Despite the amazing powers that many of the people of Lorien possess, the planet was defeated and its natural resources looted by Mogadorians in a matDespite the amazing powers that many of the people of Lorien possess, the planet was defeated and its natural resources looted by Mogadorians in a matter of days. Nine alien children have fled their annihilated homeworld of Lorien and have sought refuge on Earth. Having scattered to the winds, they are being hunted down, one by one, by a separate and malevolent extraterrestrial race from a dying planet, the Mogadorians. Thanks to a quasi-mystical protective charm placed on the Nine, they can only be killed in order (although, my bet is that Number One doesn't regard this charm as all that "protective"). As the book opens, three of the Nine have already been tracked down and murdered. So we come to Number Four.
His named used to be Daniel Jones. It used to be something else before that, and then something else before that, and so on. Ten years on Earth, ten years of hiding and staying always on the move and staying safe and alive... this is the life of Number Four and his guardian and mentor whose name is Henri. Number Four has just collected a new scar circling his right ankle; this is an indicator that another of the Nine has been recently slain. Three scarred rings around his ankle, and so Number Four knows he's next.
The Nine teens are holing up while waiting for their superhuman powers (called Legacies) to develop. These Legacies vary, and there's no guessing as to which abilities a Nine would latch up to. Number Four is at that age when his Legacies would shortly begin to crop up. And they do start cropping up, one by one, and there is a really fun factor in watching our sympathetic alien boy try to cope with each incoming talent.
When Number Four, bearing the name "John Smith," moves to Paradise, Ohio, he runs afoul of the school bully, falls for the most beautiful girl in town, and befriends the local alien conspiracy nerd in short order. There is plenty of great action, but the dialogue is average, as is the character development. I was also disappointed in some of the strong language. The storyline deals with some issues teens are familiar with: first loves, dealing with bullies, trying to fit in. These areas fall flat. The girl is way too sweet and innocent, her attraction to John strange. She deals with the heavy handed stuff too easily.
The writing is nothing special, but the history of Lorien and John's quest to develop his powers is compelling. He becomes much more than a number; he becomes the hero he's supposed to be. Overall, it's a good read and leaves the sequels with an abundance of potential. I look for the following books to get increasingly more serious; after all, we are dealing with the survival of the race of an entire planet here.
Artemis Fowl is a thirteen-year-old criminal genius. His father (also a criminal genius) is missing, presumed dead and his mother, now recovered (thanArtemis Fowl is a thirteen-year-old criminal genius. His father (also a criminal genius) is missing, presumed dead and his mother, now recovered (thanks to fairy magic) from the melancholic madness the affected her during the course of the previous novel has packed Artemis off to an expensive boarding school. There he confounds the child psychologists (he does, after all know much more about their subject than they do -- wrote the book on it in fact) and merely broods on the possibility of finding his father whom he steadfastly believes to still be alive.
A breakthrough comes when Fowl's manservant and bodyguard, appropriately named Butler, hands his master what amounts to a ransom note apparently from the Russian Mafiya and thus begins the adventure.
Meanwhile down in the bowels of the Earth, in the Lower Elements (the last Mud Man -- what they refer to us humans -- free zone on the planet, there is upheaval in the fairy domain. Colfer's fairy domain is not the one you grew up with, rather it is one hip and happening high-tech urban landscape, infested with crime and grime and the need for a police force with an arsenal. Their job isn't easy aside from dealing with the crimes perpetrated amongst their own various kinds from trolls to pixies to goblins, there is the added and ever present danger of discovery by humans.
"Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident" is wholly enjoyable on many levels. It plays with the kind of toys that are now part our everyday lives and where vital clues are transmitted by email and text messaging, ransom demands come as mpg files and added to this are some wonderful impossible inventions, the stuff of pure science fiction. I may just pick up another book from this series, however I'll probably choose one that doesn't involve too much sci-fi elements.
Title Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident Author Eoin Colfer Reviewed By Purplycookie...more
Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is the most ingenious criminal mastermind in history. With two trusty sidekicks in tow, he hatches a cunning plot to diveTwelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is the most ingenious criminal mastermind in history. With two trusty sidekicks in tow, he hatches a cunning plot to divest the fairy-folk of their pot of gold. Of course, he isn't foolish enough to believe in all that "gold at the end of the rainbow" nonsense. Rather, he knows that the only way to separate the little people from their stash is to kidnap one of them and wait for the ransom to arrive.
Though there are folklore, fairies and fantasy, this is no ancient-themed tale--but wholly of the 21st century, with a bit of high-tech stuff thrown in. Forget the usual wands, cauldrons and spells: There's a magical Book, but also powerful computers and and all the gadgets galore a genius centaur could provide. The descriptions of the faerie technology were complicated and yet somehow still vague and it all sounded like it had been filtered through a dialogue generator.
"Artemis Fowl" fails on a lot of levels. The characters are (intentionally) unlikable, and most of them are even uninteresting and forgettable. Certainly, the title character is somewhat interesting, but stunningly we spend very little time with Fowl and his schemes. Most of our time is spent watching fairy bureaucrats play office politics. As the book goes on, you begin to see that Artemis Fowl does indeed possess a conscience, he is just careful never to let it get in the way of his evil schemes.
I wanted so much to like this book because it sounded like it had interesting possibilities. But the story is weak, shallow, unbelievable. The characters had no personality distinctions--and all seemed to speak in the same sarcastic voice.
Title Artemis Fowl Author Eoin Colfer Reviewed By Purplycookie...more