I watched the new Artemis Fowl movie, and it is… not good. So, to feel better about another part of my childhood reading being ruined, I decided to reread the first book, on which the film is (extremely loosely) based.
As usual, the book is better.
Artemis Fowl, the first book in the eight book series by Eoin Colfer, introduces us to twelve-year-old genius and descendant of a generations-old crime family, Artemis Fowl the Second. He is certain that fairies exist, and, since his father is missing and their family fortune is less than it was, sets out to prove it and ransom one for fairy gold. However, when he kidnaps Holly Short, captain of the fairy Lower Elements Police, he finds he might have bitten off more than he can chew. The fairies have advanced technology and with Artemis threatening their way of life, they cannot let him get away with this.
This book is so much fun! I was pretty into this series in middle school, and revisiting it was great. The characters are fantastic, the universe creative and fun, and the heist/hostage negotiations plotline innovative since it’s combined with magical creatures.
Artemis is a fantastic protagonist. He’s arrogant, brilliant, and conniving. Having the villain be the main character in a middle grade novel is a bold move, but Colfer makes it work by still managing to make Artemis likeable, even if his actions are technically bad. He is an engaging narrator, and has touching moments of humanity, where he acts like any other kid.
Holly, the other main character, is one of my favorites. She’s clever, brave, and kind. The other characters like Butler, Root, Mulch, and Foaly make this a spectacular core cast. They’re funny and interesting and play off each other in wonderful ways. The banter in this book is one of my favorite parts, so if you like witty dialogue, check this out.
In the end, Artemis Fowl is one of my favorite books from when I was younger, and still makes for a fun read as an adult. The world building is thorough and detailed without being too much, the characters are well-developed and memorable, the plot is perfectly paced and exciting, and the emotions are balanced well with action. This is such an excellent book. It could be a standalone, as it is pretty self-contained, but it also serves a strong foundation for the series, which only expands on the enjoyment. If you haven’t read Artemis Fowl yet, or have kids who would enjoy a magical/sci-fi romp in Ireland, check this out.
Overall rating: 9/10
Again, I do not recommend watching the movie. I have many thoughts on what went wrong with it, but since writing them all down would take up too much space here, I’ll write a separate post soon.