur Foaly and have a look through all of his technological innovations.

I didn’t realize until this read-through how “green” the series is; Colfer constantly seems to be promoting environmental preservation, condemning pollution, violence, and humans’ tendencies to kill of entire species of animals, doing this all through the perspective of his elfin non-human characters. It’s great to see Colfer showing kids the importance of our environment and the value of an animal’s, or even a human’s, life. I noticed these same messages were still present in The Last Guardian; it appears to be close to Mr. Colfer’s heart.

Everything wraps together to create a book that is nonstop from the get-go. Of all of the Artemis Fowl, this first one is the most captivating. While it’s no Harry Potter, Eoin Colfer manages to spin a tale that kept me reading for eight years. Who knows? If you give it a chance, you may find yourself just as enthralled as I was.

Rating: 5 (out of 5)

-Chad

P.S. – Read my review of the graphic novel adaptation of this book here!


Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian (2012) – Eoin Colfer

I just finished reading the final installment in Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series and thought to myself, “Hey, why not add book reviews to my review site?” So here we are! These probably won’t be as frequent as my other reviews, but I’ll try not to let this section of the site stagnate too much.

I first started reading about the adventures of the teenage criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl, his trusty bodyguard Domovoi Butler, and the spunky LEP Captain Holly Short back in 2004 or so. I first picked up The Eternity Code, the third book in the series, and was hooked from the start. I went back and read through the first two and became a loyal follower of the series over the years. The first three or four books were excellent, and the next few, while not as good, were still quite enjoyable. But The Last Guardian…wow.

Colfer’s writing is as top-notch as always; he never fails to make me laugh. His books always feel so smart, from the dialogue to the jokes made when the narrator is simply describing the situation.  The pace is set in the first chapter and it doesn’t slow down until the very last chapter, when just about everything is resolved in the best ways possible. My only complaint is that it seemed that Colfer was explaining things a lot of the time, particularly in the first half, and a lot of it, such as an ancient game of the People that involved chewing on worms, simply didn’t need explaining. This complaint is small, though, because the rest of the book was everything I could have wished for.

I don’t want to spoil anything (a spoiler I am not!), but I’ll say this: we are given an excellent villain appropriate for the final book of the series, the characters that we all know and love all have their shining moments, and the plot is one of – if not the – best out of all eight books.

I wouldn’t hesitate to say that this is my favorite book of the series. If you’re a fan of Artemis Fowl, this book is a must-read! If you haven’t read any of the young Artemis Fowl’s adventures, you’re missing out! Start from the beginning and read on…you won’t regret it!

Rating: 5 (out of 5)

-Chad

P.S. – Goodbye, childhood.