W.A.R.P. (Why Are Rams [in this book] Please??)

Over the holidays, I  took out W.A.R.P.: The Reluctant Assassin, the latest book by Eoin Colfer, and the beginning of another series, from the library.

“​The reluctant assassin is Riley, a Victorian boy who is suddenly plucked from his own time and whisked into the twenty-first century, accused of murder and on the run.

Riley has been pulled into the FBI’s covert W.A.R.P. operation (Witness Anonymous Relocation Program). He and young FBI Agent Chevie Savano are forced to flee terrifying assassin-for-hire Albert Garrick, who pursues Riley through time and will not stop until he has hunted him down. Barely staying one step ahead, Riley and Chevie must stay alive and stop Garrick returning to his own time with knowledge and power that could change the world forever.”

Personally, I felt like I was tromping through knee-high, damp grass while reading this book. While a light read, with a simple plot and straightforward characters, it took a much longer time to finish than I had expected, mainly because I just was not interested. It didn’t strike me as exciting – in fact, halfway through, I was just about ready to give up.

And then…I saw the name Battering Rams. And I thought to myself (what a wonderful world! [no, I really didn’t]), what is an Airman gang/crew/thing doing here? Airman is one of Colfer’s earlier novels, and I like it much better than some of the more recent stuff that he’s written, so I decided to read the whole thing, piqued by the mention.
Well, that’s it, really. A mention. Colfer could have used any other name in the world to achieve exactly the same effect, because there is nothing crucial about having the gang be the Battering Rams here – they needn’t have been lifted from the Airman universe at all!

So you could say that I found the book a disappointment. And you’d be right.
However, from what I’ve been hearing, it’s a complete sell-out and everybody loves it! If you’re one of these people, I am open to debate; why don’t you try to persuade me into liking the novel?

In anticipation,
Let’s call me Lily

The Last Will And Testament Of Artemis Fowl II

Just over a month after the release of the eighth and final Artemis Fowl book, ‘Artemis Fowl And The Last Guardian‘, I have acquired (from the library) and finished it!

Actually, that’s exactly right – while I did spend some of my holidays skulking around Whitcoulls and reading the first couple (39) pages of the book, I did not have the time, nor the invisibility abilities to finish the novel. While Borders, a chain that was recently bankrupted and swallowed by Whitcoulls, had quiet nooks where you could settle down and read, the bookshops nowadays don’t even have seats, and to read more than a few pages you must sit on the floor and cringe self-consciously whenever someone passes by.

But I finished the book today, and all I can say is YAY!!! and okay…. (bad rhymes) I was a bit apprehensive about reading the last book, as I fear badly-written endings a lot – they just wreck the book series, for me. Thankfully, Colfer ended on a high note, and has written the conclusion to Artemis’ story very well in my opinion, incorporating a fear that troubled us humans back at the start of the millennium – OMG what if all the electricity stops working and we don’t have light and computers etc, etc – and made it a reality, creating an “Armageddon” in the words of 4 year old Myles. I especially loved his humorous little excerpts with Artemis’ twin brothers, Myles and Beckett, and all the other usual jokes and snappy comebacks. This book is, I think, certainly better than the 7th, Artemis Fowl and the Atlantic Complex. As for the ending, well…. it was a little obvious, once you’d read up to about the middle. I kind of expected it to happen. I can’t really say anything more, because it would ruin it for those of you who haven’t read the series, but er, um, I did believe it, and I knew there was a plan B as soon as Colfer mentioned that little snippet. So I didn’t die of surprise when it happened. It was, nonetheless, a good ending, and I loved how Colfer linked it back to the very first book.

The Artemis Fowl series are great – I always laugh aloud or talk to the book at least twice “I knew it! Hah! [all you doubters, I knew it]”(causing my friends to pause in conversation and try to grill me as to why I am being so dorky now. I never tell them, unless they’ve read the book too. Usually they haven’t, so I just snigger to myself). In the teenage fiction section, shelves are now filled with depressing apocalypse stories, vampire and werewolf romances, and OMG-I-need-a-boyfriend-ooh-he-actually-likes-me “realistic” fiction, not to mention the really VERY graphic Phillipa Gregory style of historical fiction. I think Artemis Fowl is classified as tween fiction, which is possibly why it gets away with strong, smart female protagonists, an antihero, a more-original-than-usual plot in most cases, lots of cool gadgets, action, and witty comments. That seems to be reserved for tweens – apparently, once you hit high school, that type of thing is too young for you, and you’re forced into the boredom of Jane Austen classics and the like (but that’s just my highly biased opinion). I like that type of book. I happen to find that type of book to be extremely enjoyable – so I curl up in bed and read Artemis Fowl, Percy Jackson, Evil Genius, Alex Rider… and I don’t think that I should be reading other more “serious” books. I read because I love it- it is a hobby/zeal/slight obsession (according to my parents). And if you do too, then I think that this is a great series for you. You can check out my blog entry here for a recap of the Artemis Fowl series and Eoin Colfer, the author.

But onto the exciting part! In each novel, on the bottom of the pages are symbols, otherwise known as gnommish, the language of The People, from which the ancient Egyptians derived their hieroglyphics. Apart from versions one of book 2 and 3, which have Centaurean and Eternean respectively. I still remember my letters, so I translated Book 8’s missive during my spare time (i.e. while under the pretence of watching the movie in French).

I have taken the liberty of inserting punctuation and capital letters, as well as a few missing words.

The last will and testament of Artemis Fowl the second. Being the final wishes of Artemis Fowl in the event of his death at the hands of the pixie Opal Koboi. Should he survive for forty eight hours after the date of writing this will becomes null and void and shall have no legal weight in court human or fairy. I, Artemis Fowl the Second, being of sound mind and reasonably sound body, bequeath my estate and advice as follows.

  • To my father I leave the three hundred million dollars in (typo error, I think, as the translation of the next word was bearr) bonds that are hidden, believe it or not, under my own bed: the last spot anyone would think to look and possibly the most booby trapped place on earth. Butler will know how to disengage the security measures.
  • To my darling mother, I leave my stocks portfolio including my shares in ethical funds and registered charities which I know she will manage with her usual moral determination, and I also bequeath to her the department store on New York’s Fifth Avenue which I had planned to give to her on her birthday.
  • I wish my brother Myles to inherit my laboratory and all its equipment, with access to the special projects room to be granted on his eighth birthday when he will be mature enough to deal with other dimensions, aliens and time travel.
  • For my brother Beckett I have purchased a lifetimes supply of slime so he can coat himself in grunge as often as he pleases. I also wish Beckett to have the ant farm provided he promises not to eat any of the ants.
  • My faithful bodyguard Butler is of course entitled to his generous severance (which is actually a real word – at first I thought it was a typo) package and is under no obligation to stay on but it would be greatly appreciated if he renewed his contract and remained in the employ of the Fowl family. Apart from his pension I wish Butler to become the legal owner of the apartments in which he has lived since I was born and the dojo where he tried to teach me to fight.
  • To Juliet Butler, who has protected my brothers so faithfully I leave my sound system, which is based on gel speaker technology and which should make even her collection of modern music sound reasonably nonoffensive. I also leave to Juliet the three sports cars and a lifetime subscription to the wresting channel.
  • To my friend Captain Holly Short of the Lower Elements Police I leave the thirty seven solid gold bars that were the price of her release when I kidnapped her all those years ago. I know that I can never make up for that crime but hopefully you can think of me as a friend when you do think of me. To the dwarf Mulch Diggums I leave the refrigerator warehouse in London Docklands that is stocked with enough frozen chicken to satisfy even his appetite for several decades.
  • To the centaur Foaly I leave the blueprints to an interstellar craft that is so advanced that it makes his spacecraft look like hot air balloons. I have hidden the designs inside his own system where he would never think to look for them. To find them Foaly must open his own security file on me, blink eight times and say the words “Artemis Fowl is smarter than I am”. If this does not work then at least I will smile in the afterlife.

This took 115 pages, and then began repeating itself as usual. It was, however, a longer cipher than in any of the other books.

So, I’d love to hear you opinions on the book  – did you think it was a good ending, did you hate it, did you scream in surprise at the end, did you feel it let down the rest of the series, do you wish he’d write another one?

Whatever they are, feel free to comment (you are free to eat. But the last dumpling is mine.)

Let’s call me Lily

Eoin Colfer’s Writing Career In a Nutshell

I realised, after posting that mass of stuff yesterday, that some of you probably don’t even know who Eoin Colfer IS!!!

So I have set out to tell you, very shortly, just that.

Eoin Colfer is an Irish former-teacher-turned-author who in another life could have made a damn good comedian, as anyone who has heard his interviews or shows knows.

His first works were written in 1998 and 1999, a pair of books about a boy, Benny Shaw, who moves to Tunisia and makes friends with a local boy, Omar, and a second book in which Benny sets up a business with the local tomboy, Babe.

He has written several children’s myths such as the ‘The Legend of Spud Murphy’ (Which, I forgot to add in the interview page, is the book that Eoin is most proud of writing, as his son guilt tripped into writing something for him by catching him [Colfer] at the door just before he was leaving on a tour, saying that he didn’t love him, and that he loved all the other kids more because he was always visiting them, and Eoin said “Of course I don’t love them! I love you” (this made the audience laugh, as he had just proclaimed he didn’t love any of them). His son Sean, complained that he never wrote anything for him, so Eoin said that he would, and on the plane to New York he wrote ‘The Legend Of Spud Murphy’. But when he got the first copy and showed it to his son, Sean said “Father, I’m busy. I’m watching Pokémon”. And to this day, his son has never read it.)

He wrote several stand alone novels, although some may be turned into series. These include ‘The Supernaturalists’, ‘The Wish List’, ‘Half Moon Investigations’, ‘Airman’, ‘Plugged’ (his new adult crime novel) and chapter three of ‘Click’.

Eoin Colfer is most famous for his Artemis Fowl novels, which are a series about a teenage anti-hero genius who discovers and exploits The People (fairies, demons, etc.) who are extremely technologically advanced and live underground. Through the books Artemis develops a moral conscience and goes on several hair-raising adventures, becoming an ally and tentative friend with the fairies.This series has also been adapted into graphic novel form, which Eoin was very involved in making.

The Artemis Fowl series, top: US version (old), middle: UK, bottom: US version (new). There are also white editions coming out for the 10th edition anniversary of the books.

The eight and last book, ‘Artemis Fowl and The Last Guardian’, is coming out this July, and will finish the best-selling series once and for all.

The last Artemis Fowl book.

Eoin was also, in 2009, selected to write the 6th instalment of ‘The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy Trilogy in 5 parts’ by the deceased Douglas Adams as a tribute, named ‘And Another Thing’. He did this very well, gaining a lot of good reviews, although he said that the pressure was horrible.

Part 6 of the Hitchhikers trilogy

He has now started writing a new series called WARP.

Words Down Under: Artemis Fowl And The Deltora Three Part 3

Part 3: What I can remember from my conversation with Eoin Colfer, getting books signed, and some lovely website links you should definitely click on! Continue reading

Words Down Under: Artemis Fowl And The Deltora Three Part 2

So, here’s Part 2: Some more in depth discussion of what Colfer said, as well as some facts that were stated throughout the hour. I tried to write in chronological order, but may not have succeeded, and I also separated some things and bullet pointed them for further ease. Expect a lot of writing!

Continue reading

Words Down Under; An Hour With Artemis Fowl And The Deltora Three

On the 11th May, I went to meet Eoin Colfer and Emily Rodda in a talkshow type event that was being held from 5:30-6:30pm by Words Down Under, the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival. This was the first time that I had ever met an author that I admired and whose works I enjoyed, and so I was very, very excited. It’s taken me a while to write everything down, as I stupidly forgot to bring a pen and paper with me, and also because I am a tad bit fanatical about remembering everything, so this has ended up being really long. In fact, I am splitting it into three parts. So, here’s Part 1. of  my experience: Continue reading