Saturday, November 16, 2013
Review: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
This is the start of what I’m now calling The Great Middle Grade Catch Up of 2013. I looked back at all the Middle Grade books I’ve read and I was ashamed and appalled at the number. Most weren’t even current; they were things I read as middle schooler. So I picked up Artemis Fowl on several different recommendations. Several friend-bloggers said they liked it, then a co-worker (bookseller) hand-sold me the book. I’m so good at hand-selling, you’d think I’d be impervious to it, but no.
I have to honestly say that I was incredibly surprised by this book. It surpassed expectations I never even knew I had. Now, I know there are some bloggers out there who (sadly) will not even entertain the idea of Middle Grade. Like they are too old for it. Newsflash: most bloggers are too old for YA, but whatever. However, it’s true that Middle Grade can sometimes have a childish feel to it. THIS BOOK IS NOT THAT. I dare you -- I DARE YOU -- to go to a bookstore, pick this book up and read the first 10 pages and NOT think, ‘holy crap, this is a book for kids?!’ because there is absolutely nothing about this book that ‘talks down’ to its readers. Kids don’t like books that talk down to them (or anyone for that matter) and suddenly this series’ strong popularity of over 12 years isn’t surprising at all.
One of the buying factors was the premise of being introduced to the one, the only Artemis Fowl, who was described as a “snarky little asshole” by my co-worker. And if my past literary loves attest to anything, it’s that I have a weakness for snarky little assholes in Middle Grade fiction. *coughPercyJacksoncough* I was not disappointed by Artemis though I definitely found him to be more of a maniacal genius worthy of the likes of Benedict Cumberpatch’s Sherlock Holmes than the sillier idiocy of Percy. Still, it’s him alone that is going to make me continue with the series. I’m very interested to see where this kid goes.
I was also surprised by how much this book is very, very much a ‘boy book’. There is quite a lot of military operations and lingo thrown around, so much so that at times I felt like I was dropped in the middle of an adult war film, rather reading something meant for 12 year olds. And there’s a girl -- a fairy, no less -- but she’s not all pretty and glittery, Holly can kick some serious ass and not think twice about it, so don’t think you’ll be seeing an even side of gender balance here. That being said, just because of its male inclinations, I was thoroughly intrigued the entire time of reading and not put off by its overt ‘boyness’.
I am very, very intrigued and excited to see where this series goes.
Similar recommendations: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan and Airman by Eoin Colfer.
-Reviewed by Jennifer