Review written by Risti Ghosh
“The story began several years ago, at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Artemis Fowl had devised a plan to restore his family’s fortune. A plan that could topple civilizations and plunge the planet into a cross-species war. He was twelve years old at the time.”
Artemis Fowl is a fantasy young adult novel set in Ireland, the home country of its author, Eoin Colfer. It follows Artemis Fowl as he researches his way about the fairy folk (referred to as the People) and kidnaps Captain Holly Short of the Lower Elements Police (the fairy police, often used in its shortened form, the LEP) for a ransom of gold. It shows how the LEP try to bring back their very first woman field officer and the inner struggles among the fairy folk as well as the struggles between the fairy folk and Artemis Fowl.
The main themes of this book are greed and the conflict between good and evil. The whole fiasco happened in the very first place due to Fowl’s greed. However, we are also shown glimpses of the fairies’ greed, symbolised mostly by Gudgeon’s greed for power. As for the conflict between good and evil, we are shown how thin the line between good and evil is, as well as the greyness of human beings and fairies alike. Fowl claims to be an evil genius, and yet, none of his plans involve the death of any being, human or fairy. However, the fairies, shown to be the force of good, are ready to annihilate every living being, starting from insects to humans and even their own kind, inside Fowl Manor.
This book has been classified as fantasy by genre, but as per my reading, the existence of the fairies and their magic is the only thing fantastical about this book. It is more of a mixture of sci-fi and fantasy than just pure fantasy.
When I started reading Artemis Fowl, I was reminded of Black Butler. A 12 year old criminal mastermind as the protagonist and his faithful butler? Sounds very familiar. But as the story progressed, it became very obvious that the similarities ended there.
The most important dissimilarity was that you can not empathise with our 12 year old protagonist. Artemis Fowl is a criminal mastermind and even though I personally have a love for criminally inclined characters, Fowl could not earn my support. He has my respect alright, he is a genius (as he likes to point out himself) and is always two steps ahead of the fairy folk. You may or may not like him, but you can not help but respect how clever and mature he is at the age of twelve.
Honestly, I found this quite inconsistent in the beginning. Fowl was, after all, the protagonist of this book. Every writer wants their protagonist to be loved. However immoral, the protagonist’s life and aspirations win the readers over. But that feeling of inconsistency was banished when I finally reached the epilogue. The epilogue reminded me of something mentioned in the very prologue, something that completely escaped my notice: Artemis Fowl is not the protagonist of this novel at all. In fact, this book has not even been written as a novel. It is a case file recorded by the fairy folk.
Gave me quite a shock, that I could not help but fall in love with this book. No wonder I can’t help but admire him at the same time. That’s what the People feel. The People hate him, for he is the biggest hindrance any of the Mud People (as they call humans) have ever posed for them. The People also admire him, for he is smart enough to be the biggest hindrance any of the Mud People have ever posed for them.
Overall, this was a great read. A delightful cast (my favourite was Foaly the centaur, who’s yours?) as well as the seamless chemistry between them made it all the more fun.
I’d also like to call attention to our protagonist’s name: Artemis Fowl. Artemis is the huntress in Greek mythology and Artemis Fowl really did live up to his name.
I won’t exactly call the book perfect. I still have some questions left over regarding the reasoning and science behind Fowl’s plan of escaping the time-field. They mentioned how you remain in the same state of consciousness in which you entered the time field. So if there’s something preventing your body from altering its state of consciousness, forcefully trying to alter it with medication, as Artemis did, should not have worked either.
But that won’t stop me from recommending this book to everyone. Especially given the format it was written in, I think the writer is a genius as well. If you’re not too particular about details, this book would be a great joyride for you.