Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


***Artemis Fowl

by Eoin Colfer

Reviewed August 2001.
Available at Sembach Library (JF COL).

Although I did enjoy this book, I may have to go on at some length about my reservations.  The book is a best-seller, and is going to be made into a movie.  It has been called the “Irish Harry Potter,” but this book is no Harry Potter.  Harry Potter books are wholesome and uplifting, and I just don’t think that Artemis Fowl is either of those things.

I’ll start with why I did like it.  It’s clever.  Eoin Colfer’s imagination is about as well-developed as J. K. Rowling’s.  The story is about a 12-year-old criminal mastermind who discovers that fairies really exist and kidnaps one in order to extort some fairy gold.  Like J. K. Rowling’s wizarding world, the world of fairies that he creates (They’ve moved to the center of the earth.) is clever, imaginative and entertaining.

There’s even a code to break in fairy characters printed along the bottoms of the pages.  If you decide to break the code, do it right away, as a key is given in Chapter Two that makes it too easy.  The coded message will not give away the plot.  It does give an intriguing hint about the sequel, which sounds like it will be even better than this first book.

The catch to all this is that there’s nobody nice in this book.  Artemis Fowl is a genius, but he doesn’t seem to have any conscience, nor does his powerful bodyguard.  At first you think you’ll root for the fairies, but their plan is to wipe out every living thing in Artemis’s house and that’s not exactly endearing.  So who do you root for?

At first, as I was enjoying the book, I thought maybe my boys would enjoy hearing it read aloud at bedtime.  Then I thought that I simply don’t want 7-year-old Timothy admiring a criminal mastermind.  I did suggest that 13-year-old Josh read it, and he enjoyed it, but he is more able to distinguish between what’s truly good and what isn’t!  Mind you, the book isn’t written for kids as young as Timothy, but the fact is that it didn’t leave me with a real nice taste in my mouth.  I did enjoy the book.  It was fun.  But a much more cynical fun than any Harry Potter book.  No moral high ground here.

Reviews of other books by Eoin Colfer:
The Legend of Spud Murphy
The Legend of the Worst Boy in the World
Imaginary Fred

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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