Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
UK: April 2011, Puffin, ISBN 0141339092
US: June 2009, Hyperion Book CH, ISBN 1423124528
Notes: Whilst reading Artemis Fowl I switched to and from a UK Puffin proof and a US e-copy supplied via Netgalley depending on where I was reading.
Review: I can't believe it's ten years since Artemis Fowl was first published. I've been wanting to read this for so long and thanks to a proof from Puffin I've been given the kick to finally do so.
The final book in the series, the eighth, is due to be published next year. In this the first, we are introduced to twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl, born into a dynasty of criminals. Currently his father is missing presumed dead (though not by Artemis) and his mum has become ill and keeps to the attic. Artemis sets out to restore the family's ill-gotten fortune and strikes on an amazing scheme: he plans to kidnap a fairie and collect the ransom of a huge amount of gold.
Meanwhile we are introuded to Captain Holly Short of the LEP (Lower Elements Police) who along with the rest of the fairies lives way underground unless a mission brings her top-side. An assignment to recapture an escaped troll in Italy plus the fact that's she almost run out of magic and needs to perform the Ritual leads her to fall into Artemis's trap.
A siege at Fowl Manor ensues and the best officers that the Fairies can offer are sent to resolve the situation and the outmanoeuvring on both sides commences.
I loved this book. It's witty and funny with a cast of characters that should appeal to boys, girls and adults. Artemis initially appears cold and evil but there are faint cracks in his demeanour. Holly, like the other fairies, is not keen on humans, especially as they appear to be wrecking the planet, but she does all she can to save them from harm.
Artemis Fowl is well paced and there are plenty of gadgets as well as some earthy humour in the shape of a soil-digesting dwarf. The fairies underground world is well evoked and there are plenty of one-liners from chief engineer Foaly, a centaur!
I set this as the most recent book for my children's reading group, who are all girls bar one, and in the main they reported that though it wasn't something they'd normally pick up they enjoyed it and would read more. Some have already gone onto book two, Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident which I'm really pleased about.