Livetweet Books: Artemis Fowl #3

Warning: All LTBooks articles contain spoilers.

Every Saturday at noon CST I livetweet a book as I read through it for an hour or two.  It’s immensely enjoyable.

If you’re interested in following as I livetweet, my Twitter handle is @AlexPenname, and I have a little widget that posts my last few Tweets on the sidebar of my blog.  You can also follow the tag #livetweetbooks and the name of whatever I’m reading that week.

This is long overdue. I’ve actually finished the next book in the series, but I’ll post a different review for that one.   Dune is on permanent hiatus until I finish this freaking series.

This is my favorite book in the series thus far, and I’ve finished the fourth book as of writing this review.  I loved it.  Colfer is a goddamn genius.

Why this book?

At this point, I am way too invested in these characters to drop the series.

 

How was it?

Wonderful.  I have all the praise for this book that I have for the last one, with one noticeable exception: the tone darkened quite a bit.  Thus far in the series there has not been a character death (which, when done badly, can be a really unsatisfying plot device), but The Eternity Code started right off the bat with Butler getting shot in the chest.

The tone went from light and young to suddenly rather mature in the span of about a heartbeat– and that’s saying a lot when one of the characters lost a finger in the last chapter.  We’re losing a lot of Artemis’ kid qualities, and I kind of like it.

What did you like?

The aforementioned shift in tone is excellent: it gave the book a serious undertone that was fairly subtle in the first two.  But more than anything, The Eternity Code is where Colfer’s background characters just shine.  We see the return of Grub and Trouble, who manage to be memorable despite having maybe one, two appearances per book:

 

We see mobsters with ridiculous backstories:

And of course, we see the usual crowd.  Like this goddamn scene with Butler and Artemis.

You’ve likely read the last two reviews: you likely know that I can wax lyrical about the characterization in these books.  Colfer is a master of concise prose and unique characters.  What struck me about The Eternity Code (and the book I’ll review next week) was that the characters aren’t only unique: they’re slowly proving to have flaws.  Most of the first two books were spent showing off the characters’ abilities.  Artemis got to be clever, Holly got to disobey orders and punch people, Root shouted a lot, Butler fought a troll while wearing a suit of armor.  The usual stuff.

But in The Eternity Code, Artemis is faced with two major character-bending plot points. First, he has to ask for help.  He’s done the whole making-friend bit, now he has to actually swallow his pride and show his human side. (Holly, being a bit of a jerk, shows a great deal of sympathy while coming to his rescue.)

Second, he has to allow himself to be beaten.  Which, despite being a great part of his characterization, actually brings me to the next section.

What didn’t you like?

The ending. Artemis allows himself to have his mind wiped.  This means that for most of the book he has to be a little humble alongside his usual cleverness, and involves some amazing character growth.  The part I hated about it was that it promptly erased that character growth for about 2/3 of the next book.

Plus Holly and Foaly just went with it.  Holly at least objects right before it happens, but Foaly actually argues in favor of erasing Artemis’ memory.  And for a character who spends so much time being led around by her heart, that seemed odd to me.  Mature of her, sure, but in a really unsatisfying way.  In fact, out of everyone, the most loyal friend Artemis seems to have is Mulch Diggums.  When Root gives the order, he’s the only one who has in any way an appropriate reaction.

I’m still not sure how I feel about that whole situation. It felt a bit unnatural, like plot for plot’s sake.
Parting thoughts?

Super excited for my next review, which you’ll see next week. It builds on a lot of the stuff I’ve written here.

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