by Eoin Colfer
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- katjune62 - I LOVED this book. It's one of the best I've ever read, next to The Hunger Games and The 39 Clues. Artemis Fowl is a twelve-year-old Irish genius, family millionare, and get this- criminal mastermind. He and his bodygaurd, Butler, capture a fairy- but not the Barbie Fairytopia junk or anything. These fairies are heavily armed, highly trained, and up for anything. He holds a leprechaun- Caiptain Holly Short of the LEPrechan unit- hostage for gold. Artemis thinks he's a whole new book ahead of them......but then they stop playing by their own rules.
May 1, 2001
Colfer's (Benny and Omar) crime caper fantasy, the first in a series, starts off with a slam-bang premise: anti-hero Artemis Fowl is a boy-genius last in line of a legendary crime family teetering on the brink of destruction. With the assistance of his bodyguard, Butler, he masterminds his plan to regain the Fowls' former glory: capture a fairy and hold her ransom for the legendary fairy gold. However, his feisty mark, Holly, turns out to be a member of the "LEPrecon, an elite branch of the Lower Elements Police," so a wisecracking team of satyrs, trolls, dwarfs and fellow fairies set out to rescue her. Despite numerous clever gadgets and an innovative take on traditional fairy lore, the author falls short of the bar. The rapid-fire dialogue may work as a screenplay with the aid of visual effects (a film is due out from Talk/Miramax in 2002) but, on the page, it often falls flat. The narrative hops from character to character, so readers intrigued by Artemis's wily, autocratic personality have to kill a good deal of time with the relatively bland Holly and her cohorts, and the villain/hero anticlimactically achieves his final escape by popping some sleeping pills (it renders him invulnerable to the fairy time-stop). Technology buffs may appreciate the imaginative fairy-world inventions and action-lovers will get some kicks, but the series is no classic in the making. Ages 12-up.
- [Editor's Note: This is a combined review with THE ARCTIC INCIDENT and THE ETERNITY CODE.]--Colfer's series features two complex societies: the wealthy, if felonious, above-ground world of the human Fowl family and the elaborate, technologically advanced underground world of the fairies. Artemis Fowl, the 12-year-old scion of a famous Irish crime family, sets out to restore the ancestral fortunes depleted by his father's supposed death at the hands of the Russian mafia. The young criminal mastermind's plan rests on the kidnap and ransom of a fairy. The ransom demanded will be fairy gold. Into this world of adventure, corruption, and extraordinary technology comes narrator Nathaniel Parker, who has a distinct voice for everyone--from the young Master Fowl to the kidnapped LEPrecon (Lower Elements Police) Captain Holly Short and the astonishing computer genius of the fairy world, the centaur Foaly. Parker creates a complete pantheon of accents and pacing to complement Colfer's worlds. The sequels, in which Artemis--strangely developing what appears to be a conscience--invokes the help of the fairies to save his father (THE ARCTIC INCIDENT) and to rescue both the humans and fairies from the evil Jon Spiro (THE ETERNITY CODE) maintain the impeccable voicing and pacing developed in the first book. The recurring characters are instantly recognizable from one book to the next, encouraging the listener to suspend disbelief and become completely immersed in the escapades, often laced with humor, of Artemis and his various companions. While the pronunciation the Vietnamese surname "Nguyen" may startle some listeners, and the 1940s-style Asian accent is somewhat stereotypical, this does nothing to diminish the rip-roaring adventure. Parker's splendid narration should lead to family listening that might just encourage discussion of truth, friendship, and loyalty. S.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine
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