The greatest trials of the literary heroes come when they are faced with their intellectual equals. Like Sherlock had Dr. Moriarty, Feluda had his Maganlal Meghraj. In The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer (book VI of the series), Artemis Fowl II faces his most dangerous enemy yet, his almost equal.
After returning from Limbo, Artemis is finally spending time with his family (and teaching his two year old brothers restaurant etiquette), when disaster strikes: his mother is diagnosed with a deadly disease. The only cure is found in the brain fluid of silky sifika lemur. But there is a slight problem: when Artemis Sr. went missing in Arctic, Artemis sacrificed the life of last lemur to raise money for search and rescue mission.
So now, Artemis and his friend Capt. Holly Short of must go back in time and save the little “not-monkey”. And while this pits them against new enemies like the Extinctionalists (mainly, their dangerous leader Damon Kronsky), the problem with the past is that the enemies they have already defeated, have yet to be defeated and are still all powerful (here starteth the headache). Plus, Artemis has yet to face (and later befriend) the fairies, so he and his fairy friend Holly are on their own.
Not to mention, there in the past is 10-year old Artemis Fowl II (and of course, Butler) who is hell-bent on selling the lemur to help his father. So it’s time for Genius Mastermind (the Elder) vs Evil Genius mastermind (the Younger).
The Time Paradox continues with the theme of change in Artemis. Artemis the elder is not yet the Champion of Downtrodden or Good Incarnate, but he is no longer the Criminal Mastermind he was. He will still cheat or manipulate his fairy friends to get his way, but his aims are more justifiable and “human”.
On the other hand, we also get to see how Artemis became the Artemis we know and love. Losing his father and with his mother starting to lose the touch with reality, 10-year old Artemis (the younger) has to take charge of his declining family fortunes and get his father back. And even if that means going against his mother’s humanitarian efforts (and confirming to the family history), he will do what it takes. Butler is still now the father figure in his life, a person with some values.
There are a lot of similarities between the two. (Headache warning: ) Artemis the elder is working to save his mother from a deadly disease and get his family back together, while Artemis the younger is trying to get his father (and his mother’s mental health) back. Artemis the elder has a lot more experience and knows (or thinks he knows) his history, while Artemis the younger has the advantage of being a true Fowl (read, criminal), and has Butler at his side.
Holly Short is still an impetuous L.E.P. Recon officer, but now is one of the fairies who trust Artemis as a friend. She continues to be the Fairy main hero alongside Artemis. Although, the time tunnel turning her into her “teenage” self does not exactly help matters.
I would have liked to see a bit more of Minerva Paradizo as possibly Artemis’ girlfriend, or even friend. But then, the story does not really have a place for her. Otherwise, most of the older characters make an appearance (it is “past” after all). There is also the trademark cynical wit of Artemis and easy (and sometimes, cheesy) humour apparent in the series. The “paradoxes” are nicely wrapped up, leaving almost no loose threads while also giving some clues to the beginning of the Artemis’ story as we know it.
In short, a perfect continuation to a very good series. Or maybe, a perfect back-story of a very good series (it’s a paradox, really).
The only problem is, where will Artemis and Holly go from here on?
Quote of The Day:
Artemis: .. Paris. And try as you will, you cannot attract the waiter’s attention. What do you do?
Beckett: Umm… Tell Butler to jump-jump-jump on his head?
Myles: I agree with simple-toon.
Read review of Artemis fowl series here.