Book review: “Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian” by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl’s magical journey that spans eight novels and one short story collection comes to an end with Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian. The official description:

Artemis Fowl’s archenemy Opal Koboi has masterminded a way to simultaneously secure her release from prison and bring the human and fairy worlds to their knees. And, unless Artemis can stop her, the evil pixie’s next move will destroy all human life on Earth.

Ground zero is the Fowl Estate, where Opal has reanimated fairy warriors who were buried there thousands of years ago. Their spirits have possessed any vessels they can find – corpses, Artemis’ little brothers, assorted wildlife – and they are bound to obey Opal’s every command. Defeating the motley troops and their diabolical leader will require all of Artemis’ cleverness, as well as Butler’s bravery, Holly’s skill, and Foaly’s gadgetry. But if their best efforts aren’t enough, Armageddon will surely follow.

I’ll admit it: I teared up as I started to read The Last Guardian. Imagine: Artemis Fowl came out in 2001 and here we are, 11 years later, with Artemis, Holly, and Butler’s last adventure. They’ve battled each other, the Russian mafia, a genius-insane pixie and her LEP stooge, a pansy tech genius, a genius-insane pixie (again), a demon, Artemis’ younger self and the genius-insane pixie (again), and a nasty elf. Reformation notwithstanding, Artemis has become my favorite anti-hero.

So. How’s the book?

I’m parts satisfied, saddened and “That’s it? There’s no epilogue?!”. I’m satisfied because it was a good end to Artemis’ brilliant run. He is at his most selfless, something that would have been unthinkable in the first book. I was so happy to see Artemis and Holly as BFFs again. Butler is the same steadfast presence. Juliet trying to wrangle Myles and Beckett Fowl was adorable. We see Foaly’s more sensitive side and (finally!) his kick-ass wife.

I’m probably in the minority of AF fans when I say that Opal Koboi is not my favorite villain. I was satisfied with how The Opal Deception ended and thought that her inclusion in The Time Paradox was unnecessary, so you can imagine my worry when I found out that Opal was returning yet again. From a certain point of view, Opal is the perfect foil for Artemis because she is so much like what Artemis was before: intelligent to the point of megalomania and uncaring. It’s always nice to see Artemis stumped. But after several appearances, Opal seems to have become an exaggeration of her former self (though that could also be due to her growing insanity with each book). Luckily, The Last Guardian is a good exit point for our deranged pixie.

Some things I wasn’t too happy about but not enough to warrant not liking the book as a whole:

  • Mulch is the ultimate deus ex machina. Need to save Artemis’ ass? Just have Mulch dig a hole out from under him.
  • NΒ°1 is practically non-existent. I loved him in The Lost Colony and it’s such a pity that Colfer hasn’t used him much for the last two books.
  • Colfer doesn’t explain what happens between books. This was most problematic with Time Paradox and Atlantis, but it was also a slight problem here. Yes, Artemis is finally cured and he and Holly are BFFs again but Colfer doesn’t explain how they got there. Time Paradox and Atlantis threw huge wrenches into the Artemis/Holly friendship but we don’t know how they moved past those.
  • The ending killed me. I shouted “That’s it?!” when I turned the last page and discovered that that was really the end. No epilogue. GAAAH. I would have absolutely loved it if we got even just a short glimpse into Artemis’ new life after everything he went through. Of course, one can always say that that’s what fan fiction and my imagination are for but I really did want to read something official from the author himself.

Overall rating: 5/5 stars. I’m still mourning the loss πŸ™

Now that Artemis has gone off into the sunset (and hopefully, more legal shenanigans), I need a new love. Any suggestions?

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