Sunday, April 26, 2015

Book Review: Artemis Fowl (Eoin Colfer)


Artemis Fowl is a twelve-year-old genius. He is also part of a family high in the criminal society. But the family has encountered financial difficulties. As his mother is in no state to do anything, Artemis takes it on himself to rebuild the Fowl family fortune with a method most people think don't exist: fairy gold.

Captain Holly Short is a member of LEPrecon, under the earth with the People (fairies, dwarves, goblins, etc.), and on the last legs of her career if she doesn't get her game together. While trying to please her superior, Holly gets mixed up in some serious trouble. Trouble that could threaten the existence of the People.

Artemis Fowl is an exciting story, with lots of action and suspenseful moments. It's short (only nine chapters) but the chapters are long. Artemis is a genius of a kid, and startles the People with his knowledge of Fairies – knowledge no human should have – and knows exactly what to do. He stumps the fairies, and brings them to do things they wouldn't normally do to preserve their secrecy.

Artemis himself is an interesting protagonist. He's the villain (which in itself is a different twist on POVs for stories), but his intentions could be seen as understandable. He's aloof and confident, but there are moments where we see that Artemis is still just a kid, not an adult in a twelve-year-old body. We see moments of vulnerability in him when he's faced with struggles that quite literally hit too close to home. It's interesting to see those brief glimpses of a child in a kid who acts like an adult.

The worldbuilding of the People is super quirky, and that makes them amusing to watch as they interact with each other. They have a kind of search-and-rescue team, with ranks and high-tech equipment suitable for making treks above ground without being noticed by humans. The dwarves' worldbuilding takes an unexpected twist in that they eat whatever they dig as they make tunnels and send it back out the other end. Crude, but an interesting and unique bit of worldbuilding.

***
Violence/Gore: Fights break out (but nothing gory). A troll fight does become more bloody, and maybe a bit yucky (the troll is attacked, but the blows barely hurt it, only get stuck in all its fat). Someone, fatally wounded by a troll, is thrown against the wall and bones crack.

Profanity: Fairy-profanities (words specific to the People's own language). A small handful of d-word and h-word instances.

Sexual content: None.

Other: The Fowls are surrounded in criminal activity (theft, and in this case kidnapping), and Artemis is no exception. There is some crude bathroom humor. Dwarves eat whatever they dig when tunneling, and it comes out the other end almost simultaneously, and then after it they need to fart, which can be explosive (and described as helping clear away any mud from the back end).

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