Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Spotlight Series: Artemis Fowl

Eoin Colfer (pronounced Owen) was born in Wexford on the South-East coast of Ireland in 1965, where he and his four brothers were brought up by his father (an elementary school teacher, historian and artist of note) and mother (a drama teacher). He first developed an interest in writing in primary (elementary) school with gripping Viking stories inspired by history he was learning in school at the time!

After leaving school he got his degree from Dublin university and qualified as a primary school teacher, returning to work in Wexford. He married in 1991 and he and his wife spent about 4 years between 1992 and 1996 working in Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Italy. His first book, Benny and Omar, was published in 1998, based on his experiences in Tunisia; it has since been translated into many languages. A sequel followed in 1999, followed by some other books. Then in 2001 the first Artemis Fowl book was published and he was able to resign from teaching and concentrate fully on writing.

He says, "I will keep writing until people stop reading or I run out of ideas. Hopefully neither of these will happen anytime soon. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.

I randomly licked up a copy of Artemis Fowl at a used book sale and fell in love upon reading it. This was the first middle grade series I read as an adult and the enjoyment I experienced was the reason I was willing to pick up the Harry Potter series and other books of the kind. The characters are wonderful, the stories magical and the writing is beautifully intelligent in a way that is easily loved by children and adults alike.

Important Characters to Know
Artemis Fowl II - Irish child genius and criminal mastermind. As the series progresses, he matures from enemy of the fairies to something of a protector of theirs.

Captain Holly Short - The first female captain in LEPrecon history. She met Artemis when he kidnapped her but has since grown to be an ally and friend to him.

Mulch Diggums - Dwarf and kleptomaniac. He is occasionally called on my LEP for his talents both dwarfish and criminal.

Foaly - A centaur who heads the technology division of LEP. His main purpose is to keep fairies more technologically advanced than humans.

Domovoi Butler - Artemis's butler, bodyguard and one of the few people Artemis considers a friend.

Commander Julius Root - Fairy in charge of LEPrecon.

Opal Koboi - Genius pixie and insane criminal. She has proven dangerous to the LEP on many occasions.

Artemis Fowl
(in reading order, links lead to my reviews)
  1. Artemis Fowl
  2. The Arctic Incident
  3. The Eternity Code
  4. The Opal Deception
  5. The Lost Colony
  6. The Time Paradox
  7. The Atlantis Complex

If you like the Artemis Fowl series, you should try:
The Bartimaeus series by Jonathan Stroud
The Inkworld Trilogy by Cornelia Funke
The The Inheritance Cycle series by Christopher Paolini
The Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage
The Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz
The Children of the Red King series by Jenny Nimmo


  1. +JMJ+

    I bought the first book at around the same time I bought Stormbreaker from the Alex Rider series, and it was Alex rather than Artemis who stole my heart. But I've reread Artemis Fowl very recently and found it, on second read, much more engaging and fun. I hope I can get around to The Arctic Incident soon, as I'm beginning to develop a taste for YA books with settings scattered all over the world.

    PS--I have a friend who can't stand these books. He considers Colfer's new take on Celtic mythology just a shade away from blasphemous! He's the only person I know who feels that way (and who isn't even Irish). Now I wonder whether there are any others . . .

  2. How have I not read these books? I think I was afraid that they would be too "young" for me, but I really need to give them a try.

  3. Thanks for the suggestions ("If you like Artemis, you may also like..."). My son loved Artemis and is reading himself out of series after series (of other writers). So it's good to get some more ideas for him.

  4. Oh, yes. I love the Artemis Fowl series too but The Time Paradox wasn't as good as the earlier books so I stopped. But I guess I'll give The Atlantis Complex a try.

    I liked the Inkworld and Septimus Heap series but disliked The Inheritance Cycle though. :-)

  5. @Enbrethiliel - I'm sure there are. Whenever an author re-imagines something well-known and mythic, people always love it or hate it. I personally love when authors change stuff up, especially when it brings added depth or fun to a story.

    @Tara SG - It helped that I didn't know the age level of the series when I first picked up the books. It was back in my "I can't read books outside my age group" stage. It has a slightly younger feel than Harry Potter, but nothing major. Plus Artemis is a genius, so he's often talking and thinking more like an adult.

    @leeswammes - I hope he likes them. My aunt just asked me for suggestions for my 12 year old cousin that "kind of liked" Harry Potter and I suggested Artemis Fowl to start with. I'm still waiting on the verdict. You never know what kids will end up liking.

    @Kah Woei - It's always such a large time period between reading Artemis books that I've never really compared which ones I've liked more. It seems like forever since the last one, so I'm just hoping the new one is as good as I remember the rest of the series being.

  6. This was one of the funnest reads that I stumbled upon. I bought the first book when my daughter was in elementary school. Unfortunately, it was much later before she got hooked on books. As I didn't want my money to go to waste, I read it with the intention of coaxing her into reading it. Well, I fell in love with the characters and bought each of the new books in the series for myself. I often thought these books would make an excellent movie.

  7. @Lisa R - I would love to see these books as a movie. I think kids and adults would love them. I researched it for a post a while back and apparently a script was finished in 2008 but nothing has come of it so far.

  8. I've been to one book signing for this author..he was wonderful. I'll definitely go again if he comes back through my town (even though I felt weird because I was the only adult there without a child).

  9. @Kris - Oh, I would love to have met Eoin Colfer. Me = jealous!