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The Fowl Twins

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
The Fowl Twins Book Poster Image
Artemis Fowl spin-off is clever and action-packed.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Kids will have to keep up with Myles' big vocabulary -- lots of SAT-level words to learn from him. They'll also learn a bit about Amsterdam and Verona (with plenty of Romeo and Juliet references). While much of the technology created by fairies and geniuses (evil and otherwise) doesn't actually exist, there are hints of it in our own modern tools, such as smart appliances and drones.

Positive Messages

Lessons about letting past failures go and moving on. Plus trusting in and supporting family, and appreciating that there are all kinds of intelligence.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Eleven-year-old twins Myles and Beckett are very different. Myles is incredibly book smart, and Beckett is physically agile, quick-thinking, close to animals, and very intuitive. Together, they are a good team. Neither wants to hurt the bad guys who are after them more than necessary to get away, and they respect the lives and freedom of the fairies.

Violence

Plenty of action and chases, but only once do real bullets come out. Usually it's robots, weaponized drones, bullets that shrink-wrap prey, eels that electrocute, falling buildings, and bad guys with fists. When Beckett fights the bad guys, he briefly incapacitates them. Some bad injuries, including a bullet to the chest and crushed bones, healed by magical means. Also, kidnapings and falls off of cliffs.

Sex
Language

"Damned," "bloody," and "blooming hell" rarely. The fairy swear word "d'arvit" more often.

Consumerism

Somene drives a Telsa.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lord Teddy drinks brandy in the bath until drunk and smokes a cigar. He offers a cigar to Myles, who turns it down.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Eoin Colfer'sThe Fowl Twins is the first book in an Artemis Fowl spin-off series that involves the exploits of Artemis' 11-year-old brothers, Myles and Beckett. You could get by not reading Artemis Fowl first, but you'll understand more about the Fowl family and the fairy world if you do. There's plenty of high action here starting with a kidnapping. Escape involves some fighting (though Beckett is talented enough at martial arts to incapacitate and not harm the goons after him), a boat chase, falling buildings, cliff dives, and firing weapons (mostly the kind that simply shrink-wrap prey, but real bullets once). Terrible injuries are magically mended. Language is mild and rare ("damned," "bloody," "blooming hell"), and one adult drinks brandy until drunk and smokes a cigar. Readers will enjoy how different the twins are from each other. Myles is what we'd traditionally call a genius, but Beckett is the one with the great instincts, and some great advice for Myles. When one of Myles' plans doesn't work and he feels like he failed, Beckett tells him not to mope about the past. "Say good-bye to old-failure Myles, and hello to new-plan Myles."

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What's the story?

In THE FOWL TWINS, 11-year-old Myles and Beckett are on their own for the weekend on their family's Irish island. Their parents are on a short trip, and big-brother Artemis and his bodyguard, Butler, are on their way to Mars. Well, they think they're on their own until a sniper on a neighboring island, the nefarious Lord Teddy Bleedham-Drye, takes a shot at a toy-size troll breaching the surface of the Earth. Three things happen at once: The toy troll, shrink-wrapped by the special bullet, is pocketed by Beckett -- he thinks it's an actual toy and not a fairy; the Fowl's fancy security system shuts down the compound; and a police fairy flying by in an invisible suit sees the whole thing. Nothing should be able to get in or out of the Fowl compound, but somehow a nun, Sister Jeronima, from a secret organization (acronym of ACRONYM) intent on finding and experimenting on fairies, breaches their system and whisks the boys away. The twins wake up in a secret prison in Amsterdam ready to do anything they can to escape.

Is it any good?

This spin-off series is both exceedingly clever and action-packed, and will satisfy readers who miss the fairy world and Artemis Fowl's genius antics. Myles can easily be compared to Artemis, and always wants to one-up his older brother's accomplishments. And while Butler was always the one keeping Artemis in check, here we have Myles' twin, Beckett. He runs on pure instinct, performs expert-level martial arts moves (guard your knee caps), and has a secret connection to all living things that we won't give away here. Author Eoin Colfer also presents us with some fabulous villains, as he always does: the eternal-youth-obsessed evil genius Lord Teddy Bleedham-Drye and the militant interrogation expert Sister Jeronima Gonzalez-Ramos de Zarate of Bilbao. The names alone are priceless. As is the name of Sister Jeronima's secret organization, with an acronym of ACRONYM.

The Fowl Twins takes these unforgettable characters and puts them in plenty of nail-biting chase scenes and double-cross situations. There are boat chases, plane ejector seats, cliff dives, and prison breaks. And there's not one, but two, private islands full of high-tech gadgets. Strap into your self-regenerating fairy suit. This series is off to an exciting start.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Fowl brothers in The Fowl Twins. Which one are you most like? Who would you like to be? How does Myles underestimate both of his brothers? When does he find out he's wrong?

  • How do Myles and Beckett show that they value others' lives, even the lives of the bad guys? What tactics do they use to cause less harm?

  • Have you read the Artemis Fowl series? How does this compare?

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