Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian, by Eoin Colfer
After the mental and physical exertions he endured during the Atlantis Complex, Artemis Fowl is in need of therapy. Well, that’s what Doctor Argon thinks anyway. Fortunately, the treatment isn’t a total loss since, between wittily identifying ink blots, Artemis learns some interesting information about his family history and about his ancestors’ complex relationship with the magical community. Such information is timely indeed as the dastardly pixie Opal Koboi is up to her old tricks again.
Koboi has been imprisoned in the deeps of Atlantis since the LEP [with more than a little help from Artemis] finally caught up to her. However, you can’t keep a villainous pixie down and Koboi has hatched a nefarious plan to escape her prison and destroy a fair amount of the world while doing so. Much of her sanity having been lost, Opal has dreams of wiping-out humanity and having herself crowned fairy queen. To achieve this, she plans to use her newly acquired powers to awaken the spirits of the Berserkers, long-dead fairy warriors who have been trapped underground, and have them inhabit the nearest available bodies and go on to wreak mass destruction. In Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian it’s up to Artemis, Captain Holly Short and Butler to stop Opal Koboi and prevent the end of the world. It’s a busy day all round in fact.
Artemis Fowl has always been very proud of his supervillain/criminal genius status but, while his schemes are certainly always impressive and regularly self-serving, he has been slowly reforming as Eoin Colfer’s series has progressed. He’s still proud, pompous and often rather infuriating, but Artemis is increasingly prone to using his amazing intellect for good. At least if that good involves helping his friends and/or family anyway. In the Last Guardian Artemis is more mature than ever before and is finally starting to think with his heart, a concept that has previously puzzled him greatly. Colfer has done a great job of developing Artemis and allowing him to grow as the series progresses. Artemis still has all the wit, sarcasm and brains that proved so popular during his previous adventures but he is developing other facets of his personality too.
As ever, in the Last Guardian Artemis is ably [and often humorously] aided by a host of human and magical characters. Loyal bodyguard Butler does the heavy-lifting and also has some cracking one-liners. The fact that everything in the fairy world is woefully undersized for Butler proves very funny on many occasions. Captain Holly Short is Artemis’s closest magical ally and always manages to encourage Artemis to trust his humanity. She’s a real action hero but is also pretty good at coming up with her own evil-thwarting schemes. Artemis and Holly have been drawing closer over the course of the series and Colfer does provide some hints at their developing relationship. Fan-favourite Mulch Diggums also gets to play the [reluctant and rather malodorous] hero.
Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian is a very exciting book. Perhaps because the series is already so well established, Eoin Colfer doesn’t waste time setting up the story but rather starts with a bang and just lets the explosions flow. Although Artemis still manages to find time for some wily schemes, the Last Guardian is a really action-packed book with even more danger than he normally has to face. In addition to saving the world at large, this time round Artemis has to pay particular attention to the trouble that his younger brothers, Myles and Beckett, have found themselves in. Opal Koboi is a great villain and she’s not planning to take on the world alone this time. Artemis must therefore face some deadly situations and make some very difficult decisions during the Last Guardian.
The Artemis Fowl books are brilliant action-adventure tales with more than a touch of magic thrown in. Here’s to hoping that Eoin Colfer changes his mind and writes another book featuring Artemis and Co.