The Harry Potter series was both a boon and a bane to children’s books: a boon because it got children reading again, and a bane because Harry Potter overshadowed everything else that came after it. Unfortunately, one of those casualties was the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. While not as heavy (literally) as the Potter books, Artemis Fowl and his cohorts deserve that shelf space by virtue of being fun, fast-paced, action-packed, intelligent, and yes, magical reads.
Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox is the 6th book of the series. In this one, Artemis has grown up, mellowed out, and is walking the straight and narrow. Everything is fine until his mother acquires Spelltropy, a degenerative fairy disease whose only cure resides in the brain fluid of the silky sifaka lemur. Unfortunately, the lemur has been extinct for five years because of Artemis himself. To save his mother, Artemis and Holly must travel to the past and save it. In doing so, Artemis faces his deadliest opponent yet: his younger self.
Long story short: I loved this book. It’s typical Artemis Fowl: a crackling adventure with well-crafted characters and unexpected twists that though unexpected, resolve themselves in a logical manner. Artemis has indeed come a long way since his first encounter with the fairies, but his ruthless nature resurfaces in a crucial moment and he must deal with the consequences. What I liked best however, was how deftly Colfer handled time travel. Done sloppily, time travel results in a more convoluted story filled with inconsistencies and more questions than answers (yes Heroes, I’m looking at you). Colfer handled the time paradox brilliantly by choosing one time travel theory (guess which one) and thinking it through. Because of that, he carried to the story to a logical conclusion that ties in with the events in the book.
Each Artemis Fowl novel is designed to stand alone, so new readers can pick up and understand “The Time Paradox” without having read the first five books. Nonetheless, reading Books 1-5 is still highly recommended because Book 6 references previous events and you get to see firsthand Artemis’ transformation from criminal mastermind to the person he is now.