Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception
Eoin Colfer

Review of Book
Two sentences in Eoin Colfer's narrative pretty much sum up the difference in this, the fourth adventure in the series…

"All previous adventures were comic-book escapades compared to their current situation. There had been a few close calls but everyone had made it out alive."

Not this time.

Rather than settling down in joyful anticipation as usual in my first reading of a new Artemis Fowl, I read on with a dreadful sense of foreboding as Eoin Colfer set up the demise, in a most cruel way, of one of his best characters.

But I do feel he handled it well. The death occurs early on in the story, so there's plenty of time to deal with it by way of righting of wrongs and settling of scores - and of showing grief. Instead of brushing aside the event and almost pretending the person had never existed, (as can sometimes be the natural embarrassed response to bereavement), Colfer keeps on referring to the character throughout the rest of the story. My guess is he's trying to give his target audience, i.e. children, the message that grieving, in the way the other main characters do, is normal and OK.

As to the story… well, gone is the make-believe, sheer escapism, replaced by altogether more menacing maliciousness and all too familiar 'grown-up' tension and unpleasantness, as evil pixie from book two, Opal Koboi, re-appears. Opal has escaped undetected from custody and is bent on revenge on the four people who foiled her plan for world domination; Holly, Root, Foaly - and Artemis.

With the whole team fragmented and disintegrating fast, it's left to good old Mulch Diggums to save the day! With his exceptional ability to wind people up and his dubious driving skills, he is a wonderful foil and comfort.

There's a lot more techie and scientific stuff, but this time the flatulence jokes are overdone and wearing a bit thin. And uncharacteristically for Eoin Colfer, he's included a rather tedious, very overlong scene involving a group of hungry trolls.

By the end, the main players that we've come to know and love are changing directions, but the epilogue doesn't make it clear whether we'll get to go with them in any future adventures…

Review of Nat's Reading
The loss I felt at the murder of one of the central characters, is very largely (it has to be said) Nat's fault! If he didn't bring all these little characters so vividly to life and make them so darn 'real' for heaven's sake, you wouldn't care so much about them!

But another 7 hours and 28 minutes of Nat working his own magic, is always going to be a joy. And in spite of the more serious and flatter tone to the story, and with fewer of Colfer's wonderful ironically humorous lines, Nat still gives us some memorable voices.

With a high-pitched and nasal, supercilious and over-bearing voice, he makes Internal Affairs Commander Ark Sool, really annoying! As he does underwater marshal Vishby and his unnamed colleague, wheezing and gasping through their gills, he leaves you reaching for your inhaler!

Nat's 'breathy falsetto' for the female voices of, get this, two explosive charges are just delightful! (Generally speaking, Nat does make a wonderful gurly!)

"Come on Mister Handsome Dwarf. I'm waiting. I don't like it here, you know. Please rescue me"

"Me too! I want to go too!"

And although Opal Koboi is the most despicable creature under the planet or on top of it, she does have some of the best lines - at least she does in Nat's hands!

"You imbecilic excuse for a sentient being!"

"Why yes.. I think I will fight on"

"'Yep' is not a word"

"No more advice, or your brother will be an only child"

Published by

BBC/Chivers Audiobooks
ISBN CD 0754066894
ISBN Cassette 1405650281
June 2005
Complete and Unabridged
Running time 7 hours 28 minutes

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