Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review | Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl
Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl #1
Published 2001 by Disney-Hyperion
MG science fantasy
Review copy from NetGalley
3 stars

Bite-Sized Review
Artemis Fowl contains a twelve-year-old genius, a highly unusual take on fairies, a kidnapping planned by the protagonist, and a smartass centaur. It's not as good as later books in the series, but it's still fun and good to read.

King-Sized Review
I actually read some of the Artemis Fowl books as a kid and enjoyed them, so when I saw them on NetGalley I grabbed them. As an adult, this was still a fun read and one I'd definitely recommend to fans of middle-grade books. Artemis, heir to a formerly vast fortune, is trying to track down a fairy in order to restore his family's status. However, when he decodes the fairies' book and manages to capture one, he gets rather more than he bargained for.

The fairies in the Artemis Fowl books are quite different from the ones you see in more recent paranormal books. While they do have great respect for and a deep connection to the Earth, they're also extremely technologically advanced, giving this book a bit more of a scifi feel. I really enjoyed the book's take on fairy tales and legends, like making leprechauns the LEPrecon squad, a branch of law enforcement.

As a kid, I don't think I really understood how incredibly morally questionable some of Artemis's decisions are. That's not a criticism; he changes throughout the book, and although I wouldn't exactly call him "good" by the end, he does get a lot better and continues to do so in later books. It's just interesting how oblivious elementary school Kate was to shades of gray. But don't worry, this book won't turn your kids evil or anything.

Artemis is a twelve-year-old genius, which is the only reason his schemes have any chance of succeeding. Of course it's a little ridiculous, but it's a fun character trait. He also has unusual freedom for a twelve-year-old because after his father vanished in a shipwreck, his mother sank into depression and now doesn't even recognize him most of the time. It makes his choices at the beginning of the book a little more sympathetic.

This book is full of action. It switches between various perspectives, including some underground, where the fairies live, and it's quite interesting to take a look at their culture, which is very well developed. There's quite a bit of fighting, with and without fairy technology, as well as lots of wittiness and humor. It does drag a bit at times, and there's certainly room for improvement, but it's definitely worth a read, especially since the series gets better after this.

Quality: Good
Enjoyability: Good

In the same aisle
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

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