Book Club: Artemis Fowl and the Opal Deception

Artemis Fowl and the Opal Deception is the fourth in a series of eight (something annoyingly I only found out in the last few minutes as I was asking myself if it were 5 or 6..) and if I had been writing this blog for a few more years I likely would have already mentioned the series. Eoin Colfer has a great skill for picking up a subject in a very new and unique way. Another favourite of mine is his The Wish List about a young girl, who after dying tries to make amends as she stands on the edge of purgatory wavering between heaven and hell. Artemis Fowl seems to take on a child genius story, add some fairy magic, a lot of heightened technology, a little bit of police work and spying, big chunk of crimes, and gets away with a remarkably good read.. mainly for children, but I was happy with it and I’m 23.

Now I am sorry for anyone who hasn’t read the three earlier books in the series but this may well give away a little bit so just for you, just in case:

SPOILER ALERT!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! SPOILER ALERT

Now, the book opens with the dear centaur, Foaly, giving a little support to his friend and co-worker, Holly Short, an LEP office. He explains that the LEP have used her as a scapegoat and the rest of the story follows from there as the mystery is revealed and the true tale of events.

The book opens fast with a pixie in a coma, mainly via her carer, which turns out not to be a coma, and sets off a string of events mainly motivated by her tremendous revenge due to having lost to Holly Short, Commander Root, Foaly, and Artemis Fowl (plus Butler and a pretty stinking dwarf called Mulch). Her revenge starting taking shape even before she lost to them as she planned a backup. Then some cloning happens, sleep-thinking, pixie sidekicks, explosions, death, fugitives, attempted murder, troll swarms attacking, and it goes on.

How Eoin Colfer thinks all this up I don’t know but he does it very well. When I first picked up the book having bought and attempted it a few years ago, I was dubious as to whether I would be in right frame of mind to take on a kids/young-adults book about “the People”. But after 3 very long baths where I managed to stretch to over 100 pages in each turn (the water got pretty cold), I finished the book with ease and really look forward to the next one.

It is simple enough and yet has layer upon layer of history behind each character. They don’t just start and stop a story, they come from somewhere, they have ambitions, they have their own troubles, but figure it all out together and oddly enough I picture it as a movie in my imagination more often than not (which is rare for me). Although you can often predict that the good guys win in the end, Colfer is not adverse to adding some tragedy and has done so on a number of occasions. The main tear-inducing event here was the murder of Commander Root, and then the scapegoating of Holly, who even in the last few seconds tried desperately to save him, only to fall into the trap of being blamed for his murder. Root had become through the series what every Chief Superintendant should be in a police drama – he was someone you did not mess with, would fire you in a second if the job wasn’t done, and took his job seriously. But in this story he was also a father figure who had high expectations for Holly, and never failed to set a brave example for her. His death was another motive for how the tale continued. Whereas for Opal the game was revenge, the reuniting of Artemis & Butler, Holly, and finally Mulch, was all about companionship and attempting to catch the one who could take away their Commander, Root, who held so much admiration.

There was a little part of me that felt the book simply ended too quickly; but then again there are four more books to get through – so how could I complain.

I would recommend this book to anyone, and have done to my husband if only for the technological mystery of it all, and really enjoy the escapism of it. It is simple fun and well worth reading to your kids, or just giggling to yourself. If anyone else has read the Artemis Fowl series, let me know what you think! Have you got further than me? Does it get even better? Which book is your favourite and why? Let me know!

Another reason to like the Irish: Eoin Colfer, author of Artemis Fowl
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