Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Friendsday Wednesday: The Atlantis Complex with NN

On Friendsday Wednesday, I discuss books with friends or ask them to write a guest review of a book. For my first ever Friendsday Wednesday, I asked my friend NN (Fun point if you know what book that name is a reference to) to answer a few questions about the newest Artemis Fowl book, the Atlantis Complex.

Pica: What was your first reaction to this book?
NN: When I finished this book, I thought it was very stupid. When I first started reading, I thought it was okay, although it wasn’t that interesting and didn’t really follow any plot, but then as I got further, It seemed like it was coming to one big climax, but then I noticed I was actually getting pretty far in the book and at the end, in the climax, nothing happened. The heroes didn’t even deserve to win; it was just by chance these things happened to happen so that the bad guy died and the heroes didn’t and it wasn’t even exciting. It seemed like the author didn’t really have a plan in mind when he wrote it, he just said: lets start writing and see what comes out in the end. In my opinion, it came out terribly.

Pica: how do you think this compares to other books in the series?
NN: I think this book was by far the worst book in the series because the other books, at least contributed to the main story, and also something happened and all the characters won because either they were smarter or they had something better or they fought and they won, but they didn’t win just because of pure chance. And also in this one they brought in characters and they didn’t use them at all. For example the demon No 1 he was just there but he didn’t do anything and it was really stupid I thought. He also never understood what was going on or could contribute in any way to the situation. There were a lot of things that didn’t make a lot of sense, and it didn’t get anywhere in the end. From the beginning to the end you didn’t see any progression and nothing big actually happened in the story and it seemed like a really bad book overall.

Pica: do you think you could give a short summary of what happens in this book?
NN: They start on some glacier in Iceland and Artemis has a project, so all of the important fairies like Holly and Foaly come so they can to hear about it. Artemis is acting weird; he’s been counting in fives and he’s been doing all this strange stuff and it turns out that he has the Atlantis complex, which is a fairy disease. There is this other guy who is called Turnball Root and is Root’s brother. He escapes from prison and tries to kill Artemis and butler but he doesn’t really try to kill them, he just toys with them, which doesn’t make sense like he doesn’t even care, but that’s okay. What happens is Butler goes to Mexico and Turnball tries to kill him with zombies, but Butler and his sister get away and then Mulch somehow gets into the story, which is also really random and Mulch is the one who is sent to kill Butler next, but he just saves him and reunites everyone together in a shuttle. It turns out that how Turnball escapes from prison is he reprogrammed this space probe with these weird amorphobots to kill people and so he controls them they have to evacuate the prison and he gets out. He escapes so he can go to his love who’s a human. It was really weird. And then all the heroes are captured by Turnball and he can turn them into slaves by using magic and make them do whatever he says but he only turns two of them, Holly and Artemis, and he doesn’t turn the rest. Also, part the Atlantis Complex is that Artemis also has this alter ego called Orion, and sometimes Artemis is there and sometimes Orion is, and you can’t tell whether they share their same memories. It’s really not very well explained at all. Then they have the final battle but it’s really stupid because nothing happens and they just win because Artemis turns into Orion, which happens when he get electric shock. Orion can kill Turnball because Artemis was turned into a slave but Orion wasn’t because they’re different people. It’s the stupidest thing ever, like, that’s the best thing you can think up? I thought it was a really dumb story. Then it just ends.
A shortened version of this story is: the bad guy escapes from prison and tries to kill everybody. Then he captures everybody and has the ability to turn them into slaves so they can’t do anything except what he says but he doesn’t, and then he tries to kill them but he can’t, and then he dies for a stupid reason and the heroes don’t even have the right to win because they should have lost.
One of the most annoying things to me is that the book didn’t even make the bad guy smart. Opal was smart, and Artemis is smart and all the enemies they faced were smart and that’s why it was fun, because Artemis outsmarted them all. But in this book everyone was stupid. They only won because of this stupid disease. And no one actually had a good plan or was smart and the book wasn’t a battle of wits, which was one of my favorite parts of the earlier books.

Pica: could you give a short summary of the rest of the series?
NN: The main characters of the series are Artemis Fowl who’s a kid genius, and Holly Short who is a fairy who’s a part of a police force and also Butler who’s Artemis’ bodyguard and other various characters, including Foaly, who is a centaur. One of the recurring bad guys is Opal Koboi, an evil pixie who wants to take over the world. Basically, fairies are living on earth and they have to hide themselves from humans using their highly advanced technology. In each book, there is a villain who is very smart, and is either a fairy or a human, and they try to do something bad or take over the world or something of that sort. Usually Artemis with the help of the other main characters has to outsmart them and beat them. That’s the major theme, that Artemis is smarter than them and that why he always wins.

Pica: Would you recommend this book and/or would you recommend this series, and to what age group?
NN: I would definitely recommend this series and I would definitely not recommend this book. I’d recommend the series to people somewhere between the ages of 9 and 14.

Pica: Thank you for your time.

I wanted to add a few of my comments about the book since I'm probably not going to do a full-scale review later on. (I'e realized that all the times I said, "I'll post a review of that book later on" is probably not gong to happen for most of the books. I will, however, try to put a few comments in wherever possible, i.e. now.

Start Date: 3 August 2010
End Date: 4 August 2010
357 pages (Hardcover Edition)
Published 3 August 2010

Overall, I had a similar, if not quite as strong a reaction to The Atlantis Complex as NN. I was not as dissatisfied with the ending, because Artemis did figure out in advance how he was going to outwit Turnball, and the Complex was simply his means rather than pure luck. However, the thing that really annoyed me about this book was the fact that it seemed to have little or nothing to do with the main storyline. Sure, the Complex is going to impact the future books in the series, but there was little mention of Opal and other primary characters from earlier books, and there had been absolutely no mention of Turnball before The Atlantis Complex. Even this wouldn't be too bad if Turnball hadn't died at the end of The Atlantis Complex. I thought it was just ridiculous to have a villain that the reader had never heard of before, just to kill him off at the end of the book. Again, it would have been understandable if he had lived until the next book or contributed to the overall story arc, but it seemed like the entire 357 page book was simply a way to get Artemis's Atlantis Complex somehow into the story. I think perhaps it would have been better if he'd just expanded the next book in order to insert the Complex and gotten rid of Turnball's entire storyline.

HOWEVER (those of you in L3H, imagine Brian and Julia standing on the chairs), while looking up stuff such as how many pages the book is, I noticed that a surprisingly large number of people posted incredibly positive reviews. So although NN and I both disliked the newest installment of the Artemis Fowl series, I'd recommend getting a second opinion before you cross it off your list. (I found more negative reviews on Amazon, and more positive reviews on Goodreads, if anyone is interested in hearing both kinds of reviews.)

One more thing that probably doesn't matter much to most people but bugged me to no end was the new covers for all the Artemis Fowl books, and how in order to get The Atlantis Complex in the original style, you'd have to order it from the UK (which I seriously considered doing until I realized it wasn't worth paying that much more to get it with a different cover). So that probably biased me a bit, but unless you care as much as I do and complain about the new covers every time you pass them in a bookstore, that won't be as much of an issue. Generally, I just hate it when publishers change the covers of books because so often the original was so much better. But now I'm just ranting and I've totally gotten off topic, so I'll stop here.

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