Saturday, August 10, 2013

I Have A New Fandom (And Other Book Ramblings)

Declaration: I am now a member of the Artemis Fowl fandom.


Explanation: I read the first book years ago and thought it was okay, no more. I didn't bother to read the rest of the series. "It's just that book about a teenage criminal mastermind and some weird high-tech fairies," I assured myself. "Nothing interesting at all."

Then we went on vacation. The owners of the rental place had good taste in books, in some respects. Granted, they seemed to have every novel James Patterson has ever written, they had three books by Philip Pullman (can't think of the trilogy name, but the one with The Golden Compass, The Amber Spyglass, etc.), they had the first three books of the Inheritance Cycle (Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr), and they had Twilight. Just Twilight, though, and thankfully not the whole saga.

However, they had a Terry Pratchett book, so they couldn't be all bad. And it was the first Discworld book - The Colour of Magic! I have never found it anywhere else. So, yes, practically the first thing I did was sit down and read it. And it was glorious. (The thought of Twoflower being played by Sean Astin - a.k.a., Samwise Gamgee from LOTR - in the movie adaptaion had me alternately giggling and going, "Aww," as I read it.)

Then, as the Wi-Fi refused to work, I randomly decided to give Artemis Fowl a try. (My random decisions often turn out to be very good decisions. Reading LOTR was a random decision. Go figure.)

I had no idea which book in the series came next, and I didn't bother to look in the front to try and find out. (Why can't all books in a series come with numbers??) Fortunately, I remembered all the characters from the first book, one advantage of a pretty good mind for literature.

So I picked up The Time Paradox and blazed through it. MIND. BLOWN.

(Darn. And my 'Mind Blown' gif of Sherlock won't load.)

So then I picked up The Artic Incident, The Eternity Code, The Opal Deception, The Lost Colony, and The Last Guardian. Mysteriously, The Atlantis Complex was not among their book collection. *snaps fingers* Looks like I'll be making a trip to Books-a-Million in the near future...

Confession: I am now an ArtemisxHolly shipper. Oops.

Observation: All girls are shippers at heart. We really are. I shall endeavor to remain a sane shipper, however, and stem the tide.

Announcement: Any ArtemisxMinerva deserves to be Killed With Fire. Not only is she stupid and annoying (redeemably so, however, or she would have been a Mary Sue genderflip of Artemis), their names make it look like some sort of Greco-Roman Les Yay mythological mashup. *shivers*

Statement: There had better be some good fanfiction out there, because I need some to soothe my agitated feels after the ending of The Last Guardian. Like, hello! Eoin Colfer is in league with Rick Riordan. They really are, no joke! I should have known he would be a troll of an author on that account alone! And he is. Masterfully so. My family was probably not surprised to see me march stiffly by to get the next book int he series while muttering, "The author is a troll! He's in league with Rick Riordan - I should have seen this coming!" and disappearing again for the next three hours.

What? I came out for mealtimes and family activities, I assure you. Sleep? No, I don't need sleep. What is this 'sleep' concept of which you speak?

So, yes, now I have a new fandom to eat my brain. Yay. *shakes fist at Eoin Colfer* I was doing just fine with my two dozen other fandoms before you had to do this to meeeeeee! It's all your fault I am sitting here alternately screaming at a book or giggling like a loon over an Irish teenaged criminal mastermind - oh, excuse me, juvenile genius. It's all your fault!

It's kind of interesting, though, watching Artemis go from an entirely cold-hearted boy to a young man who *SPOILERS* lays down his life to protect fairykind and humanity. It happened somewhere in The Lost Colony, I think. Possibly at the moment where Holly gets shot and dies (whimpering, "Artemis... Artemis, help me," which was the WORST part), and Artemis just looks over at her but has to keep on going with what he's doing - though he's crying - and then he takes advantage of the unraveling time spell to fire a bolt into the past and knock out the demon before he could kill HOlly, thus ensuring she never died at all... GAH.

Then tehy get mixed up teleporting back to their time and space from the demon dimension; their eyes are now mismatched: Artemis has one of Holly's hazel ones, and she has one of his blue ones. And then to find out that they've been gone three years and his family has given him up for dead and he has two younger brothers now... GAH.

Then, in The Last Guardian, everything goes wrong and Opal Koboi is about to unleash Armageddon on the earth; Butler's down, and the twins and Juliet have been possessed, and there's nothing left... Artemis has his plan, but he knows he's likely going to die in it, and Holly tries to stop him but he expected that and planned accordingly. And he goes out and fools Opal Koboi - megalomaniac, insanely smart, insanely powerful Opal Koboi - and cancels the apocalypse, and it looks like he's about to escape... And then the fairy eye of Holly's that he still has prevents him from escaping the ring of destruction, since it means he's not fully human, and he dies... and Holly and Butler have to watch it... GAH.

Why was I given emotions?

*sniff*

So, um, yeah, somewhere along there... at the end of The Lost Colony, I stopped thinking of Artemis as a boy and started thinking of him as a man. (Not in that sense. Get your minds out of the gutter.) I don't know... it's hard to explain. He wasn't a child any longer. He had the responsibilities, talents, and duties of an adult, and he was actually trying and doing his best to fulfill them.

A similar moment happened for me with Percy Jackson. (*MORE massive spoilers*) He's his loveably dork self all through PJATO, and then he's missing in The Lost Hero, but we get him back in The Son of Neptune. I was counting down the days till that book came out - kept referring to it on my blog here, too. When I got it and read it, I breathed a sigh of relief. Percy hadn't changed. At least, it didn't look that way at first.

But seeing him through the POV of other characters began it. At sixteen, he was the experienced campaigner, the one they relied on. He was the Team Dad, looking out for Frank and Hazel - a trait only intensified in The Mark of Athena. He literally was the glue holding everyone together.

And don't even get me started on his connection to Annabeth. It's a better love story than Twilight in more ways than words can describe. It's not an infatuation. It's genuine love. She was the only thing that the head goddess of Olympus could not wipe from his mind, since his devotion to Annabeth was that strong. He loves Annabeth, but he still holds to his duty - going to Alaska to save the eagle and defeat Alcyoneus, letting her go on her own to follow the Mark of Athena and face Arachne, whatever he has to do. They have genuine respect and friendship between them - they're equals. They trust each other absolutely.

At the end of PJATO, Percy comments that his relationship with Annabeth is a solid foundation for the future, and it is. Oh, it is. The most heartwarming/heartbreaking moment of them all, the one that really takes the cake, is from The Son of Neptune, when Percy is in New Rome and sees an older demigod couple watching their child chase the pigeons. He starts wondering if he and Annabeth will ever have a family...

Now, if that doesn't make you tear up, I don't know what will. *cries like a baby*

It was probably that scene there that made me no longer think of Percy as a boy, but rather as a man. He has grown up. And now he's fallen into Tartarus with Annabeth rather than let go of her, and we have been waiting almost a yera to find out what happens to them...

*shakes fist* Thanks a lot, Rick Riordan.

Addendum: One fandom I did NOT join this week is that of Fablehaven. The first book of that series was also at the rental place. Having run out of Discworld and Artemis Fowl (I read six books on vacation... yeah, typical me), I picked it up out of boredom. Halfway through the book, I felt like banging my head on the wall. I put the book down - some of the worst censure I can give. The main characters were SO stupid! Kendra had some common sense, but Seth deserved to get eaten alive by the worst critter in the refuge. I mean, he was the very epitome of Too Stupid To Live. He thoughtlessly, stubbornly, and rebelliously breaks every rule their grandfather gives them to keep them safe, and INVITES MALICIOUS FAIRY CRITTERS INTO THE HOUSE!!! Idiot. I was hoping he would die in some horrific manner, but no such luck.

Then Kendra, his sister, whom I had approved of so far for her (relative) good sense, told him it wasn't his fault, but rather that of the fairies since they're evil and chose to do that, etc. I was like, "What the blank??!!" I realize she was trying to comfort him, but seriously... it WAS his fault! The fairies could have done nothing to him if he hadn't willfully broken all the rules he had been given. Not only did he endanger himself, he endangered everyone else, too. I half wish a werewolf had chomped him in half or something.

Oh, and their grandfather isn't blameless, either. He says they can't go into the woods at first because of ticks and Lyme's disease (fair enough), a standard enough plot device of lies to keep the kids away from secret mythical critters. THEN he gives Kendra a set of keys and tells her to find what they go to - ultimately, it means they drink magic milk (me: o.O "REALLY? What kind of cows do they come from?") and can then see fairies. So he wants them to figure it out on their own that he lied to them and he's hiding all sorts of mythical critters?? Who knows what they might have done (and did do) unsupervised with that information!

And THEN he has the idiocy to say that he will need successors to run the refuce when he's gone. All well and good... but they're apparently still preteens! Clearly, neither of them are ready for any sort of responsibility, and who knows if they will be ready in half a dozen years in the future? A person's character can change so rapidly as a child and teenager. Did they have to be still children for it to work - the whole 'only children believe in fairies' spiel? If so, that should have been spelled out. As it is, it feels like the plot is another case of, "Oh, these kids are so special they can do everything, and Adults Are Useless and should let the heroes handle it instead of being allowed to intellignetly and competently deal with the problems!"

I hate those plots. Harry Potter was basically that plot. (I hold Dumbledore in especial contempt for allowing three eleven-year-olds to put themselves in mortal danger via most poweful evil wizard of their time because he thought Harry had the 'right' to face Voldemort because ol' Voldie killed his parents. I want to slap Dumbledore repeatedly and go, "HE WAS ONLY ELEVEN!! ELEVEN!!!!" Sheesh, that series has more evidence for Dumbledore being a magical cousin of the Emperor from Star Wars than of being the great force for good he's commonly assumed to be. In fact, I love fanfics that go that route. Not to say that the occasional good!Dumbledore fic is not unappreciated. It's just that... let's just say I find it easier to believe Loki can be redeemed than Dumbledore, okay?)

Speaking of which... I now have a LEGO Loki keychain. Yes, Loki of Asgard is burdened with a glorious purpose... to guard my keyring. Oh, and I had an extra LOTR elf sword, so I gave it to him. Now he has his Glowstick of Destiny. I should take a picture and put it up on my blog...

I don't know. Fablehaven may have answered all my questions in the next chapter. Maybe Seth would have learned his lesson after his latest near grisly demise and learned to FOLLOW THE RULES. Maybe Kendra would have grown a spine and reined him in. Maybe. But I doubt it. So, while I applaud Brandom Muil (I keep wanting to call him Emyn Muil... sigh... too much LOTR) for intelligent villains and (apparently) a working magic system, I must sigh and turn away form his books on account of their extremely slow build - let's just say I wasn't exactly riveted by the opening chapters - and idiot characters. Particularly on account of the idiot characters.

Now, I realize that dumb characters have their places. But when they are willfully and maliciously idiotic... putting themselves and everyone else in harm's way out of curiosity they have repeatedly been warned to curb and out of a stupid, stubborn desire to be always right... headbang. I mean, you'd think after Seth turned (accidentaly, I'll grant him that) a fairy into an evil, hideous imp and got turned into a big pink walrus by the other fairies in retribution, he would learn to follow the rules. Apparently not. Do you see why I was beginning to hope he would experience some sort of horrific death?

However, I am a Genre Savvy Reader (and Viewer, when it comes to movies), and I knew that wasn't going to happen. Not in a kids' book. Maybe he would learn his lesson and save the day that way. More likely (and following in the footsteps of Harry Potter) he would continue to break all the rules and do incredibly stupid things, and still somehow save the day and so get praised and rewarded instead for it. Seriously, Harry's rule-breaking gets rewarded all the time. It gets so egregious that Snape really starts looking logical about the whole matter. Grr.

Okay, rant over. You can come out of hiding now.

Positive Statement: At least I good a good example of 'How Not To Write' out of it. There's always that.

In Pace Christi,

Elyse

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