Artemis Fowl

by Eoin Colfer

Hardcover, 2001



Local notes

F Col



Disney-Hyperion (2001), 277 pages


When a twelve-year-old evil genius tries to restore his family fortune by capturing a fairy and demanding a ransom in gold, the fairies fight back with magic, technology, and a particularly nasty troll.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

277 p.; 5.63 inches







Media reviews

The truth is, fairies in their essence are said to possess glamour, a word that originally meant something like charm -- the ability to bewitch. Hardware may intrigue, caustic belligerence may be sexy to a contemporary 12-year-old, but neither ingredient bewitches. Despite a brave and promising premise, ''Artemis Fowl'' is charmless.
4 more
Characterizations and dialogue enhance a rollicking tale that will have readers rolling on the floor and eagerly anticipating the planned sequel
Library Journal
Fun to read, full of action and humor, this is recommended for all public libraries and to readers of all ages
School Library Journal
The combination of choppy sentences and ornate language will appeal to some readers, although not necessarily to Harry Potter fans; the emphasis here is more on action (some of it gory), technology, and deadpan humor than on magic, and only one character (Artemis) is a child.
Publishers Weekly
Despite numerous clever gadgets and an innovative take on traditional fairy lore, the author falls short of the bar.

User reviews

LibraryThing member stephiewonder
Who doesn't love a twelve-year-old criminal mastermind? This book is witty and immensely entertaining, seamlessly creating a world of faeries and centaurs, pixies and trolls. Colfer changes perspective each chapter, keeping things interesting throughout the entire adventure.
LibraryThing member craso
Artemis Fowl is a twelve year old child prodigy who comes from a long line of criminal masterminds. He has turned his considerable mental talents to fairies; it turns out they do exist. He wants gold and everyone knows that where there is a leprechaun there is gold. Only "leprechaun" is actually LEPrecon, an elite branch of the Lower Elemements Police that retrieves renegade fairies who have escaped above ground. Artemis captures a LEP agent named Captain Holly Short, the first female fairy on the force. He holds her for ransom prompting a clash between humans, known to the fairies as Mud People, and the advanced technology of the fairy police force.

The fairy characters in this novel reminded me of Terry Pratchett's Disc World. They are fanciful and silly, yet they are human in many ways. They are stubborn, sarcastic, greedy, ambitious as well as caring.

Artemis is very smart but he is a lost little boy with a missing father and a mother who spends all her time pining for her husband. The only person in his life that he feels close to is his butler named Butler who is part bodyguard and friend. In the end he gets what he really wanted all along and it isn't gold.
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LibraryThing member melydia
I read this out of an interest in popular children's fantasy. The Artemis Fowl books had gained enough popularity to show up on my radar (and I am around children basically none of the time), so I figured I might as well check it out. Artemis is a 12-year-old criminal mastermind with a faithful bodyguard named Butler, a missing father, and a mother who has completely lost touch with reality. Despite this, there remains a good deal of humor in Artemis's kidnapping of a fairy and her people's attempts to retrieve her. Artemis, while believable as a criminal genius, is not very convincing as a 12-year-old boy. Holly the fairy is pretty one-dimensional, but her comrades Root and the centaur Foaly are entertaining enough to keep the plot moving forward. In short, this is a decent story for children but not engaging enough to convince this adult reader to check out the sequels.… (more)
LibraryThing member janemarieprice
Artemis Fowl is a criminal mastermind, who’s twelve. He hatches a scheme of kidnapping a fairy and holding her for a ransom of gold. This took about a day to get through, and it was an enjoyable fast-paced adventure story. The reader bounces between Artemis and the fairy world – all of the characters being sympathetic in one manner or another. I’m not sure if I will continue on with the series, but this was a fairly enjoyable way to pass a rainy day.… (more)
LibraryThing member Radella
I have a bad habit of picking out books to buy for my classroom, reading them, and buying another copy to keep at home all for myself! This first book in the Artemis Fowl book blends modern concepts and folk stories together into a wonderful tale. Artemis is an anti-hero, a 12-year-old criminal mastermind. Helping Artemis is Butler, his bodyguard. On the other side are the technologically advanced fairies. There's a paranoid centaur, a kleptomaniac dwarf, a short-tempered police commander, and Captain Holly Short. Short is destined to become Artemis' nemesis, being willing to bend the rules slightly for the right reasons. Colfer tosses in references to morals, ethics, environmentalism, and a host of other topics that make this an interesting book to read and discuss with my children!… (more)
LibraryThing member Assassin13
I think the Artemis Fowl series have to be some of the most underrated books that there ever were. They are highly inventive, and they have everything that a good book needs. They have great action, witty dialogue, hilarious humor, and some of the coolest characters you will ever read about.

These books are probably the most FUN books I have ever read. Colfer does an amazing job shifting the mood of the book from lightheartedly humorous to serious and deadly.

So don't get me wrong, these books are excellent in terms of quality, but the main thing I will remember these books for is the way you can just sit down with no worries and flat out enjoy reading them and have fun.
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LibraryThing member amf0001
Read at my son's behest, he really loved it and is reading more in the series. I thought it is very well suited to the interests of 12 year olds, with it's ground eating dwarves and cranky LEPrecon officers. A few good ideas, but definitely a book for children rather than adults.
LibraryThing member fyrefly98
Summary: Artemis Fowl is a strategic genius, a technological prodigy, and a budding criminal mastermind... and he's only 12 years old! His latest scheme involves the acquisition of gold, and lots of it. He's got his hands on a book of fairy secrets, and he uses it to kidnap a fairy and hold it for ransom. But the fairy in question is one Captain Holly Short, a member of the L.E.P. reconnaissance (LEP re-con, for short) team, and her commanding officer is going to use every magical resource at their disposal to see her rescued safely... and see Artemis dead in the process.

Review: I think most people start reading Eoin Colfer with the Artemis Fowl series and branch out from there; I've done things backwards, reading several of his stand-alone books first and only now getting around to his main series. What I've discovered, so far, is that while Colfer's books might never knock my socks off, they are always a reliable source for a fun, engaging, and imaginative read. Artemis Fowl was no exception; while it was geared towards a little younger of an audience than I typically prefer (more mid-grade than young adult, I think), there were still lots of clever bits and sly jokes that made me giggle, and the story was fast-paced enough with enough exciting action to keep me engaged, and to allow me to overlook things like the farting dwarf. There was also a surprising emotional core running throughout that made the book something more than just a light and fluffy story. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Overall, it's a good combination of fantasy, action, and humor; geared towards the younger set but with enough cleverness to the worldbuilding and the jokes that it should hold the attention of adults, too. I'll definitely be reading the sequels.
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LibraryThing member conformer
Die Hard with fairies? Well, pretty much the latter, maybe not so much the former. Closer to The Thomas Crown Affair, only the criminal mastermind is a twelve-year-old prodigy and the mark is a good chunk of leprechaun gold.Despite having his name in the title, Artemis Fowl isn't the most well-developed character in the cast when compared to the members of the fairy task force assembled against him, or even his bodyguard, the ubiquitous master-of-arms. Perhaps it's the fact that technically being a villain, giving Artemis a dearth of personality helps to balance out the good vs. evil storyline, which would otherwise be unfairly skewed towards the fairyfolk's crusade, a sometimes not-so-subtle parallel to the environmental movement.Colfer writes with speed and wit, interspersing by-the-book military sequences with Michael-Bay-esque wisecracks from supporting characters. He excels in meshing the disparate elements of the human and fairy worlds; both mapping out magic-rich sites on the Earth's surface as well as decking the underground denizens with space-age technology.Harmless and fun enough for kids, but with enough substance for grown-ups to tolerate as well.… (more)
LibraryThing member dbzgt
The Artemis book was a great book. I liked it because a 12 year old boy worte it. The book was about how most people own hospitals. The other thing about the book is that it is a case. The name of the book is Artemis Fowl. His name is Eoin Colfer. The genre is fiction. Artemis was always sitting in of his computer screen and it was bleaching his skin. The setting was in his house. The book was about a case that Artemis is trying to sovle. It might be a bit harder to crake this case. To find out you will have to read to find out.… (more)
LibraryThing member TheLostEntwife
Fantastic start to the series. I am loving the dry, quirky humor Eoin Colfer infuses the story with. The set-up of the story with the file notes and the history is clear enough to keep the story from being confusing, but still complicated enough to make you want to figure out what is going on.

What I've noticed as I read through the story was how realistic Artemis was - especially for being a 12 year old "genius". In spite of his advanced technological knowledge and his masterminding schemes, he still is an insecure boy that needs reassurance and his parents. I loved the very human side of him.… (more)
LibraryThing member Jenson_AKA_DL
Descended from a family of criminal geniuses, 12 year old Artemis Fowl is a boy desperate to find his missing father and return the Fowl family to their previous status and wealth. To accomplish this he has devised a scheme to steal one of the most sought after treasures in history, the elusive fairy's gold.

First off I have to say had I been reading the story and taken such a dislike to a character as I did Artemis at the beginning of this book it would be quite unlikely I'd get past the first couple chapters. However, because this was an audio book my son and I were listening to in the car and the reader was quite smashing at all the different accents, I could not simply stop listening to it. I'm so glad that this was the case because it really turned out to be much more enjoyable and entertaining than I had imagined! In addition to the initially unlikeable Artemis there was a great cast of characters ranging from woman's rights activist poster-fairy and LEP operative Holly Short to a wise cracking centaur wearing a tinfoil cap on his head. Then, of course, there was Mulch Diggums who is undoubtedly now one of my son's favorite characters ever. And, I have to admit, Artemis rather grew on me until I was rooting for him at the end (well, sort of). He's probably the first real anti-hero I've ever actually become fond of.

Illuminating each character individually, the voice actor was simply amazing in his versatility. It was just a lot of fun to listen to and I'd highly recommend this commando fairy tale to boys, girls, mothers and fathers alike.
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LibraryThing member jennyo
My kids LOVE this book series. They love it so much they bought the graphic novel and audiobook versions too. I, on the other hand, am not so much in love with it. The writing is clever, witty, engaging, and I can see why the kids enjoy it. But the protagonist is obnoxious and arrogant and completely without morals, not really the example I want set for my kids. Maybe that changes later in the series, but it turned me off enough in the first book that I didn't read the rest. And I did talk to my kids and explain that they could read the books, but they needed to understand why I didn't and how I felt about Fowl. So we had good conversations, and I guess it's hard to slam a book that makes you have a good talk with your kid.… (more)
LibraryThing member amcheri
Finished listening to the audio book with my son. I enjoyed it very much. We're moving on to the second one.
LibraryThing member FrogPrincessuk
I have no problem with a story being told from an alternative point of view - that of the bad guy. However, this book simply didn't hook me in at all. I disliked the style, and thought it was trying too hard to be funny. For me, the jokes fell flat. Excluding that, there wasn't much other substance in the book to appeal to me. Any fantasy content has already been done before.… (more)
LibraryThing member kaitanya64
A fun family read. Magic, adventure and some discussion of morality, plus a plot that satisfies adult and older readers. We "read" this one on a family trip, but I'll get the next one for my family commute.
LibraryThing member meyben
A disturbed young man. Ender and Artemis should get together. Fun read.
LibraryThing member shelf-employed
This is the first of six books in the Artemis Fowl Series and refers to the audiobook version read by Nathaniel Parker. Parker's Irish accent is perfect for the story, and he creates memorable voices and accents for each of the story's mostly hard-boiled characters and moves seamlessly between the voices of the large cast. This story downloads in 5 parts and is about 6 1/2 hours in length. The author confirms that a movie deal is in the works. A great choice for fantasy fans looking for something with a bit of an edge.

My library classifies this series as YA (young adult), but older J (Juvenile fiction) readers should enjoy it as well.
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LibraryThing member ithilwyn
I absolutely adore Colfer's combination of traditional fantasy characters with science fiction. It really works!
LibraryThing member heidilove
I fell completely in love with the characters, the world, the language, the writing. Way to go, Colfer.
LibraryThing member melwil_2006
This is a popular book amongst some of the school children I've taught, and it's not hard to see why. It's a fantastical, humourous adventure - full of fairy folk, bulky bodyguards, a troll and a rather interesting main character.

Artemis Fowl is the youngest member of a family of master criminals. He's hungry for gold, and believes that the fairy folk are the best way to get it. So he kidnaps the LEPrecon Captain, Holly Short in order to get a ransom. The fairy folk will do anything to get her back . . .

There's some really funny bits in the book - some for children (bum flaps come to mind), and some more sophisticated. Artemis would be tiresome if he was the only main character, but Holly Short makes for an excellent co-main. Fantasy still isn't my favourite genre - and it took me a little while to get into it - but towards the end I couldn't put it down.
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LibraryThing member AlbaArango
Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a criminal mastermind descended from a family of wealthy criminal masterminds. After the family fortune is lost, his father mysteriously disappears, believed dead, and his mother goes mad from grief. Artemis decides to get the family fortune back in the most unusual way―by kidnapping a fairy and holding her for ransom. But as it turns out, Artemis may have underestimated the power of the fairies, and the lengths they would go to hold on to their gold. He also may not have anticipated the cunningness, and intrigue, of his captive fairy.

What I liked: great story! So unusual and compelling. The characters are so well written and diverse, everything from goblins to centaurs, and they each have their own unique personalities and attributes. The plot is outlandish, but so interesting and different.

What I didn’t like: the main character comes off a bit stoic, especially at first. True, he is an anti-hero, but he was almost too unrelatable at first. Still, his character improves as the book progresses, and by the end, the reader wants to know what happens to him (and the other characters) in the next book.

5 out of 5 stars
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LibraryThing member Shadowz112
Artemis Fowl, young heir to the Fowl criminal dynasty, has searched all over the world for the answer to his question; do fairies exist. this may sound like a little kid book already but it is full of wit and action as you read the story of a young genius and his formidable bodyguard, Butler. Artemis cheats a fairy out the book that all fairies carry that contains their rules in their language, Gnomish. After deciphering the book, Artemis kidnaps a young police captain elf named Holly Short. The entire fairy police force goes against artemis and are trapped in a dealock at his private estate. This novel is a fun read for all and after you read the first you'll wnat to read the next.… (more)
LibraryThing member SeriousGrace
Meet Artemis Fowl. Only 12 years old but already a millionaire - a criminally brilliant millionaire. When we first meet Artemis we learn he is out to kidnap a fairy. Let the games begin! From the very beginning Artemis Fowl is full of folklore. Besides fairies there are goblins, dwarfs, gnomes, a centaur, trolls and the ever tantalizing hoard of gold. Artemis, though only 12, has devised a plan to rid the fairies of their riches by using their own powers against them. For being a childrens' book it is pretty fast paced and violent.… (more)
LibraryThing member PiyushC
A very different subset of fantasy, a very refreshing and quick read. The characters and the plot is so very different than anything else we are used to, the book is worth reading only for that if nothing else!

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