Evil Boy Genius

by Lara Killian

28 April 2008


Recently I started making my way through Irish author Eoin “It’s Pronounced ‘Owen’!” Colfer’s popular Artemis Fowl series. I’ll admit, I’m rather behind on the times—the original Artemis Fowl was published in 2001, and the following four books (plus one due out this July) about the boy genius have emerged at roughly the rate of one per year.

I believe it was in early 2004 that a fellow student of fine literature mentioned the Fowl series to me and heartily recommended them—knowing that I had just finished the latest Harry Potter installment, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and would have to wait another year for the next segment of the Hogwarts adventure. The magical elements and witty writing style of Colfer’s work were sure to appeal. I have mentioned before that young adult fiction is not just meant for teenagers—anyone with a short attention span or simply a love of a well-spun tale is sure to enjoy.

My friend failed to mention the enormous difference between J.K. Rowling’s work and Colfer’s. Artemis Fowl is a criminal mastermind. That is, he enjoys cheating other people out of money for profit. And he only seems to do it in order to increase his family’s fortune, which is already extensive. He gets away with it (and keeps the reader’s interest) because he has a high IQ, and some excellent (and entertaining) backup in the form of his martial arts aficionado and gun-wielding ‘man-mountain’ servant known as Butler.

The reason one reads on is because Artemis is so darned clever, first of all, and secondly, there are moments when his humanity shines through (though he tries so hard to be evil) and the reader begins to like him despite his shabby, selfish actions.


Like the Harry Potter series, Artemis Fowl is supported by supplementary short stories and even graphic novels; the first Artemis Fowl movie is rumored to be in the works. The books are quick adventures and easy reading; I made it through The Arctic Incident before the break and neglected to check out the third book in the series, The Eternity Code, but it is on my library shortlist.

Last week I wrote optimistically about my spring break reading—thinking I’d use a little LEPrecon fairy magic to stop time and get through a stack of magazines. Unsurprisingly, not much progress was made. Did you get through your vacation reading?

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