Book: The Reluctant Assassin (WARP, Book 1)

"The Reluctant Assassin"

Riley, an orphan living in Victorian London, has had the misfortune of being apprenticed to Albert Garrick, a former illusionist turned murderer, who now uses his conjuring skills to gain access to his victims’ dwellings. On one such escapable, Garrick brings his reluctant assistant along and urges him to commit his first killing Riley is saved from having to complete the grisly act when the intended prey turns out to be a scientist from the future, part of the FBI’s Witness Anonymous Relocation Program (WARP). Riley is unwittingly transported via wormhole to modern-day London–with Garrick close on his heels.

In modern London, Riley is aided by Chevron Savano, a seventeen-year-old FBI agent. Together, Riley and Chevie must evade Garrick, who has been fundamentally altered by his trip through the wormhole, Garrick is now not only evil, but he also possesses all of the scientist’s knowledge. He is determined to track down Riley and use the Timekey in Chevie’s possession to literally change the world.

The main thing that I really had a problem with in this book is how plucky Chevie Savano reads too much like Captain Holly Short from the Artemis Fowl series. Other than that, I found this book highly entertaining.

In this new series, author Eoin Colfer brings to us a genius new premise: what if the government found a way to ensure the safety of witnesses by taking them into the past? Hijinx ensue, of course, but it’s what happens in the past that’s really the highlight of this novel.

Victorian London is a staple to time traveling works of fiction, whether it be in books, television programs, or films. While the locale is usually a character in itself, you can only present this era of London in a very finite number of ways.

So it really helps when you have an interesting host of characters to pad this milieu with. And we do meet interesting characters in this version of Victorian London. Definitely more interesting than the characters we meet in present London anyway.

Although I’ve already written that I found this book entertaining, that doesn’t mean that the book is amazing. It’s not. Especially if you hold it up against author Colfer’s other works. Aside from my aforementioned problem with lead character Chevie Savano, there’s also traces of the Artemis Fowl formula in the other characters too: there’s Opal Koboi in the main villain Garrick, and a very watered down Artemis Fowl in Riley.

But there is potential in this series, I think. Especially with the story trajectory of Riley’s quest to find the mysterious Ginger Tom. Hopefully when the sequel comes around, Chevie would’ve already found a personality of her own.

This is just me though. Let’s find out if other readers share my thoughts;
The Big Bad Book List
Adventure with Words
Mom It Forward

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Book: Artemis Fowl, The Last Guardian

"The Last Guardian"

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’s 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’s 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.

It’s the last Artemis Fowl book, and I have to say I’m really glad this series is over.

I remember there was a time when I loved the Artemis Fowl books. The first three, I think. And then as the series went on, I started to lose interest. But I kept reading, hoping that somehow the magic would return. And it did, at one point. Sad to say, the magic is definitely not present in the last book in the series.

To be totally honest with you, I felt like I was reading fan fiction. And I mean no offense to writers of fan fiction, as there are a lot of awesome fan fiction that are sometimes better than the original material. And I’m sure there are hundreds that are better than The Last Guardian.

Why don’t I like the book? Well, it’s not exciting. By this time in the series, it’s already been ingrained in our brains that Artemis Fowl will survive. He will live. And not just because he’s the title role, but because he’s so brilliant that dying just isn’t a threat to him. With that in mind, most of the life-or-death situations in the book were for nothing. Heck, the only character I was even acutely worried for was Juliet, the sister of Artemis’s bodyguard. But we don’t even find out what happens to her after her sort-of big scene near the end.

There’s nothing original in the book either. Take any of the other Artemis Fowl novels after the second book, except maybe The Lost Colony, and it’s just a matter of changing names and changing devices–everything reads the same.

And I really didn’t like how cop out the ending was. I might be writing something else entirely had the author not written an inane coda to the climactic battle in the end. Had the book ended on the battle, and the repercussion of what was done to end it, I think I would say the book is serviceable. Good, even. But that’s not the case. And so my verdict is this: The Last Guardian, was a complete waste of my time.

Am I too harsh on the book? Here’s a few other online reactions to the final Artemis Fowl book:
The Diary of a Bookworm
Bookwitch
Adventures with Words

artemis fowl: the atlantis complex

"the atlantis complex" by eoin colferhow the mighty has fallen.

in the beginnning, artemis fowl was a criminal mastermind — and he was only twelve years old.  three years later, nine in our time, he is fifteen years old and is not the boy he used to be. for one thing, he no longer thinks like a criminal. which should be a good thing, but when you’re reading about a young criminal mastermind, you kind of expect criminal thoughts.

then again, THE ATLANTIS COMPLEX doesn’t promote artemis as a criminal mastermind anymore.

Artemis has committed his entire fortune to a project he believes will save the planet and its inhabitants, both human and fairy. Can it be true? Has goodness taken hold of the world’s greatest teenage criminal mastermind?

Captain Holly Short is unconvinced, and discovers that Artemis is suffering from Atlantis Complex, a psychosis common in guilt-ridden fairies, not humans, and most likely triggered in Artemis by his dabbling in fairy magic. Symptoms include obsessive-compulsive behavior, paranoia, multiple personality disorder and, in extreme cases, embarrassing professions of love to a certain feisty LEPrecon fairy.

Unfortunately, Atlantis Complex has struck at the worst possible time. A deadly foe from Holly’s past is intent on destroying the actual city of Atlantis. Can Artemis escape the confines of his mind — and the grips of a giant squid — in time to save the underwater metropolis and its fairy inhabitants?

ARTEMIS FOWL: THE ATLANTIS COMPLEX seems to be an exercise in futility. i have enjoyed the previous six books of the ARTEMIS FOWL series immensely, and i was excited to read this latest installment because of the catchy blurb. and for the first time since i met artemis fowl, i was disappointed. heck, i had to fight off sleep throughout the time i was reading the book. and that’s when i know the book had lost my interest. i feel asleep twice while reading.

but why do i say it’s an exercise in futility? well, first of all there’s “the project” which the blurb describes as something that would save the world, for both humans and fairies. it reads and feels like a plot device, and for all intents and purposes, it was a plot device. to make sure that artemis and a few other characters would be at a certain place at a certain time. and then, when it does get mentioned again, it is only mentioned in passing.

this is the first time i start questioning the book. “the project.” it gets described in detail, and it is mentioned that artemis has spent quite some time developing it. since they’ve mentioned that the atlantis complex was doing things to artemis’s mind, i would’ve have chalked up the simplicity of the plans as a result of artemis’s deteriorating condition. but foaly, the genius centaur character, is actually impressed with the plan. and i don’t buy it.

the plan is child’s play for the old artemis. and the old foaly would never be impressed with the simplicity of the plan, because he would’ve already thought of it.

don’t worry, that’s not a real spoiler. “the project” really doesn’t play a part in the main story thread of the book — which i also found problematic.

once the villain is introduced, the book begins to pick up pace. and i would be lying if i said the book was not enjoyable. it was. it just wasn’t as good as the previous books. and things begin to get predictable near the end. i guess that’s the problem when you have to keep upping your a-game as you progress in your series.

but having been impressed with the complexities of THE TIME PARADOX, which was the book preceding THE ATLANTIS COMPLEX, i was expecting something in the same level. or at least around that level of genius. okay, maybe genius is too strong a word. but i was definitely looking for something that doesn’t cop out in the end.

THE ATLANTIS COMPLEX builds up this villain that would do anything — anything — to get what he wants. and in the end, well, the end was just disappointing. with a few pages left, i was wondering how the author would tie up everything. i wasn’t expecting a neat tie-up, but a good one. what i got was a cop-out. and i can’t really extrapolate without giving the whole plot away.

and don’t get me started on the actual atlantis complex. it’s a great psychosis, actually. i just didn’t like how it was played up for its comedy. it had so much potential for tension, for suspense — but instead we get a bumbling alter-ego, and a lot of numbers mumbo-jumbo.

also, this is my first ARTEMIS FOWL book with the new cover. while it does look better than the old covers, i really dislike the fact the publishers would change the look of the books midway through the series. the least they could have done was released a version with the old look as well. it’s as if they want die-hard collectors to repurchase the old books just so everything would look uniform. which i don’t plan to do.

oh well.

to conclude, ARTEMIS FOWL: THE ATLANTIS COMPLEX is definitely a disappointment to me.