A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Artemis Fowl is the start of a best-selling series named after a 12-year-old millionaire criminal mastermind who takes on the race of fairies to get their gold. Because of the sophisticated and witty writing style and the complex characters, this is a great choice for adult fantasy fans to read along with kids. Readers on the younger side will dig in for the action. There's plenty of it near the end. A fight with a troll is quite gory: It's a mace and lots of bullets against a hungry behemoth with horns and claws. Earlier in the story there's a kidnapping, some fistfights, explosions, and tranquilizers used. Artemis' bodyguard, Butler, tries not to kill his fairy adversaries. There's some talk about why Artemis is left to his own devices: His father was lost in a boat explosion and feared dead, and afterward his mother stays in her room with a mental illness. Expect a fair amount of cigar smoking by the fairy commander and some drinking. While you're reading along with kids, this book is a great opportunity to talk about antiheroes such as Artemis. He's driven by power and money, and he's devious and sometimes cruel, but there's definitely good there -- just enough that readers may find themselves rooting for him and the fairies at the same time.
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What's the story?
After a jaunt in Ho Chi Min City to steal from a rogue fairy, it's finally his: ARTEMIS FOWL, age 12, millionaire criminal, has a copy of the fairies' sacred book containing all their secrets. With the help of his brilliant mind and some sophisticated computer software, he decodes the book and begins to make his nefarious plan to force the fairies to give up their gold. Stakeouts ensue around ancient oak trees, where fairies need to complete their rites and renew their magic. Poor Captain Holly Short, member of the fairy police LEPrecon Unit, heads to the wrong tree for the ceremony and gets kidnapped by Artemis and his hulking bodyguard, Butler. As the negotiations begin for her release, the fairies with their magic and sophisticated weaponry think they have Artemis easily beat. But they don't know Artemis.
Is it any good?
This witty, exciting series start boasts an irresistible 12-year-old antihero and a host of fantastic characters. There's kidnapped Captain Holly, who's determined to redeem herself; Butler, the perfect assassin who will do anything to protect his sister; overconfident and foolish Commander Root -- and they're all flawed and intriguing with plenty of tricks up their sleeves. Even as the action ratchets up, readers will be torn about whom to root for.
Another wonderful strength of the book is the way the story builds. Most of it takes place in one evening -- magical fairy time stoppage included. Even when a real clock isn't ticking, readers will be biting their nails counting down to the scary "blue-rinse" bomb. The big question throughout the action-packed evening: Is Artemis really one step ahead of the fairies or finally in over his head?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Artemis. Do you like him? Why, or why not? Do you want Holly or Artemis to prevail, or both?
What do you think of the series so far? Will you keep reading? What kinds of hints does the narrator give about what's to come for Artemis and Holly?
Do you think Commander Root is a good boss or a bad one? Why did he hire Holly, and why does he want her to succeed?
- Author: Eoin Colfer
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
- Publication date: April 26, 2001
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
- Number of pages: 304
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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