Artemis Fowl and The Time Paradox
by   
Eoin Colfer

Review of Book
How does he do it?!  This may be the last adventure for a while in this most treasured series, but in no way is it because Eoin Colfer has run out of imagination!! 

The usual eagerness of a first reading actually left me rather disappointed – unbelievable I know. But it seemed too ‘comfortable’ and a bit of a cop-out to use an old story with its characters, locations etc. Then I went straight back to the beginning to savour every word and sentence, not to mention each delicious little clue Eoin Colfer dropped along the way - and ended up completely blown away by his brain’s extraordinary wiring!!

Amid all the drama, including being outwitted and bamboozled by himself, Artemis must still attend carefully to save his mother, who has contracted a mysterious and deadly virus. Arty reaches for his fairy communicator and goes back in time to undo the damage to the only thing that can save her. 

At the end of ‘Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony’, we had a sort of introduction to Arty’s twin brothers. Now Beckett and Myles make a proper appearance, with the potential to be an absolute joy (for the reader at least, if not for their elder brother!) as miniature versions of Artemis, with an extraordinary intellect for 2 yr olds! I want them to have a spin-off series of their own, so much do I love their characters!


Myles climbed down from the bed and placed his mouth beside Beckett’s ear.
‘Artemis simple-toon,’ he confided.


Holly becomes an adolescent once more with all its accompanying confusions, Foaly has quite a surprise for us, Mulch is on top form and as ever is crucial to the outcome.  Number One is here and he loves everybody!  Bless!  And then there’s the psychotic baddie with his macabre ‘factory’ of animal exploitation and abuse, and whom Eoin Colfer mocks deliciously!  

Slightly discomfiting, being outside of Eoin Colfer’s usual area and with some very distasteful scenes to say the least, are The Extinctionists – a society of millionaires bent on allowing animals to survive only so long as they contribute to the comfort of mankind.  Their leader, the charismatic Dr Damon Kronski, in an attempt at motivational speaking, spouts his ideals and simplistic promises for the future, sounding for all the world like a US presidential candidate on the interminable campaign trail - Oh how to shut him up?!

In complete contrast, witty banter abounds between the regulars, and we learn what is “The Hamburg Thing” from book one.  To get a handle on all the continual switching back and forth between Present Day and Eight Years Ago, I used my own simple-toon code, which became indispensable when the two Artemises were in the same scene!  But even so, at times it was ‘snowgood’...

‘In the world of Artemis Fowl, things are rarely straightforward’ (You’re telling me!)

-o-

“That’s it??  You’re not forgetting some crucial detail - like the part that makes sense??”

-o-

“It was confusing even for Artemis.” (What hope then for the rest of us?!!?)


My word how Artemis has changed and developed since he was caught hacking into school computers aged 6, making the test questions more challenging!  He’s become more fit and active for one thing. And he has certainly never done anything so heroic before. But he’s still of the opinion that,


“There were still people who deserved..to be dropped in deep jungle with only flip-flops and a spoon.”
(My sentiments exactly...!)


As well as even more new fairy technology, the tale’s awash with current ethical buzz-words; Fair-trade, renewable energy and carbon footprints to name but a few.  Eventually all seems to have turned out well for our friends, but of course, you should never say something like that... not with 70-odd pages to go! 

Clever. So clever!

Review of Nat’s Reading
First impressions... That voice - what more need I say?! As for the rest, I’ve probably covered it in all previous reviews; the exquisitely placed pauses, the whisper-soft delicacy, the dramatic and excitable, the emotion and most important of all, Nat’s instinctive emphasis on Eoin Colfer’s sweet irony and sarcasm.

It took less than 3 minutes of listening to disc 1 to have me chuckling and beaming –  thanks largely to Nat’s interpretation of Beckett and Myles, which I had to re-play once or twice!  Put simply, really simply; this audio is purrfection.  Pure, pure joy.

Contributing to that view is Nat’s keeping the exact voices he’s used previously, especially for Holly, Foaly, Mulch and Julius Root, whose exchanges are a total delight to listen to.  Due to the change in his circumstances, dear little Number One is at last able to adopt the confident approach. 

So much time have we spent, courtesy of Nat, in their company that these creations have all become like real friends...  Oh alright then, none of this is real.. but such is the complete Artemis Fowl/Nat audio package that people just get obsessed!

As to other characters; as anticipated, and due in part to his New Orleans drawl, Nat has made Damon Kronski absolutely fabuliscious! But pity him with the shrieking, squealing and screaming of someone he thought he’d seen the back of!



Epilogue
Miss Sugar Beet Fair Nineteen Ninety-Nine, accurate schematics, a thumb here or there, noxious cigars and floral muumus – is all this ringing any bells?  Those who have been with Artemis et al from the beginning will recognise them fondly from all 5 preceding fairy tales.  And to those who may think such things are for mere children and infer that you’re insane, we simply stick both thumbs up, grin and nod enthusiastically! 

Will ‘Artemis Fowl and The Time Paradox’ turn out to be, in terms of sheer brilliance of storytelling, the best Artemis tale of all??  At any rate my respect for Eoin Colfer, already mega, has reached new heights!  I feel very Wow’ed...

Although Arty’s secret life has ended, there are definite possibilities for more escapades. Eoin Colfer indicated that he definitely has more ideas for future books, including turning Arty into a baddie once more. We’ll be waiting...! 

Meanwhile, waiting for me in my inbox for urgent perusal is my daughter’s Uni essay on religion and civil war..  Life goes on!


Published by
Chivers Childrens Audio Books/BBC Audiobooks
December 2008
CD – ISBN 9781405654555
Complete & Unabridged
Playing time - 8 hours 52 minutes

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