I finally let myself read the LAST of the Artemis Fowl series. In this one, Artemis is cured of his Atlantis Complex (onset in the previous book) just in time to help the LEP tackle Opal Koboi's newest scheme to take over the world. Only this time, she's going farther than she's ever dared before. I don't really want to get into details, since I know some of you read this series and probably haven't gotten to this one yet, but just know: if you thought Opal was crazy before, you haven't seen the half of it. So, as usual, the gang is dealing with explosions, trickery, and general saving the world, but this time pretty much everything is at stake, and the final battle is taking place in Artemis's very own backyard (literally). As if Opal weren't enough, he also has to deal with his possessed little brothers and antagonistic crickets. The last book is, in my opinion, just as brilliant as the others, but I'm kind of back and forth on whether I like the way Colfer ended the series. For one thing, the events of the book are such that they are completely inconsistent with the actual condition of the planet (idk if that makes sense, but I don't want to spoil anything- read it!!!), so I can't really pretend that the faeries and centaurs and other characters really do exist deep under the earth. The story is now most definitely fictional :/ Plus what happens with Arty, while further evidence of his sheer genius and providing a brilliant way to bring the whole series back full circle, still makes me a little sad and wishing it could have gone differently (you might think you get what I mean, but you probably don't- again I say, READ IT!!!!!). So, that's my muddled and conflicted thoughts on the end of the Fowl series. Hopefully I leaned more on the vague side than the spoily side.
19. The Wizard Heir, by Cinda Williams Chima
I'm pretty sure this was the second book in a series I haven't read the first of, so I was worried at first that I'd be confused or missing out on some major plot points, but I think I managed alright. I may change my mind if I ever read the start of the series, but currently I'm not seeing much loss of understanding for starting out of order. Anyway, as far as the actual story goes, Seph (short for Joseph) is a teenage Wizard, one of five Weir guilds that exist. The other four are Sorcerers, Enchanters, Seers, and Warriors. In the Weir world, kept secret from the Anaweir (normal people, rest of the population), Wizards have always dominated over the other four guilds, because while each of the other guilds has specialized powers (enchanters have power over the mind, warriors over physical aspects, etc.), the Wizards have generalized skills that encompass those of the other guilds. But Seph is special, because not only is he super powerful, but he has grown up away from the Weir world. He doesn't know who his parents are, and he has never had anyone to instruct him in how to control and use his magic, so it tends to get him into trouble a lot, so much so that he's lost count of how many schools he's been expelled from. Finally, he ends up at a remote private school called the Hastings, and he thinks he will finally get the training he has been searching for. But something is wrong here.If Seph agrees to the headmaster's conditions, he may be in for more than he can handle. But how long can he hold out against the onslaught of nightmares and hallucinations that he suddenly starts having, especially when his attempts to contact the outside world and escape this prison are being blocked. Seph eventually manages to get away from the school, but soon enough the headmaster is after him again, his sinister plan still in place, and Seph could play a crucial role in putting a stop to it and saving the Weir world.
So, overall, it was an interesting story. I was a little confused at first, but that may just be because I jumped into the middle of the series. Things started making more sense pretty fast, anyway. I don't know if I'd want to read the rest of the series, not that it's badly written or anything, just that it was kind of dark for my tastes. It kind of jumped in almost immediately to life threatening, everybody's dying mode and stayed there quite a lot. Not really my preference, but otherwise a good read.
20. The Science of Harry Potter, by Roger Highfield
As you may have guessed by the title, this book takes the magical events and items in the Harry Potter books and considers them in terms of their real world equivalents and possibilities. For example, the author talks about broomsticks and how magnetic fields and aerodynamics could make something like flying on a broomstick possible eventually, and how certain drugs can make people think they're flying. The book covers quite a variety of scientific fields, from biology and the possibility of the variety of magical animals that exist in the wizarding world, to psychology and the origins of people's belief in magic and superstitions. Some topics I found more interesting than others, and it was kind of cool relating what the book talked about to things I already knew from class or from SciShow or something (I think chimeras were briefly mentioned). Overall, though, the point of the book was to use Harry Potter as a way to pull the audience into topics of science, and the comparisons between the two were often tenuous at best. Most of the potential explanations for the events and objects in JKR's books went off on tangents that were completely unrelated, and I, for one, prefer the fiction to the attempts at factualizing it. That's probably just me, though; reading non-fiction has never been something that really excites me, so I mostly found myself criticizing the author's interpretations of the Harry Potter books and trying to muddle through the overload of scientist and university names that kept coming up.