Opal Koboi, power-crazed pixie, is plotting to exterminate mankind and become fairy queen.
If she succeeds, the spirits of long-dead fairy warriors will rise from the earth, inhabit the nearest available bodies and wreak mass destruction. But what happens if those nearest bodies include crows, or deer, or badgers - or two curious little boys by the names of Myles and Beckett Fowl?
Yes, it's true. Criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl's four-year-old brothers could be involved in destroying the human race. Can Artemis and Captain Holly Short of the Lower Elements Police stop Opal and prevent the end of the world?
My review for The Atlantis Complex, the seventh book in the fantastic Artemis Fowl series, was less than glowing. I felt that it just did not match the quality of the rest of the series, and part of me wondered whether Eoin Colfer was running out of ideas. Having now read the final book in the series, The Last Guardian, my feelings about The Atlantis Complex are possibly slightly more negative than they were when I read it - it just seems to be a little extraneous when put into the context of the series as a whole. The Last Guardian, however, if Colfer back on form and is a great final instalment for Artemis Fowl and Captain Holly Short.
Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian finds Artemis and Holly up against their old enemy, Opal Koboi, or is hell bent on bringing about the complete destruction of the human race, and the elevation to ruler of all fairy-dom that such an act is sure to bring for her. In order to do this she devises her greatest plan to date - somehow she must be released from prison, cripple the whole LEP organisation, awaken a squadron of Berserkers from their 10,000 year slumber and reopen a magical gate that will bring about Armageddon for all mankind. For anyone but Opal Koboi this would seem to be an impossible task - it's lucky for the human race that Artemis and his friends are hot on her trail, but will they be in time?
One of the main reasons I fell in love with the first Artemis Fowl book and subsequently the whole series, was the characters. Not just Artemis and Holly, but Butler, Foaly and Mulch as well. They have always been a delight to read, even when the plot was not maybe as strong as it could have been in some of the books, Every one of them has had a part to play in the ongoing saga, and in The Last Guardian it is as if Eoin Colfer does not want to end his series without each of them having one last key role to play in saving the world.
The interplay between the key characters is as sparkling as ever, and the hilarious banter between them, something that has become a trademark of Colfer's writing, is all present and correct. I can just imagine the fun that Eoin Colfer must have had in writing the dialogue in these stories.
I'm struggling to say much more about the book without giving away information that will spoil it for readers. I know long-time fans had a huge number of questions running into this final book, and I'm not sure every one of them will be answered. I also know that fans have been speculating a lot about a number of things - the relationship between Artemis and Holly being the most popular topic on fan forums - and I know that some of these fans will be a little disappointed come the end of this book. However, I personally feel that Colfer has ended to book brilliantly - as readers we don't always require all the answers, and sometimes it is as rewarding for us to imagine what might happen next.
This is a year for 'last in series' books - we recently saw the end of the Saga of Larten Crepsley by Darren Shan, a book that ended in a way that had me itching to re-read the whole of the original Saga of Darren Shan series. The final paragraph of Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian created a similar desire in me, and will have legions of fans reaching for well-read copies of the first book in the series. It will have some fans struggling to keep their jaws from dropping, but for me it was the perfect way to say goodbye to Artemis and Holly Short.
My thanks go to the good people at Puffin for sending me a copy to review. This may be the end for Artemis and friends but Eoin Colfer is set to return in 2013 with a brand new series, titled W.A.R.P., the first chapter of which is included at the end of this book. I can;t wait to see what he delivers next.