Eoin Colfer's bestselling antihero is back in Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident
--the superb sequel to the hyper-hyped Artemis Fowl
, shortlisted for the Whitbread Children's Book of the Year. The Arctic Incident
sees the slightly older, perhaps slightly more mellow arch-criminal Artemis recovered from his last adventure, richer now that he has his half of a hoard of fairy gold, and happier since the Clarice Starlingesque superfairy Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon returned his mother's ailing mind to full health.
But there is still much unfinished business: Artemis Fowl Sr. disappeared when a daring escapade designed to free his family from their criminal--not to mention deeply lucrative--past and move the family's assets into legitimate enterprises went horribly wrong. Held captive by the Mafiya (the Russian organized crime syndicate) for over two years, he has been declared officially dead, but Artemis Jr. knows in his heart (yes, he does have one) that his beloved father is still alive, and he is determined to find him. Meanwhile Captain Short is temporarily on assignment to Customs and Excise as punishment for letting Fowl separate her and her People from their gold and is finding her stakeout duties a little dull. It soon becomes obvious that the pair have need of each other's considerable skills, and before long they are on track for an adventure that will ultimately have far-reaching consequences for both of them.
If you enjoyed the first book, you won't be disappointed by the second. Initially the pace is a little slower, and the slightly more mellow Artemis is certainly a tad unnerving at first (particularly as one of the things that made him such an unusual character was the fact that there was something distinctly unlikable about him), but once the sparks between Holly and Artemis begin to fly, and the adventure that tests their endurance to their emotional, physical, and intellectual limits begins, the pages just keep on turning.
The high-tech hocus pocus, the complex underworld, and the James Bond-style storyline will keep even the most reluctant reader enthralled. Add to the mix a fair dollop of humor, the occasional sprinkling of right-on commentary about the state of the planet, and enough hooks in the story to ensure you will be clamoring for the next book. This chilling, thrilling adventure is a seriously cool (in more ways than one!) must-read for anyone age 9 and older. --Susan Harrison
From Publishers Weekly
Rocketing readers back into a world of modern fairies (they pack heat and wear motorized wings), Colfer here reunites 13-year-old antihero Artemis with his former kidnap victim, Captain Holly Short, an elf officer with the LEPrecon (Lower Elements Police Reconnaissance) squad. As the erstwhile arch enemies join forces to squelch a power-hungry pixie's coup attempt in one world and to rescue Artemis's long-missing father in another (he's being held for ransom by the Russian Mafiya), the boy proves he has a heart after all, even as he builds his reputation as a world-class criminal mastermind. Once again, the roller coaster of a plot introduces a host of high jinks and high-tech weaponry as Colfer blends derring-do with snappy prose ("The broad grin disappeared like a fox down a hole") and repartee ("Hey, Mulch, if you listen really hard you can just about make out the sound of nobody giving a hoot"). The resulting fantasy hosts memorable characters, many of whom (such as the flatulent dwarf Mulch Diggums) reprise roles that helped attract fans to the first adventure. The author ratchets up the body count in this return engagement (perhaps too steeply for some tastes), and the high-concept premise may be a tad slick for others, but Colfer's finger is firmly on the pulse of his target market, and along with extra helpings of sly humor ("The sprite's breathing calmed, and a healthy green tinge started to return to his cheeks") he delivers a cracking good read. Ages 10-up.
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