I know, I'm on a big Hornby kick right now, so of course I had to read it, even though it was Young Adult. I'm not really sure thatI loved this book.
I know, I'm on a big Hornby kick right now, so of course I had to read it, even though it was Young Adult. I'm not really sure that Young Adult is the correct classification for it it though. I think Horror is better. It sure scared the pants off of me. I'm making my teenage son recommend it to his school book club, too.
It started out a little choppy. Kind of like how Hoot (Carl Hiaasen) was choppy. I think these guys who are used to writing for adults get a little stiff when they're trying to reach a different audience. I had no idea what it was about before I started it (I don't read jacket flaps or reviews because I don't want any spoilers, I like the whole book to unfold before me), so I just went with it. It was a little bumpy at first, but then as the story worked up, it started to roll. It reached the kind of fireworks display of characters that you expect from a Hornby book, with all the personalities and situations crashing together. It was incredible. The mixture of humor and pain was pure Hornby, too, with parts so touching they made me cry a little.
I think it ought to be required reading for all teenagers, because he approaches this particular topic from a very unique angle and also relays some information that I think teen boys in particular are very sheltered from. It should also be required reading for all mothers of teenage boys, as a little wake-up call. It was educational as well as entertaining!
This is the sixth book in the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin (pronounced Owen) Colfer. I started reading this series out loud to Alex the first week of sThis is the sixth book in the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin (pronounced Owen) Colfer. I started reading this series out loud to Alex the first week of second grade for him, which would have been back in ’02, right after we moved here. We had caught up with the Harry Potter books and people who liked that series recommended the Artemis Fowl books (at which time there were only two).
These books are very different than the Potter books, even though they attract the same audience. These are fantasy/sci fi books. Fairies and magic yes, but also a whole new realm of technology both human and non-human. The technology is as important as the magic. The melding of science and magic is huge. There is Foaly, the centaur who runs the surveillance for the LEPrecon (that would be the Lower Elements Police reconnaissance) who invents new gadgets and oversees them from his control booth. Captain Holly Short is the main character second only to Artemis himself in the series. She’s an elf and the first and only female captain on the LEP in fairy history. Butler (I have a big crush on Butler) is Artemis’s bodyguard. “Butlers” have been bodyguards to the Fowl family as far back as history goes, and were rumored to have coined the term “butler” for the services they provide. He’s human, but barely. He’s trained in many styles of martial arts and proficient with any weapon. Even Holly shudders when she’s had to fight against him. His ethics sometimes clash with Artemis’s, but his loyalty is to Artemis first. Artemis is an Irish criminal mastermind teenager. He invents, he writes, he dallies in medicine, art and music. He is a super-genius beyond measure (although many have tried). In the first book, he’s also possibly a sociopath.
Artemis is not a nice person when the series begins, which I thought a very interesting concept in a juvenile book. It’s up to the readers to bounce around these moral issues. He’s obviously likable to the reader, he’s our main character and he’s suave and brilliant and rich and all things that kids this age want to be. But, he’s spoiled and selfish and makes choices that hurt others often. Naturally, there is a tip in his moral balance that begins in the first book and continues, but we’re reminded now and again who Artemis was when we first met him.
In this particular book, Artemis needs to go back in time to save his mother. She’s contracted a fairy illness and the only cure is derived from a lemur that Artemis himself helped make extinct eight years prior. I’ve always had a hard time with time travel. The whole “Time Paradox” has baffled me. But, when approached head on as Colfer does, with centaurs and fairies and kindhearted demons, then how can something like time travel be unbelievable:
Artemis smiled mirthlessly. “Ah yes, the trusty time paradox . If I go back in time and kill my grandfather, then shall I cease to exist? I believe, as Gorben and Berndt did, that any repercussions are already being felt. We can only go change the future, not the past or present. If I go back, then I already have been back.
When he does go back, Artemis is pitted against his former self, the one who hasn’t yet learned any sort of ethics, the one who would allow the lemur to be killed. It makes for a heck of a story and gives us a little more insight into the mind of Artemis before we met him in the first book. Of course there are lots of twists and turns and surprises, making it the kind of book we expect from Mr. Colfer.
As a treat, go watch Eoin Colfer talk about the book himself on the Artemis Fowl website: http://www.artemisfowl.com/ Wait for the page to load, then click on The Time Paradox Video. He is quite a guy himself and a person I really admire.
This was a great book. It’s a teen-dork angst book. The main character, 15 year-old Fanboy (Donnie), copes with being bullied by the Jock Jerks in hisThis was a great book. It’s a teen-dork angst book. The main character, 15 year-old Fanboy (Donnie), copes with being bullied by the Jock Jerks in his school by entertaining Columbine-like fantasies (in which he’s the hero, saving most of the school from tragedy), keeping a List (of those who will someday suffer his vengeance) and rubbing a bullet he keeps in his pocket like a security blanket.
He’s a brainy dork who fits the brainy dork stereotype by being, well, brainy and dorky—short, unathletic and easily stressed. But, he does have a lot to cope with since his parents split up. He doesn’t like his step-father, he doesn’t get to see his father enough, his best (only) friend has to publicly disown him (so as to not lose his standing as a big deal on the lacrosse team), and his mother is preoccupied while gestating his (half) sister. He also has the nerdy hobby of being a comic book, or ehm…graphic novel enthusiast, and he stays up nights working on a book of his own, which he’s writing and illustrating, to show his icon Brian Michael Bendis at an upcoming comic book, or, ehm…graphic novel convention.
Then he meets Goth Girl (Kyra), whose balance is questionable, and you’re not sure which way she’s going to tip our little hero. She, too, entertains Columbine type fantasies, but in her visions, she doesn’t save the day. She also has a history of self injurious behavior (cutting her wrists) and what appears to be a little problem with borrowing cars (which she’s too young to drive).
Fanboy’s naiveté and good heart make him an adorable protagonist. He ogles girls in his school, but isn’t at all vulgar about it. He carries his bullet around with him, but compares it to a baby blanket and is terrified that someone will catch him with it. He knows his strengths, but isn’t arrogant, and he’s all too hard on himself for his faults. His bullying is absolutely heartbreaking, because he’s just the kind of kid you want to adopt.
Kyra is heartbreaking too, because you only see her through Fanboy’s eyes and you know he’s missing a lot in the re-telling. An adult can fill in the pieces, but I don’t know if kids reading this book would be able to appreciate the depth of what they’re seeing in her scenes. It would be very interesting for a sequel, to be told through her narrative.
Unlike a lot of the other books I’ve read in this vein (King Dork by Frank Portman, Black Swan Green by David Mitchell and so on), Fanboy doesn’t have quite the same level of adult insight. Which is good. The other books I mentioned were wonderful novels, but they were obviously written by adults looking back and shadowing the experience they’re writing about with wisdom they’ve gained while traveling to adulthood. This one has a little of that, but it keeps it cleaner and more believable that it’s really a 15 year-old kid telling his story.
Because of that, a lot of the prose is basic and seems a little superficial. The kid does not delve deep into the problems of the people who are hurting him, he sees his situation as a kid who is being hurt would. So, on that level it seems a little simplistic. But, the kid, being a kid of his time also lets you inside his violent thoughts. Which makes it incredibly dark and scary. A lot more troublesome than the teen books written with adult reasoning. Reading this, you can see the life of a teen who feels driven to violence, or suicide. He’s a sweet, well meaning boy who prefers the (violent) fantasy life of his comic books to the real world. He’s alienated and misunderstood and pushed to limits that would make any reasonable person crack. So, the book (like comic books, or ehm…graphic novels), seems light and funny on the surface, but has a much deeper, desperate undertone.
It was a great book, really.
Here are some videos from the official website, to entertain and entice you into reading this.
It was an unusual book. One storyline, ten authors. Each author took a chapter. The proceeds go to Amnesty International. I’ve looked and looked and cIt was an unusual book. One storyline, ten authors. Each author took a chapter. The proceeds go to Amnesty International. I’ve looked and looked and can’t find information about how the book was planned—did one just start writing and then the next read what was written and add a chapter and so on? Or were the twists and turns all agreed upon beforehand and each author just filled it in with their unique style? I don’t know.
I do know it was painfully moving. It touched me in so many ways, I found myself getting teary in just about every chapter.
The authors were their quintessential selves, the ones I knew anyway, but they played with it, too. For example, Eoin Colfer, who is Irish by heritage and by trade (his characters are oh-so-Irish) wrote from the perspective of an American, but of course there was an Irish twist, there couldn’t not be, with a bit of a nod towards Artemis in a way. Roddy Doyle, who I haven’t read, but has been on my list (Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha) did the full-blown Irish thing, and nudged his works ahead a bit on my list, because his chapter was really good. Nick Hornby’s chapter was funny and human and added depth to a character where some was greatly needed. I also need to read me some David Almond now that I’ve sampled him. He seems like someone I might enjoy.
I was disappointed by the last two chapters though. The second-to-last took a bizarre twist for the science fiction. It was written by Margo Lanagan, who I’ve never heard of. I had a very hard time understanding what was going on in her chapter at all though. Some of it was a different twist on Nick Hornby’s chapter, but I didn’t like it. And, the last chapter was written by Gregory Maguire, who wrote Wicked. There were things about Wicked that I loved, like penetrating my heart loved and there were things that I found too disturbing and other things I found just boring as hell. Sadly, in my opinion, this last chapter of Click had none of the elements of Maguire that I loved and a lot of the elements I really didn’t like. There was optimism—I know the ending is being criticized for being too bleak, but there was a little gem of optimism in it that can’t be forgotten.
All in all, it was a wonderful little book. ...more
This was one of the best books I have ever read. I read it twice, once to myself and once to Alex (to explain some of the history in it). It was one oThis was one of the best books I have ever read. I read it twice, once to myself and once to Alex (to explain some of the history in it). It was one of those books that you just want to frame each paragraph and hang on your wall as art....more