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Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox (Artemis Fowl) by Eoin Colfer
Review by John Berlyne
Puffin Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780141383330
Date: 07 August 2008 List Price £12.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK /

Uncorrected Proof Copy: From Eoin Colfer comes another in his wonderful YA adult series featuring the boy criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl. I've enjoyed all these books very much, even though I confess that I may not exactly qualify as the ideal target demographic! Nevertheless, I recommend them to kids of all ages. This latest title, Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox is due for release by Puffin in August 2008.

"Teenage criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl has a new mission - and this time, it's personal. Artemis' mother is dangerously ill, and the only way to find a cure is for Artemis - with Holly Short by his side - to go back in time to battle his younger, more evil self."

I've mentioned before how Eoin Colfer's wonderful Artemis Fowl series - stories about a young and not so evil criminal genius and his fights against the fairy folk - serves as a wonderful antidote to many of the 'serious' books I chose to review. The notion is a little like one's biological need to eat – the nourishment is rewarding for the body no matter what kind of food is consumed - however I've always had something of a sweet tooth! This new Artemis Fowl novel is something of a treat then, as I contemplate my tottering "to read" pile.

With Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox, this series moves into its sixth title. I missed out on the previous book, Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony and there are a number of references in this new title to events that occurred in that previous book, but they're hardly essential and any astute reader (of any age) won't find it hard to fill in the gaps. In the new book, Artemis' mother has become seriously ill and he must find a cure for what ails her. No easy task, given that her condition stems from a magical plague for which no cure exists. Enlisting the help of Colfer's now familiar cast of characters – Holly Short, the fairy law enforcer, Foaley, the tech obsessed centaur, Mulch Diggums the irascible tunnelling dwarf with the sensitive stomach and Butler, bodyguard extraordinaire – Artemis executes an audacious plan and thus goes back in time to fetch the cure, which happens to reside inside the brain of an extinct species of lemur. This by itself would make for a fairly fiendish plot, but Colfer adds a dangerous enemy that Artemis must overcome to succeed… his own ten-year-old self!

On the surface, Colfer creates exactly what we expect of him – a witty and entertaining adventure. The plot is suitably bonkers, but it is put together with such flare and invention that any lose areas are easily overlooked. It is in his subplot underneath that Colfer truly shows his quality, for he deftly weaves in an allegory concerning the consequences of one's actions both on a personal level and on a more humanitarian level. The Time Paradox is laced with 'Green' awareness, it is an eco-friendly tale delivered with subtly sensitivity rather than with tree-hugging hysteria.

Colfer's young adult books are aimed at readers considerably younger than I. However, they have a undeniable knack of tapping into the kind of reader I was at thirteen or fourteen – perhaps it's the fart gags! But whatever it is, Colfer makes me feel young and full of verve and any book that can do that is fine by me! Checkout my reviews of these other Eoin Colfer books - Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident , Artemis Fowl and the Opal Deception, and Airman.

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