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)