Iron Man – The Gauntlet by Eoin Colfer (8-12 yrs)

 

Note: I received this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tony Stark is known throughout the world as many things: billionaire, inventor, Avenger. But mainly for being the Invincible Iron Man.

Just when Tony is about to add his pizzazz to an international eco-summit in Ireland, someone close to him forces him to question his role in making the world a more dangerous place with his high-tech weaponry. But Stark doesn’t have much time to reflect before an old enemy presents him with an even greater challenge: the assassination of all the eco-ministers, and Iron Man himself. Just how invincible Iron Man is when he is stripped of everything remains to be seen in this breathless adventure by the bestselling author of Artemis Fowl.

It’s worth mentioning from the outset that this is a match made in heaven.   Iron Man, and more specifically his alter ego Tony Stark, meets Eoin Colfer.   This author has brought us into his own magical world of (mini) superheroes in the Artemis Fowl series and has been commissioned to write a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy novel and a Dr Who book.   But here Colfer meets his match in the humour of Tony Stark.   He has an absolute ball describing the world of Tony Stark and we’re along for the ride.

Eoin Colfer’s incarnation of Iron Man skews close to the Marvel version as we know him on-screen, complete with mentions of the Avengers and his latest operating system, FRIDAY.   In the early pages, we even get a flashback to Tony as a child, which explores his difficult relationship with his father.   It also re-establishes Tony Stark as a character who has changed his outlook on technology; namely that it should be used for advancements which steer away from weaponry.

This story leans heavily on Irish influences and references, which come across brilliantly and nonchalantly.   One running joke in particular hits the mark, where Tony and his sometimes-partner Rhodes get into fights and end up destroying priceless (Irish) artworks.   Add in one of the best Game of Thrones references I’ve heard and this book leaves you laughing like a maniac to yourself, which is all part of Colfer’s plan I’m sure.

The characters are strong in this adventure too; there’s the return of a familiar villain, albeit in a different guise and the introduction of an Irish policeman, used to great effect.

Eoin Colfer’s voice is fantastic in this story.   Despite all the action, his sardonic narration seems to be relaying a tale in the most relaxed way possible, as if all the fantastical elements of the story were commonplace.   It’s a real strength, and it adds to the heightened suspension of disbelief required here as the stakes get higher.

You can tell from reading Eoin Colfer’s work that he enjoys a good gadget.   They feature heavily in the Artemis Fowl series, and since Tony Stark prides himself on the latest technology being his own, the author has plenty of scope to introduce innovation through various technologies.

The Gauntlet is a whole lot of fun.   It’s a perfect read for anyone who enjoys Eoin Colfer’s work or who loves the character already, and for lovers of action-adventure.   Highly recommended.

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