The Opal Deception: Artemis Fowl, Book 4

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Opal Deception: Artemis Fowl, Book 4 Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Fun, fast-paced volume shows the kid genius's nicer side.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 27 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Introduces the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World as well as Abu Simbel, Borobudur, Rapa Nui, and the Throne Hall at Persepolis.

Positive Messages

Friendship and forgiveness are important. So is fighting for the greater good, which in this case is to save the world from war. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Since Artemis has forgotten all about the fairy world, he's back to being a criminal at the beginning of the story. He comes around again, though, realizing how important Holly and Mulch are to him. He's never truthful with his parents, though.


An important character to the series dies in an explosion and is mourned. Fierce fights against fairy creatures, the worst being trolls. Explosions and high-tech fairy weapons account for the rest of the fighting. A fall from a building with injuries. A plan to start a war between fairies and humans that would wipe out millions.


Holly and Artemis are sprayed with troll pheromones and chased by amorous trolls.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some teens smoke briefly.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Eoin Colfer's The Opal Deception is the fourth book in the popular Artemis Fowl series. Here Artemis' adversary/friend Holly Short needs his help, as Opal Koboi has escaped and is planning both revenge and world domination. Expect the death of an important character in an explosion; the character is mourned after. There are also fights against trolls, fights using explosions and high-tech fairy weaponry, and a fall from a building with injuries. At the beginning of the story, Artemis doesn't remember his connection to the fairies and is back to being more of the bad guy readers will remember from the first book. He comes around quickly, though, and realizes how important his friends are.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAnanth Bharadwaj November 27, 2012
Adult Written byTending Bloom April 9, 2008

A new Artemis...

Having read the previous Artemis Fowl books, this is a nice conclusion.
Only Opal could pull it off.
A warning:There is a death of a major character at the beg... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byAuthoric December 4, 2020

Probably One Of The Best!

I looooove Artemis Fowl. The series is great. I enjoy more than all the Harry Potter books combined! In this fast-paced brilliant action novel, Opal Koboi retur... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old February 19, 2020

Great start from a cliff hanger!!!

As you can tell from the title, this is the 4th book in the series which saved the pressure from people who believed the Artemis Fowl series would end as a tril... Continue reading

What's the story?

At the end of the last Artemis Fowl book, The Eternity Code, young criminal genius Artemis and Butler had their memories wiped so that they would no longer remember what they knew about the Lower Elements -- fairies, goblins, centaurs, etc. But as we see in THE OPAL DECEPTION, Artemis had devised a clever plan to get his memory back. As it turns out, though, his plan doesn't work fast enough. Meanwhile, his old adversary/friend Holly Short needs his help. Opal Koboi has escaped and is planning both revenge and world domination, and only Artemis is clever enough to oppose her. But Opal, who's as smart as Artemis, quickly gets the upper hand, and has Artemis and Holly playing defense as her plans fall into place one by one -- plans that include humiliating and discrediting Holly before she's killed. Now they are on the run both from Opal and from the LEP, whom Opal has fooled into thinking that Holly has gone renegade.

Is it any good?

Fans of the series who were horrified to think it would end as a trilogy will be thrilled to see this new episode. While The Opal Deception can be read without reading the previous books, that's not recommended. Even with lots of exposition, it's pretty confusing without the context. But it maintains the strengths of the series: fast pacing, suspense, smarty-pants humor, B movie dialogue and plotting, and unusual settings.

Artemis is considerably softened up here, a process begun in the previous book and now accelerated. At times he is almost, well, nice -- which may disappoint some readers even as parents breathe a sigh of relief.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Artemis and his motivations in The Opal Deception. How has he changed in the series? How is he the same?

  • Why do you think this series is so popular? Is it the characters or the plot that keeps readers hooked?

  • How tough would it be to change from mean to nice? Have you known any kids whose character or temperament changed from one grade to another? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

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