Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony

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The Lost Colony is the fifth book in the Artemis Fowl series, I’ve read them all so far and they’ve been great reads. I thought the last book, the Opal Deception, was the weakest though, and feared Colfer might be running out of steam. While this book is much better, it is far from perfect, but achieves moments of greatness and has certainly allayed any doubts for the future of the series.

Artemis, previous criminal mastermind, has turned to good. Not that this stops him from meddling in fairy affairs. Holly Short is no longer a Captain in the LEP, but working as a Private Investigator and bounty hunter alongside Mulch Diggums. When demons, another branch of the magic folk, who moved their island and their entire race outside time, start appearing in the human world, she gets drafted into Section 8, a highly secret section of the LEP. Artemis is on the case, but he’s not the only one, a girl keeps turning up at the random demon appearances, and no one knows who she is and what her intentions are. They need to find out fast because the spell that keeps the demons in limbo is breaking down and soon they’ll come crashing to Earth.

The story’s fine. It’s fast paced and action packed. Colfer charges through it, never giving you a chance to get bored, but not taking time to stretch things out either. Dramatic climaxes are over in a second and the end could have really been given a little longer. The actual finale is handled fine, but during the close it’s a rushed rundown, Artemis is dropped off and that’s it. I think he could have taken the time to show everyone returning, even if he called it a epilogue.

Artemis’ new foe, a young girl-genius called Minerva, is also dealt with too lightly. She never proves to be a match for Artemis, though shows equal intelligence, likewise she is only a nemesis for a very short time before being won over. I’d like to have seen her prove much more of a challenge, at least as much as Opal Koboi did in the Opal Deception, but as she is also a form of love interest it seems she has to be not too tough and end up playing good.

Those were my major gripes, although not seeing enough of Diggums could be another, he’s by far the best of the characters in the series for me. The rest is pretty good. The lack of dwelling on any subject means its a relatively short story and it screams along. They are plenty of new characters who prove interesting, and we even get shown more of the fairy world. I was concerned that Colfer may be running out of new ways for Artemis to scheme and that the ideas for the Lower Elements (underground, where the fairies live) were drying up, but not so it seems, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of the day-to-day stuff underground and exploring a bit more of both Artemis’ and Holly’s daily lives (it would be nice if Artemis had to react to a situation for a change instead of always being the one creating them).

Artemis is also aging with the books, something that not many children’s characters do, generally they stay the same age. The Harry Potter books have an aging character too, and while it makes the books more difficult to write, it also allows for more character development and provides more obstacles. Artemis is going through puberty in this book, and while he still attacks it with a logical mind, even he is having feelings and emotions he’s not used to. Which is partly why Minerva provides some (limited) romantic interest, and it helps to show a different side of his character.

Overall then, a good book if you like funny, action-packed books about fairies and child genii, and definitely not just for kids.

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Reviewed: 14th January 2007

Recommended: Yes