Artemis Fowl is a criminal mastermind...and he's only twelve years old. Now, he's about to embark on his most tasking heist yet: kidnapping a fairy and holding it for large ransom of gold.
Holly Short is no ordinary fairy. She's a captain in the LEPrecon unit and the first female they've had. She's a test case and is desperate to prove herself. When she's taken hostage by Artemis Fowl, she must try her hardest to break free.
The LEP is behind her, negotiating with Fowl. How did he learn their secrets? One thing is for sure, they have to get Holly out and teach Fowl a lesson. Artemis always seems to be one step ahead of them, however...until the fairies stop playing by the rules.
Can Artemis obtain the fairy gold without causing harm to those close to him? What lengths will Holly go to in order to obtain her freedom?
I first read this book ten years ago. I use the term "read" very lightly because when I was a pre-teen, I wasn't the best of readers. I had the worst attention span and I sort of glaze-read. So while I could recall a few vague elements of the story, I couldn't remember most of it.
Since I wanted to experience the book properly this time, I purchased the audio book, read by Nathaniel Parker. I'm glad I did. Parker's narrative skill brings the book to life in a way I couldn't have created for myself all those years ago.
The Irish accents were gorgeous enough but since I felt that the characters were the real strength of the novel, I loved how Parker could bring them to life and give them each their own unique voice. I was intrigued throughout the story but it is the desire to see what is next for these characters that makes me want to experience more novels in the Artemis Fowl series.
Artemis is a fascinating character. He has an intelligence that far outstrips plenty of adults. The fairies live for centuries and he is still a master match for their wits. What I liked the most was that regardless of his genius, he never appears to be an adult, despite his adult-like manner. He is a twelve year old boy, just an exceptionally devious and clever one.
Artemis may be the antagonist of Holly's story but he is the protagonist of his own. He is empathetic to the reader through his acknowledgement of family as a high priority, even amidst the promise of gold. While Artemis doesn't always have the best consideration for those close to him and his self-assurance can lead him to be reckless, he does have a sense of honour and comradery.
If Artemis is written to make readers reluctant to empathise with him, Holly makes it easy. She goes about her job in the most unconventional way but she has her moral compass pointing in the right direction. She's a feisty character, who does her best to keep her head, even when she's seemingly lost all control.
I own the first four Artemis Fowl books. The second one I think I managed to also glaze-read back in the day. The other two I bought in some naïve expectancy that I would get around to them. It's been a decade, so I think I failed...at "reading" them that is.
I know that when I was younger, I would have benefited from audio books a lot. Unabridged, of course. None of that "children need books to be shortened for them" nonsense for me, thanks. So, I'm taking the time to benefit from them now, starting with purchasing the audio book for 'The Arctic Incident.'
'Artemis Fowl' is an excellent book that I would recommend to both children and adults. It is full of clever characterisation and the vocabulary of the book is in no way "dumbed down" for a younger audience.