Sunday 4 May 2008

Boy genius meets girl criminal mastermind and sparks fly

I see Eoin Colfer's character Artemis Fowl as a sort of antidote to Harry Potter. Harry Potter (from what I've gathered from the films I've seen) is incredibly earnest, generally a good guy, and humourless. Artemis, on the other hand, is basically selfish (although he changes somewhat throughout the series), rich and pampered and self-satisfied, and hilarious in an exceptionally nerdy way.

The Artemis Fowl books are essentially a celebration of geekiness, and The Lost Colony is no exception. In this book, we see Artemis being afflicted by puberty and his alternating analyses thereof and inability to control how he reacts to girls - this is all quite charming and chuckle-worthy. On top of this, there are the usual crazy action scenes (including Artemis falling from Taipei 101 attached to an elf and 2 demons, and being saved only by falling into a different point in history), and the usual abundance of bad puns and jokes.

Adding to the intensity and hilarity of Artemis's foray into puberty is the introduction of a new character: Minerva, a 12-year old girl genius who, like Artemis, is figuring out why demons are appearing and disappearing on Earth; her motivation for finding out why is much less benevolent than Artemis's, however. They are, of course, thrown together as things go wrong and hi jinx ensue and it's really fun to watch the budding courtship of two adolescent ΓΌber-geeks. It kind of reminds me of my husband's and my courtship, except for the adolescence and genius parts.

At the end of the book, the promise of yet another book in the Artemis Fowl series (the 6th, I think) reminded me of my friend Andy who hates it when authors do this: start what is supposed to be either a pair or trilogy and then just keep writing forever and ever, amen. In fact, he's made evil comments about the length of Garth Nix's life in this regard and I'm going to be keeping a close watch on him. Nix has 2 more books in the Abhorsen series coming out in 2-3 years and I MUST read them. I personally don't mind if authors pull a Robert Jordan as long as the books remain good; indeed, I like being able to periodically revisit favourite characters and story lines without simply re-reading books I've already read. All hail the compelling and over-long fantasy series!

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