Livetweet Books: Artemis Fowl #6

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 was originally going to post this on Thursday, but then Eoin Colfer tweeted this:

And well, I figured I should post it early.  Happy birthday, Artemis you fairy-kissing kook.

Why this book?

We’ve been over this. Keeping this question around for the next series/book.

How was it?

Wonderful.  It’s interesting, everyone I’ve spoken to and most of the articles I’ve read all tear the later books apart, but I feel like Colfer’s really hitting his stride.  Maybe it’s just because I’m a sucker for characterization, but I’m enjoying these immensely.  The plots are getting increasingly more out-there (“Spelltropy”? Demon puppets?) but for the most part the writing’s good, the new characters are amazingly likeable, and the characterization is believable.

The status quo changes around some, which I guess is what makes most readers uncomfortable.  Holly isn’t the Rogue Cop any more, and Artemis grows up so he’s not quite a Boy Genius anymore– just a regular genius.  And their romantic subplot was handled excellently, considering Colfer was dealing with two characters who clearly had a huge amount of chemistry and were completely unable to go anywhere…

What did you like about it?

So I’ve seen this coming for about the past two books:

Seriously.  They swapped eyeballs.  And the book started out with THIS:

So… This has been a long time coming, whether Colfer planned it that way or not.

Good characters tend to take on a life of their own, and when you have two people with a strong connection like that the potential for romance has to be addressed somehow. This is usually addressed by putting in a romantic sub-plot, ending in either a tragic separation or a happily-ever-after kiss. It’s usually crammed in like an afterthought at the end of the book to give the characters some closure: see the His Dark Materials trilogy for a good example of that.

When you have the romantic conclusion at the end of the book, see, you don’t have to deal with the actual relationship.  A kiss at the end means your characters never have to fight over snoring or being a cat person or putting the toilet roll on backwards. So you can imagine my surprise when this happened at the end of my first session with the book, about a third of the way in.

Artemis and Holly had to deal with it.

This meant that the romantic subplot of the rest of the book didn’t center around two people awkwardly glancing at each other.  Artemis had this huge lie hanging over his head, told Holly right away, miraculously made up for it, and spent the rest of the book trying not to think about his missed opportunity.  Side effect: you have a fascinating, shifting dynamic between the characters throughout the book.

Made for a little characterization whiplash, but it was done really well.  And it’s far more interesting than letting the romantic stuff happen in happily-ever-after land.  Dynamics of the characters aside (Artemis is a minor, for one, and Holly’s a different species), it was a very honest way to handle that situation.

I liked it.

Oh, and Opal Koboi is back.

What didn’t you like?

Not a lot.

This was a great-if-ridiculous book. There was no Minerva messing this one up, No. 1 made a stellar appearance.  His great line made up for his lack of page-time:

And same goes for Foaly:

This book was patently ridiculous.  I’m pretty sure Mulch made an appearance for no other reason than comic relief, since all he did was dig a tunnel and befriend a lemur– but that was a much-needed comic relief.  Whenever Opal’s involved, shit gets very serious very fast.

That was the biggest issue with The Opal Deception: not enough fart jokes. So Mulch making a fuzzy pal, Artemis climbing on a high wire to rescue aforementioned fuzzball, Holly taking a bad guy out with his own nose…

…It was necessary.  You can’t have too much high-stakes drama or it all ceases to feel high-stakes.  The reader gets bored.  So that wasn’t a problem for me: same reason I can forgive the puppet in the last book.

Less-forgivable was Artemis’s occasional plot-dumbness.

The lie to Holly made no sense: it was an easy way out, and Artemis isn’t big on those.  Since time-travel was involved, Artemis had to go head-to-head with his younger self… And conveniently forgot he knew Butler’s name, which could have been used as proof of his identity.  Would have made things much, much easier.  Oh, and he used an AED improperly.

Small things, but fairly annoying.

Parting thoughts?

Basically just this.


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