Author: Eoin Colfer
Series: Artemis Fowl #1
Date: May 2001
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy
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Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius, and, above all, a 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 fairies of bedtime stories; these fairies are armed and dangerous.
Artemis thinks he has them right where he wants them...but then they stop playing by the rules.
I wish my 12-year old self had books like this when I was growing up. Or really, I wish my 12-year old self had wanted to read books like this when I was growing up. I read a lot of serialised girl fiction, like Sweet Valley and The Babysitters Club and not quite enough ‘boy books’. I realised now that while I learned a lot about gossip, boys and friendship, I missed some really important lessons, like adventure, or blackmail.
Artemis Fowl Junior is a well-spoken, criminal genius, who happens to be twelve. He tries to restore his family’s riches through the easiest way possible—discover the fairy races’ secrets, kidnap a fairy and blackmail them for gold. It’s too bad he runs up against Captain Holly Short, the only female retcon officer and the entire LEPrecon unit who will not stop until they rescue one of their own!
The story is told from the point of view of both Artemis and Holly (and LEPrecon). Artemis starts out quite stern, but slowly develops a concience and sympathy. He ends up feeling bad for Holly and throughout the book, you can see a little of his dry humour start to come through. Holly is feisty and determined, always having to prove that she’s a good officer, but she’s also smart and empassioned and I found I liked her a lot. Although they are on opposing sides, I was rooting for both, and I liked how the lines were blurred between protagonist and antagonist.
I think the best thing about the book was the great supporting cast of characters. There’s kick-ass Butler, Artemis’…butler, whose family the designation ‘butler’ actually originated from; grumpy Commander Julius Root, Holly’s commanding officer; tech-genius centaur Foaly, in charge of all of fairy’s impressive technology and 007-like gadgets; and my personal favourite, the irrepressable Mulch Diggums—dwarf, kleptomaniac, burp machine.
The story itself and how it unfolds is really fun and there are lots of twists and turns, which keeps it interesting. The author breaks the barrier several times and the writing is witty and humourous. The action is also paced well and it kept me wanting to read more. I would’ve loved this book a whole lot if I was 12 and I recommend it to anyone whose inner child wants to read a good story.