Livetweet Books: Artemis Fowl #5

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.

I’m currently on an Artemis Fowl kick.  I recently finished The Lost Colony.  The Opal Deception was my least favorite of the series; this one was my most favorite.

Why this book?

See the last review’s answer.  Continuing the series.  Also, nerdy demons.

How was it?

Fantastic.  Nerdy demons, time travel, lots of really good characterization and way too much puberty– but not in a bad way.  The writing was incredible, the characters were fresh and (mostly) enchanting, the plot was clever.  Colfer at his best.  I’m not 100% sure why people keep telling me the later books aren’t as good.

What did you like?

First of all, Colfer’s writing was back in full force.  Whatever weird something he was dealing with in the last book was gone.  Holly was sassy, Artemis was witty, Butler had his ongoing silent commentary.  There was some excellent dialogue.  Seriously, I’d missed that.

The fun lines are back, too.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the demons.  Usually they’re an incredibly over-used monster: everyone and their grandma sticks a demon in their book when you need a bad guy.  When the word first popped up I’m pretty sure I actually groaned out loud. And then they actually showed up, and…

It got better.  The imps were named shit like Abbot and Rawley. And the main demon character was (fitting in with Artemis’s ongoing struggles with puberty) bored, smart, and done with all of them.

I am clearly a member of the target audience, mind: pretty much any Artemis Fowl fan in the world is going to identify well with “bored smart kid among raging testosterone”.  But the demons were a great criticism on anti-intellectualism.  And No. 1 was probably the cutest character we’ve seen  yet: he lists words every time he gets stressed.

Granted, they occasionally got a little ridiculous.  The demon king brought out a puppet at one point.  But Colfer managed to make demons refreshingly different, like he has with all his fairy creatures.

Anyway, that brings me to…

..Artemis hitting puberty.  Which I liked and disliked.    On one hand it was hilarious, great for his character, and showed him actually growing up physically rather than just through experience.  The books themselves are still growing up with him: despite the hilarious puppet-wielding demons, and this scene…

…This book had the darkest moment to date.  Topping Root’s death. Which is saying something.

Artemis saved her, of course, but it takes a lot to kill off the main character of a book like that.  Not to mention it was a huge point of character growth for both of them.  By the end of the book they’ve literally swapped body parts.   That characterization, going from enemies to best friends over the course of the series, is where Colfer shines.

I’m pretty sure I gush over his ability to write dynamic characters every time I write a review.  But this is probably one of the biggest challenges a writer faces: not only writing believable people, but having them believably change.

What didn’t you like?

Minerva.

She was a horrible complication to an otherwise-wonderful book: unnecessary romantic entanglement, unnecessary parallel to Artemis, just generally kidnap-bait.  Which was a shame, because until she opened her mouth and started talking she had a lot of promise.  I was expecting a sassy, bright match for Artemis’ wit.  Instead we got a shrill daddy’s girl who, for a 12-year-old with a doctorate in psychology, knows absolutely nothing about people.  She has temper tantrums, yelps a lot, and treats adults like they’re actually in charge.

In other words, she had everything that made Artemis Fowl annoying and none of what made him charming, and a lot of her own negative qualities.  Not sure what Colfer was going for, but she was boring.  Apparently Colfer agreed with me: I couldn’t help myself and googled Minerva’s future, and she never shows up again.

Which, for some reason, also bothers me.  Given his wonderful characterization abilities I was hoping she’d get better.

Anyway, all I’m saying about that.

Parting thoughts?

As I finish up this post, WordPress has informed me that I’ve been blogging for a full year now. Holy cow, guys.  Thank you so much for following me: here’s to another year of words, right?

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