Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer
|Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A major lapse in form for Artemis Fowl - which does not mean it's a disaster, but this volume is lacking in plot and humour, compared to earlier successes.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 336||Date: July 2010|
|External links: Author's website|
Artemis Fowl is trying to save the world. No wonder Holly Short and Foaly think he's not himself. He might stand to make another huge fortune, but he's thinking about global warming, and technological cures for it. But he's also thinking about a lot of other things - in particular, the patterns of the number five. His mind seems stuck making him tap things in multiples of five times, and use sentences with five words in. But when his demonstration in Iceland goes wrong with a four-engined fairy space probe crashing, he certainly becomes something other than himself.
And he can't even rely on Butler, who's been sent on a wild goose chase to Mexico, to get his sister out of trouble, where she works as a wrestler.
I have a great liking for Artemis Fowl and his adventures - and it's a pity that this book starts with him very much not himself. It seems Eoin Colfer tried too hard to pull back from ageing Artemis, and from allowing him to get all mature and old - like, sixteen. As a result we go back into the series, allowing perhaps for the higher-numbered books in the franchise (here we have number seven, barring the shorter pieces elsewhere) to be read out of published order. But this is flawed. It's an unsettlingly different Artemis - both intentionally and otherwise. And going back over previous habits of older books - yet another crime boss breaking out of prison with technological ingenuity, Artemis and the supernatural creatures from underground having to save the day - stretches Colfer not at all, and makes this book the least essential title so far.
The comedy is uneven, for one. True, Butler's escapade in Mexico is as funny as the series gets, but before then we have far too much that is not amusing - the joke that stands out in the memory does so only because it's seventy pages between delivery and punchline. Elsewhere we get too much bickering from Foaly the centaur, unappealing banter against a fishy fellow who deserves not to be stuck in such a humourless hole, and when the obligatory cameo from Mulch Diggum's flatulence powers is one of the more cinematic and memorable scenes - you know you're in trouble.
The plot doesn't seem satisfactory enough either. It's far too long before Fowl is fully incapacitated, and the baddy is most active. He gets more active, and the fairy folk at LEPrecon are helped on the job by Artemis, the end. There's not even a three-act structure as we might expect.
This isn't utterly disposable, by any means, but the very fact this is an Artemis Fowl book means we should never have to consider such terms. There's the usual bit of teenage James Bond (as evidenced by the book opening where Die Another Day ended up), and some strong fairy tech in the science fantasy side of things.
But this entry in the cycle I'm afraid never takes off, and we can only wish for the return of Artemis of old.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
We suspect The Space Crime Conspiracy by Gareth P Jones might become a series in the future - and can only expect great things from it based on this evidence.
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