This is the fifth book in the now-famous Artemis Fowl
series for children by Eoin Colfer
. And everything we love about the books has returned once more, with one added bonus: A new type of fairy
to add to the family.
This so-called "Lost Colony" is the "Eighth Family," also known as the demon
s, who left the fairy society more than ten thousand years ago in the fight against mankind
. Their island, Hybras
, was lifted out of time by the rare demon warlock
s and isolated from mankind and other fairies, and as a result they have their own culture centered around the vendetta
against humankind. This book is partially the story of one of the demons.
Unfortunately, the spell that holds Hybras outside of time is slowly unraveling, and who should be aware of this fact and its implications but fourteen-year-old Artemis Fowl, child genius and ex-villain. In attempting to protect the fairies from prying eyes by disguising the demons' unintentional appearances in the human world, Artemis and his bodyguard, Butler, soon join forces with the elf Holly Short--formerly of the Lower Elements Police--and Mulch Diggums, the flatulent ex-criminal dwarf. Though this group's cooperation in the previous books was usually shown to be strained and tolerated out of necessity, in this book none of the members attempt to disguise the fact that they've developed respect and love for one another.
Another unprecedented element of this book occurs when an actual rival for Artemis appears. Minerva, a child genius slightly younger than Artemis, mysteriously appears at each of the demon sightings, and she manages to steal the demon Artemis was going to rescue. He is surprised and angered, but at the same time he happens to be reluctantly going through puberty, and finds the young Minerva attractive and interesting in spite of himself.
And speaking of puberty, a lot of strange things are going on in the demon world. Lonely demon No1 is the oldest demon to have not "warped," which is the quick and violent way normal demons change from children to adults. He isn't even recognized with a real name because demons don't get names until they warp. Because No1 is still an imp, he gets teased a lot, and since warping is brought on by bloodlust and he doesn't really get angry, he feels he's likely to just be crapped on his whole life. An elder challenges him and he unexpectedly responds with an act of magic, which is almost unheard-of for demons. There hasn't been a warlock in thousands of years. But warlock demons also don't ever warp. No1's wheels start turning, and he suggests to the elder that he might be a warlock. He is harassed and mocked, and the elder suggests he go throw himself into the volcano. He ends up getting spirited away by the unraveling spell when he goes too close to the volcano. Before he knows what's going on, he's been kidnapped by Minerva, and the chase is on.
I don't want to give too many spoilers, but watching Artemis try to interact with another child genius and finding out how to call the shots with this extra element is quite amusing. Also, Holly's internal wrestle with her perception of her career and Mulch's usual quips and butt jokes are nice constants. The little demon imp is cute--after he figures out how to use the magical gift of tongues, he repeatedly uses it to name several synonyms for every interesting word he comes across--and he ends up being a very powerful little critter. After Artemis and crew end up having to fix a mistake Minerva created, a dangerous bomb and a dimensional jump cause all kinds of problems, and Artemis learns in a very intimate way the importance of magic.
My favorite bits of the book involved No1 finding his warlock mentor, watching a couple bad guys (Leon Abbot and Billy Kong) get theirs, and--most especially--watching Artemis use his intellect to serve his emotions. In some of the later scenes the readers get to see what Holly and Artemis--the ol' buddies--really mean to each other, and the utter and complete devotion of Butler.
The book does not end on a cliffhanger, but nevertheless leaves many dangling ends for the next volume.
Yet another code is printed at the bottoms of the pages, just like in the first and fourth Artemis books. Fans of the books who have bothered to learn the Gnommish alphabet can translate and read a second little story along the bottom of each page. I of course did this. It was a very informative list of tips in navigating in demon society, and included such gems such as when it is appropriate to slap which buttock in demon sign language. (Remember--if a demon slaps his LEFT cheek he's inviting you to go hunting on the full moon, but if he slaps his RIGHT cheek he is simply saying that you remind him of his right buttcheek. And don't forget, you should never stab a demon with his own sword. It's really offensive. Use your own sword for that.)
A couple favorite quotes:
Foaly the centaur: " . . . We do have a shower room. You do know what a shower is, don't you, Diggums?"
Mulch Diggums: "Yes, I do. And I know a donkey when I see one, too."
Foaly the centaur: "The charges were dropped. You were not exonerated. It's a different thing. Slightly."
Mulch Diggums: "Yes, like a centaur and a donkey are different things. Slightly."
Butler: "It's normal to be distracted by girls. Natural."
Artemis: "Nevertheless, I have to control it, Butler. I have things to do."
Butler: "Control puberty? If you manage that, you'll be the first."
Artemis: "I generally am."
Mulch: "What about shin extensions? You could be taller in hours."
Holly: "Maybe you could get a brain extension."
Mulch: "Oh, brilliant. I must write that one down in my witty retorts book."
Foaly (Talking about his own invention): "The thing is beyond genius."
Mulch: "Same old Foaly. Modest to a fault."
Foaly (kicking at Mulch): "Keep it up, Diggums. I could snap at any moment. I am half beast, remember."
Narration, point of view of No1: No1 trudged onward past the final warning, which, with typical demon subtlety, was in the form of a blood-reddened wolf skull mounted on a stick. "What's that even supposed to mean? A wolf's head on a stick. Big wolf barbecue tonight. Bring your own wolf."
No1 (after losing part of a finger in a dimensional jaunt): "A theater. I'm in a theater. With only seven and a half fingers. I have only seven and a half fingers, not the theater."
Narration, point of view of Holly Short: The three humans propped the golf bag against the table and stared at it as if . . . as if there were a demon inside. (Note: There was.)
Narration, point of view of Holly Short: Sool was the king of red tape. As the dwarfs said, He couldn't make a decision if he was holding a jug of water and his bum-flap was on fire.
Foaly: "Hey, look--your girlfriend is saying something."
Narration, point of view of Artemis Fowl: Artemis had a vast mental reserve of scathing comebacks at his disposal, but none of them covered girlfriend insults. He wasn't even sure if it was an insult. And if it was, who was being insulted? Him or the girl?
Holly, to Mulch: "You are not to injure him. Just entertain him for a minute."
Mulch: "Entertain him? How am I supposed to do that?"
Artemis: "Use your dwarf talents. Young children are inquisitive. Eat some rocks. Pass wind. Little Beau will be fascinated."
Mulch: "Couldn't I just shoot him?"
Mulch: "I don't mean kill him. Just knock him out for a few minutes. Kids like naps. I'd be doing him a favor, really."
Read about other volumes: Artemis Fowl * Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident * Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code * Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception * Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox * The Artemis Fowl Files