I still believe that this series should have ended on book six, that the disaster that was book seven should have never seen the light of day. But the eighth and final book of the Artemis Fowl saga was an almost equally fitting finale, one that brings full closure to the story of a boy who captured readers’ hearts by being the best plotter of dastardly acts this side of Professor Moriarty.
In The Last Guardian, Opal Koboi is determined to take over the world once and for all. When her escape plan results in nearly all human and fairy electronics going offline, the fairy world is laid bare for all humans to see. Oh, it also wakes up the spirits of millennia-old warriors that have been laying dormant under the Fowl estate, three of whom happen to possess Artemis’ twin brothers and Juliet Butler. It’s up to Holly and Artemis to save not only his family, but the whole world of humans as well.
Now here’s a slight spoiler that you probably won’t mind: There is one subplot in the series that has been hinted at since around book four. There have been dropped insinuations of a potential romantic relationship between Holly and Artemis, and it has never sat well with me. In fact, the entire idea just seemed all sorts of wonky. Artemis is a young teen; Holly is somewhere in her late 20s-early 30sish by fairy standards as near as I can tell, meaning she’s a ripe ol’ 80 years old. I’m all for love being age blind, but even that seems a little excessive. I know others who have read the stories have the same misgivings — some to the extent where they won’t read the newest book until someone confirms that Artemis and Holly definitely don’t hook up. And don’t worry, fellow squeamish friends. Nothing of that sort is in this book at all.
In fact, the story took an entirely different direction than I expect from YA fiction — especially something like Artemis Fowl, which edges closer to Middle Reader than true YA. Then again, the author, Eoin Colfer, has always been one to throw a wrench into conventional plot lines. In the end, it was about self-sacrifice, but not the Harry Potter by-self-sacrifice-I-mean-me-and-everyone-else sort of plot device. This was real, individual heroism that had consequences and repercussions that shake down through the whole series.
That actually makes the story sound a lot heavier than it actually was. It was a fast, fun read, full of sparks of humor (so much time with Foaly, awesome) and plenty of action. The only real complaint I have is that the book is so Artemis heavy that it sort of pushed Holly to the background, and Holly is hands down one of my favorite literary chicks of all time.
Okay, that’s like complaining that a Percy Jackson book was a little heavy on the Percy Jackson. By this point, Artemis has earned a true moment to shine, to use all that brain power and sort-of-developed morals and put them to good use. It’s an end that I certainly didn’t see coming, but one that was wholly satisfying. The last lines brought on a smile, the sort that is at once sad and happy.
It’s hard to let these characters go, but I am beyond grateful that they had one final, grand hurrah.
What think you, Canaries?
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