“If I win, I’m a prodigy. If I lose then I’m crazy. That’s the way history is written.”
Book description from Goodreads:
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.
This is one of the book that I wish I’d read when I was younger but nevertheless I enjoy reading. Eoin Colfer puts a brand new spin on the usual classic fairy tales we have. He alter the traditional depictions of supernatural characters by creating a non whimsical version of them. Instead of dragging out the same stereotypical characters, he puts a military spin on the fairy kingdom that highlights the absurdness of their actions. Which basically adds more fun to the story. There is a great battle of wits, technology and magic all through out.
The characters are quite different than the usual hero and villain setup. In here the protagonist (Artemis Fowl II) is not the hero. But in spite of his anti-hero character he is strangely appealing. It is refreshing to have a hero that isn’t a well of virtues. For a twelve year old child he is extremely clever – and I love the genius in him. He uses his cleverness for personal gain. He is quite ruthless, and he is proud of it. But in spite of him being a bad boy he is not just a typical paper-thin evil genius. If we tried to look closer into his character we will understand where he is coming from. Artemis is a lonely little boy who love his family so much. In the end of the book, Artemis used his wish to heal his mother and return half of the golds to the faeries. The book claims that Artemis only do this to avoid being put into care but he could have avoided care in other ways as to confusing the securities, which he is explained to have the ability to do so. Also, the gold Artemis is plotting to steal from faeries is actually to finance a rescue mission for his father who disappeared before the book opened. And Artemis also has shown signs of care and friendship to Butler and signs of guilt for kidnapping Holly Short. I’m not yet sure how his character will develop in the rest of the series but I have high hopes for him.
Most of the time when I encounter the word Leprechaun the first thing that I picture is the creepy character in an old horror Leprechaun movie. It will take me few seconds to see them as typical jolly fairy. Or those creatures with a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They are not always as cute as snow white seven dwarfs nor as beautiful as faeries for me. That’s why underground people is not personally appealing. But getting much into their characters in this book, I soon established more interest with them. Holly Short as the only female in the underground police force has her own troubles to deal with. It’s not easy for her to deal with her superior and she is trying to find her way between her orders and what is right.
Colfer also makes symbols for the fairy language (Gnomish) in this book. He leaves a trail of the symbols at the bottom of each page. I tried figuring out how to read it but since I didn’t have much time and patient to decode it, I just did a quick search online. You can see the decoded version from artemis-fowl.com.
The cover also has Gnomish in it which when decoded says:
Carry me always
Carry me well
I am thy teacher of herb and spell
Overall Artemis Fowl is very enjoyable. It is a good combination of action, fantasy, mystery and humor. You don’t have to be young to enjoy it! This is the first book of the series and I’ll definitely be reading the rest of it.