Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Narrated by Nathaniel Parker
Running time: 6 hours/ 5 CDs
Summary: Artemis Fowl is a 12-year-old criminal mastermind who has finally found a challenge. He has found proof that The People--fairy society that operates outside of human contact--actually exist and he is determined to do something that has never been done before: separate the fairies from their gold.
Characters: One of the things that I love about this book is that there is no real bad guy. Artemis certainly isn't a hero, but he's smart and seeing him with his mother, who has gone crazy since the disappearance of his father, definitely makes him likeable and gives him some vulnerability. Obviously, we want Artemis to win in the end, but because Colfer gives us the entire picture, we also get to meet the other characters in great detail and we don't want them to lose. Holly Short is the elf who is kidnapped by Artemis and even though she finds herself at odds with Artemis, she's feisty and you can't help wanting her to come out on top. The LEP--Lower Elements Police--give us a whole crew of fabulously colorful characters. My favorite is the genius techie, the centaur Foley. He is funny and every bit as smart as Artemis, but under appreciated. If I remember correctly, a bad guy emerges later in the series, but in this installment, it is hard to root against any of the characters, which left me both laughing and at the edge of my seat.
Plot/Pacing: Although Artemis's plan involves kidnapping and ransom instead of a stealthy attack on a LEP building, this story feels like a heist. The world Colfer has created is fun and imaginative and I loved watching the characters try to outsmart each other at every turn. It was just as exciting and suspenseful the second time and I can't wait to dive back into the rest of the series.
Moments I Loved: I love the first scene where we really get to see how brilliant Artemis is. He is waiting at a cafe to meet a contact and buy information. The man pretends to be a waiter in order to check out Artemis and his man-servant (the terrifying body-guard, Butler). Artemis completely calls him out with simple observations that most people would miss and gains the upper hand. Full Disclosure... I LOVE all these kinds of scenes, from the beginning of Men In Black to The Mentalist and Psych. I seriously love characters who are too smart for their own good.
WTF Moments: There is one scene where the LEP officers start vomiting... while wearing helmets. It's totally gross, but definitely a scene that kids will love.
Narrators: Accents. I usually love them, but I think that's because most people aren't trying to fake an American accent. The prologue is a fake American accent. I almost turned the audiobook off, but the soon English and Irish accents took over and everything was so much better. I loved the narrator's voice and he absolutely got the jokes right. I ended up enjoying all of the different voices and accents he gave the characters... even the few lines from the American (apart from the prologue)... In small doses, it's charming. Side note--why do fake American accents always have a touch of the midwest?
Overall: Such a fun book, I can't believe that I let myself get behind on this series. With the latest installment, The Last Guardian, coming out tomorrow (July 10th), I'm dying to catch up on this fantastic series and hope to check out more of the audio.
Reading Challenges: This book counts toward the following challenges: Read Me Baby One More Time and Support Your Local Library. Track all my progress on my 2012 Challenges page.
Artemis Fowl gets a Fake Steph rating of...