Wednesday, April 29, 2009

First Clues Review: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

is delighted to introduce a new feature for our website, book reviews written by students. These students offer their unique perspective on the book in their review and provide a valuable resource to parents looking for new mystery adventures for their kids to read.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
The Artemis Fowl Series

Miramax (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-7868-1787-9 (0786817879)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7868-1787-0 (9780786817870)
Publication Date: March 2003
List Price: $5.99

Review written by Julia, Age 14, Grade 8. Date of review: April 2009.

Review: A fantasy world filled with fairies and magic is revealed by Artemis Fowl in the first book of the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer.

We find ourselves in the middle of a complex plan to restore the Fowl family’s fortune. Ever since Artemis Fowl’s father, Artemis the First, disappeared, Artemis’s mother, Angeline, has been bedridden and the Fowls have lost their billionaire status. Artemis resolves to steal gold from a fairy. When Artemis finally gets his hands on a copy of the Book, a book which has the rules of the fairies, his plan starts to come together. The setting rapidly changes to underground where the fairies leave. Here we follow the life of Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit, who is assigned to a mission above ground to capture a destructive troll. While she is performing the Ritual, a way that the fairies can restore their magic, she is captured by Artemis and his faithful manservant, Butler. The fairies are challenged for the first time by Artemis, but they are never defeated. Or are they …

The opening paragraph effectively sets the tone and introduces Artemis in a clever way:

“How does one describe Artemis Fowl? Various psychiatrists have tried and failed. The main problem is Artemis’s own intelligence. He bamboozles every test thrown at him. He has puzzled the greatest medical minds, and sent many of them gibbering to their own hospitals. There is no doubt that Artemis is a child prodigy. But why does someone of such brilliance dedicate himself to criminal activities? This is a question that can be answered by only one person. And he delights in not talking.”

The complexity of Artemis Fowl’s character is both baffling and engaging. You will never know what Artemis has planned next. The fairies are entertaining as well. The way that they plan ahead for every situation possible and the technologies that they have discovered is wonderfully brilliant and creative. It is also interesting to see that as much as the fairies dislike humans, they are quite similar to humans. For example, the prejudice that Holly faces because she is a female is very much like what human females have faced for a long time. The fairies react with each other just as humans will react in these situations, and their humor is also similar to humans. Their hatred of humans is simply another example of prejudice in the world. The battle of technologies and intelligences keeps you on the edge of your seat until the final resolution. The plot is complicated and at times hard to follow, and I would sometimes find myself having to reread passages, but it is the definitely worth it.

Artemis Fowl is an ideal introduction to the “Artemis Fowl” series, and definitively sets the scene for magnificent books to come.

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