Publication Date: January 1, 2001
Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius—and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren't the fairies of bedtime stories—they're dangerous! Full of unexpected twists and turns, Artemis Fowl is a riveting, magical adventure.
I believe that Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books will end up being a lot like John R. Erickson's Hank the Cowdog Books to me -- I like them a little for myself, but like them a lot for my son. (That is why I am ever thankful for the wonderful Hank audio books. Edited to add: According to a comment made by Flannery, there are good audio books for Artemis Fowl as well as Hank the Cowdog.)
The story is a bit flashy spy movie meets stodgy detective story at times. I found Artemis to be an annoying brat who acted more like a miniature adult than a twelve year old. I also found little proof of his supposed intelligence aside from Sherlock-style breakdowns of information that we, as readers, were never allowed to "see" in the first place. He is less "heroic" (if that is the right word) than Holly, less intelligent than Foaly, and all around less cool than Butler. (I really loved Butler). I both loved and hated the constantly shifting point-of-view; it was nice to get to know the other characters so well, but I felt like it disrupted the flow of the story -- perhaps if it had remained only with a couple of characters it would have been better?
But, those quibbles aside, Artemis Fowl was funny. It was quirky and interesting and I think the fart jokes would have my son in stitches on the floor. I definitely think this is geared more for the younger side of middle grade, but can see the plot being complex enough to attract young adult readers -- especially if Artemis continues to mature through the series. I don't know that I would have continued to read them for my own enjoyment, but they are on the list for books to read aloud to my son.
"Confidence is ignorance," advised the centaur. "If you're feeling cocky, it's because there's something you don't know." p 48
3 of 5 Stars
This review also appears on Goodreads; a review copy was provided by the publisher.