Book review

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (2001)

Part one of the Artemis Fowl series

Here's a great book! It really kept me giggling all the way through. It's a fairy tale for our times - so, fairies might grant you your dearest wish, but they might just as easily blast you off the planet with a bio bomb if they don't like what you just did to them.

Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon, an elite branch of the Lower Elements Police, is busy getting on with ordinary fairy business. Having spent her magical energies helping the Retrieval Squad to round up a rampaging troll above ground, where it was interfering with human activities, she sets out to Ireland to carry out the ritual which will rejuvenate her powers.

That's where she meets Artemis Fowl. Actually, he kidnaps her. His plan is to hold her to ransom. He's heard all about the Hostage Fund of fairy gold, and he needs to get hold of some gold to help support the dwindling family estates. Well, no, he isn't a very moral person. That's because he is the latest in a long line of arch-criminals.

Captain Holly Short felt as though a sucker slug was drawing her brain out through her earhole. She tried to figure out what could possibly have caused such agony, but her faculties didn't stretch to memory just yet. Breathing and lying down were about all she could manage.
Time to attempt a word. Something short and pertinent. Help, she decided, would be the one to go for. She took a trembling breath and opened her mouth.
'Mummlp,' said her treacherous lips. No good. Incomprehensible even by a drunken gnome's standards.

Over to you! I don't think the plot will lose you.

You might notice there's a string of mumbo jumbo along the bottom of every page of the book. It's a message in code, and yes, it is possible to break it because I managed to. You can decide for yourself whether it's actually a worthwhile activity, but only after you've done the work. I'll tell you this though, just to prove that I really did do it myself - the message is repeated, and the author is merciful enough to tell you when to stop.

I just loved this book and I think you will too:

'Confidence is ignorance,' advised the centaur. 'If you're feeling cocky, it's because there's something you don't know.'

What can I read next?

If you enjoyed this, you're in luck because he's written another. Have a look at:

It's a hard one to follow. I can't think of anything else quite like it. For sheer breadth of imagination, and confident mixture of visual and witty jokes that work across a wide age range, you might consider looking at this old masterpiece by Lewis Carroll:

If you would like to try and get to grips with Irish magic, which certainly seems to be very strong stuff, you could look at this one by Carlo Gebler:

If you like nasty beasties and funny jokes, you might enjoy this one by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell:

And moving on from the Gloamglozer, I think you would enjoy this one by Robin Jarvis:

Obviously, if you haven't read Harry Potter, you probably should give him a try too.

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