Thursday, July 05, 2012

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius, and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But 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!

I first read this book, I don't know, probably ten years ago. My oldest son is reading this series now, and I'm re-reading them with him. And I'm getting a whole lot more out of it than I anticipated.

Artemis's father is presumed dead, and his mother is suffering from something like dementia. The only adult in his life is his bodyguard, Butler. But Artemis is still the boss, so the relationship is skewed. Hence, Artemis has been running around, unchecked, with little to no nurturing for almost two years. Which has made him cold, calculating, and quite unlikable. This intrigues me to no end because the series is called Artemis Fowl, meaning it's all about him! So why would readers want to read about a character we don't like?

The short answer, of course, is that we don't. In fact, my son set the book down after the first chapter and didn't want to pick it back up. I had to convince him to give it a few more chapters, then promise a reward if he read the whole thing. The reward won over, and he finished the book. By the end, he really liked the story and wanted to read the next book in the series. But it took him a third of the book to get to that point. If I hadn't promised him that reward, he'd have missed out on a great series.

Artemis is more likable by the end, and he grows a bit. But the real saving grace is the story's other main character, Holly Short. She's a fairy, and a badass one at that. Without her, I doubt I would have continued reading. The story starts off slow, but once Holly enters the picture the pacing gets a big kick in the pants. It's non-stop adventure from then on. I had a hard time putting it down, and so did my son.

So, if you can tolerate an unlikable main character through the beginning, then you'll probably enjoy the rest. Possibly the rest of the series.


Kiersi said...

Good to know. I've been recommended this series before and have just never gotten around to checking it out from the library. I love protagonists who are unlikable; I'll have to go get it this week!

Ruth Donnelly said...

I was like your son--I didn't care for the first chapter, and wasn't interested in reading on. But now that you've told me about the fairy, I think I'll give it another try.

Tabitha Olson said...

Kiersi - then this book is definitely up your alley. :)

Ruth - definitely give Holly a chance. She's smart, funny, and doesn't take any crap from Artemis. :)

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I haven't read this book, but wonder if my grandsons would enjoy it.

Kelly Hashway said...

I read this a while ago and I'm trying to remember it all now. I think I stopped after one. It was just okay in my mind. I agree that Holly is the better character.

Elizabeth Prats said...

I read this probably at the age of 12. It's been awhile, but I distinctingly remember stopping because I wasn't a huge fan of Artemis. I read at least 3 of the books too. Still, maybe I should try reading them older.

Oh I recommend your son check out Margaret Peterson-Haddix's Shadow Children series. I absolutely LOVED it back then. It was so great. Third children had become illegal and the first book starts off with one living in his house and unable to leave like his two older brothers. But he meets a girl who wants to start a revolution and boy does she.

Court Ellyn said...

Hmm, I have been curious about this series for years. Wondered if I ought to pick 'em up, so thanks for the review!