Thursday, November 15, 2018

Of Mud Men and Bargains | Arctic Incident Ch 4-7 | #AFReadAlong

Welcome back! Today we're discussing chapters 4-7 of Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident.

Strap in. ^_^


Artemis Fowl awakes in a rather traditional-looking interrogation room in the Lower Elements, but questioning doesn't go quite as he expects, when Foaly the centaur appears with a stranger plunger device that knocks him back into unconsciousness. While Foaly uses his amazing! and astounding! tech to decipher whether Artemis has ever seen goblins or soft-nose lasers, Captain Holly Short and Commander Root are not terribly impressed with his accomplishments, prodding him on how that pixie Koboi -the head of Koboi Laboratories and target of B'wa Kell vengeance- is 'one pretty sharp female.' Foaly -as all brilliant egotistical inventors- does not take kindly to comparison with his competition and insists, not for the first time, that letting any one company have all the LEP's business isn't a good idea; "...if those labs go under, all we'd have are the DNA cannons in Police Plaza and a few cases of electric stun guns." Besides, Opal Koboi is not stable. 

Artemis is cleared of involvement with the B'wa Kell but, despite Holly's insistence that the boy could become an even bigger problem than the goblins and their building war against the LEP, Root knows that the humans' skills would be invaluable in tracking down the mysterious battery-seller. Artemis, of course, won't do nothing for nothing, and he strikes a deal with the fairies to help them if they will assist him in attempting to rescue his father.

Meanwhile, we're taken into the heart of Koboi Laboratories and their special weapons permits and DNA cannons, all meant to protect them from the B'wa Kell and to protect by extension the LEP's own weapons and security, all chipped with Koboi technology. Of course, this is when we learn that Opal Koboi really isn't stable. She is, in fact, one of the masterminds behind the B'wa Kell uprising, all in an effort to obtain the power of the monarchs, which hasn't been held by any fairy in centuries. Her partner-in-crime is none other than the demoted and humiliated Briar Cudgeon, former erstwhile friend of Julius Root, a backstabber with a vendetta, and he's a little touchy on the subject of his deformed face. Together, Koboi and Cudgeon plot how best to foil the LEP's search for the B'wa Kell mastermind, and how best to use their human slave, Luc Carrere...

Holly Short is the lucky fairy assigned to escort the humans to Paris, to track down a specific human identified from one of their goblin prisoners (thanks to Foaly's amazing! and astounding! tech). The unlikely trio have something close to civil conversation as Artemis gathers information on Russia before Holly pilots them through the chutes, scaring them just enough to make her smile. In Paris, their on their own; magma flares are acting up and disrupting fairy communications. Butler doesn't need much help, though; it doesn't take him long to find Luc Carrere and even less time to confront him. Unfortunately, the greedy French P.I. has already been given instructions; Cudgeon has mesmerized Carrere to expect someone asking after the batteries and when they arrive to 'take their picture' -with the barrel of a softnose laser. Butler uses the only tool on hand -the Safteynet, a prototype of Foaly's to suppress laser fire but not quite big enough to protect Butler's frame, let alone another human. Luckily, Butler is brains as well as brawn; he uses the Safteynet to suppress the laser itself, saving both their lives. And in the aftermath, Butler uses a old trick to determine just how much Carrere knows about the People and the answer: nothing.

Underground again, Root is relieved the People are safe from the human threat. Artemis isn't convinced; everything went just a little too smoothly. But he's done his part, and Foaly has managed to trace the untraceable email from Russia. They have a name: Mikhael Vassikin. Vassikin works for a syndicate of the Mafiya who make most of their money kidnapping European businessman -none of whom ever survive.

While Artemis plots in earnest, Cudgeon and Koboi decide to send a welcoming party of their own to Russia. A B'wa Kell hit squad, with Julius Root's name at the top of their docket.

And despite all the tension of upcoming rescues, tangling with Mafiya, and the B'wa Kell uprising, Captain Holly Short still manages to find joy in the simple things in life: like managing to frighten a seven-foot tall Mud Man with a tiny spray can of anti-radiation foam and its unique bouquet of 'hermit dwarf'.


"Okay, Mud Boy," said the figure. "Just relax and this might not hurt too much." -Can we appreciate Foaly's terrible bedside manner, please? There are many things I love about this centaur, and all his lip is definitely the biggest, especially when it winds him in trouble.

Let the record show the momentous occasion that takes place in this chapter: the first official meeting of Artemis Fowl and Foaly the Centaur, two genii a little too smart for their own good.

Personally, I love that Briar Cudgeon returns in this sequel as the villain. It's such a classic move, disgruntled-turned-villainous. Sometimes though, I wonder if things would have gone differently for Opal down the road, if Cudgeon hadn't instigated her turn to actual villainy?

Holly grinned tightly. "There's so much irony here I could write a poem. The kidnapper asking for help with a kidnapping." And asking his former kidnappee, no less! Have you no shame, Artemis?

Speaking of shame... I apparently can't leave Artemis and his development alone. He tells Holly about the kidnapping "Sometimes plans don't translate smoothly from paper to real life." while cleaning non-existent dirt from under his perfectly manicured nails, with previous mentions about 'harboring some doubts' about that specific venture and 'can't we wipe the slate clean?' Artemis obviously wants, if not forgiveness, than at least to put his past behind them all, but this is terribly unfair since he won't recognize his own faults about kidnapping Holly in the first place. Which is even more interesting when you link it back to Dr. Po's diagnosis, that Artemis doesn't respect anyone else enough to treat them as equals and he won't find peace if he keeps running away from his problems.
I love characters. ^_^

"No," she growled, "we wouldn't want him getting a fright." Every little defiance on Holly's part is such sweet revenge -and well deserved too. Better watch your back, Arty; Holly's not one to mess with.

And as we opened with Foaly, it seems only right we close with him, as well.
...decided to get right to the point.
"Very well, Mud Man. Keep your hair on."

Well, almost directly to the point.

The humor in these books is always so on point, guys. I love them so much.

#FowlDay Challenges

You're mission, should you choose to accept it, is to join in the discussion or all around good time fan party that is the Artemis Fowl Read Along by completing one or more of these tasks:
  • Share some of your own commentary of Chapters 4-7 with me!
  • Share your favorite quote from this week's reading.
  • Compile an Artemis Fowl music playlist (this will be a continual challenge throughout the Read Along, but keep me updated on song choices!)

Join in next week as we tackle chapter 8-10 -and some of my favorite scenes of The Arctic Incident.

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