Book Review: Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So I was subjected to Artemis Fowl second hand, through closed bedroom doors and across tents with no doors whatsoever. I caught chunks and snippets here and there without really listening long before I finally decided to dive in for myself. My oldest (18) chose Artemis as her last read-aloud to her younger sisters (13 and 15) before she left home. They would steal away at wild times of the day and night and the Irish accent would be brilliantly deployed. Giggles and snorts were a given. There was a lot of yelling. Which is actually a great deal funnier in an Irish accent.

The tiny bits and pieces I had garnered over the last year of their journey into the Lower Elements were enough to tip me off that Eoin Colfer was a pretty good writer, and had a ridiculously prolific imagination, but it wasn’t until I was stuck in the tent with these goons in the midst of their Fowl-fest that I realized just how good he was. Admittedly, the eldest’s professional-grade Irish may have tipped the scales, but I could imagine that even without a creative escort, the story was worth the effort.

I must also state upfront, that my delving into the abandoned bedroom’s bookshelves may possibly have been a way for me to keep the fledgeling child close, even as she made her way out there in the big, bad, world, but it wasn’t long before Colfer took over, and any attachments of sentimentality were washed away. I think I can review Artemis without any mushy biases clouding my sight.

Book One (of 7?) was excellent. I’m not a big fantasy fan, but there was enough rooting in the real world here to keep me anchored and happy, and maybe even enough to make me long for a few more tastes of fantasy world, just to make sure I’m not missing something. The child prodigy/villain/protagonist/antagonist/snotnosed kid was endearing, in his own horrible way, and Colfer’s world building is indeed nothing short of brilliant. The action was fast-paced and the plot was believable (as believable as leprechauns and centaurs can be). It sucked me in and drug me along, firmly invested in each and every one of Colfer’s articulately-drawn characters. The clincher is most definitely his comedic vein, though. He’s brought every character into sharp relief from the others by imbuing them with their very own hilarious quirks and personal versions of humor and humanity. Quite the cast; I love them all. And the guy really does have an astonishing imagination. Wowza.

This is no emotional barnstormer, but it is a good story well-told, and for that I greatly appreciate it. The art of telling a story for the sake of telling a story–and doing it well–is endangered, but Colfer keeps it alive magnificently.
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