xybolic wrote: The intense part in TTP is the relationship between characters, the comparisons, the betrayal, etc. Not really the adventure. TTP felt more like a character exploration than an adventure. Like the comparison of past and present Artemis, Artemis as a brother and son, Artemis as a friend, Holly and Artemis. The beginning of TLC started out as light enough, but the end was more intense.
Also TOD. Though I think only the start is dark. The end was a bit lighter.
I agree completely, I think it wasn't until the beginning of TOD that I began the process of *really* getting into the series, and started to bond with Holly as a character. The scene right after Root has been killed, and she thinks she has failed to save Artemis and Butler... But yes, it was only the beginning that was dark for me, the rest was exciting, but not frightening and oppressive in the same way, where it seemed almost hopeless for a little while.
What you said about TTP, about how the intense part is the relationship between the characters and not the adventure, I find very insightful. I think it pinpoints why TTP is my favorite book in the series by a long shot (when so many other here found it sort of lacking X3), because I loved the interactions and how we got to see so much of Artemis, especially being able to directly compare the new Artemis to the old one.
My first impression in reading it was that it was most definitely the darkest book of the series overall. For starters, although the book didn't go into great depth about this, I got the definite sense that both Artemis and Holly right from the beginning were feeling disconnected, even lost after the world had moved on without them during their three-year absence. Artemis notes the difference between the way his father treats his new sons with the almost strict, almost cold way he treated Artemis when he was the same age, and Holly seems a bit lonely, with the changes in the lives of her two best friends, Trouble and Foaly.
In this way, Holly and Artemis could really relate to each other better than they could relate to those that usually surrounded them, which made Artemis' lie to Holly and the threat of 'their friendship never being the same again' ever more disturbing. Even though they are able to make up and become friends again, at the end I was still left with a feeling that what Artemis did still created a sort of permanent rift between them.
This scene, after his battle with Opal, was particularly moving to me:
On this evening, the stars just made him feel tiny and insignificant. Nature was vast and mighty and would eventually swallow him, even the memory of him. He lay there cold and alone on the plateau, waiting for a feeling of triumph he realized would never arrive [...]
Magical sparks flowed from Holly's fingertip, engulfing Artemis like a cocoon. He felt comforted and peaceful, like a baby in its blanket. [...]
"I'm sorry I lied to you, Holly. Truly. You've done so much."
Holly's eyes were distant. "Maybe you made the wrong decision; maybe I would have made that decision myself. We're from different worlds, Artemis. We will always have doubts about each other."
The betrayal and isolation themes in this book made it the darkest one for me.
But yeah, I'm also curious about how this whole thing may have had an impact on the events in TAC (in addition to Artemis' having caused his mother's illness)