Sunday, 2 June 2013

Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl’s father is missing, presumed dead, his mother has left her sanity at the door, and the family’s fortunes are dwindling. Lucky then that Artemis is a genius – a criminal genius, no less. He’s got a bunch of dastardly tricks up his sleeve, but first he needs gold, and he’s got a fail-safe plan to get it. Or has he? Kidnapping a fairy and holding her to ransom might not be your everyday method of acquiring a fortune, but Artemis is confident that he’s calculated for every possibility, especially given as the LEPrecon and LEPretrieval units sent in to recover the captured fairy has to proceed ‘by the book’. But what happens when the LEP decide to break the rules? Can Artemis win out?

This is the first book in Eoin Colfer’s enormously popular series of the same name, a tale that I’ve been told many a time that I should read – and I’m glad I finally did. Artemis Fowl is clever, original, fun and funny. With a cast of characters ranging from Artemis himself and his bodyguard sidekick Butler, to Holly Short (Artemis’ hostage), LEP Commander Root and his own sidekick, the tech-wizard centaur Foaly, there’s always something fresh going on, keeping the plot moving into ever deeper twists and turns. Each of the characters – even Mulch Diggums, a Dwarf pickpocket who could take even Artemis on a run for his money – is immensely likeable, and it’s hard to know which side you want to come out on top.

From goblins to trolls, bio-bombs to time-stoppages, this is a richly imagined world, mixing tech with mythology, the everyday with the dastardly. The characters’ names themselves speak volumes for Colfer’s tongue-in-cheek wit and humour, which is evident on every page, even in times of crisis. Completely enjoyable and a great read for any youngster looking to give their imagination a real kick-start. Will Artemis get his come-uppance in the end?

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