Lissa's Reviews > Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
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's review
Jun 24, 2011

bookshelves: 2011
Read from August 20 to September 19, 2011

My fiancee is a huge fan of the Artemis Fowl books, so upon his (constant) insistence I gave the first book a go. It was interesting to read about an Irish hero instead of your typical British or American boy-heroes. I can't yet say what is intrinsically different about it yet.

The opening was mildly interesting. It didn't open with a bang but intrigue. It sustained me for several dozen pages before I grew bored.

I didn't like Artemis. He's a child genius, yes, but he's written exactly like an adult with sometimes-reminders that he's inhabiting a twelve year old body. I didn't get any indication he's beyond a normal level of higher intelligence. I certainly wouldn't call him a genius. I'd say he's independent, strong-willed, and quite frankly a brat. His main concern is regaining lost wealth, and I think there are a lot of things he could be doing with that big old brain of his other than trying to steal wealth off someone else. If he's so smart, why doesn't he solve world hunger? I didn't like him. Part of me hopes that he's deliberately written that way and he gets better in future books, but it's not a very good idea to write an unsympathetic hero as an introduction to a series. You risk putting off your audience. House is a sympathetic character despite being a huge grump. Gene Hunt from Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes is a bigoted misogynistic racist asshole, yet he's still sympathetic. Even Dexter is sympathetic, and he's a cold-blooded serial killer.

Likewise the secondary characters weren't interesting at all. I certainly didn't like Artemis' mother. I thought the Butler girl was OK, but I've forgotten her name and I only finished the book yesterday. My favourite character was Butler. Holly was interesting enough to sustain me in her points of view, but I didn't like the other magical folk. In fact, Holly is a rather good example of a strong female character. The only disappointment is that the two other female roles are filling the position of mother and sister. There was a very distinct lack of independent females like Holly.

The constant head-hopping bothered me as well. I understand that the book needed to be in three different places at once (Artemis, Holly, and Root) but it also jumped into different heads: Butler, Butler's sister, Foaly, random minor characters we only meet for a few pages. I desperately want to compare the book to Harry Potter, where throughout the entire series we stay firmly inside Harry's own head.

Out of all the characters in the book, even the ones we ended up seeing their POV, I only cared about one of them. (view spoiler)

I'm not sure that the reason I think this book was only OK is because it's written for children and I am an adult. I probably wouldn't even read this to my children (though I won't stop my fiancée if he wants to). As a child I probably would have read the entire series, but then again when I was twelve I was pretty loyal to authors and tried to read everything they ever wrote (I own the entire ANIMORPHS series, for crying out loud). Now that I'm an adult I don't mind laying aside a book or a series if they suck (House of Night, anyone?). Artemis Fowl doesn't suck, it's just not for me.

If I run out of books on hand, I'll probably pick up book number 2, but it hasn't convinced me that I'm a fan.

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Reading Progress

08/20/2011 page 116
29.0% "It's really good. Easy to read, intriguing, sometimes laugh out loud. Artemis is a bit adult but he's supposed to be some child prodigy - am yet to see proof of this, so far he's just an adult in a child's body but am willing to wait and see evidence of said genius. I really like Holly so far, can't wait to get back to reading to find out what happens next."

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