Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox is the sixth in this series of books about the young criminal mastermind and his adventures with the technologically advanced fairy people, who live below the Earth’s surface. Except he’s not criminal anymore! When we first met him in 2001(I think) he was a twelve year old criminal genius and he’s now nearly eighteen, although due to time travelling escapades in his previous adventure, he only looks fourteen!
Artemis has been getting gradually more ethical and, (for want of a better word) nice throughout the series and in this book he discovers his mother is gravely ill, and that he caused it by using his ill gotten magical powers on her to mesmerise her into not questioning why he only looks fourteen. He calls for help from Captain Holly Short, his fairy friend, and comes to realise that the antidote to this fairy illness is only available from a certain type of lemur, which unfortunately, Artemis himself sold to an extinctionist group eight years ago to raise an obscene amount of money to rescue his father.
So cue more time travelling adventures as Artemis and Holly travel back in time to when Artemis was ten to rescue the lemur and save his mother. Being as Artemis knows when and where this exchange happens this should be a relatively simple job, but in true Artemis style it leads to a mad chase across continents pursuing the younger version of himself and managing to involve just about every fairy character ever to appear in these stories, all before they knew Artemis, of course.
The most interesting part of this story was the juxtaposition of Artemis then and Artemis now. The ten year old Artemis is very much the character we met in the first books of the series, obnoxious, cunning and devious, and the present day Artemis is shocked to realise exactly how obnoxious he was, and this realisation is pressed on him all the more firmly because to outwit his former self, he has to think like him.
This was a good read, and probably the best of this series since the first one. It had some lines that really made me chuckle, but unfortunately I can’t quote them because I left the book with my Mum to read. And it had lots of surprises, including an inter species kiss between Artemis and Holly. I really didn’t see that coming! Nor did I see the end coming, which without saying too much, ties the whole series up very nicely, but also leaves it open for more, depending I suppose on how Colfer feels. I do think it would be difficult to top this one though.