Colfer's (Benny and Omar) crime caper fantasy, the first in a series, starts off with a slam-bang premise: anti-hero Artemis Fowl is a boy-genius last in line of a legendary crime family teetering on the brink of destruction. With the assistance of his bodyguard, Butler, he masterminds his plan to regain the Fowls' former glory: capture a fairy and hold her ransom for the legendary fairy gold. However, his feisty mark, Holly, turns out to be a member of the "LEPrecon, an elite branch of the Lower Elements Police," so a wisecracking team of satyrs, trolls, dwarfs and fellow fairies set out to rescue her. Despite numerous clever gadgets and an innovative take on traditional fairy lore, the author falls short of the bar. The rapid-fire dialogue may work as a screenplay with the aid of visual effects (a film is due out from Talk/Miramax in 2002) but, on the page, it often falls flat. The narrative hops from character to character, so readers intrigued by Artemis's wily, autocratic personality have to kill a good deal of time with the relatively bland Holly and her cohorts, and the villain/hero anticlimactically achieves his final escape by popping some sleeping pills (it renders him invulnerable to the fairy time-stop). Technology buffs may appreciate the imaginative fairy-world inventions and action-lovers will get some kicks, but the series is no classic in the making. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Gr 5-8-Twelve-year-old genius Artemis Fowl decides to reinvigorate his family fortunes by kidnapping a fairy and demanding its gold. Having obtained and decoded the Book, a tome containing all of the fairies' secrets, Artemis captures an elf named Holly Short and holds her captive at his family mansion in Ireland. However, he hasn't reckoned on the resources and cunning of the LEPrecon Unit, an elite branch of the fairy police force, whose members will stop at nothing to rescue Captain Short. It seems that the wicked ways of the Mud People (humans) have driven most of the magical creatures underground, where a gritty, urban fairy civilization is flourishing. The fairy characters are mouthy and eccentric, but Artemis is too stiff and enigmatic to be interesting; the story bogs down when the focus is on him. The combination of choppy sentences and ornate language will appeal to some readers, although not necessarily to Harry Potter fans; the emphasis here is more on action (some of it gory), technology, and deadpan humor than on magic, and only one character (Artemis) is a child.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Colfer is already well known in Britain for his popular children's books. The quirky characters and delightful humor of his latest work will undoubtedly delight American readers as well. Artemis Fowl, 12-year-old criminal mastermind and consummate self-server, is out to win fame and restock the dwindling family fortune. The wealthy Fowls, underworld moguls, have fallen on hard times with the disappearance of Artemis's father and the questionable sanity of his depressed mother. Having discovered the true existence of fairies and their magic, Artemis foments a wicked plot to steal their gold. Coercing a fairy on the skids to show him her book of magic, he manages to crack the code and acquaint himself with fairy magic and technology. But Artemis realizes that he needs more bargaining power, so he kidnaps the fairy, Capt. Holly Short of the LEPrecon (Lower Elements Police Reconnaissance) Unit, intending to ransom her for the gold. As the book progresses, readers suspect that this child prodigy is perhaps not so foul as he seems, nor are the good fairies quite so wonderful after all. Fun to read, full of action and humor, this is recommended for all public libraries and to readers of all ages. [The publisher, jointly with Hyperion Books for Children, is promoting this to the young and adult fans of Harry Potter. Ed.] Jennifer Baker, Seattle P.L. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.