"more suited to older children & adults because of the complex plot"
Imagine Sherlock Holmes' nemesis Moriarity as a
contemporary English twelve-year-old, place him in a
stately mansion with a loyal Ninja-style bodyguard/butler
and a crazy mother and you will have a pretty accurate
image of Artemis Fowl, the anti-hero protagonist in what
some are calling the next Harry Potter-style book
Artemis has lost his father and most his fortune in a
disaster and he's determined to rebuild his coffers with
fairy gold. Through his research, he's determined that
fairies and other mythological creatures like centaurs,
trolls, goblins, and dwarfs are real. To avoid the Mud
People (humans), they have moved deep under the Earth's
surface where they remain except for an occasional
excursion to the surface. "The Book" controls the fairies'
behavior; so Artemis finds a copy and translates it to
determine how he can best the fairies to gain their gold.
Holly, a fairy cop who specializes in human/fairy crisis
control, goes above to stop a rampaging troll from harming
humans and to prevent those humans from either becoming
aware of this creature or remembering their encounters.
Unfortunately, she becomes Artemis' kidnap victim in his
attempt to extort a gold ransom from her people. What
follows is a complex struggle between Artemis and some very
determined fairies who want Holly back, their gold intact,
and Artemis exterminated.
I have very mixed feelings about this book. It definitely
doesn't have the appeal of the Harry Potter series because
the titular hero is an unpleasant brat, and many of the
fairies are equally unpleasant. Except for Holly, the
gadget-creating centaur Foaly, and the dwarf thief Munch,
most of the characters were more annoying than entertaining.
The world-building was complete, but I thought that
Colfer's creation of the fairies with their gadget
technology and human-style bureaucracy and politics was a
disastrous choice. Through most of the book, the fairies
might just have well been humans because their magic played
almost no art in their actions, their reactions, gadgets,
or the civilization they had created underground.
Colfer's writing lacks sensual details so I never really
had a sense of being there in many of the scenes, and the
characterization was also weak. Despite this, the plot was
brisk and interesting enough to make me finish the book.
Note to parents: This novel is more suited to older
children because of the complex plot and convoluted writing
style. Words like "damn" and "hell" were used, and there
is a running fart joke involving Mulch. Extreme violence
is shown, but Colfer's lack of details in his writing make
these scenes less than horrific.
Byerly © Copyright March 2002
ParaNormal Romance Reviews
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted March 6, 2002