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The Time Paradox: Artemis Fowl, Book 6

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
The Time Paradox: Artemis Fowl, Book 6 Book Poster Image
Artemis faces younger self in madcap, befuddling adventure.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

The process of dying leather somewhat explained. Plus, info on the silky sifaka lemur (though it is not extinct as the book claims) and on the disorder anosmia (no sense of smell). Some place details in Fez, Morocco, Helsinki, Finland, and the Irish coast.

Positive Messages

The old Fowl family motto is "Gold is Power." Those who have money here and think they have power are defeated. Those who are fighting for higher causes (saving animals, curing illness, keeping friends from danger) are the ones who win. A small eco-message as we're introduced to some nasty millionaires who kill endangered species for fun.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Fourteen-year-old Artemis meets his 10-year-old self and is often glad that he is no longer that kid who was much more devious and less compassionate. In the present, he treasures his friendships, has a soft spot for animals, and even plays the hero.

Violence

Plenty of action violence, but without casualties since most of the guns hold tranquilizer darts and fairies can heal injuries with magic. Animals stampede and one man's hand is bitten off in the chaos. A man's heart stops and a defibrillator starts it again. Animals are caged, threatened with death, and hurt with giant leeches. Explosions, a kidnapping, a mother is deathly ill, a gorilla shakes a human nearly to death, a plane crash leads to a broken collar bone. Holly recalls when her mother died from radiation poisoning.

Sex

A kiss that both parties find embarrassing.

Language

"Dammit" and "hell" a couple of times.

Consumerism

Artemis has the best of everything and mentions high-end brands of clothes and vehicles: Gucci, Bentley, Armani, a Cessna plane. The villain really likes the James Bond movie Dr. No.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Artemis never partakes, but two characters smoke cigars and there's wine, whiskey, and beer consumed by adults.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Time Paradox is the sixth book in the fantasy/sci-fi Artemis Fowl series that includes eight books and a movie based on the first two books set for release in 2020. Irish author Eoin Colfer also wrote the popular time-travel series, W.A.R.P. Readers will find time travel in The Time Paradox as well, and younger readers may have a little trouble keeping up with that part of the storyline. It's complex. Other elements of the story are on a par with the rest of the series. There's plenty of action violence but without casualties, since most of the guns hold tranquilizer darts and fairies can heal injuries with magic. A man's heart stops and a defibrillator starts it again. There are also explosions, a kidnapping, a mother is deathly ill, a monkey bites off a hand, a gorilla shakes a human nearly to death, and a plane crash leads to a broken collar bone. Kids sensitive to animal violence should note that one of the villains here formed a club that wants to kill endangered animals. Animals are caged, threatened with death, and hurt with giant leeches. In the end, it works out for the animals better than the villains, so keep that in mind. All other mature content is light -- a kiss and a bit of adult drinking and cigar smoking. With the time-travel angle, Artemis is given a rare opportunity to visit his 10-year-old self. This meeting with the conniving, less compassionate Artemis reminds the 14-year-old Artemis why he's happy he's a better person in the present, even a heroic one now when it comes to protecting his family.

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What's the story?

 In THE TIME PARADOX, Artemis' mother is sick with a mysterious illness and doesn't have much longer to live. In desperation, Artemis tries to use the last of his fairy magic to heal her, but fears he's made her worse. As soon as his family flies off to Dublin to consult with specialists, Artemis summons Holly to Fowl Manor. The news isn't good. Angeline Fowl has contracted a rare fairy illness that killed many of the People years ago. The only cure is in the brain fluid of the silky sifaka lemur. Artemis is immediately crestfallen. The last of those lemurs died four years before -- and he helped kill it (long story). The only way to save his mother now is to go back in time and snatch the lemur from his younger, more devious 10-year-old self. Artemis can't imagine a worse person to meet in another time stream.

Is it any good?

The sixth Artemis Fowl book has a fun but sometimes befuddling madcap adventure vibe with wild millionaire villains, secret laboratories, and all sorts of time travel weirdness. For readers who like nothing to be predictable or explained -- the sci-fi crowd for sure -- there's much to enjoy. For fantasy-focused readers who want more fairy lore, there's less here for you, though all the old friends from the series are back -- Holly Short, Mulch Diggums, Foaly, and more. It's nice to have the old Artemis -- that is, the younger Artemis -- back in the story, too. His antisocial antics are just more fun, even if we're supposed to be rooting for the present, more conscientious Artemis to win.

What will befuddle the reader isn't just how time travel works, how it's changed the past and future, etc. It's also how author Eoin Colfer stages some of his action at key moments in The Time Paradox. He's careful about showing us the souk in Fez, Morocco, but many other action scenes lack this clarity of detail. This kind of writing takes time, but it's worth going back again and again to make everything vivid and clear. That way readers are only confused when they're supposed to be.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the time paradox in The Time Paradox. What is it? What should Artemis have done differently, if anything?

  • If you went back to the past and met the four-years-younger version of yourself, would you notice big differences like Artemis did in himself? Or are you on the same path you've always been on? What would you tell your younger self? How do you think it would affect the future?

  • How does Book 6 compare with others in the series? Will you read the final two installments? Which one is your favorite so far?

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