Artemis Fowl
(first book)

by Eoin Colfer

Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl
(the first book)

Book review by Natasha Withers

Ages 9+

A criminal mastermind’s plan could start a cross-species war—-and he’s only twelve-years-old…

Artemis Fowl II is not your average boy; in fact there is hardly anything average about Artemis. For one thing, he is a genius capable of driving even the best-trained psychiatrists mad. His family is insanely rich, even with father, Artemis Fowl I, missing in action.

Oh, and he’s also a criminal mastermind about to commit his first villainous crime: stealing fairy gold.

Before you start throwing insults about someone’s sanity, remember that while Artemis is a genius and a very rotten criminal, he’s still a boy; young enough to believe in the existence of the supernatural, but old and capable enough to exploit said beliefs and get some magical gold in his bank account.

With nearly limitless financial resources, state-of-the-art equipment, mind-churning intellect, virtually no parental interference, and the aid of Butler (his loyal and immovable mountain of a bodyguard), it seems like no one is capable of stopping young Artemis and his schemes.

Enter Captain Holly Short of LEPrecon, the Lower Elements Police reconnaissance squad.

Holly is the first and only female officer in the organization and wears that title with pride, though much to the headache of her commander. She constantly neglects procedure, opting to do things herself when she thinks she’s more than capable (which is nearly all the time), but she works hard for the safety of her fellow fairies and is a stern advocate of justice.

She is therefore entirely a foil to young Artemis.

Holly really manages to mess things up when she neglects to perform a very important ritual that replenishes the powers of fairies and this makes her an easy catch for Artemis, who holds her for ransom and will release her in exchange for a substantial amount of gold (none of that skimpy pot of gold stuff either).

Well, Holly’s squad is not at all pleased with this development and will do anything to get their captain back…anything besides handing over their gold that is.

A dangerous battle of wits between the Artemis household and the LEPrecon begins. The stakes: one ton of 24-carat gold, the return of Captain Holly Short, and their very lives.

In Artemis Fowl, the first book, Eoin Colfer submerges the reader into a world where young geniuses are criminals, fairies fly with specially-engineered “wings”, and magic and science make a deadly combination and even deadlier enemies.

The characters are quirky and witty, from a computer whiz centaur to a kleptomaniac dwarf. The lines between good and evil are blurred out of focus and readers will be constantly pushed to cheer both sides on against the other until a final decision must be made about where their loyalties lie: with Fowl Manor or the LEPrecon.

A word of warning: Artemis Fowl is not for the faint of heart. The character Artemis himself does not easily come off as a great role model for young readers. He is cold-hearted, calculating, selfish, and at the bottom of it, a criminal. However, he has his moments of sympathy and even regret and remorse.

Throughout the whole series (there are currently seven books) Artemis grows tremendously as a person. Though I won’t give out too many details in this review (I will soon write more for this series), just trust me when I say that sticking with him through his uglier moments makes it all worthwhile when we see what he becomes later on.

Read more of Natasha's book reviews.

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