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Artemis Fowl Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 1, 2001
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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
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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If ever there was a book series that could be used to introduce the concept of “anti-hero” to a middle grade audience, it is Artemis Fowl (or, you know, my novella Anchihiiroo – Origin of an Antihero, but I digress). Artemis Fowl II, in the debut book of this series, is the very definition of someone willing to do anything it takes (even a little kidnapping and ransom-demanding) for what is ultimately a good cause (trying to save his mother). One of my favorite things about this series is that Artemis, being a genius, has a very large vocabulary. The diction in this book is a lot more advanced and complex than many other middle grade books and I personally used it as a benchmark in my own writing for not talking down to a young audience (which I find many, many middle grade and even young adult books do). Colfer has found that great sweet spot to challenge young readers without dismissing their capabilities.
That being said, the story is a simple one that is very easy and fun to follow. The basic frame of the story follows the “heist” format. There are twists and turns and plans on top of plans. Sometimes they work and sometimes they fail. Sometimes they seem to fail but end up working (think of a fairy tale version of Ocean’s 11). Apparently Colfer himself has referred to it as “Die Hard with fairies” with which I can’t argue. Colfer has created his own sub-society of magical fairy creatures that presents the underlying mystery and magic to the series. At the same time, Artemis is a regular (well, as regular as a multi-millionaire genius pre-teen with a bit of an evil mastermind complex can be) human kid who breaks open the mysteries of this underworld.
When I first discovered this series years ago, I was excited to find a middle grade series that had a protagonist that wasn’t your bubbly “chosen one” stereotype. Artemis, due to his intelligence and resources, is way deeper and more complex than your typical middle grade hero. That alone is worth a read. Couple that with a fun and colorful underworld full of faeries, gnomes, and other supernatural beings and it’s a can’t-miss.
This book is more than appropriate for the youngest of readers. Any violence is cartoonish in nature, for the most part. There are no language or sexual content concerns either.
As the series goes on, there are points that get a little darker, but never does Colfer waver from the PG family friendly nature of this first book.
As an aside: there is also a wonderful graphic novel adaptation of this first book that can serve to help a struggling reader or a reader who might need a little more visual aides (or just someone who really likes graphic novels!).
5/5 Giant Cartoon Mallets from Toonopolis, The Blog's Books for Boys Review
My last point, and this can be said of every aspect of Amazon reviews, from books to other products: If you like something a lot, give it a 5 star rating. Hate it? Give it one. I get not being able to change your mind and not able to fix it here, but if you just flat out rate a book wrong, you do a disservice to the author. I have this book two stars only because someone took the time to write and publish a book. The only 1's I door out to to poorly written and poorly edited books. No excuse for bad editing.
What I liked: great story! So unusual and compelling. The characters are so well written and diverse, everything from goblins to centaurs, and they each have their own unique personalities and attributes. The plot is outlandish, but so interesting and different.
What I didn’t like: the main character comes off a bit stoic, especially at first. True, he is an anti-hero, but he was almost too unrelatable at first. Still, his character improves as the book progresses, and by the end, the reader wants to know what happens to him (and the other characters) in the next book.
5 out of 5 stars
I do wish there had been some formatting differences for the rather frequent point-of-view shifts. Sometimes there was no indicator, such as spacing, asterisks, a divider, etc. There was a lot of "gross-out" content. I really grew a little weary of the dwarf and his flapped trousers... For parents, there is a bit of light swearing consisting of mostly "damn" and "hell" (and a few made-up and implied explicitive phrases). Some may be concerned about the death of a rabbit at the hands of the flap-trousered dwarf.
Overall, this was an entertaining read. I will likely be "back" for book two, once I've cleared up some of my Kindle slush-pile. I don't regret re-purchasing this in Kindle format, at least, it filled a few sessions of light reading for a few days.
Top international reviews
I don't think I'll be reading any more in the series. It is not bad but there were too many times I was annoyed with the characters and the way they acted.
And this is a shame. In the post-Potter YA boom, Colfer's books were sort of put in the shade, and assumed to be imitators by dint of the young lead character's odd name, and the presence of magic.
This first Fowl book is far from Hogwarts though. Rather than twinkly twee magical adventures with heroic well-scrubbed good boys and girls, Artemis Fowl is a YA SF thriller with technologically advanced fairies. Fowl himself is a ruthless antihero, a scheming evil boy genius, and the fact he loves his Mummy is really neither nor there.
Artemis Fowl is a teenage master criminal trying to restore his family fortune by extorting gold from the fairies. He has little compunction about kidnapping, violence and drugging members of his own family, as well as his servants and friends. He is a fantastically amoral creation.
The secondary characters are also well drawn, from Butler, a surrogate father figure, best friend and bodyguard to Artemis, to kidnapped leprechaun Captain Holly Short.
A great book that challenges the theory that crime doesn't pay, I look forward to reading the further adventures of Artemis Fowl... but not straight away. I felt this was a totally adequate standalone novel in its own right, and don't feel particularly gripped to read the next installment.
I read the book within 24 hours!
I really did enjoy it vary much and thought the storyline was great. Every time I put the Kindle down, I found myself wanting to just read one more chapter. I liked the ending; I wasn't expecting that one.
I personally do not think it has anything on Harry Potter but still a great read.
I will be getting the second book (Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident). Actually, I have already just purchased it :-P
A note on the Kindle formatting: Vary good. No typos or other formatting issues with the minor exception of there being two instances where one sentence was duplicated next to each other. Other than that, no proplems.
Artemis and Holly are brilliant characters. Artemis is a genius and has a plan for everything. I found myself liking Foaly (stupid name but great character) and his little cracks against authority and the LEP. Lots of little twista and turns through the book.
I saw a review somewhere that likened it to 'Die Hard with faires' - read it and you'll see that fairies aren't all we've been led to believe.
Having now read and finished it, I would only advise you get this if you are aged 11-15yrs. I'm not in that demographic.
What I got though was a rich, Irish criminal Mastermind with few morals and Butler was huge. Hilarious to the extreme, I truly loved the story of Artemis trying to part the fairies with their gold and actually succeeding! Their were moments when I thought he wouldn't make it, because the banter in the book and the descriptions kept me on the edge of my seat.
I think the funniest parts of the book were the banter between Foaly and Commander Root. And I'll never forget Trouble's little brother's comments. I'm still gigling thinking about it. Mummy!