From the get-go it appears Artemis Fowl
is going to be about Artemis Fowl, a criminal boy genius with Sherlock Holmes-like powers of deduction, but then bomb squad-esque faeries take over the story and we end up spending just as much time, if not more, reading about them. That's fine since they're interesting and their story moves with a good dash of fun and excitement.
This is another of those books with a redeemable bad-guy protagonist. We shouldn't, but we do root for him, at least in some way, shape or form. In the natural (or "typical") way of things, that would mean the antagonists are good guys, who we're hoping won't succeed, at least not 100%. I haven't tired of this formula just yet, plus Colfer has handled it well and crafted a fast, short read that doesn't give you much downtime to reflect on any potential faults.
I found this book to be very similar to Jonathan Stroud's The Amulet of Samarkand
with its snarky protagonist, its magic-in-a-modern-setting, its fantastical creatures and its infusion of light-hearted comedy (Things slowing down due to necessary exposition? Throw in a fart joke!).
You can tell Colfer did a bit of research into mythology and magical beings, as we see some creature attributes from the old traditions. For instance, I like his portrayal of a burrowing dwarf.
He also had fun with meshing the modern aspects with these old notions, technology with mythology. I've not always been a big fan of that genre (parts of the Ralph Bakshi movie "Wizards" annoyed me the first time I saw it), but Colfer balances and blends the two together pretty well, almost seamlessly. Rating Note:
This was such a strong 4 that I decided to go with 5 stars.