All of that growth that Artemis went through in the Arctic Incident? His father and mother both back and home, each with a fairy-magic-inspired positive outlook on life? Doesn’t mean that he’s above trying to exploit fairy technology for a bit more gold…
Basically, he took the helmets and other gear he stole back in the first book and turned them into a computer. On top of that, he apparently encrypted it with something called an ‘Eternity Code.’ If I understand correctly, that basically means that Artemis wrote it in a completely differently language, which makes it impossible to crack. Except that only works well if it’s completely unrelated to any known language, which runs counter to the first book. So it goes.
The same set of characters are back, along with a new big bad: the human tech entrepreneur John Spiro and his head of security Arno Blunt. They make good decent villains, the former smart enough to at least sometimes outsmart Artemis and the latter mean enough to go toe to toe with Butler. (Which also leads to one of the most emotional scenes in the series thus far when Butler is mortally wounded and Holly has to use her magic to save him .)
Among the most interesting scenes in this book is the closing scenes where the People decide that it’s finally time to wipe Artemis and co’s memory. It’s really a battle of wits and, unlink some of them, manages to feel real. It’s a cool scene and does at once close off that particular problem with the first two books while at the same time setting up the next sequel. Well done that.
Random aside, Artemis took a chance to gloat / explain his name:
And one more thing. About my name — Artemis — you were right. In London, it is generally a female name, after the Greek goddess of archery. But every now and then a male comes along with such a talent for hunting that he earns the right to use the name. I am that male. Artemis the hunter. I hunted you.
It’s still a bit strange, especially given that he was named well before he became who he is. But at this point, I can’t really imagine him with any other name. So it goes.
Overall, it’s a solid book. Pretty much the only part I didn’t care for was the linguistic/cipher/computer nerd in me being so annoyed at the very idea of the Eternity Cube/Code it. Also, Artemis tends to be just a bit over the top (even by kid genius standards). Other than that, a fun sequel. Worth the read.
Amusing quote of the day:
Jon Spiro had not hired Pex and Chips for their debating sills. In the job interview, they had only been set one task. A hundred applicants were handed a walnut and asked to smash it however they could. Only two succeeded. Pex had shouted at the walnut for a few minutes, then flattened it between his giant palms. Chips had opted for a more controversial method. He placed the walnut on the table, grabbed is interviewer by the ponytail, and used the man’s forehead to smash the nut. Both men were hired on the spot. They quickly established themselves as Arno Blunt’s most reliable lieutenants for in-house work. They were not allowed outside Chicago, as this could involve map reading, something Pex and Chips were not very good at.