This is the first instalment of the Artemis Fowl series, which continues to grow in success as well as its number of books.
Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a criminal mastermind descended from a family of wealthy criminal masterminds. After the family fortune is lost, his father mysteriously disappears, believed dead, and his mother goes mad from grief. Artemis decides to get the family fortune back in the most unusual way―by kidnapping a fairy and holding her for ransom. But as it turns out, Artemis may have underestimated the power of the fairies, and the lengths they would go to hold on to their gold. He also may not have anticipated the cunningness, and intrigue, of his captive fairy.
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.
The fun with this book is watching Artemis Fowl and the fairies trying to outwit each other, starting off with a reasonably mild plan but raising the stakes with each manoeuvre. It is a big game to Artemis, and he takes pride in being three or more steps ahead at every turn, but he is fallible, assuming that his quarry will play by their well documented rules. It’s usually fun watching a genius’ plan fail and seeing how they respond, and Colfer, for the most part, gets it right.
The characters construction in this book is interesting. They are all reasonably intelligent with plenty of confidence and charisma, but they still feel like very one dimensional personifications of human traits / qualities / sins. Ambition, greed, resourcefulness, honour, etc., you have a character for each one and not much doubling up. I think it works, especially given the target audience, but I would expect to see the later books flesh out these characters with a bit of complexity.
In summary, Artemis Fowl is fun and easy to read with charming characters and an interesting battle of wits. A fast paced light read about a boy genius trying to steal some fairy gold. My interest is piqued and I will definitely be reading more.