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Review: The Last Guardian (Artemis Fowl, Book 8) by Eoin Colfer

Summary: Evil pixie genius Opal Koboi strikes again, planning to cause the fairy world a lot of mayhem and end the human world, period. Teen genius Artemis Fowl and his motley band of friends pursue her to Fowl Manor, where Opal resurrects ancient fairy warriors to help her carry out her plots. It’ll take all the brains (and unfortunately, athletic coordination) that Artemis possesses to stop her in time.

Review: It’s been nearly 10 years since I first opened the shimmery gold cover of the first Artemis Fowl book. I’ve appreciated Colfer’s unique wit more and more as I’ve gotten older, so this series is not just one for the kids. I never hesitated to buy the next book in the series whenever it was released, eager to follow the further adventures of a  boy genius, a compassionate LEPrecon, a man mountain, a kleptomatic dwarf, and a paranoid centaur.

Nevertheless, it is high-time for the series to end. The last few books, while entertaining, have felt slightly stale in comparison to the first half of the series. Thankfully, while The Last Guardian is by no means the best Artemis adventure, it is a pretty satisfying ending.

Our boy wonder has developed from a nightmare child to a young man with a big heart, and the final book takes some time to reflect on this change. In fact, Colfer draws some nice parallels to the first book (for instance, most of the action once again takes place at Fowl Manor), and brings the whole series full circle. There’s a tang of bittersweetness, but that always occurs when fictional friends are left behind.

The action begins almost immediately and barely ceases, as the characters scarcely have time to catch a breath while trying to foil Opal’s most destructive plot yet. Saving the world is nothing new for Artemis and company, but for the grand finale Colfer sets up a scenario that’s darker than his usual Opal schemes. Perhaps it is for this reason that some of the humor seems more forced than usual, and occasionally feels poorly timed. Mulch, a character who is funny or cringe-worthy by turns, unfortunately leans towards the latter in this installment. Still, there is fun to be had. Butler gets delightfully sassy, and Foaly has some hilarious dealings with his own technology.

After three different books with Opal as the criminal mastermind, it was really time for Colfer to move on to a new villain. A fun yet totally despicable character in the past, by this point she was wearing thin on me. She finally receives the end she deserved long ago.

In short: While lacking the verve of the first few books, this series finale still provides enough thrills, laughs, and closure to satisfy most Artemis Fowl fans.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Something similar: Artemis Fowl is unique enough that I’m hard-pressed to recommend something similar…just go back and re-read the first books in the series, okay? Or Colfer’s funny yet very dark Airman.

Cover & Title: As someone who’s collected all the previous books, it’s frustrating that the cover design suddenly changed with the last few books. But the newer American covers are interesting, so I won’t complain too much. And it seems to be a thing for last books in a series to have “last” or “final” in the title :)

Where I got the book: Ordered off of Amazon.com

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2 comments on “Review: The Last Guardian (Artemis Fowl, Book 8) by Eoin Colfer

  1. Streetlight Reader
    July 24, 2012

    I haven’t read the last book or The Atlantis Complex (well I started it, but never got around to finishing it) and I have to agree that the last few books have been lacking the magic that the first three possessed. Also after reading The Time Paradox I felt like the series lacked the strength to go on, so I was surprised when Colfer came back with The Atlantis Complex. Great Review btw :)

  2. backtothebookshelf
    July 24, 2012

    Thank you! I think things started going downhill after the fourth book, although I will say I liked Time Paradox a little better after re-reading it. Atlantic Complex or Lost Colony would probably be my least favorite…but, yeah, sometimes an author should know when to wrap things up.

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