I was having a hard time deciding what to post about this week, so I took a quick look at my bookshelves for inspiration. As soon as my eyes hit a certain portion of the “C” shelves, I felt a mild but nagging disappointment.
It wasn’t disappointment from seeing my copy of Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee, which is a really, really depressing book that might cause you to feel disappointed about LIFE. And it wasn’t disappointment in myself for owning the novelization of the SyFy mini-series Taken (by Thomas Cook), although probably that deserves some. It was the eight books that fall between, all written by Irish author Eoin Colfer.
If you don’t know, Eoin Colfer is the author of the Artemis Fowl series, some other books I haven’t read, and the new(ish) Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book, And Another Thing…. I was introduced to Artemis Fowl about three years ago by my lovely friend Holly, who consumes books more fiercely and happily than anyone I’ve ever seen. She likes almost EVERYTHING, so I wasn’t sure about this recommendation. But basically, it was a series about this kid who is rich, a genius, a master thief, a huge jerk, and there are fairies.
I was like, cool I’m in.
Something you may be (but probably aren’t) interested to know is that I really like thieves. In fiction, I mean, obviously. (Although a couple years ago there was this really successful real-life bank robber people called “The Hat Bandit” and I liked him. Mostly because people called him “The Hat Bandit.”)
I think it started around when I was 14, and I developed a fiction-crush on Remy Lebeau from “X-men”. The thief-plot liking then took a detour through French gentleman burglar Arsène Lupin (and consequently Kaitou Kid during one of my anime phases, although weirdly enough not Lupin III), and culminated in Robin Hood (especially the BBC version for some reason**). So, it should come as no surprise that I LOVED Artemis Fowl.
I love Artemis. I love that he is a genius, and that he is sad about his broken family so he turns that genius towards stealing shit. I love that it takes a long time for him to become a better person, and he never wants to admit it when he has. I love Butler and his relationship with Artemis. I love Holly and her relationship with Artemis (especially in the hilariously fan-servicey The Time Paradox where, for some magic wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey reason, Artemis and Holly both end up 18 years old SO THEY CAN MAKE OUT***).
Amusing banter, interesting characters, crazy adventures, and it all kind of has the feel of an action movie. It’s a lot more juvenile than what I usually read–decidedly for young readers as opposed to young adult readers–but I’ve never had a problem with that.
Here’s what I do have a problem with. When I found out Colfer was doing a 7th book (The Atlantis Complex), I was SO EXCITED. I wrote it on my calendar. I counted down the days. The day it came out, I called three books stores before finally tracking it down in the book section of a Target. I ran home and began to read it immediately.
And I never finished it.
Why? Because it was boring? I don’t know about that. From what I remember, the part I left off at featured Artemis suffering from split-personality disorder (his second personality being shamelessly flirty with Holly, and weirdest of all, actually nice) and they were all in the Arctic or somewhere and being attacked by some kind of ship and things were exploding… I left these characters, who I had spent the previous three years caring about quite a lot, in the middle of a life-or-death situation with EXPLOSIONS. Why did I do that?? More importantly, HOW could I do that??
It’s not the first time I’d left some of my favorite characters in the lurch, however, and sadly the other time that I did so was also in the hands of Eoin Colfer. I never finished reading And Another Thing… and I’m not really planning to. I wasn’t excited for AAT the way I was for the new Artemis Fowl book, but I was extremely curious. And since I had read the AF series already and liked Colfer’s writing, I was willing to give him a shot.
And I just couldn’t finish it.
I never assumed that Colfer’s book would be anything like as good as the original series, and he didn’t either. But I had hoped that at the very, very least, it would be entertaining. I think I left Zaphod fighting Thor or something. Or maybe they were drinking. See, I don’t even remember. Halfway through, this book couldn’t even keep me interested enough to know what was going on, let alone finish it.
I’m concerned because this seems to be a pattern. Well, the beginning of a pattern. Colfer has now written two books that I should have loved, and I haven’t been able to finish either of them. And I can’t explain it. I would go back to these books and attempt to analyze them, apply my English-major-trained critical eye and determine what, precisely, is the problem. But I can’t even force myself to try. THAT’S how done I am with those books.
Is it just me? Has anyone else had a similar reaction? Can you explain it?
So what’s next? Will Colfer write more Artemis Fowl? Will it be good? Will I read it? I don’t know. Maybe I should give some of his other series a shot, remind myself that he is actually an extremely talented and clever author who has made me laugh and almost-cry in the past. Regardless, for future books, he better get it together.
** See that hot guy up there? Yeah, he’s going to be Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit movie. Perhaps we’ll have a post about that later.
*** Artemis is actually 15 at the time, and Holly is like 30. But it’s okay because she’s an elf. Or something. SHH.