Thursday, March 21, 2019

Arty has the best friends | TTP Ch 9-12 | Artemis Fowl Read Along


Welcome back to this week's Fowl Day, the hottest Artemis Fowl-themed weekly celebration on the Internet!

Chapter 9: The Prince Frog


Young Artemis has done some nasty deeds up to now. And while he's en route to Fez to deal with a man he despises and seal the fate of an adorable little lemur he is pointedly ignoring, doubt begins to poke through his thoughts. I am swimming with the sharks, he thinks. But the realization goes deeper and startles the young would-be criminal mastermind. He isn't just swimming with the sharks; he's about to become one of them.

And for us, there is an unspoken question here: Is that what Artemis really wants?

Up to now, young Artemis has been portrayed only as cold and, yes, misguided. When Kronski asks about his father, though, we see him react emotionally (by Artemis' standards, anyway) and it really suckerpunched me with the reminder that this is still the Artemis I love -younger, more vulnerable, with less experience handling it all, and two more years -two whole years, guys, of absolute hell- ahead of him.

I suddenly want to give him a huge hug.

Even though he'd hate it.

And probably have Butler do something painful to me.

For as much as I berated Arty for tricking and manipulating Holly, I do rather enjoy seeing him wracked with guilt. Sure, I occasionally enjoy watching favorite characters suffer and grow in painful awkward ways, but this shows how much Artemis has truly grown from that first moment we saw him in Ho Chi Minh City. The fact that Arty is wracked with guilt -that he can't brush it off or justify it, that he knows he has to tell Holly the truth- is a sign of just how far he's come and actually of just how decent a person he's turning out to be.

I like that, for Artemis the elder, Butler's voice keeps popping up in his head. The bodyguard is, after all, not simply a bodyguard and manservant, but Artemis' confidante, his conscience, constant companion, and closest friend. It makes sense that Arty misses Butler by his side (especially when faced with the bodyguard's younger counterpart) and I love that Butler's voice isn't just being used as a voice of conscience or reason, but also for casual, Butler-ish comments and wit, off of which Artemis readily plays.

I've done this. It's not unusual for me to have imaginary conversations with friends who aren't there, because something I know they would say just pops into my head.

...you do that too, right? Arty and I aren't crazy?

Holly is really going to make Artemis pay for his manipulations. I should have made popcorn for this.

Chapter 10: A Fowl Mood


Holly understands why Artemis manipulated her, even if she can't forgive him yet. She does feel she misjudged their friendship and realizes now that all she and Artemis can ever have is what they've only ever had: a grudging respect.

But this is a lie. Holly's wrong. From the events of The Opal Deception to The Lost Colony, they moved out of 'grudging respect' territory and straight into the role of friends and there's no denying it.

Yes, Artemis screwed up. Yes, you should be angry at him, Holly. But you can't pretend you didn't have a friendship.

Commander Julius Root.
...remember when I said I'd forgotten a lot about this book?

Root waxing poetic about throwing in the towel, then grinning over a call from Holly because it's fairies like her -fairies he's trusting and grooming to take over when he's gone- that keep him holding onto his job. Fairies like Holly need him and what he has to teach, and that's why he'll hold onto those Commander's acorns as long as he needs to.

What gets me most of all, though, is that Root thinks of himself as '[Holly]'s doting grandfather', even if he doesn't want her to see it yet. My heart!

Holly getting the opportunity to thank Julius for everything, to show her appreciation and understanding for everything he's done for her, is one of the best moments. Maybe it's fan service. I don't care. It mends and breaks my heart at once.

And just like that, Artemis x Holly is done. YAY!
But at least their friendship is back on track.

THEY NAMED THE LEMUR AFTER JULIUS!
...excuse me while I go cry a little over this and the adorable nickname Jayjay...

Chapter 11: Pigeon Droppings


Kronski just showed up to the meet in a tailored camouflage SUIT.
I'm not sure 'preposterous' does this quite enough justice.

On page 205, when Artemis summarizes the upcoming exchange to Holly, he refers to the lemur as 'it', which is a way of emotionally detaching himself and objectifying the lemur rather than seeing him as a living creature (thanks, I Am Not A Serial Killer!). We've already covered that Artemis holds (and represses) a lot of guilt over his role in the lemur's extinction and, despite the fact he's now trying to save the creature, his calling him an 'it' is an extension of that guilt reaching into the present (future? past? oh never mind).

But Holly won't it. (Literally.) She sees exactly what Artemis is doing and she jumps on it. Him, she corrects, because the lemur is male; 'and his name is Jayjay.'

I love this. Artemis doesn't even try to fight her on it; from here on out, he refers to the lemur as Jayjay and there's no ducking out of an attachment now. Holly has once again helped him kick a bad habit, own up to his actions, and helped him grow.

Young Artemis, it turns out, is a sly little weasel!
Once again, things go nothing like Artemis the elder predicts and this time he and Holly fall right into his younger self's trap -into the clutches of Kronski. I want to strangle the younger Artemis and yet, at the same time, I know that if this story was solely told from his perspective, I would be cheering him on right now.

Bravo, Eoin; bravo.

I rather enjoy the fact that Artemis the elder is consistently underestimating his younger self, especially because that is exactly what he hated that when he was younger but also realized at the time that his age could be an advantage as it would cause people to underestimate him.

And now that Artemis the elder has 'sacrificed his queen for a rook' he finally realizes his younger self is not only as smart as himself, but far more ruthless.

Irony, party of one?
...or is that two?...

Chapter 12: Gone Forever


Okay. I realize I'm about to over-analyze a humorous but ultimately innocuous bit of exposition, but I can't help it!

First of all, Artemis occasionally writes romance novels under the pseudonym Violet Tsirblou (that pun took me a minute, but I knew one was there!). Considering his 13-year-old self will take to writing psychology papers under another pseudonym, obviously the 'rather childish' equivalent the ten-year-old would write is romance.

Second, in the 5-minute reprieve driving to Kronski's compound granted young Artemis for ironing out the plan in the presence of his 'enemy', he's so confident and self-assured of his plan (and however far out it might extend) that he frivolously uses two of those minutes to plot a romance novel.

Third, Artemis plots a romance novel in two minutes.

Kronski says something weird on page 222 that I don't understand yet:
"You ever think it strange, Ah-temis, how a kid like you winds up eyeball to eyeball with an old crook like me?" ... "It delights me...that a boy such as you exists."

Is this foreshadowing something? Or an aspect of Kronski that isn't explored? Or maybe just a random comment?
If you've got a thought on this, let me know! I'm super curious.

"That will be the guilt gnawing at your soul."
Awww, Butler.

Everybody needs a Butler. Always got your back, always the scariest person in the room, always telling you like it is, always giving you that nudge in the right direction (as forceful as he has to), and always on your side -even if it doesn't feel like it.

I remembered that Opal played into this somewhere, but not quite how. She's mesmerizing a human to do her bidding, eh? For as smart as she (thinks she) is, turns out she's rather a one-hit wonder, isn't she?

I was just thinking 'Holly's always so low on magic!' when Artemis said it. But hearing Holly tally up all her magic-uses -yeah, Arty's a lot of the reason she's never got the juice she needs.

Holly and Artemis understand each other, from anticipating each other's reactions, to knowing habits, to playing off each other to sell an off-the-cuff cover story perfectly, and this is one of the many reasons this is one of my favorite friendships.

Thanks for joining me again on the Artemis Fowl Read Along! I'll see you next week for the wrap up of The Time Paradox. Same Fowl Day, same Fowl read along.

March's reading schedule for The Time Paradox:
March 21: Chapters 9-12
March 28: Chapters 13-16

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Arty's Greatest Foe | TTP Ch 5-8 | Artemis Fowl Read Along


Chapter 5: I Now Pronounce You


"Hurkk!" and "D'Arvit" are both understandable reactions when learning you and your best-friend-of-the-opposite-gender can't simply time travel with your clothes on when an apprentice is wielding the magic.
I'm just not sure who's reaction I like more.

Twice now, Eoin has referred to the swirling runes of No1's magic as a 'Catherine wheel'. Having no idea what that was, I of course had to look it up. It is a rather marvelous type of firework. I can definitely see how this would be utterly mesmerizing. Not in a magical way. At least, not in that magical way...



Unless Eoin was referring to the 'breaking wheel', a torturous execution device used in the Middle Ages, which was rather infamously renamed the 'Catherine wheel' after being used to execute St. Catherine of Alexandria.

I suspect the firework, though.

But isn't research marvelous?

Chapter 6: I to I


Coming into this book, I was prepared for some wonderful riposte and juxtapositions between Artemis the younger and Artemis the elder. How better to see the progress my favorite formerly criminal/borderline evil genius mastermind has made than to compare him to his past self?

I wasn't quite prepared for the emotional gut punch of delving into the lasting effects and damages done to Artemis by his mother's breakdown. From two angles, no less! And I love it.

Haha, that sounds cold, I know, but I like that all of this trauma he experienced at such a tender young age -and for an extended period of time- didn't just vanish because Angeline is got better. This is something Artemis will always carry, even if he does have a good relationship now with all his family, as witnessed back in Chapter 1 with that tender moment with the twins. Recognizing those lingering scars here makes the interaction with his family earlier all the sweeter.

Oh man, guys, I've forgotten a lot about this book. Don't toss the book at me (haha), but initially I didn't love this book too much. (Honestly, I've got a rocky relationship with The Atlantis Complex and The Last Guardian, too.) I feel like I'm only now truly appreciating Time Paradox for what it is.

Another thing I love? Artemis' shock and surprise when past Butler shoots him with the tranq!

(Past) Mulch Diggums is deeply offended by the word 'friend'; obviously, Artemis is not the only one on whom these adventures have had a profound effect.

If there's a will, there's a way; or, in Artemis' case, if there's a thought, there's a plan. Time travel's fun when you're a genius. He literally only had to think of what he needs and it's there!

But thankfully, that trick only works once. After all, we can't make this too easy for a genius battling, well, himself.

Chapter 7: Talk to the Animals


The Lost Colony gave us adolescent Artemis.
The Time Paradox gives us adolescent Holly.
I'm not sure which one I enjoyed better. Okay, expect Artemis' reaction. Watching him stumble and fumble with Holly's unexpected emotions is rather more endearing and entertaining than his still-adorable befuddlement over 'girlfriend' jokes and hormones. Especially when Holly calls him 'Arty'. Really threw him for a loop, eh?

Artemis getting blindsided by a giant gorilla is reminiscent of Butler getting blindsided by the troll so long ago (or some time from now, depending on how you look at it). I expect Artemis is going to spend a lot of time walking in other people's shoes on this particular adventure.

To heal or not to heal? With Artemis at death's door, Holly is suddenly faced with an impossible choice. Let him die of his wounds or save him now, only to condemn him to the slow and painful process of Spelltropy shutting down his every organ later? That's...steep. And scarring. And all your fault, Arty.

?!?!?!??
KISSED?!
?!?!??!??!!????!!?
HOLLY KISSED ARTEMIS?!
?!??!?!??!!???!?!??!?!?!?!?

Remember just a few paragraphs ago, when I said 'oh man, guys, I've forgotten a lot about this book'?

THIS IS ONE OF THOSE THINGS.

I completely forgot this kiss happened. Seriously, I must have blocked it out. There's no other explanation for it.

Confession time: I am not a Holly x Artemis shipper. Not in the least. I think this pairing is...weird. I mean, aside from the awkward age and the whole 'separate species' differences, I honestly just prefer them as friends. They've got a great chemistry in that area and I can't see them working too well as a couple.

Having said that, I'm quite enjoying this unexpected turn of events. It's actually a great way to explore not only their relationship and how it's developed so dramatically over the years but they have each grown on their own in those years, both because of and in spite of each other.

Also, it seriously feels like Eoin is trolling the pair of them (or maybe just the readers?) by putting first Artemis and now Holly into these delicate hormonal states and hiking up the 'awkward' quota. And that, I seriously love.

While chasing after the lemur, young Artemis is starting to show an ugly side we haven't seen before, not even in the first book. He views the lemur only as euro signs and a way to power; when he kidnaps Holly, his realization and guilt over holding a living creature come on pretty quick. Of course, given the messy way things are going on this time traveling jaunt, it's entirely possible that quick guilty feeling is a subconscious remnant of the lemur incident. Time travel is tricky like that.

Butler doesn't like this ugly look on Artemis any more than I do. I'm interested to see how this will go between charge and bodyguard and, well, older charge.

"A life of crime was infinitely easier."
Okay. Let's take a minute here. I've been really hard on Arty, I know, about lying to his fairy friends and manipulating them with their resulting guilt. But now I've got to give the kid props.

He's kind of terrible at being good. And while we know Artemis isn't one to run from a challenge, I mean, everything is going wrong that possibly can -but he sticks with it. Granted, the only other option is to let his mother die, but there's something to be said for his dogged determination to do good, especially when doing bad really was so much easier for him. He had a special knack for it, a devious bent to the way his mind works, that just doesn't translate well to doing the right thing, as evidenced by the aforementioned manipulation of his friends so that he could do the right thing to save his mother.

But Artemis sticks with it, because he's realized it's worth it.

A quick shout out to Facebook follower Elizabeth White, who made me reevaluate how I've been seeing Artemis in this book. Thanks for that. ^_^

Ah, faced with the necessity of manual labor, Artemis once again vows to hit the gym once everything settles down. For what? The fourth, fifth time?
And does Artemis ever hit the gym, Fowl Fans?
No. No he does not.

Artemis getting a taste of his own medicine from his younger self is karma as its absolute worst timing. Which, I guess, is very karmic, come to think of it.

Oh, the irony! I love, love, LOVE that Artemis uses the infamous 'stay back' line not only himself, but on himself

Artemis' shock over his younger self's cruelty is revealing. Despite the guilt he's held over many of his past actions, it denotes a good helping of denial about just how ruthless he really was. Thinking back, whenever he's reminded of his past deeds, Artemis usually offers 'I was young' or 'I was immature then' or some other excuse which just screams of him not being honest with himself. But here now, face to face with his literal past self, there is no denying or skirting around what he truly was back then. And what happens?

Artemis hates himself.

Isn't it possible that this self-hatred is an emotion he's buried deep and been actively fighting or ignoring since he began his journey of growth? But here in the past, there's just no escaping it? He can't deny it when he's staring it in the face; he can't lie to himself when the truth of it is his latest opponent.

To save his moment, Artemis will have to face his greatest adversary of all. Not just himself -even that would be too easy. Artemis will have to confront -and ultimately overcome- his own self-loathing.

Oooh, ooh, and what's lurking in the back of Arty's mind, as this realization starts to sink in? How he lied to, hurt, and manipulated Holly, his best friend.

Maybe I'm reading way too much into this, but I prefer to think that Eoin is a freakin' genius.

Chapter 8: A Blob of Phlegm


I was going to say a little snarky 'I told you so, Arty' when he shatters this tender moment between him and Holly, but in the end I've really got to give him props again. This was the best thing he could do in the situation. Insecure, teenage Holly is talking what-if-we-had-a-relationship-not-friendship and Artemis knows -knows- that answering that question one way or another, with his lie hanging over it, will be the worst possible and a completely irrevocable thing to do.

Artemis shows his character here. He owns up to the mistake. Sure, it's bad timing; sure, it's hard. But it was the best thing he could do for the situation. For Holly. And, despite how much he's done to screw it up recently, it was also the best thing he could do for their friendship.

This reminds us that there is still hope for Artemis.

That Eoin refers to these emotions and tender moments very specifically 'at this tangle of time and space' just proves to me that he really is trolling the shippers. And I love it!

So tell me, what's your favorite part of this time traveling venture so far?

March's reading schedule for The Time Paradox:
March 14: Chapters 5-8
March 21: Chapters 9-12
March 28: Chapters 13-16

Thursday, March 7, 2019

There Are Always Consequences | The Time Paradox Ch 1-4 | Artemis Fowl Read Along


Chapter One: Espresso and Treacle


Hello, Fowl Twins!

My first thought on being introduced to this fascinating pair is that Beckett might very well have a rough childhood. Doubtless loved by all, but when your older brother is the genius mastermind Artemis Fowl, and your twin is looking to take after his brains, there's a lot poor Beckett is going to miss out on, a lot he's probably going to feel inadequate about, and a lot of times he's going to feel the insane pressure to prove himself and live up to the 'Fowl name'. My theory, obviously. Of course, as I read on, the more I think Beckett, while not as smart as Myles, is certainly smarter than your average two-year-old. These two will be quite a handful.

Bring on the spin-off series!

Artemis as big brother is freaking ADORABLE. Abandoning French vocabulary in favor of 'play'? Grinning at his father about finger painting? And it was all interrupted far too soon. I don't care if it doesn't really pertain to the 'plot', I want more of big brother Artemis. If Artemis pops up in the Fowl Twins frequently solely to fill the role of big brother, I will be a happy reader.

Way back in The Eternity Code, Holly makes a very good point when Artemis asks her to revive Butler. 'This was not how magic was supposed to be used.' Artemis has a history of 'doctoring' things to do what he wants and manipulating to get his way, even against nature and time itself. And as a sprite once told him so long ago '...you have no idea what you're dealing with.'

Artemis is jumping the gun here, from one conclusion to another. Mother dying of a mysterious and incurable disease? Say no more! Magic healing! He acts on very little info or research and I'm trying to mesh this behavior with his personality in my mind, because this is a very un-Artemis like thing for him to do.

On the other hand, he does have a deadline and his mother is dying; Artemis has been known to do rash and uncharacteristic things concerning endangered loved ones. I have also established -at least in my own head cannon- that Artemis also has a tendency to develop blind spots when he is too focused on something else (like trying to sell the C-Cube and not realizing the danger it might put the People in).

Okay. This works better in my head now. Moving on!

Magic doesn't work. It actually makes his mother worse. For Artemis, this is a surprise gut punch. Let's think about it; over the last 6 years (counting the 3 lost in Hybras) and five books, Artemis has come to rely on magic as his ace in the whole, his fix-all, his hi-tech duct tape. And now, when he needs a magic fix-all the most -it lets him down.

There's an interesting parallel here. Before Artemis relied so heavily on magic to solve problems, he had his intellect to do the same. The entire kidnapping/ransoming scheme was a child of his intellect, after all. He thought he understood magic then and it threw him for a loop. And from The Arctic Incident to The Opal Deception, there's been a theme under the surface, a little moral trying to poke its way into Artemis' big brain: intellect, magic, and power are nothing compared to friendship. The Lost Colony delves a little deeper into Artemis actually grasping that idea. I suspect The Time Paradox will continue on the same note, especially since 'magic' isn't going to fix this problem and -as we learn later- Artemis himself is actually the problem.

Chapter 2: The World's Biggest


Fart. The World's Biggest Fart. Mr. Colfer's flatulence humor strikes again!

Commander Trouble Kelp. How did I forget that Trouble became the Commander of Recon?! Wherever Julius Root is, I'll bet he's cackling around a noxious fungal cigar.

Holly is simply incapable of routine, easy missions. Seriously. They should just stop sending her out for 'simple' assignments; by now they must have learned they're ALL going to explode. Some more literally than others.

Chapter 3: Echoes of Magic


I love that Butler and Artemis Sr agree leaving Artemis the Genius alone is a bad idea because he could 'turn a Sunday picnic into an international incident' and Artemis just nods and accepts this without fuss, meddler and trouble magnet that he is.

CENTAUR. Artemis' security password is CENTAUR. Remember how I said these two have such an underrated relationship of jibing and competing and respect? I really need that Artemis and Foaly team-up story. Pretty, pretty please?

That's right, Arty; the only chance to save your mother and you're responsible for destroying it. This isn't the first time Artemis has done serious damage with his actions, to himself or others, but it's such a harder blow when he's finally on the straight and narrow and the repercussions are from so long ago and they hit so. damn. hard. Ain't no rest for the wicked, eh?

Chapter 4: Monkey's Uncle


If you don't automatically hear Scar in your head, what kind of childhood did you even have?

10-year-old Artemis eavesdrops on his father promising his mother the world as soon as he's finished the Russian/cola deal, and Artemis himself suspects that, once trade is established in the Arctic, his father will have trouble pulling away where there are billions more to be made.

This is interesting in two ways. 

First, that Artemis is (and has perhaps on previous occasions) predicting an unhealthy cycle in his parents' relationship of Sr promising Angeline the world (literally) only to break it for the sake of money, which he valued above all. Rather a dangerous role-model for impressionable Arty.

Second, simply a reiteration of earlier commentary. Which was it that truly changed Artemis Sr? His brush with death and imprisonment or Holly's magic?

Oh, poor Arty! Standing firm and being strong in the wake of Angeline's impending nervous breakdown -to talk finances! Poor, silly boy. It almost makes one wonder... Would Angeline have gone so far off the mental edge if her son had been there for her emotionally, rather than financially?

GUYS. 10-year-old Artemis, dressed for business in his suit for the first time, with an unfamiliar coldness in his voice. THIS IS ARTEMIS' ORIGIN STORY.

Artemis sold the lemur in attempt to save his father. Because he's responsible for the lemur's death, his mother is going to die. Yet another ironic twist of fate in this series, and I love that.

It's been mentioned before that Artemis uses music to plot, but I love the emphasis on it here. Young Arty, finger conducting while concocting his first evil scheme and present Artemis putting on a mental soundtrack to plot out how to save his mother.

Artemis NOOOOOOOOO!!! You silly, stupid boy! D'arvit! Have you learned NOTHING?! But nooo, why not just manipulate Holly again; lie to her, tell her it's her fault and make her feel immeasurable guilt, even though you're perfectly aware it wasn't her!

You just told Holly and Foaly how horrible it was that you rationalized trading the lemur for your father's life, but this isn't much different, is it?

"Be strong." Both times Artemis uses this to bolster his resolve, he shouldn't.

First, hounding his distraught mother about finances.

Second, when he considers telling Holly the truth, instead of committing to this latest -and probably worst- manipulation.

Nope, here I go. I'm about to give Artemis crap.

You, young man, are not trusting your friends again. We've talked about this! Look at all the progress you've made. You're digressing.

While guilting your friends (falsely) might have made it easier to convince them, you had other good points in your favor -how the People via Opal were just as responsible for the extinction of these lemurs as you were; how desperation drove the People to do things they never would have.

What you're relying on is their fear of another outbreak, which you know won't happen. You're manipulating them because you don't think they'll bend the rules just for your mother and father. Just for you, their friend. Because it's not like they've ever done that before.

And now? Well, I guess we won't know what they would done for you, will we? Because you didn't give them the chance to help you.

March's reading schedule for The Time Paradox:
March 7: Chapters 1-4
March 14: Chapters 5-8
March 21: Chapters 9-12
March 28: Chapters 13-16

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Heroism is a Mixed Basket | TLC Ch 13-16 | Artemis Fowl Read Along


Chapter 14: Leader of the Pack


When Holly complains about Artemis' bad timing for developing a sense of humor, Artemis explains that usually he'd be planning, but that's in Qwan's hands now.

Ladies and gentlemen, Artemis has all but admitted that the only reason he's not a comedian (read as: donning clown shoes and turning cartwheels in the main hall) is because he won't devote the time to it, among his other enterprises.

There could be an alternate reality out there where Artemis Fowl is born with a funny bone, instead of a drive for gold and power, and becomes comedic mastermind, instead of a criminal one.

At the first sign of trouble, who does Artemis miss? At the first sign of manual labor, who does Artemis miss? The mountainous, insanely strong, and deadly bodyguard, of course.

Artemis has come a long way since he first plotted to kidnap a fairy. He's developed out of some of his nastier flaws and even become something of a good guy. He may have earned the trust of his People acquaintance-turned-friends, but what would be the ultimate test for this genius criminal mind no so long since he craved only gold and power?

Give that boy some magic! We'll see his true colors before long and whether, as Qwan advised, Artemis will use this new gift wisely.

I suppose it is inevitable that the creator supreme of Mulch Diggums would demonstrate the effects of time surges with bathroom jokes and bodily functions.



As the island is breaking away, Holly catches glimpses of alternate dimensions, including enormous, multi-tentacled monsters.

Guys.
GUYS.

Eoin's talking about CTHULHU and the GREAT OLD ONES.


There is nothing quite so harsh or painful in this series as the moment Holly Short lies dying, a sword wound in her chest, bleeding out, with no hope of magic saving her and, knowing that Artemis is the only one who might possibly be able to help her, she calls out for her friend -and he regards her for a dispassionate second before turning away. Leaving Holly to die, alone; broken, scared, and abandoned.

Deep down, we know -we know!- that Artemis has a reason for this, that he's really working on a way to save her, that he's not abandoning her or casting her aside. After nearly five books watching Artemis grow into not only a hero (by tiny degrees), but into a friend, we know Artemis isn't abandoning his first and best friend to die alone.

But, D'arvit, it hurts.


Chapter 15: Home Again, Home Again


This moment, this scheme when Artemis fires the Neutrino into the past to save the lives of Holly and the warlocks after the fact, from the future -this is one of my favorite Artemis moments. Period.

This is, perhaps, his first truly heroic act. Sure, he's done some life-saving and executed grand schemes, but those were usually at the behest of another heroic figure, like Holly or his father, or they were an effort to put right his own mistakes, like saving the People from the likes of Jon Spiro.

This time is different. This time, Artemis is in now way responsible for the terrible event. This time, he has no one with greater experience to rely on. This time, he's on his own. The cost was terribly high -losing Holly- comparative to losing Butler in The Eternity Code, but this time Artemis has to do it all on his own. With Butler, Artemis could only do so much; it was up to Holly to truly save our favorite bodyguard. But more than that, with this scheme's wide margin for error -what if Abbot went for Artemis before he went for the warlocks? What if Artemis missed his literal second of opportunity?- there was every possibility it would fail. 

And if it failed, Artemis would not only have lost Holly, but he would have condemned her to die alone, abandoned, and scared.

Those are some pretty high stakes for Arty boy. So when he magically preserves the memory of shooting Abbott and erasing the possibility of his friends' grisly deaths despite the time quandary in his brain wreaking potential havoc on his sanity, it screams with significance.

And I love it.

When Artemis feels the phantom weight of the gun he shot at Abbot and also did not shoot at Abbott, he knows there will be consequences for meddling in time, but he'll bear them. That's a burden he'd gladly shoulder. Just like with Butler's deaths, Holly's was too horrible to accept. It is well worth the price of erasing.

But what, fellow readers, is that consequence going to be?

While No1 helps to power the spell and Qwan directs the casting, Holly focuses on the place, and what does Artemis get? Time. And how does our favorite boy genius properly land them back in his own time? By following his heart and relying on feelings. Not a cold, hard fact in sight. Time to embrace all that humanity and sentimentality you've been grudgingly developing, Artemis; you're going to need it.

Artemis realizes, while they're engulfed in the transportation spell and the magic is flowing through him, opening up parts of his brain that have never been used before, that once upon a time, humans had once possessed their own magic. They have forgotten how to use it.

This is a huge statement. After all, if humans have merely forgotten how to use their magic, it stands to reason they could possibly relearn it, yeah? I mean, Artemis is exceptional of course, but he took to magic pretty quick. Isn't there hope for other humans?

Hello, spin-off possibilities?

Chapter 16: Point of IMPact


One last IMP pun before we're done! Thanks, Eoin. ^_^

TWINS?!

This book honestly ends with more questions than resolutions concerning Artemis and his development.
What will Artemis tell his parents?
How will it affect and change their relationship?
TWINS?!
What consequence will Arty face for his meddling with time?
What will he do with his ill-gotten magic?
How will this especial heroic venture and its rather drastic physical and emotional costs affect our would-be hero?
So many possibilities!

The Lost Colony gave us a good look at Arty as a hero, trying to do good for the sake of doing good from the get go rather than executing some scheme of his own. Personally, I think this is a good look on him. But Artemis also got his first taste of exactly what costs heroes have to live with. We've already talked about this concerning Holly and Root in The Opal Deception, but let's look at everything Artemis gained on his first truly heroic jaunt:
  • He saved his best friend from a grisly death
  • He gets to keep that memory of his best friend's grisly death forever, and the sound of Abbott's sword sliding out of her body will haunt him for the rest of his life
  • He also gets heretofore unknown consequences for using time to change events
  • He rescued an entire species from extinction, saved hundreds of lives
  • He lost three years of his own life and caused unimaginable pain and loss to his family
I think we can all agree, this is a pretty mixed basket. That's a lot of uplifting highs and damning traumatic lows that Arty's going to have to deal with.

Artemis also gained magic, though considering it was 'stolen', that wasn't much of a heroic gain. But how that magic affects him in the future is entirely dependent on how Artemis uses it and -well, remember when I talked about Artemis' true turning point doesn't occur until The Opal Deception when he realizes he should let him family and friends help him, rather than relying solely on himself?

Artemis showed remarkable improvement in this area, and it shows in the quality and success of his schemes (with a few exceptions). Outside his initial time jaunt (which arguably wouldn't have gone as wrong if he'd worn some silver himself and kept Butler apprised of the situation), Artemis' plans do not go awry until Taipei 101, and the fault for that lies on Minerva, who insists on doing something incredibly stupid and puts them all in danger.

But the most notable exception is right here, when Artemis convinces Holly he doesn't have any magic left. Perhaps he feared the People wouldn't let him leave with it -a legitimate concern- but considering he stole it in the first place, I feel this is a step back into his old ways for Artemis Fowl. Scheming. Plotting. Doing things he knows his friends wouldn't approve of and keeping them in the dark about it. At best, this is left ambiguous until we can see the consequences ourselves in The Time Paradox, next month.

Will you join me?

But before you go! Tell me, what did you glean from The Lost Colony? Any deep, philosophical ponderings within the pages or the characters? Any jokes you finally understand? Any specials turns of phrase that made you giddy?

Please share in the comments! I want to hear everything. ^_^

March's reading schedule for The Time Paradox:
March 7: Chapters 1-4
March 14: Chapters 5-8
March 21: Chapters 9-12
March 28: Chapters 13-16

Thursday, February 21, 2019

More Reasons I Really Am No1 | TLC Ch 9-12 | Artemis Fowl Read Along

Welcome back to the Artemis Fowl Read Along! Thanks for joining me for a little commentary on chapters 9-12 of The Lost Colony.

Chapter 9: Turned Tables

We return to Holly, who has allowed herself to be taken captive by Minerva Paradizo in an attempt to rescue the demon No1. After all, Artemis knows from experience that kidnapping a fairy is tantamount to inviting a fairy into your home -and how much trouble and mischief they can wreak once they're inside. Holly is just preparing to wreak said havoc, she's running through a mental checklist of the materials at her disposal and we learn that she has left all the more impressive bells and whistles of her fairy tech behind because there was no sense risking them falling into human hands. Other than Artemis', of course.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Holly wants to protect fairy tech from humans who would abuse it. So she entrusts it to Artemis.
It shows just how far they've both developed -on their own and as friends- and I love that.

Reason #11 that I am No1 and No1 is me: How we nod furiously and with far too much enthusiasm until someone tells/makes us stop.

Reason #12: Using vocabulary as stress relief. When annoyed or frustrated I do tend to dust off some pretty splendid synonyms.

Given the dexterity and alacrity with which Foaly wields a laser, I don't think anyone Above or Below would trust that centaur with any 'happy guy' he might try inventing.
Sool giving you trouble? Shoot him with the happy gun!
Your brother getting too grumpy and picking on you? Shoot him with the happy gun!
Someone threatening to slash next year's budget? Shoot them with the happy gun!
Someone insulting your girlfriend? SHOOT THEM WITH THE LASER AND BURY THEM IN THE MAGNA SHOOTS-- achem, I mean shoot them with the happy gun.

Reason #13: Possessing that 'real gift' for sarcasm.


Chapter 10: Kong the King

Artemis has a lot of cool lines and potential catchphrases. This devious mastermind can certainly make the best of words; everyone has a favorite line of his. One of mine is whenever he's the mysterious and unexpected voice on the other end of the phone call explaining the he has a friend; he has all the numbers.
Because that we creep me the heck out if it happened to me.

I know how you feel, Holly; whenever someone asks 'Do you trust me?' things are guaranteed to get much, much worse before they (if they) ever get better. I can only imagine hearing Artemis ask that loaded question.

Chapter 11: A Long Way Down

Reason #14: Orange is definitely not for us. (Neither are muumuus.)

Because, Artemis, of course you need an elevator with the speed of fifty-five feet per second for Fowl Manor. That makes perfect sense. I mean, it's impressive you can pass 89 floors in 30 seconds but -does Fowl Manor have 89 floors?
But then it occurs to me as I type out this teasing -is this Artemis being nervous? I mean, they are embarking on one of their most dangerous missions, with some of the worst consequences yet, with little to now planning.
Isn't it possible Artemis is distracting himself from everything that could and probably will go wrong with this plan by studying this modern marvel of engineering?

I rather love No1 asking Artemis for tips on just how exactly he should play his role in all this. The role that consists -almost entirely- of opening his hand.
I love this little imp.

I wonder if it was hard Artemis to keep a straight face when he convinced No1 that, yes, of course orange floral muumuus and bonnets are perfectly normal articles of clothing for human children. I'd love to see an illustrated version of his face at that moment.

Reason #15: I, too, would feel the need to clarify that the orange floral muumuu and bonnet were not, in fact, mine.

That's it, Holly; there's always time to snap a photo of your flabbergasted bad guy right at the moment the full realization of Master Artemis Fowl's scheme dawns on them. Life's short, after all. You've got to make sure you enjoy the little things.

Chapter 12: Heart of Stone

Ah, Artemis; you and your 'characteristic lack of modesty'.

Holly and Minerva do not get along well. While they have very little time actually being on the same side, I've never actually noticed that the two girls really don't get along. Like, at all. Minerva is pre-development Artemis and Holly is so done with that phase. I guess there's only enough of a soft spot for one young, quick, arrogant, and morally ambiguous genius in the elf's heart.

It makes me curious as to how -or if- an understanding or relationship would have ever developed between the two. They certainly didn't have the best of first meetings -read as: kidnapping- but that was hardly different than her and Artemis' first meeting. But their second meeting also wasn't great; Holly tries to point out to Minerva just how royally she almost messed things up and Minerva ...says harboring guilt over her mistakes isn't good for her mental health.
On the one hand, yeah, this could be a very believable type answer coming from Artemis as well. But on the other hand, I think the key here is that -despite kidnapping Holly and watching his entire scheme almost implode around him- Artemis redeemed himself however small an amount in Holly's eyes by buying that miracle off her, in the end of book one. One action -and comparably small against everything else he did on that little adventure- but it was enough to show that he had a heart of flesh, under the layers of ice.
This, I think, is what Minerva lacks, right now anyway. And it rather feels like Holly is already writing her off as a lost cause. And, as much as I like Minerva's interaction with Artemis, I gotta admit I'm totally with Holly on this one.

That's it for this week's read along! Thanks for joining me. I'll see you next Thursday for the end of The Lost Colony.

February's reading schedule for The Lost Colony:
Feb 1-7: Chapters 1-4
Feb 9-14: Chapters 5-8
Feb 15-21: Chapters 9-12
Feb 22-28: Chapters 13-16