Hoo boy, Artemis Fowl. I read this one out of pure completism.
I was a lot younger when I started this series, back when the first few books came out, but I still think the first three are pretty good. That said, I also think that the quality of the books slowly but steadily decreases the farther you get in the series. Oddly enough, I think it’s Artemis becoming a more sympathetic character that hampers them. In the first book, Artemis was the villain. Not an entirely unsympathetic villain, but he kidnaps and imprisons Holly, who’s unambiguously a good guy. Book one is the only book in the series to pit Artemis against Holly and friends; in later books they’re allies. (Well, they do face a younger Artemis via time travel in book 6, but “our” Artemis is still present and on the side of the angels.) Once our protagonists are on the same side, the villains in later books are less complex and more cacklingly evil, and there’s no tension about which side we want to win.
Still, the first three books are all pretty solid. Books 4 through 6 don’t quite measure up, although I give book six credit for pulling off a time travel plot that actually fits together. Then came book seven, The Atlantis Complex. Ugh, Atlantis Complex. Just… no. Mostly because I really, really hated Orion. This is a series where a flatulent dwarf is a major supporting character, and Orion was still a level of silliness beyond what I was prepared to accept. So at that point, I thought I was out. There was no reason to continue reading the series any longer. Right?
But then Colfer ended the series at book 8, and I only had one book left to have read the whole thing, and, well, here we are. So, how does book 8 compare to the rest?
I’d say… about level with books 4 through 6. There was nothing in it that annoyed me as much as Orion, but I still don’t think it’s up to the level of the first three. I’ll say this for Colfer, though: he went out with a bang, because within a few chapters the villain sets off an actual global apocalypse. It’s such a bold move that I’ll forgive him for breaking from the perfectly executed time travel logic of book 6 to achieve it.
Overall, I’m not sorry I stuck around for the end of the series. But when one of my roommates saw what I was reading and mentioned she had only read up to book 3, I told her she might as well stop there.