Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer

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Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: The young Artemis, against, er, a younger Artemis, to right his own wrongs, best himself, and save his mother. And the world. On the whole, the usual shenanigans, and the usual brilliance.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: August 2008
Publisher: Puffin Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0141383330

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We have not exactly seen a lot of Artemis Fowl's parents in this series so far. What with his adventures taking him to other worlds, of course, they've been left behind – and earlier times had mother ill and father hostage. Here, however, in a much more gentle and poignant way than anything before, we have a new, horrid illness keeping Angeline bedbound.

Artemis has a little fairy magic from past scrapes to try and cure her, but that doesn't work. He also has a little fairy who might help, and she is close-by, over the Gulf of Finland in a cameo adventure that, shall we say, trumps any such before? But Holly is horrified to tell Artemis she is unable to provide a cure – due to Artemis's own criminal mastermind past. (If you're not keeping up, he's reformed, and at fourteen a retired criminal mastermind.) She and her fairy friends cannot legitimately help Artemis.

So he has to force them to help by illegitimate means. Which, if you read the title, result in a time paradox. Which, if you read the blurb, result in a most singular opponent for young Fowl to get past.

Six books in and we can only relish the return to the usual bantering, brisk and brilliant adventures of the series. It's a very simple review to write – the book is still as jolly, quirky and wacky as the others, and a lot of people need only know from me that there is no slacking in energy however far in to the cycle we get. In fact, where the last couple of books have had minor problems, and a few lapses of perfection, this manages to steer clear of such for a long time.

One fillup perhaps is the delay in the arrival of Mulch Diggums, never my favourite, and the extra returning characters. But even the minor ones are made more use of. One moment the bodyguard Butler is looking daft, and doing something we never considered him needing to – training – the next he is on a worldwide search for medical aid. This of course clears the way for shady shenanigans, which we are happy to realise will never leave Artemis's life, however old, teenage and mature he gets.

The countless fans of the series know what to expect – the cinematic scope of the novels, with again a global feel (only slightly feeling like it's tacked on for novelty's sake). Any film version of this one will have to have its work cut out getting the FX shots right and on budget. The baddies are suitably expressive, and veritably dangerous, Holly and all the People are just as scientifically equipped, and Artemis is the usual genius we have long known him to be.

In actual fact, there is a sense with this book – even though the ending is not the most climactic imaginable – that there is a sort of grande bouffe with the amount of recurring elements. This is by no means such a series-closing glory – the next adventure for Artemis sounds a bind-boggler, when we are told here that the Irish Sea is to the west of Dublin. How he's going to redress that next time I have no idea.

Seriously, this book is not the best with which to start the series, but there's nothing wrong with going back to the start and enjoying them all from the off. They really do serve as please-all romps of the highest quality. I do wish eight hadn't become four several times in this book (you'll see what I mean) but I cannot work out why I should not give it the full five stars.

I would like to thank Puffin for sending the Bookbag a review copy.

Oh, and the coded messages are getting even more of a frustrating let-down, or is that just me?

There is another young genius, in a pacey thriller for the younger reader, but sans fairies, in Steel Trapp by Ridley Pearson.

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