2016 Book Challenge: a book set somewhere you want to visit
by Eoin Colfer
(The “where I wanted to visit” is Ireland, where Fowl Manor is located. Okay, I don’t want to visit Fowl Manor specifically, but Dublin, Ireland is mentioned a lot, and I have wanted to go there.)
I have wanted to read this book for a long time. I had expected it to be more of a YA, but having read it, the J label on the spine (indicating it’s a children’s book rather than a teen book) is completely appropriate. Yes, this is a book for older kids, but its target audience is kids and not teens. That said, all ages should be able to enjoy it.
I also didn’t know until I started reading that this was a Disney Hyperion title. (At least, the edition I read was. I don’t know if it has always been published under the Disney label.) However, I can’t say that I’m surprised. It has the same feel to it as the other Hyperion books I’m aware of. The plot is pretty unique, but the tone of the book just feels like a Disney Hyperion book. (And they mention Disneyland Paris more than most books seem to, so there’s that too.)
This is an enjoyable book, even though I’m most certainly not the target audience. I’m not sure if the author intended for us to empathize with Artemis or not, though; as the title character, it is usually implied that he’s where our connection would be. I found myself liking Holly Short much more, though. I think only part of it is because Artemis is described as a criminal from the very beginning of the book. I think it’s also because I’m not a 12-year-old boy, as Artemis is described. A lot of what he does in the book would probably appeal more to readers closer in age to him.
Problems with this book… hmm, I had some. But again, most of them were linked to the fact that I’m not the target audience. A lot of the humor was cruder than I liked – and I don’t necessarily mean in the potty humor sense (though there was that, too). But it seemed that we were being walked through some of the puns, so that readers in the target audience would be able to understand them. Growing up in my family, however, we’ve been punning from a very young age, so I think even at 12 these puns would have been obvious to me. Some of them were great puns, don’t get me wrong. I just didn’t like being walked through them. Usually when you have to point out a pun, it becomes a lot less funny than it had been the moment before.
Good points… my favorite parts all involved the fairies and descriptions of their technology, world, and culture. That was all fun. It was a subplot of the book, but it was the part I enjoyed the most.
Should you read this? Maybe. If you’re the target age and it sounds interesting, then yes. You should most definitely read it. If you’re not in the target age range and it sounds interesting, you can certainly still read and enjoy it. Perhaps just be aware of what you’re getting into so it’s not a surprise. Still, it had a very satisfactory ending, and I am glad to have read it.