A young boy genius, whose forefathers discovered that “going legitimate” was not exactly to their liking. His faithful bodyguard cum closest friend. A maverick Lep-Recon officer, who carries the burden of being first female officer on the force. A centaur who is technological wizard, and keeps the “fairy-folk” hidden from the mud-people by his inventions. A kleptomaniac dwarf, who can dig with the best of them.I always felt that “Sci-Fi/Fantasy” were two different genre (genres?), but “Artemis Fowl” series by Eoin Colfer proves that you can mix those two and that makes the series a great read.
When Artemis’ father disappears (presumed dead), leaving his mother mentally distressed, he decides to take Fowl family back to their top position in underworld. And the method to do that? Get the fairy gold. He gets The Book of fairy-people (kind of their bible) from a sprite, and deciphers it. Using that information, and with the help of his bodyguard Butler (where did you think the noun “butler” came from?), he captures a fairy and asks for the gold Lep-Recon (Lower Elements Police – Recon division) keeps for such eventualities.
Unfortunately, the fairy he has captured turns out to be the maverick officer, Lt. Holly Short. Fortunately, she is a bit low on her magic (not having performed the “ritual” for quite a while), so cannot magic her way out of trouble. After a lot of fighting and help from a kleptomaniac dwarf Mulch, the fairies give in and deliver the gold. Of course, unknown to them, Artemis escapes the time-stop and dangerous bio-bomb with his whole household using his brains.
This starts the uneasy partnership between Artemis and fairy folk in general, and Capt. Holly Short in particular. Artemis returns half the gold to Holly in exchange for curing his mother, and Holly heals/rejuvenates Butler during her escape. Later, Artemis helps fairy folk during the coup by a Lep-Recon officer and an (imp) industrialist, and in exchange gets their help to rescue his father from Russian Mafia.
Later, he tries to sell the fairy technology they gathered during the initial fight with Retrieval Squad, but loses it to a dangerous businessman, and in the process Butler gets mortally wounded. He calls for the fairy help again, and after they successfully retrieve the cube back, he submits to mind-wipe (while taking his usual precautions). The mind-wipe backfires on fairies, as one of their most dangerous enemies is again at the large, while the only mud-person who can help (and who is also targeted) has forgotten that there is any living thing below ground.
Later, Artemis finds out about a girl like him (who idolizes him and his “criminal antics”) who kidnaps a devil. Unfortunately, the barrier between the time-suspended island of devils and human world is breaking down, and Artemis and Holly have to exert all their powers to stop the devil leader from unleashing the bloodthirsty devils on humans and help the devils from disappearing into the “void”(this time, leaving behind Butler).
Artemis Fowl is a genius, the boy with the highest tested IQ in the world. He starts as a juvenile criminal who is ready to go to any lengths to help his mother and regain the lost position of Fowl family. But as he comes in contact with fairy-folk (or rather, Holly Short) and reluctantly helps them, he changes into a boy who even though criminally-inclined is ready to help others. He proves this not only by “recovering” a stolen painting and sending it to a museum, but also by trying to “patch” the crumbling barrier between the devil-island and the world.
Highly trained and loyal, Butlers are a family who are attached to a Fowl from the birth, and continue to serve them till either is dead. The present Butler is also a close friend of Artemis, and in absence of his father, acts as a father figure.
Lt. Holly Short is a maverick officer, who gets in trouble with Commander Root (who is normally beet-root colour, hence the nick-name) every time they meet. But this is not because of Root hate having a female in his unit, but because he is aware of Holly’s responsibility to prove that females can serve on the elite Lep-Recon force. Independent and brave (not to mention, great-granddaughter of Cupid), Holly develops into a great officer and becomes a (at first) reluctant co-op and then friend of Artemis.
Foaly, the centaur is the reason for fairy magic we all know. Apart from mesmer (hypnotism) and healing, all the “magic” we attribute to ancient people is the direct result of inventions of the genius that is Foaly. A nerdy guy, he harbours a secret crush on his friend Holly, and tries to helps her officially or unofficially every time. (It helps that being the inventor and creator of every devise used by Lep-Recon and Retrieval Squad, he is well and truly irreplaceable).
My only beef with the story, which drags the series down to 2.0 on BES, is that, at least twice every book, you are reminded that Mulch Diggums the dwarf can eat dirt with the best of them ((literally, as that’s how dwarves dig), and what goes in at one end comes out the other end (dirt has a lot of gases and air you know.)
But all in all, “Artemis Fowl” series is a nice ride of fantasy and sci-fi, at the same time being a great tale of development of a boy genius from a kind-of anti-hero to a true hero.
Quote of The Day:
At least he spent some time outdoors and got to meet some new people. It’s a pity most of them were trying to kill him.
– Doctor J. Argon, B. Psych, (for the LEP Academy files)