Growing up, I expected that the fictional characters in the books I read would grow and age along with me. As I grew older, I knew that it wasn't the case. Characters, unlike real people, are suspended in a gel called fiction and only age when their creators, authors, decided to speed up time.
I grew up reading Artemis Fowl. At the start of the series, he was older than me. He was always older than me. It was the way things were, and I, naively, thought that was the way things were going to be.
It's a horrible realization, to truly realize that you're growing up. Yes, the passing years, one by one, are acknowledged, after all, children want to grow up, even if it's at the rate of 365 days to grow up another year. However, I woke up and realized that I'm suddenly older than a fictional character who used to be older than me, once upon and time, and I thought, "I am so old."
I recently check in on Artemis, and with a shock, I realized he was younger than me. In The Artemis Complex, he just turned 15. My childhood is a lie. He was always, older than me. Time was not kind.
In my mind, Artemis was always older than me, no matter what. Even after graduating elementary, middle, and almost high school, that notion was at the back of my mind. Always.
Now, I am in the middle of realizing that Artemis will never be the age I am now, with The Last Guardian coming out in July, and in that novel, he's still 15. He is entangled in the threads of the world of fiction, never having to age, because that's the way things are. He can stay at an age while the gears of time always, forever, turns in the real world.
It's weird to think, like this, because it's obvious that fictional characters will not age along with the real world.
Faced with the fact that I'm old and there are children who are at the age when I first discovered Artemis Fowl, I opened Artemis Fowl: The Atlantic Complex. The cover was redesigned and so was the logo. I no longer recognized it. I had grown up with the covers having a metallic color and having a treasure box motif. WHY?!
I read the first lines and I was at once pulled back into the world that mesmerized (not really a inside joke, but it's funny how it turned out that way) the elementary school age me. It was just as I remembered it, funny and intriguing, even after all these years. It's odd to think that the first readers of Artemis Fowl are in college, maybe even graduated already, since the series had an 11 year run. Weird, how time plays tricks on me, because it literally seemed not so long ago that I was picking up Artemis Fowl for the very first time, written by an author whose name I couldn't pronounce.
Some things stayed the same, I suppose, because even now, I still can't and don't know how to pronounce Eoin Colfer's name. (Is it E-owen?) The characters are still the same, Holly was still bickering with Artemis, Butler was still a loyal and burly bodyguard, Mulch Diggums still liked to pass gas, and Foaly was still a technology geek. It was just like the old days.
The story was humorous and believable, as always, even with the fairies, dwarves, centaurs, and the ilk.
The Atlantic Complex starts off with an anti-global warming undertone, with Artemis, Foaly, Holly and her commander in the Arctic. Artemis is presenting his project to them, asking for help, when chaos strikes. What seems like rogue technology is attacking them, causing Artemis... well, that's for you, dear reader, to find out. The cast of characters need to find out who's behind this before it's too late.
The ending (which I will not spoil) was so good. It would've been cliche in other situations and stories, but for The Atlantic Incident, it was fitting. I got to sample three chapters of the next and final novel, The Last Guardian and that's when the tears started. I'm not much of a crier when it comes to books, but this was it. It was like attending a funeral because this was the end. The end. This was my childhood and to say it was ending, the series, it made me realize that my childhood was ending, too.
In The Last Guardian, an old nemesis, Opal Koboi (I was still in elementary school, I think, when she first came into the picture) creates a situation in which the entire world, both human and magical alike, are jeopardized. Can Artemis Fowl, the 15 year old boy genius, outsmart a deranged pixie like Opal? The immediate answer is "Yes, he's Artemis Fowl, after all," but I don't know. It's an cliffhanger that will only be answered on July 10th, when The Last Guardian comes out.
Thank you Disney Hyperion for letting me relive my childhood. It's been fun.
Oh yes, the title is an allusion to something that happens in the Atlantis Complex. If you read it, you'll understand.