A Fowl Plan

Fairies equipped with stun-guns, bio-bombs, and sophisticated tracking devices? Welcome to Colfer's world!

Artemis Fowl, the twelve-year-old mastermind behind a powerful crime family, is determined to restore the family fortunes. His plan is simple: capture a fairy and force it to reveal the location of the hidden fairy gold. Things go awry, however, when he captures Captain Holly Short, a member of the elite LEPRecon unit of the fairy police. Short isn't your typical fairy - she doesn't smile prettily, dress in gossamer or grant wishes. Instead, she comes armed with state-of-the-art weaponry and a very bad attitude. As the fairy police get suited up for combat, Fowl is one step ahead of them...he accurately predicts their actions, manipulating them until the fairy gold is almost his. But then things go wrong....

With a story like this, and with characters so uniquely different from anything seen in other fantasy novels, it's obvious that Colfer has a winner here. The characterization is superb - Artemis Fowl makes a particularly likable villain, while Holly Short and her boss, Commander Root, make a wonderfully-hilarious couple - as is the deft pacing and smart commentary on all things human, elven and technological.

In particular, Colfer's clever melding of the human and elven worlds makes for interesting reading - nowhere else would you find fairies equipped with stun-guns, bio-bombs, and sophisticated tracking devices - and the combination of cutting-edge technology and ancient magical rituals adds some extra pizzazz to an already-interesting concoction. If you've ever thought that Harry Potter was too tame, "Artemis Fowl" should provide a welcome change of pace.

This article was first published on 20 Jun 2001.