Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Review: My Thoughts on Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

I Meet Artemis Fowl



Although I didn't enjoy meeting Artemis Fowl, a diabolical twelve-year old, and wouldn't recommend him as a role model, I can sympathize with his having too much time on his hands and not enough constructive attention from his parents.  I normally don't read fantasy, but I have to admit Artemis Fowl held my attention. 


I was immediately lured into the realm of the fairy world by the intriguing plot of this book. It engaged me and kept me wondering what would happen next. I was also intrigued with the characters -- both human and fairy. Each character has a definite personality that humans can relate to. Each character seems to grapple with moral issues, unless it is an amoral character (dwarf, troll). Even in the world of the fairies we see politics at work and those who are politically motivated are willing to destroy others in their attempt to climb to the top.



Artemis Captures Holly



I was able to identify easily with Holly Short, the elf/fairy/leprechaun and protagonist in this book. She felt a bit discriminated against as the first female officer in LEP's (Lower Elements Police) Recon unit.  She was a bit behind in attending to her Ritual.  That meant her magic was not fully there and that she was unshielded and could be seen by humans. Her commander, Root, discovered this while she was tracking a troll and was seen. Root then sent her to perform the Ritual, and that landed her in Ireland.

Unfortunately, Artemis captured her before she could finish the Ritual which would restore her magic. She neded to pluck an acorn where "full moon, ancient oak and twisted water meet. And bury it far from where it was found."  She had the acorn, but had not had the chance to bury it yet. So she was still unshielded and without her magic when Artemis kidnapped her and held her prisoner in the Fowl estate.



The Plot


The plot is complicated and I won't reveal all of it. It is the moral issues in the book that fascinate me. Fowl is a child prodigy who had managed to steal and copy the Golden Book containing the rules the fairies had to follow.  He had found a way to translate the fairy language in which it was written. He did this so he can get his hands on the gold he believes the fairies hoard.  Holly has to abide by the fairy rules, and Fowl uses his knowledge of them to keep her imprisoned. Meanwhile, a fairy Retrieval team has been sent to rescue her.

Besides Fowl himself, Holly is guarded by Butler, Fowl's mammoth body guard, and Butler's younger sister, Juliet, who is not too bright. Holly has a certain amount of sympathy for Juliet, and that sympathy almost gets her killed. Fowl has demanded a ransom of a ton of gold for Holly's release. Holly cannot leave a human house without human permission (according to the rules). Holly managed to pound through the floor of her cell to bury her acorn and obtain her magic and shielding and take advantage of Juliet's laziness and addiction to wrestling programs on TV to distract her  and escape the cell. 

Holly and Fowl know that the house is in a  field where time has been stopped for six hours to buy the fairies a longer night, since they can't handle daylight above ground. At the end of the time field, a "blue rinse" will destroy every living thing in the house --including Holly if she's still there. The idea is to get Holly out, destroy the others, and then go back after the gold, since only living things are destroyed.


A Dwarf and a Troll Precipitate a Crisis


Book Review: My Thoughts on Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Troll Courtesy of Pixabay, Public Domain, Modified on PicMonkey


Meanwhile, Mulch, a reprobate dwarf, has been let out of prison to enter the house. He has approached and found the secret safe where the a copy of the golden fairy rule book is hidden. Butler has been sent to the safe room, and is subdued by Mulch, who then realizes an opportunity to escape from everyone, including the fairies who would like to imprison him again. He manages to make the fairies think he is dead.  With Mulch's disappearance, the fairy command makes the rash decision to send in another lapsed creature -- a troll -- to get rid of the humans.

Holly, unaware of this, decides she will cause a lot of destruction in the house until Fowl begs her to leave. Meanwhile, Butler carries Juliet to what he deems as a safe place and hastens to meet the intruder he hears -- the troll.  He tries to shoot it, but his shots have little effect. Instead the troll almost or completely kills him, and then smells and starts toward Juliet. Holly arrives at the scene and sees Julie's danger and tries to save her, knowing that she'll be in trouble for it. She hits the troll with light, but he still topples her and she is hit by a tapestry falling on her. When she falls, her arm lands on the body of Butler, and he regains consciousness, aware that he is alive and fairy magic is healing him. Holly is also recovering and is able to see Butler defeat the troll before he can kill Juliet.

Artemis is still determined to hold Holy for the ransom, in spite of the fact that she has saved both him and Butler. Butler was a man of honor and did not like this. Holly knows they will all be blasted in a few minutes when the time field can no longer hold off daylight. The gold is on the way, but time is short. Holly confronts Fowl, asking him if he's told Bulter and Juliet about the destruction that's about to come upon them.  Although she's not supposed to have empathy for humans, she does for Juliet. Fowl says he knows and that he also knows how to escape the time field -- a feat that Holly can't believe is possible. Butler affirms his faith in Fowl's abilities, even with Juliet at risk. Then the gold arrived!




"A life is a life."



I won't reveal the ending, but it did involve more dialog between Holly and Fowl. We are left with the impression that  Artemis is not quite so sinister at the end as at the beginning. Near the end, Holly tries to prevent her people from detonating the bio-bomb that will kill the humans, intervening for the innocent Juliet, insisting that "A life is a life."

I will leave it there. The ending is surprising. Upper graders who need a lot of action to motivate them to read will probably be willing to finish reading this because of the action and humor. I found the extreme environmental undertones in the book a bit of a distraction. The fairy folk have no good words for the human race, which in their opinion destroys everything it touches.

Book Review: My Thoughts on Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Image of Fairy Courtesy of Pixabay
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Recommendation and Purchase Information


Artemis Fowl should satisfy thoughtful people over the age of ten who want lots of action and don't mind thinking through moral issues as they follow that action. Less thoughtful young people will enjoy it for the action alone. Artemis Fowl books are also available as  graphic novels or you can get a set containing three to eight of the text versions of the books. You choose.   Any of these would make a great gift for a young science fiction or fantasy reader. 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

11 comments:

  1. I'm not familiar with the Artemis Fowl series, but you certainly have piqued my curiosity. I don't read much fantasy either, however on the rare occasions that I do, I'm usually surprised how much I enjoy it. Appreciate your excellent review!

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    1. I read the book because at the time I was selling children's books that were on school reading lists, and I wanted to know more about them so I'd know which ones I'd want to carry. There's a lot in the book that would make for good discussions.

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  2. I'm not familiar with the Artemis Fowl series, but you certainly have piqued my curiosity. I don't read much fantasy either, however on the rare occasions that I do, I'm usually surprised how much I enjoy it. Appreciate your excellent review!

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    1. Up until I read this about all the fantasy I'd read was by C.S. Lewis or Tolkien. This was very different from those books.

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  3. This does sound like a very intriguing book with some very interesting characters. I haven't read anything by Eoin Colfer, so I appreciate the introduction and the recommendation.

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    1. Supposedly there's a movie in the works, and it would make a great movie. The characters are indeed interesting.

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  4. My daughter is a big fan of ~ and artist in ~ the fantasy (and Sci Fi) world (and of fairies) and is probably already familiar with the Artemis Fowl series. I'll have to ask her what she thinks of these books from her artistic perspective . Sounds quite interesting.

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    1. She probably is familiar with this. I'd be interested in her opinion.

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    2. that would make a very interesting movie!

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  5. This sounds like a series of books my son would be into, he loves fantasy in all shapes and sizes. Might be too juvenile or maybe not....thanks for a great review.

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  6. Thank You for sharing the valuable information.Its very helpful to me.

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