Artemis Fowl is the first book in an eight-book-long series, and one of my favorites. Artemis is a twelve year old genius, millionaire, and criminal mastermind. In search of gold, he decides to kidnap Holly Short, a fairy and captain of the Lower Elements Police and Reconnaissance Force, or the LEPrecon. However, Artemis finds himself in more danger than he expected. I recommend Artemis Fowl because it’s unique, has great character development, and comments on the fact that not everything is black and white, both in books and in life.
I’ve never read a book like Artemis Fowl. Most fantasy books, despite frequently being well-written, always seem familiar. For example, try to guess the title of this book: the main character finds out they’re special and goes to a place with more people who are like them. Or, maybe, the main character is the “chosen one” and has to save the world.
Any reader of fantasy novels could name multiple stories with that plot. While that doesn’t make the stories bad, it’s nice to switch it up sometimes. Artemis Fowl isn’t about a boy finding out he’s magical and saving the world – it’s about a non-magical boy discovering and stealing from the magical world. Additionally, before Artemis Fowl, I had never read a book where the protagonist could also be considered an antagonist. Artemis’s actions are definitely bad in this book – and yet, somehow, the audience still wants to root for him. You don’t know which side to root for in this book which is a rare instance. Books tend to have a very clear line between which characters are good and which are evil. In Artemis Fowl, most characters aren’t good or bad, and that makes the book stand out from other fantasy books.
One of my favorite things to read and to talk about in fiction is good character development. I love seeing a character’s motivation and watching them learn and grow. Artemis Fowl does character development like no other. Artemis Fowl doesn’t switch sides immediately. He doesn’t just see the light and decide to be good for the next seven books; his redemption arc progresses slowly. He starts the first book as a selfish and evil individual, but as you see his inner monologue and the environment he grows up in throughout the book, you begin to sympathize with him. The fact that he doesn’t become good quickly is what I think is so appealing about this series. You grow to love him as a character even before he chooses “goodness”, and you get to watch a character you love change. However, he does not change so drastically that he’s a completely different person. He starts out as a villain, and grows into an anti-hero. The arc is subtle in the first book, but that’s what pulls you in to read the rest of the series. Artemis Fowl has one of my favorite redemption arcs.
Finally, Artemis Fowl provides a commentary on the fact that not everything is black and white. As I said before, he’s not a “good” character. But neither are the fairies. They, too, kill and harm people even when avoidable. Artemis also feels guilty for his actions throughout this book, but ignores it and goes through with his plans. At the end, his actions contradict Artemis’s so-called selfishness. Throughout the series, Artemis’s actions are bad, but his intentions aren’t. He uses his criminal brain to do things that aren’t evil as well, and there are times where he even saves people by doing things that are bad on the surface. This shows that not everything is black and white – people can do good things for bad reasons, and bad things for good reasons. Not everything can even be separated into good or bad, and Artemis Fowl shows that.
Artemis Fowl is definitely worth a read. It’s one of my favorite book series of all time, and I recommend that everyone read it. The first book may be kind of confusing, but the series sucks you in. Artemis Fowl is different from other books, develops the characters well, and represents the idea of moral ambiguity.