The Artemis Fowl series has always been superbly written and brilliantly conceived, with an astonishing array of humor, techno-gadgets, mind-bending plots, daredevil escapes and rescues… frankly, they have a tendency to leave one dizzy — but enchanted.
And The Last Colony is better than the previous installments.
There are many reasons for this. First, there were at least three places where Colfer could have stopped writing, wrapped the book up, given it a different title, and shipped it off to his publisher and wait to collect his generous royalty checks. But he didn’t. He took us from climax to climax as if we rode a roller coaster, each one at least as exciting and breathtaking as the last — if not more so.
Second, Colfer introduces a magnificent new character, Minerva, a 12-year old girl who is quite similar to the 12-year old Artemis we met in the first book. Artemis has a nemesis. Third, and perhaps most importantly, Artemis himself has changed. He is fully in possession of a conscience now, is 14-years old, and finds himself quite uncomfortably pubescent.
As always, Colfer writes in a very loose third-person omniscient voice, hopping from character to character. This is dangerous, unless the author has a firm grasp on all of the elements of his story. Luckily, Colfer does. It’s a rare author that can take us into the enemy camp, show us who they are, how they live, their blueprints for whatever foul act they plan to commit, and still leave the pages of the book dripping with tension.
The demands that Colfer places on Artemis are staggering, and by extension the demands he places on himself as a writer are similarly so. To not violate Artemis’ core-identity, yet have him find his way with the use of a moral compass, is virtually unthinkable. But Colfer did it. Artemis grew, he changed, but yet he was still Artemis at heart. Brilliant, conniving, and, when need be, ruthless. Ruthless… and still a good guy? Yup.
I’m thankful that Colfer didn’t take the easy way out, and that he pushed himself harder and further than I’ve seen him do yet.
FanLit thanks Todd Burger for this guest review. Todd is a businessman from Chicago. He fell in love with fantasy after watching The Wizard of Oz in second grade. The next day, he scurried to the library but found the book already checked out. However, the librarian lifted his spirits by showing him thirteen more Oz books by L. Frank Baum. In third grade, his mother imposed a ban on “those Oz books,” which had become an obsession. Forced to diversify, he tried to check out Huckleberry Finn, but his teacher opposed the idea. When he presented her with a Dr. Seuss book for approval, he quickly found himself cleaning erasers for being “full of too much sass.” Once, he charmed a substitute teacher into approving Huck Finn, and when his duplicity was discovered, he came to know eraser dust intimately. Soon, Todd started reading everything he could find.
Artemis Fowl — (2001-2012) Young adult. Publisher: From a strikingly original voice in fiction comes the story of Artemis Fowl, a very unusual hero. Artemis combines the astuteness of Sherlock Holmes with the sangfroid of James Bond and the attitude of Attila the Hun. But even Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of LEPrecon Unit. These aren’t the fairies of bedtime stories. These fairies are armed and they’re dangerous. Artemis thinks he’s got them just where he wants them, but then they stop playing by the rules… Full of unexpected twists and turns, ARTEMIS FOWL opens up a riveting world of magic, mystery, and humor.