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