Drew Nelson's Reviews > Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
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's review

it was ok
Recommended for: people on airplanes

Artemis Fowl, though entertaining and often well told, is one of those books that has bound itself with the shackles of pandering to a perceived audience and thus will never rise above a certain level. For example, the dwarf character defeats his enemies with the help of his terribly powerful flatulence more than once. The whole race tunnels with the power of poop. The main faerie character, Holly, is a girl trying to break her way through a glass ceiling that no one seems to notice throughout the book except to note that she has broken it. The main character, although a bit shallowly described is likable and fun. However, he would be much more believable if the author had chosen to make him just a few years older. All of these come from the author's unnecessarily pandering to the children who will presumably comprise the majority of his audience. In addition, there is a pretty large amount of environmentalist agenda in this rather short book. I have no problem with saving the whales, but the many asides concerning pollution and extinction seemed completely out of place. In addition, although it sounds insane to ask for a rational and coherent system behind a hidden race of faeries, I believe this is one of the lines that separates good fantasy from run-of-the-mill fantasy. This is a test Colfer fails. His system of magic and faeries is incoherent and sometimes seems inconsistent. At the very least it is ill-explained. Despite all of these shortcomings, the world is very imaginative, and the story is fun. The characters are all likable for the most part, if often shallow. Colfer's storytelling method adds enjoyment to the book in that you can enjoy the small victories of both sides of the conflict. Overall I would recommend this book only to those looking for light, fun, but overall forgettable fantasy.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 13, 2008 – Shelved
May 13, 2008 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Shashikant (new)

Shashikant the spelling is'faires'

message 2: by Gorah (new)

Gorah Books It's a children's book.

Drew Nelson It's true, but books written for children don't have to be children's books. Some of my favorite books were written with young audiences in mind: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Book of Three, the tripods series. In these cases, though the books were written for young audiences, they don't stoop to pandering for these audiences and remain enjoyable for audiences of all ages. I liked much of the world of Artemis Fowl and I think the author is quite talented, which is the reason I was disappointed that he didn't manage to pull that off.

message 4: by Gorah (last edited May 14, 2013 08:25AM) (new)

Gorah Books I see your point, but perhaps his audience always was first and foremost children (which is as equally valid as aiming a book only at adults).

I didn't see much pandering to children about it and, personally, I love a good fart joke.

What maybe we can agree on is this guy can really write. I've read a few YA now and this is tight, evocative writing with rapid and accurate characterisation. I'll admit I'm only half way into the first book, but he is, in my opinion, one of the better YA writers out there. I'll let you know if I agree with you when I finish the book. My opinions can swing violently between the mid section and the end!

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