Do no evil

Do no evil
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First Published: Sat, Feb 03 2007. 12 00 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Feb 02 2007. 09 04 PM IST
There are two likely outcomes if a person of impressionable age reads Eoin Colfer’s fifth installment of the Artemis Fowl book: they will either want to be an author like Colfer or a criminal mastermind like Artemis.
Neither would be a bad career choice, really. In Artemis Fowl and The Lost Colony, Colfer’s writing style has gotten cheekier, he’s recklessly endangered the neck of his hero more times than the 376 pages can handle and introduced all kinds of gadgets. Just the kind of life a 13-year-old would want to write about, if not live.
In Lost Colony , Artemis has to prevent an ancient time spell from coming apart, so that the world of demons doesn’t hurtle into that of mankind, resulting in that end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it chaos that Colfer does so charmingly well.
Of course, Artemis has the best kind of outer-worldly help and hinderance. Besides Butler, his Hugo Boss-wearing bodyguard, Artemis’ pixie friend and Lower Elements Police commander Holly Short has a new job, a sexy new matte black uniform and a helmet that can do everything but poach eggs. Mulch Diggums and Foaley do the things they’re best at—eat and excrete dirt and dream up gadgets, respectively. Two delightful new characters on Team Fowl are the pixie smuggler Doodah Day and the imp warlock named No 1.
As for the bad guys, there are a few licensed killers and bloodthirsty imp commanders with tiny brain cells. But they’re all sidekicks when compared with 12-year-old Minerva Paradizo, another child genius who starts out as being the only believable threat to Artemis’ plan. She ingeniously captures an imp and tries to use him to win the Nobel Prize, but thanks to Artemis, we’re spared the youngest-ever Nobel Prize winner.
Of course, the juvenile genius boy develops a small crush on the juvenile genius girl, because she’s the only person his age he can relate to and admire. And she’s the only one who could beat him at his own game.
It’s all great going—mayhem, failed world dominion plans and multiple kidnappings, till Colfer puts a spoke in the wheel. Everyone keeps turning good. Poor Artemis has, in the previous books, renounced his evil ways, and Minerva catches this do-gooder bug too. What use is a criminal genius if she’s not, well, a criminal?
We read Harry Potter for good triumphing over evil. We read Artemis Fowl because sometimes naughty is nice.
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First Published: Sat, Feb 03 2007. 12 00 AM IST
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