The Artemis Fowl series
by Cathy Friend
"Trust me. I'm a genius."
Something big must be going down to drag 12 year-old boy genius Artemis Fowl from his comfortably extravagant manor house in Ireland. Especially if that 'something big' requires an overseas trek to the sweltering Ho Chi Minh City in the middle of summer.
But trek he does, and the words 'worth it' don't even begin to cover what he finds there. A copy of The Book. What's The Book? It's an ancient fairy bible that outlines all the laws of the fairy race. With it Artemis plans to do something no human has ever done before: capture a leprechaun and steal their gold…
Captain Holly Short is the first ever female member of LEPrecon; a reconnaissance division of the Lower Elements Police that specialises in diffusing fairy situations topside before humans notice anything unusual.
She loves going on missions; it's the only time she can get away from the stuffy, hot underground cities the fairies call home. But when one of her missions goes terribly wrong, Holly comes face to face with a boy who could very easily expose her entire civilisation and cause an inter-species war-if she doesn't get him what he wants…
Artemis Fowl is one of my favourite series of all time. It's clever, witty and action packed, with a plethora of well-rounded, intriguing characters--both main and supporting.
Who can resist the draw of a 12 year old criminal mastermind and his deadly yet morally superior bodyguard Butler? Or the gaseous, dirt eating dwarf called Mulch who just so happens to be a master thief…and currently in prison for it… Or the cocky genius centaur Foaly whose tech gear is all that lies between the fairy race and discovery by the humans.
Eoin Colfer's characters are always crazily contrasting and yet have a depth and believability that, to be honest, is a little unbelievable!
The notions Colfer explores in this series are poignant and discussed within refreshingly original parameters. Who better to wrestle with the fuzziness of good and evil than someone who is, on the whole morally ambiguous? What better way to highlight how extensively people can change?
Colfer portrays these ideas so effectively that every choice Artemis makes seems completely natural; never out of place, which is something that I absolutely loved about this series.
As you could probably tell from the above book summary, Colfer has also created an extensive and imaginative world that children and adults alike will love returning to again and again. There are elves, centaurs, dwarves, goblins, pixies, warlocks, trolls (ugh) and…well you get the picture. And each species has particular quirks and characteristics that give the whole world a sense of credibility.
Moreover, Colfer's writing style adds to the overall effect. While his pacing is relatively fast, he recognises the importance of describing the world and the scenes so as to paint the right picture in our minds.
It's a good thing too, otherwise the wonderfully intricate world he has created would remain shrouded in mystery for all time.
It is impossible for me to talk about the Artemis Fowl series without extensively praising its storylines. Eoin Colfer must have some magic in his veins because his unique characterisation and world-building culminate in refreshingly original plots that confidently walk the razor-sharp edge between crazy but believable and absolutely absurd.
The first book is about a 12 year old boy who kidnaps a fairy policewoman for heaven's sake!
Throughout the series, Colfer is able to incorporate everything from clones to time travel to split personality disorder to angry Russian mob bosses to 7000 year old floating animal islands without even breaking a sweat.
The series is, I believe, a real winner, and is one I loved all throughout my childhood. The intended reading age is 8-12 year olds; however I would recommend it to teenagers and young adults too, as well (of course) as to old adults who are still young at heart. I rate this series a 5 out of 5. It's an absolute blast.
Cathy is one of our regular reviewers.
Read a review focused specifically on the first book in the series.