While Artemis Fowl speeds toward Mars, the Fowl Twins step to starring roles in their own adventures in this page-turning series opener.
The Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer. Disney/Hyperion, 2019, 368 pages.
Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12
Recommended for: ages 10-15
When we last took our leave of teenage criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl, he had laid down his life for his friends and taken it up again. Now, he speeding toward Mars in a space vehicle of his own design, leaving his family and fairy friends on earth. Family consists of father, mother, and twin brothers Myles and Beckett, now eleven years old. Though very similar in face and body, the twins couldn’t be less alike. Myles is the image of his older brother: freakishly intelligent, endlessly inventive, emotionally cool. Beckett is a “force of nature”—impulsive, exuberant, and wild.
As our story begins, the twins are alone on their ancestral island home, watched over in their parents’ absence by an AI system called NANNI, when an alien being unexpectedly pops through the thin mantle of the island. Simultaneously, a rifle shot rings out and a missile wraps the alien being (a tiny troll, as it happens), in a tight shroud of cellophane. The rifle belongs to Lord Teddy Bleedham-Drye (say it out loud), an arch-villain of the sort that only exaggerated retro fantasy can spawn.
Beckett claims the troll as his own special toy, but soon a stranger comes knocking: fantasy arch-villain #2, an Interrogating Nun (black robes and all). The nun, the nobleman, and the twin all want the troll for reasons of their own. But then another alien being appears: Specialist Lazuli Heitz, of the Lower Elements Police (LEP), the same organization that allied with Artemis Fowl volumes ago.
The stage is set for another rollicking saga marked with fairy high-tech, exaggerated personalities, cliffhanger predicaments and long-winded humorous asides in Colfer’s pseudo-lecturer style. Artemis makes a brief appearance, as does his former ally Holly Short, but the plot is fully occupied by the twins, who are capable of starring roles. The yin/yang of their personalities at opposite ends of the analytical/intuitive spectrum makes for a fascinating contrast and promise interesting times to come.
- The Artemis Fowl series included elements of psychic phenomena, necromancy, and cult magic. None of that occurs in The Fowl Twins, and there’s even a nice nod to Christianity at the end. We can’t vouch for where the series will go, however.
- Lord Teddy’s comeuppance includes some fairly graphic violence. But he will clearly recover and be back for another round of mayhem.
Overall Rating: 4 (out of 5)
- Worldview/moral value: 3.5
- Artistic/literary value: 4.5
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