Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Artemis Fowl Quick Review

Eoin Colfer (said to be pronounced "Owen Colfer", instead of as the sound a modem trying to eat a bullfrog would make) wrote a fairly decent Hitchhiker's Guide sequel so I've been reading his modern pulp series "Artemis Fowl".  They are very good and brisk.  The audiobooks are well produced (there seem to be two versions of every book and I have been listening to the ones read by Nathaniel Parker).  The written books have some curiously paragraphed dialog, but nothing that makes it too hard to understand which character is speaking.  They are exciting while still managing to refrain from "and then!" storytelling, a feat largely accomplished by the multiple viewpoints around pivotal events which are presented sequentially though they occur simultaneously in the fictional world.  This moderates the pace a bit but also has the effect of letting cliffhangers dangle longer so suspense actually builds.  Sometimes the adventures approach the level of shooting fish in a barrel, but not often.  The main character's strengths and those of his allies are extreme and grow as the series progresses, but this is balanced by increasing their handicaps every so often.  For example, Artemis develops a conscience.  The superhuman Butler ages.  Technology blinks out at inopportune moments.  Nothing feels either forced or inevitable which is key to keeping readers interested.

I recommend the audiobooks over the written editions.  The voices are worth the extra time.