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Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident is the second book in the Artemis Fowl series. It picks up where the last volume left off: Artemis's mother, recently cured of her depression, has sent him to a special school, where he is discontent. Having recently received word that his father may be alive and being held for ransom, Artemis (as always) formulates a plan.

Before he can do too much in the way of rescue missions, he and his manservant Butler are abducted by the fairies. Some human has been giving power sources (batteries) to the goblins, and since the fairies don't know who it is, they immediately suspect Artemis because of his involvement in their affairs the last time. However, they quickly find he is innocent...and surprisingly, the two groups join forces.

Artemis enlists the fairies' help to rescue his father, but they want something in return: Help tracking down the jerk who is giving batteries to the goblins to power their softnose lasers. Without too much difficulty, Artemis and Butler help apprehend the human responsible, but it turns out this fiasco goes a lot deeper...and the unlucky group gets caught up in the middle of it. Captain Holly Short and her commander Root are forced to travel with Artemis and Butler on a strange mission to deal with the goblin uprising. Goblins are pretty stupid, so the group knows someone must be behind it...and "someone" is, rather two someones--one wishes to smear a technological rival and the other is exacting revenge on Root, who had him demoted as a result of his actions in the first Artemis Fowl book.

By enlisting the services of a convict dwarf who was supposed to be dead, Artemis and the crew manage to blow the lid off the bad guys' plan. Then all that remains is to rescue Artemis's father...

In this book, Artemis's character is made more likable, seeing as how he has somewhat "matured" and also has begun to actually have respect for other people at times. In this book, his hands get dirty, he enters into personal danger and actually endures uncomfortable situations, some of them even life-threatening, he helps people who were once his major rivals. The other characters become more multi-faceted as well, and the dialogue is entertaining. This book doesn't have another message in fairy code in it, which is a bit disappointing after the novelty of finding it in the first Artemis Fowl book, but that may have been a wise choice by the publishers. All in all, this book, like its prequel, comes highly recommended for adults and children alike.

Others in the series: Artemis Fowl * Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code * Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception * Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony * Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox * The Artemis Fowl Files

Children's fantasy book by Eoin Colfer. This is the second in a series - see "Artemis Fowl" for information on the first book.

Although I really hated the first Artemis Fowl book, I'm glad I gave Colfer a second chance. "The Arctic Incident" is much better than the first book. Artemis is a much more likeable character this time around. Given the motivation of rescuing his father, and no longer completely in control of the plot, he seems like a real boy rather than an evil Tom Swift clone.

The fairy characters are also much more multi-dimensional in this book. Colfer seems to have learned the futility of simply telling us how cool the fairies are, and lets their actions speak for themselves. As a result, all the characters seem more alive than before, and begin to show some individual traits. This time around, we meet a larcenous dwarf who collects Oscar statuettes, a vengeful pixy technologist on the verge of taking over the kingdom, various members of the Russian Mafiya, and a horde of goblins who, unfortunately, never break the "stupid savage goblin" template.

The improvements continue in the book's plot, which is more dynamic than that of the first book. If that book was Die Hard with pixies, this one is more like a James Bond adventure. Artemis and the fairies of the LEP face challenges that seem much more threatening than before, in a series of escapades going from Paris to the Arctic Circle, to Hollywood and the fairies' underground kingdom.

All in all, this book isn't going to threaten Lemony Snicket or any of the classics, but it's solid entertainment that will probably have children anxiously awaiting further installments. Especially since Mulch Diggums (the dwarf with the almost complete Oscar collection) seems destined for a larger part in the next book. Check it out.

Now, what happened to those action figures?

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