Written by: Eoin Colfer
Published by: Miramax Books
Reviewed by Ismael Manzano
I first spotted Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, about a year ago while combing through the local Barnes and Noble for something new to read. I spotted Artemis Fowl in the children’s section and debated heavily whether or not to purchase it. The premise was intriguing, but my wallet was empty. In the end, I decided to side with my wallet and all but forgot about Artemis Fowl until, a few months ago, while shopping with my kid sister, I spotted the book in one of her favorite book stores. She read the jacket and asked if I could buy her a copy. Well, that was all the referral I needed. I bought two copies and that night I began reading.
Is Artemis Fowl the Second evil? That is the question that underlines the entire novel. Artemis is the son of Ireland’s most proficient and prolific criminal mastermind, and since his father’s disappearance, Artemis has done well following in his father’s footsteps. That he is only twelve years old is a testament to just how intelligent and bold he really is. But while the Fowls are by no means poor, Artemis is determined to return the family to the billionaire status it held before his father’s disappearance.
His plan is ingenious: find a fairy, make a copy of the book that each one is purported to carry, learn all the fairy secrets, and use that knowledge to return his family to its rightful status. It’s a plan that takes a lot of time, a lot of research, and a more open mind than the average criminal mastermind. Luckily—and unfortunately—Artemis’ mother, Angelina Fowl, has been bedridden since her husband’s disappearance, suffering from mental delusions. It is tragic, but her illness allows him to carry out his plan with impunity.
With the help of Butler—his trained bodyguard/assassin/teacher/friend—Artemis uses the knowledge he obtains from the fairy book to capture Captain Holly Short, officer of the LEP—Lower Elemental Police—recon force, or LEPrecon for short. His demands are simple: he wants a million ingots of 24 karat gold in exchange for her safe return. The LEP commander, Root, thinks it will be easy to outsmart a human whom he believes was simply lucky to have captured Captain Short, but he soon finds out that with a copy of all of the fairy secrets at his beck and call, Artemis is no mere human and may be impossible to outsmart.
But is a highly trained assassin, a book of secrets, a criminal mind, and personal motivation enough to beat a group of enraged fairy officers, bent on saving Captain Short’s life, keeping their gold and containing the threat to their existence immediately?
All in all I found Artemis Fowl to be a thoroughly entertaining read, with a easygoing, yet engaging prose, and a deeply thought out, yet humorous story that isn’t above poking fun at itself. Obviously, Artemis Fowl is meant for children to read, but I loved the idea of the protagonist being semi-evil. It is a bold choice in an adult novel, let alone, a children’s book. But child or adult, if you like fantasy stories with intriguing plots, you’ll love Artemis Fowl.