One of the extra things I do as a homeschooling mother is teach a literature circle for high schoolers. Last year my group read through an ambitious round of books that included Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (rough for a group composed largely of young men-we only have one girl!) and Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, which every group member read unabridged in all 1200 pages of its glory, and was declared the unanimous favorite of the group at the end of the school year. This coming year we have Steinbeck and Twain on tap, among others, so when the boys joked about reading all eight books of Artemis Fowl over their summer break, I couldn’t be too hard on them, and even agreed to join in the fun reads. I listened to the audios and made it through the first three in the series.
In book one, Artemis Fowl, we meet the title character, a rich young Irishman who’s father has disappeared. The thirteen-year-old Artie is not your average young man. He is highly intelligent, resourceful, rather crafty and underhanded in his business dealings, which he has been handling since his father’s disappearance, in possession of a fortune, and lucky to have Butler-bodyguard extraordinaire. Butler, we are told comes from a long line of family members by that name, all trained in the art of personal defense; he has a mind for military strategy, is combat proficient, and absolutely loyal to Artie. Artie has made an important discovery. He has discovered the existence of the fairy people and learned how to connect with them, and he believes that they might be the key to helping him rescue his father, who has been missing for a couple of years. This first book covers the introduction of all the major characters of both worlds, human and fairy.
The second book, The Arctic Incident, covers the actual recovery of Artemis’ father and another operation in fairy territory that Artemis and Butler help with in exchange for the fairies help in rescuing Mr. Fowl. Of the three books I read this one was the weakest for me. It moved a bit slower than the other two and just didn’t seem quite as clever in the plotting.
Book three, The Eternity Code, shows that Artie has been up to his old business practices again, but this time utilizing computer technology he has stolen from the fairies. When the technology is stolen and the human race is put at risk, he has no choice but to admit what he has done and call in the fairies for help.
I highly recommend the audio versions of these books. Performed by Nathaniel Parker, they are absolutely excellent entertainment for all ages and would make great bedtime stories or road trip entertainment for a family.
It wouldn’t surprise me if I continued on with the audios of this series. They are a fun break, especially after a depressing work of nonfiction, or when I am not feeling well. There is great humor in them, and sometimes we can all use a little lightheartedness. My three star ratings reflect the fact that they are not fine literature and not really aimed at an adult audience. For youth, these books would no doubt be five star entertainment.