I’m a fan of the Artemis Fowl series and up until now they’ve always been good, funny, entertaining and inventive stories, but this one feels like a book too far. The books are normally fast paced, but this feels like Colfer took a deep breath and then attempted to tell the entire story before he needed to take another, which means it barrels along with very little time to catch your breath or reflect. If you’ve read any of my reviews of Peter F. Hamilton’s books you’ll know I have little time for huge chunks of exposition, but there’s a balance to be struck, you need to balance the action with quieter scenes so the readers can get their breath back and this book seems to lack them.
Added to which, the book feels a little nostalgic, with all the old favourite characters being squeezed into the story, in many ways, completely unnecessarily, purely because people want to see them I assume. Then there’s the young Artemis. What a waste. Here we have the possibility of two masterminds going head-to-head, two Butlers as well, but they barely feature, they barely say anything, they manage to outwit their older versions repeatedly (which in itself is mildly confusing and annoying) but they story could have featured almost anyone in their parts because they didn’t really do much you would expect specifically from them.
Not a great story, not well executed, and not much new (no new ideas, creatures or equipment) make this a forgettable addition to the series and possibly indicate Colfer is either losing interest or ideas for Artemis. That said, I’m sure there’s plenty more scope in the created universe and that he just needs a jump start, which may come when he’s not writing Hitchhiker’s Guide books, maybe if the movie ever gets made that’ll provide impetus. I suspect it will be a while before we see a new Artemis Fowl book.