The Arctic Incident by Eoin ColferThe Arctic Incident is the sequel to Artemis Fowl and takes place around a year after the events of the first book - I'm guessing, since Artemis was 12 in the first book and is now 13. The story opens up with events that took place three years prior and led to Artemis' father going missing and presumed dead. Once the story switches back to the present day, we find young Artemis receiving video proof that his father is alive - curtesy of the Russian Mafia - along with a ransom demand. In typical Artemis Fowl fashion, the boy and his manservant/bodyguard Butler devise a plan to locate and rescue Artemis Senior.
Artemis Fowl #2
Published June 6th 2002 by Hyperion
The World's Youngest Criminal Mastermind is Back
Artemis is at boarding school in Ireland when he receives an urgent e-mail from Russia. In it is a plea from a man who has been kidnapped by the Russian Mafiya: his father. As Artemis rushes to his rescue, he is stopped by a familiar nemesis, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon fairy police. But this time, instead of battling the fairies, he is going to have to join forces with them if he wants to save one of the few people in the world he loves.
Artemis Fowl and Butler set out for Russia but their mission takes a detour when the Lower Elements Police (LEPrecon, a.k.a. Leprechaun) of the Fairy Realm, namely Holly Short and Commander Root stop them in their tracks. Having met Holly and Root in the first book, I was happy to see them return - I wasn't sure if they'd even be back. Their return wasn't for fun and games though because the Fairy Realm is in trouble all their own. Someone is dealing human arms to fairies, more specifically: Goblins. The LEP inistially suspect Artemis but before long things become much more serious than anyone could have anticipated and the two sides are forced to work together to figure out exactly who's to blame - and how to stop them.
The Arctic Incident started off slower than the first book in the series and to be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect. Once the ball got rolling though, I found this story to be equally matched to it's predecessor in terms of the action, humor, character development and the plot itself. Once you get past the initial setup there is no sequel slump to be found here^^ Instead, I was surprised by how quickly the stakes rose this time around - in terms of plot and for our host of characters - especially for the second book in an 8-book series! It kind of makes me nervous for what's in store for the subsequent books...
In terms of action, there's plenty to be had: the unlikely allies face down both a clever ploy from a mystery enemy and the Russian Mafia all at once. All of our heroes are tested in ways they've admittedly never been before: Artemis is forced into the thick of the action when he's used to being more of a behind-the-scenes mastermind, safely behind his computer. Butler is forced to come to terms with not being able to protect Artemis all of them time, from everything. Holly is forced to work with humans, something fairies like her are loathe to do. Root must come to terms with not being able to control every eventuality and Foaly is betrayed by the very technology he's dedicated his life's work to developing. All in all, there's impressive character growth for our ragtag group.
The humor in the Artemis Fowl Series thus far is both in your face and subtle, depending on the character delivering it. I have to say that there's a fair share of comic relief in these books. Mulch Diggums the dwarf has more of a crude, juvenile humor that works really well for him. Holly and Butler have more of a serious sense of humor that's mostly sarcastic. Foaly the Centaur is king of snark in this series and his quips never fail to entertain. Commander Root is less intentionally funny, his humor comes from basically amusing the reader when he loses his patience...and he does, regularly. Artemis himself is quietly sassy in a way I've never encountered before. He has a way of zinging another individual so cooly and cleverly that it could almost go unnoticed. It's as respectful as snark can get while being devastatingly effective and Artemis delivers like a pro. I think that the audiobook narrator Gerry O'Brien does an excellent job of subtly emphasising that aspect of our protagonist's personality.
The story in The Arctic Incident unravels at a steady and consistent pace, building on what was newly introduced to the reader in the first book, all while taking the story in unexpected directions. If you had asked me while I was reading the first book where I thought the over-arching storyline for the series was going, I would have ventured a guess and I'm pleased to say that I would have been wrong. This might be a MG/YA series but it doesn't insult the reader's intelligence. I'm still surprised by how clever and mature the story is. Again I'm reminded of how I compared the first book to an adult action movie, exept with a YA protagonist. And fairies! All things considered, I'm having a blast with this series so far and I can't wait to see what's in store for me in the next book!