Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Book Review: Artemis Fowl and the Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer

This is the fourth outing of the highly successful series centering on criminal boy genius, Artemis Fowl written by Irishman Eoin Colfer. In the last book, Artemis and his bodyguard Butler had their minds wiped by the LEP recon (or fairy police - they live under the earth's core. Lord Boate anyone? X-Philes are probably the only people to get that). Without knowledge of the fairy world and his changing outlook on life, Artemis has returned to a criminal life but his past has not forgotten him. Opal Kobi, arch villain and uber intelligent Pixie, is seeking revenge on the people who put her behind bars. That means Artemis and Captain Holly Short, among others, are on her list. The usual crowd are reassembled in this novel from Foaly to the flatulent dwarf, Mulch Diggums.
It has been a while since I read the last Artemis Fowl book. I enjoyed the first book, with the titular hero reminding me of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's character Special Agent Pendergast (and hence Sherlock Holmes). I found the second book somewhat dull but the third book in the series was, in my opinion, the best of the lot with a great storyline and more depth to it than the others. The Opal Deception did not come close to changing my mind on that matter. Is it just me or is Artemis wearing a bit thin? Perhaps I have finally got too old to read children's books. I found this installment a trite by the numbers affair with every other line a punch line and its tongue much too firmly in its cheek to keep my interest. Don't get me wrong, I do like Artemis, but I just couldn't get into this one. I had hoped that the fourth book would follow on from the third with a deeper more layered tale but instead it seems to have got even more frivolous. It's not that dark things don't happen in this novel - in fact something very serious and surprising takes place - but it didn't have any resonance with me. I couldn't believe in the world or believe that Mr Colfer was taking it very seriously when he wrote it. I can't fault his writing style or the way he builds tension and creates conflict but for me, in this book, everything was a little too contrived and the need to be amusing and clever claimed precedence over the characters and storyline.
I am the first to admit that the mood you are in when you read a book greatly influences your enjoyment of it, and perhaps I was simply in the wrong mindset to enjoy this book. I am sure that the leagues of Artemis Fowl fans would eagerly inform me of my errors, but The Opal Deception left me cold. I'll think twice before I read another. I give it 5/10


Valpot said...

I agree with you, the third one is the best. I didn't really like the Opal Deception - getting a bit tired of the formula. I read the next Artemis, which I don't remember too well - there was a demon...

Inkpot said...

The next one is called Artemis Fowl and the lost colony. There is a picture of a demon on the front and is about the demon realm coming back into space and time. I own it but it will be a while before I read it. Thanks Valpot.