Thursday, May 9, 2013

Book Review: Artemis Fowl

Title: Artemis Fowl
Author: Eoin Colfer
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: ***
Official Rating: Teen Fiction
Age Group: 12+

Summary: Artemis Fowl is a twelve year old genius. Absolutely nothing can stop him. Unfortunately for the world, he's a criminal mastermind, the son of a rich family, and has a huge and powerful butler named, well, Butler. This all adds up to something very bad for the world. In fact, nearly the only limitation Artemis has is his mother's illness, but even that doesn't hold him back. When he hears about fairies and their gold, he wants some. He believes, and he does everything necessary to take this gold.
What he didn't plan for was the fairies. It was strange, really, since Artemis Fowl always plans for everything. This is the first time he made a mistake.

Word of Warning
  • The main character is a criminal mastermind who is twelve.
  • Magic. Yes, the fairies have magic and use it to do various things. In order to get this magic and keep it, they have to plant an acorn in a certain spot once a year during a certain time of night.
  • Artemis has almost no human feelings. At times we glimpse a love for his mother, but we can never be sure if that is genuine.
  • Mr. Fowl is dead or has disappeared.
  • Mrs. Fowl is insane and does not recognize her son most of the time. She lives in the attic and refuses to open the windows. SPOILER: this is resolved, but it's a rather pitiful and sad description nonetheless.
  • Butler uses force all the time. This involves weapons and using his own hands.
  • Fairies die.
  • A fairy swears, but it's in the fairy language and all we know is that translated, it would be a swear word (the author doesn't translate it).
  • Characters shoot at things and each other, things blow up, characters die.

My Thoughts
This was a fun read, but at times it was frustrating. I think it really depends on the mood of the reader. Sometimes I was enthralled by the narration and the story line. At other times, I became frustrated with the wordiness. I have read other books by Colfer, and I believe this is really due to his writing style.
Overall it was fun and creative and I never knew what was going to happen next. While I wouldn't reread it (currently don't have the time), I would recommend it to others.
The one thing lacking here was a true friendship. There were plenty of near-friendships, but nothing true. As a result of this, there was, of course, no romance (which is, written correctly, a form of friendship). This made the book feel empty. It felt exciting and thrilling--and didn't go anywhere. Friendship, that is, love, seems to be necessary in order to make anything feel worthwhile. Even Artemis's relationship with his mother was unclear as to whether it was because of a need for money, or because he actually cared for her.
While the thrills and crazy turns were great, the end was a bit of a let down thanks to that simple fact: it lacked what makes the world go 'round.

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