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Review: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is the most ingenious criminal mastermind in history. With two trusty sidekicks in tow, he hatches a cunning plot to divest the fairyfolk of their pot of gold. Of course, he isn't foolish enough to believe in all that "gold at the end of the rainbow" nonsense. Rather, he knows that the only way to separate the little people from their stash is to kidnap one of them and wait for the ransom to arrive. But when the time comes to put his plan into action, he doesn't count on the appearance of the extrasmall, pointy-eared Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon (Lower Elements Police Reconnaisance) Unit--and her senior officer, Commander Root, a man (sorry, elf) who will stop at nothing to get her back.

"Fantastic stuff from beginning to end, Artemis Fowl is a rip-roaring, 21st-century romp of the highest order. The author has let his imagination run riot by combining folklore, fantasy, and a fistful of high-tech funk in an outrageously devilish book that could well do for fairies what Harry Potter has done for wizardry. But be warned: this is no gentle frolic, so don't be fooled by the fairy subject matter. Instead, what we have here is well-written, sophisticated, rough 'n' tumble storytelling with enough high-octane attitude to make it a seriously cool read for anyone over the age of 10." --Susan Harrison
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Source: NetGalley & Disney-Hyperion
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Next: The Arctic Incident
Challenge: All Male Review Challenge

Um, OH MY FREAKING GOSH! I was unquestioningly blown away by this first book in the Artemis Fowl series. First, before you even begin reading this, make sure you've taken a good look at the cover. That's what had me going, Whoa! That looks so cool! I really wanna read that! Because that, ladies and males, looks like a cunning, 12-year-old criminal mastermind! Now, I'm not really a big fan of middle grade characters, but this book can definitely be enjoyed by all ages!

I HAVE to start with Artemis. First of all, his name. It sounds magical and powerful and suits him so incredibly well... Artemis is indeed 12 years old, but he's a genius. And what's better: he's a bad genius. I wouldn't go so far as to say he's evil, but he's undoubtedly the bad guy. He has the mind, the coldness and determination of an adult, but he has childlike feelings and vulnerabilities, though they are carefully masked. When you think of Artemis think pint-sized Sherlock Holmes, or better, Moriarty - brilliant and devious. He's crafty, extremely perceptive, and, most importantly, he always wins. No matter how one tries to turn the tables on him so to speak, he still manages to win, however unexpectedly. Because even though I knew how intelligent Artemis was, I didn't think he'd outsmart the fairies.

While I'm DYING to get into the world-building and the paranormal side of it all, I haven't raved nearly enough about Artemis, or his muscle, Butler. Butler is this giant bodyguard, who also acts as, you guessed it, a butler. The thing is, the Butlers and the Fowls go back several generations, being paired up from infancy. Which means Butler and Artemis have been partners since Artemis was born, and it's completely obvious in their shared rhythm and understanding of one another. The Fowls have been criminals since the beginning, and their fortune stems from a long line of crime jobs. And some say the noun 'butler' actually derived from this practice between the Butlers and the Fowls. Let me just say, I luuurrve Butler. He's big and strong, generally silent, and kicks a ton of ass.

Moving on, world-building. Colfer did an extraordinary job in painting a vivid picture of this underground society of fairies. But, fairies is just a general term that encompasses the People. In fact, there are elves, dwarves, goblins, centaurs, trolls, etc. The People live Underground, near the Earth's core, where there are cities like Haven built under there. The science and technology that went into the structure of a civilization of this magnitude is astounding. The various routes to get above ground, the networking... I was blown away... These fairies are also Irish-based in that a lot of the myths and common knowledge behind them stem from Irish folklore. But, their old language, Gnommish, is a mix of middle eastern languages and looks like Egyptian hieroglyphics. Colfer magnificently interweaves a variety of myths and folklore, languages, places and so forth to make up his world, which kept me engrossed throughout.

And then there's Captain Holly Short, elf and leprechaun. Well, actually not "leprechaun" as you or I know it, but LEPrecon, an elite branch of the Lower Elements Police. She's spunky, has brains, and can be stubbornly determined. But, her most likable and admirable quality lies in her unerring belief in, and willingness to stand up for, what's right. She instantly forms a dislike of Artemis, and manages to get a few licks in. She even punched him! She popped the Artemis Fowl right in the face. That girl is awesome, and completely dedicated to her job. She knows combat and has insane magical abilities, too.

Continuing, the plot was just as fantastic as the rest! Artemis is after the Book - the faerie-equivalent of the Bible, chockfull of commandments, rituals, spells, and other magical practices, as well as some history that corresponds to our own - so that he can discern the location of the legendary pot of gold in order to reinstate his family's millionaire status. And he goes about it logically, methodically, and most of all, calmly. And by the end, both me and the faeries learn that Artemis Fowl is a force to be reckoned with.

All in all, this tale was masterfully written, and filled with lovable, comical characters, action, advanced technology, and a phenomenal paranormal element to tie it all up. When asked if I wanted to pick up the sequel, I answered with a resounding Yes! I can't wait to read THE ARCTIC INCIDENT!

Foaly was waiting at the pod. Serious though the moment was, he couldn't resist an amused whinny at the sight of Root's belly wobbling ever so slightly in his clinging jumpsuit.
"Are you sure about this, commander? Generally we allow only one passenger per pod?"
"What do you mean?" snarled Root. "There is only one..."
Then he caught Foaly's meaningful glance at his stomach. (87)

God, I love Foaly, the LEP's head techie.


Small Review said...

Ok, this has been on my TBR for ages, but I was never truly sold on it. Now I am! Totally excited for it!

Jackie said...

I've read the first two Artemis Fowl books, and I eventually want to finish the series. I love the world that was created, and everything played out so vividly in my mind.
I really do love those books! BUT, for some reason, I have a tough time getting into the books. I struggle through the first three or four chapters before I am officially hooked. That's kind of weird, isn't it? To love a book but have a tough time getting into it, I mean.

A. Knight said...

Small Review - Yay! You HAVE got to give this book a shot. It is magnificent! And while I don't want to scare you away with all the this hype, but I can't help it. I have to gush. I really hope you enjoy it!

Jackie - Nah, I've had that happen to me, too. But, like you, I'm dying to finish the series. I actually just got the box set including the first three books in the series... Can't wait to rave about those too!