Sunday, 31 January 2010

CBR 25: "Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox" by Eoin Colfer

Publisher: Puffin
Page count: 430 pages
Date begun: January 29th, 2010
Date finished: January 31st, 2010

WARNING! DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR EARLIER BOOKS IN THE ARTEMIS FOWL SERIES!

This is the sixth book in the series about Artemis Fowl, criminal mastermind and boy genius. I would not recommend anyone interested in reading these books to start with book 6, as while they are quite self-contained, they do reference things that have gone before, and it's nice to see the development of Artemis and the other characters.

Artemis Fowl's beloved mother is dying from a mysterious illness that seems magical in origin. Terrifyingly, it may have been Artemis himself that gave it to her, having tried to bespell his parents into forgetting to be curious about where he has been for the past three years, and why he is still clearly fourteen when he should be seventeen. In a particularly ironic twist, it also turns out that the only cure exists in the brain of a lemur Artemis himself made extinct nearly eight years ago. Now the only way to save his mother is for Artemis and his former enemy, now close friend, fairy police captain Holly Short, to go back in time and face off against Artemis' probably most challenging adversary yet - his younger, much more evil self.

The plan is for Holly and Artemis to pop back in time (they can stay a maximum of three days), grab the lemur before young Artemis has time to sell the poor animal to a group of Extinctionists and be back in no time. Of course, the mission does not go as smoothly as expected, and there are quite a few complications along the way, which further develop Artemis and Holly's by now complex relationship, and threaten to create various time paradoxes along the way.

While not the best of the Artemis Fowl books (which I realized as I was reading this that I really do need to get around to rereading), The Time Paradox was still entertaining and a good read. I always preferred the Artemis Fowl books to the Harry Potter books (at least after the first three in the latter series) as they are shorter, more fun, much more tightly paced, and Colfer clearly has the benefit of an editor that tells him when to edit out huge chunks of passages where NOTHING happens and doesn't just let him run riot because he's the publisher's biggest cash cow. By now, Colfer has a solid main and supporting cast in the book, and his world is well fleshed out. The Time Paradox also contains a short story at the end which reveals how Holly came to be the first female LEPrecon Captain, which was a fun extra. Apparently the seventh book is out in June, and as the series is still enjoyable, I'm looking forward to checking it out in future.

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