Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Artemis Fowl

Author: Eoin Colfer
Genre: Fantasy, Children's (Tweens)
Type: e-audiobook
Source: Local Public Library
First Published: May 2001 (Hardcover)
First Line: "Ho Chi Minh City in the summer."

Book Description from GoodReads:  From a strikingly original voice in fiction comes the story of Artemis Fowl, a very unusual hero. Artemis combines the astuteness of Sherlock Holmes with the sangfroid of James Bond and the attitude of Attila the Hun. But even Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of LEPrecon Unit. These aren't the fairies of bedtime stories. These fairies are armed and they're dangerous. Artemis thinks he's got them just where he wants them, but then they stop playing by the rules . . . Full of unexpected twists and turns, Artemis Fowl opens up a riveting world of magic, mystery, and humor.

My Review:  Being a Library Assistant I regularly get asked to suggest books for kids so I thought I'd better read more books that tweens tend to read to put more books in my tween book arsenal.  The Artemis Fowl series was a favourite of Boy 1's many years ago and has been on my 'TBR' (to be read) list for a long, long time so I thought that it would be a great way to delve into books for smallish humans.

I obviously knew about the Artemis Fowl series but I had no idea what the book as about. Based on the front cover I assumed it was about an ultra smart tween who had a lot of money, power, gadgets ... and had a bad streak in him.  Kind of like a sinister 'James Bond - The Early Years'.  Needless to say my interest was piqued.

What I wasn't expecting was that this book was firmly set in the fantasy genre.  When fairies and other magical creatures were introduced I was more than a little surprised but I kept with it.  Then the story veers from fantasy to a more sci-fi feel with the fairies and their brethren being more technically savvy than I ever expected and I wasn't sure I liked this idea.  In fact, by the end of the book I couldn't decide how I felt about this book in general.

I did enjoy the actions scenes but there were many times, outside of these scenes, when the energy waned and I started to lose interest.  I will say though that the narrator did a great job with the various characters and accents (I do so loves me an Irish accent!).

While this was an interesting 'listen', I do wish there was more time devoted to getting inside Artemis' head.  It felt, to me anyway, like so much of the book was told from the point of view of the fairies and their law enforcement than from Artemis' quirky take on things.  

Artemis was, by far, my favourite character in the book.  He was brilliant, rich, liked to get his way on all things and had a devious/evil streak in him that I found very unique in a children's character.  I'm hoping that future books will let the reader get to know him better.  

Unfortunately, I found the plot and secondary characters not to be as compelling as I was hoping.  I guess I was assuming that if the book was fantasy-based it would be on par with Harry Potter (which I realize isn't a fair comparision - nothing is on par with HP in my world).  I suppose I also expected to get lost in the book and it just didn't happen for me.  
In the end, this was an enjoyable e-audiobook to listen to while I was working out on the treadmill.  Was it gripping?  Not really.  Was it memorable?  Perhaps.  It did have some interesting ideas and plot but overall this was just an okay read for me.  I'm going to chalk this book up to just not being my cuppa tea but I can also see why tweens enjoy this series so much.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

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