Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Introduced by Joshua Wilson
The Artemis Fowl series has been one of my favourites for years now. I listened to the first book when I was about seven years old but hardly remembered it so when I re-discovered it later I basically had the experience of reading it for the first time, and immediately realised why I enjoyed it so much.
The premise is a little strange and one of those concepts that doesn’t sound as good when you explain it. Never the less, I will try.
Artemis Fowl is a young criminal mastermind whose father left in a large fortune when he vanished. He soon discovers an underground society of fantasy creatures in a sci-fi setting. This world is populated by elves, centaurs, goblins, gnomes and along with many other creatures that all have a Irish feel to them. Artemis decides that he will kidnap one of them in order to hold them to ransom and ends up getting one of their police force, known as the Lower Elements Police, or a LEP Recon officer. The first book covers their attempt to rescue the officer he kidnaped and further books involve Artemis getting more involved in their world.
What I love about the series, however, is how interesting all the characters are. What I mean by this is that similar books can tend to have some characters, particularly main characters, that are not interesting at all. As much as I enjoy the books, I would say that the character of Harry Potter does suffers from this but Artemis Fowl doesn’t. In the first book, he is the one that would normally be the villain but is actually a more complex character than that. He is motivated by holding up his fathers legacy and helping his mentally disabled mother but still cases injury and intends to steal. The fairies, on the other hand, are attempting the rescue but also end up making some morally dubious decisions. Even in later books, although their are just classic villains, there isn’t always a clearly defined good and evil.
I think what has made me enjoy this series so much is that its simple enough that you can enjoy it when your younger but it has enough complex themes and interesting concepts that can keep you enjoying it later on.
Its hard to say who I would recommend this story to. It just has so many elements that it is hard to place. There is action, crime, fantasy, sci-fi and drama all put together into a universe that is strange but immersive. I would say that, if you are the kind of person that enjoys a fun story in a world you feel as if you can escape into then give the first book a try. You will probably find something for you.
Joshua Wilson is a student at the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford.
He recently did work experience with The Story of Books, based in Hay-on-Wye.