As a HUGE fan of Eoin Colfer’s work and the Artemis Fowl series, I have been anxiously awaiting the new Fowl Twins series! I was thrilled when my copy finally came in from the library and I dove in with relish the moment I got it home. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as thrilled after I finished it.
This new series concentrates on Artemis’ younger twin brothers, Myles and Beckett who were still very young at the conclusion of the Artemis Fowl series. The Fowl Twins picks up several years later when the twins are 11 years old. Their first adventure definitely has a lot of action, but I feel it comes at the cost of character and the masterful melding of rich stories with fully developed characters that I am used to in Colfer’s work.
Myles and Beckett find themselves in the position of protecting a miniature troll from two new villains: Sister Jeronima and Lord Teddy Bleedham-Drye. An LEP (fairy) trainee with the same goal teams up with the brothers as they try to elude the villains on a madcap chase. This is really the entire plot: a chase. It lacks the nuances of the Artemis Fowl books and reads more like a chase scene than a story.
Technically, The Fowl Twins can stand on its own in that the story is self-contained. However, there are so many references to Artemis and events that happened in the Artemis Fowl series (one of which makes a significant difference in the plot of this story) that I think it would be difficult to read this book without a working knowledge of Artemis Fowl and the world created in that series. This presents a problem in that the Artemis Fowl series is written for a slightly older, more mature reading audience than The Fowl Twins. The language and heavily action-propulsive style of The Fowl Twins seems directed at younger elementary–rather then older elementary/middle grade. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to my chronologically-oriented mind to have a young reader start with this series and then move backward in time to the Artemis Fowl series at the same time they are moving forward as readers when so much of what happens in The Fowl Twins is rooted in the Artemis Fowl series.
I also feel Colfer is trying a little too hard to be clever and tongue-in-cheek. I don’t necessarily mind some of that but there are moments in this book where this technique feels manipulative and exclusive (as opposed to an inclusive joke/laugh with the reader). If I had not already read the Artemis series I don’t think I would have finished this one. Although I find this book disappointing, I will probably read the second installment in hopes that Colfer will find a way to bring Myles and Beckett Fowl to the same level as Artemis.
While I don’t necessarily recommend this book I absolutely recommend Colfer’s other works. For younger readers The Legend of Spud Murphy is always a hit in 2nd – 4th grade classes. Upper elementary will enjoy Half Moon Investigations and The Wish List. Middle grade will enjoy the time travel and heart-pounding pace of his W.A.R.P. series.