Tag Archives: The Last Guardian

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 (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.