@kangjason on Deviantart
This is part of a series where I review final books in series. Part of this post was published on The Lakehouse Forums earlier this month.
Earlier this month, I read one of my most- and least-anticipated books of the year. Artemis Fowl and The Last Guardian. Most anticipated, because Artemis Fowl is my favorite series ever. The books are hysterical, poignant, suspenseful, engaging, and just enjoyable to read. I really didn't want this series to end, but after reading The Last Guardian, I'm a bit glad that it did.
My deepest regret is to say that it was not, in fact, a slam dunk for this series. The general fan response has been favorable, but I was a bit disappointed. The book is a notable departure from the rest of the series.
The characters are mostly spot on, as usual. And it doesn't fail to make you laugh! Eoin Colfer is still the funniest and best writer(although perhaps not plotter) ever! The narration is amazing as usual.
The main thing I disliked(same problem with the book before, Atlantis Complex) was lack of plot complexity. It's still a relatively good plot compared to the field of children/YA fiction, but compared to the first six books in the series, with layers upon layers of intrigue and pwningness and defeating different antagonists/conflicts consecutively as well as simultaneously(there has been a lot of comparison with Opal Deception, where reading was like watching an intricate chess game between the two geniuses), it's just not as stunningly woven.
They went a little far with Artemis's redemptive spirit..he turns out sorta like a pansy. It's great that he's redeemed and all, but if you're like me, you kind of miss the days when he was just a deliciously-awesome ruthless evil genius. Now, he's just like SAVE ALL THE LIVES.
There are some GLARINGLY MAJORLY OBVIOUS continuity errors. They aren't really vital to the plot, but they do make you wince a bit.
My favorite part of these books was always the part when Artemis's "ace in the hole" big plan climax, was revealed. This book had one, but it wasn't as climactic as it could have been.
The ENDING. If you've read this book, you'll know what I'm talking about. The-the ending..it's just...ajfd;lsjfl;asdfjsdl;ajkfklasd. it's very.....different. Not really that "ahh, wipe away a tear" feeling I like at the end of books...it was more like "....?!!! huh? what the heck did I just read" At first when I finished reading it I was ready to flip a table at how darn weird and unnatural the ending seemed. I was convinced that someone had kidnapped Eoin Colfer and wrote the ending under his name, not to mention upset that the amazingly beautiful series that was Artemis Fowl had to endure that kind of ending. I read it several times over and I guess I sort of warmed up to it... the ending's not terrible...it's either very predictable or totally not predictable, depending on who you are. It is predictable, I guess...but it still catches you by surprise in the "I-can't-believe-they-are-really-gonna-do-that-wait-did-that-seriously-just-happen???" way. Of course Artemis Fowl was gonna end in a way that wasn't the usual book ending, but...it was just woah.
So how did it rank on my series ending scoresheet?
Break from tradition: 5/10
The beginning and middle of the book was a bit like watching a replay of scenes from all the previous books stitched together, except with a different setting. They didn't really do anything special-someone important escapes, makes big plan to end civilization, Arty&co go to stop that plan, chaos ensues, Mulch saves the day, etc.
The end of the book was really......something. It certainly broke from tradition.
Climax of the series: 6/10
The world was certainly in more chaos than it had been in previous AF novels. The disaster/destruction did feel a little rushed.
As for "Artemis's biggest challenge yet", my frustration is that we never really got the chance to find out whether this Opal(alright, you know it's Opal if you've read the back cover) is Artemis's biggest intellectual match, or if she's just sheer numbers and luck. We only get a couple limited scenes with Opal's power, and no scenes with Opal's intellect versus Artemis's, unlike say, the Temple of Artemis scenes in The Opal Deception.
If I had to pick Artemis's greatest challenge, I guess it would have to technically be this one. If someone explained his situation to you, you would agree that he was pretty screwed. The book has a desperate feeling to it, which was nice although a bit depressing.
The suspense was mostly waiting to see what Artemis's plan would be. It didn't seem as urgent and I didn't read as hurriedly as I read the other books, although it is properly suspenseful and driven as a series as high-quality as AF should be. Artemis's plot and the subsequent reveal felt supremely rushed.
I say nothing. Besides the fact that I was disappointed with the deaths in the novel, how they were resolved, and the emotion they left behind. Deaths should make me feel angry/sad/moved, and I didn't.
"Ahhh" feeling. 7/10
I think the proper term is catharsis or closure. I wish there were more closure. I can't say anything about the ending without spoiling it for you. Nevertheless, most fans that have read it, I believe, either find it horrible or find it perfect.
One thing I really loved was that for each character, there were very short passages sprinkled throughout the book providing a perspective on them over the whole series. It's like each character is sort of closed off individually throughout the book, and the result is very unique and touching.
I agree with those who said that the series should have ended at The Time Paradox, as Atlantis Complex and this book just weren't up to par with the brilliance that was the beginning of the series. Nothing could make me love the series any less or tarnish that brilliance. The series is still a head above any other series in the field, but it wasn't quite the explosive ending we fans had hoped for.
Stay tuned for Kane Chronicles #3 The Serpent's Shadow review coming after this!