By Eoin Colfer
First published: 2001
Series: Artemis Fowl #1
Read: 13 - 20 March 2011
Challenges: 1st in a Series Challenge #4
Myster & Suspense Challenge #4
From the cover
"Stay back, human. You don't know what you are dealing with."
Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a brilliant criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren't the fairies of bedtime stories. These fairies are armed and they're dangerous. Artemis thnks he's got them just where he wants them, but then they stop playing by the rules...
Fairies and leprechauns and dwarves, oh my!
Artemis Fowl is a fast-paced, action-packed story full of creatures from Irish mythology. This was my first time reading about fairies, and I don't think it will be my last, even though these particular fairis might not be representative of the genre.
After Harry Potter I have almost come to expect all children's/YA books to appeal to adults as well, and although some do, others are clearly written solely with a younger audience in mind. Artemis Fowl belongs in the latter category, and although I had fun while reading it, it did make me feel like I wasn't the intended reader. I found it childish at times, especially in its descriptions of the dwarves' anatomy and how they build tunnels, which is the very thing I expect many children will adore. That being said, I enjoyed learning about the fairy community and their technology and mythology.
I also liked Captain Holly Short, the fairy Artemis kidnaps in order to exchange her for fairy gold. She's a smart gal trying to survive in a man's world as the only female LEPrecon officer. Some of the supporting characters like the tough, but soft-hearted Commander Root, and Butler, Artemis' personal servant and bodyguard, were quite interesting and seemed more developed than the main characters. My favourite was the centaur Foaly, who is the techno wiz of the LEPrecon Unit and has the best one-liners.
I'm still not sure what to make of Artemis though. Child prodigy, yes; sympathetic, not really. He does have some redeeming moments, especially when it comes to his mother, but he's also as cold and calculating as any James Bond villain. Even though Artemis is the main character (after all the book is named after him), I was rooting for Holly and her team. It will be interesting to see how Artemis develops through the rest of the series.
Best: The organisation and magical system of the fairy community.
Worst: The commentary on environmental issues, although some of them true, started to feel preachy after a while.
Bottom line: A fast-paced, fun-filled action story with a twist on Irish mythology that is sure to delight younger readers (and a probably quite a few adults too).
The Artemis Fowl series
- Artemis Fowl (2001)
- The Arctic Incident (2002)
- The Eternity Code (2003)
- The Opal Deception (2005)
- The Lost Colony (2006)
- The Time Paradox (2008)
- The Atlantis Complex (2010)