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 ' 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

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