Artemis Fowl is the son of Lord Fowl who has disappeared, believed dead, and his wife who is currently occupying the attic and in a mental state approaching dementia. Artemis is 12 years old, and a criminal mastermind. He has got hold of something that enables him to translate fairy script, and thus he has learnt the secrets of the fairy folk. He ensures that only his most faithful of retainers know this, since most humans don’t believe in fairies, and they (the fairies) took refuge underground to keep out of their way. Nevertheless the fairy folk have sophisticated methods of keeping humans out of the know, and using memory charms on them if there’s the slightest chance that they’ll find out. There are fantastical technological gadgetry on the sides of both the fairy folk and the Fowls, and Artemis has a dastardly plot to ensure that he makes off with a goodly proportion of the fairy treasure trove.
It’s a great story, and very well written. It’s pacey, and switches swiftly from fairy to Fowl to keep you on your toes. But by about three-quarters of the way through I started to feel disappointed with it too. The parade of clever things was wearing thin, I didn’t feel involved with anyone emotionally – partly because Artemis is, well, cold, but our fairy heroes were no better. The dirt-eater was fun, but I wasn’t engaged with the characters. I know other authors who write more exciting combat scenes, but then again, it’s very inventive. There are a lot of characters to remember, some of whom are for comic potential, but aren’t otherwise well described.
So all in all, I have problems with it, and don’t feel the need to follow up any of the subsequent books in the series. Am I too old for it, I ask myself? Would ten year old boys lap it up? Would I have lapped it up? Somehow I doubt it. Shame, really, as it is really Very Promising.
Read as a Great Middle Grade Reads Book of the Month – and bought with my own money.