Artemis Fowl was the recipient of the accusation in the title of this review, but even though he is a thief, he is also much more. The twelve-year-old genius has decided to use his intelligence to pursue a life of crime, so we find an unusual situation. A story with an evil main character is not a completely new concept; Jean-Baptiste Grenouille in the outstanding "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer" or Serge A. Storms in the series of books by Tim Dorsey come to mind. If we go into a different media, then Tony Soprano is one of the most famous examples in our time. What is novel though, is using this concept in a book targeted to young adults, and this is certainly a reason for controversy. I have to say though that the final product is so good, that the good aspects of this effort more than overcome this "drawback".
Artemis Fowl descends from a prestigious family of billionaires that a few years ago suffered a reversal of fortune. His father has disappeared and is presumed dead and her mother has gone crazy with grief. Artemis is decided to return his family to where it is supposed to be and crafts a plan designed to do just this. To try to accomplish his goal, he uses the help of Butler, a mountain of a man, expert in combat, and who as his name suggests is Artemis' butler, and Juliet, Butler's sister. The plan involves kidnapping a fairy and then getting a ransom in gold, which is a lot harder than it sounds.
The story involves a myriad of creatures besides fairies, such as goblins, elves, dwarves, centaurs and trolls. These variety allows the author to create several characters within each one of these groups that are interesting, peculiar and endearing. But the creative process does not stop there, since the author uses some of these peculiar characteristics, as well as some acute comments to make us laugh us loud in the middle of the action. In my opinion the funniest scene in the book involved Mulch, a dwarf, and Butler, you will know what I am talking about when you get there, you cannot miss it.
As I mentioned before, this book has many aspects worth of praise;the imagination in creating the story, the "logic" in the world in which it develops, and the finely tuned humor. But besides that, we get a glimpse at Artemis' mind. To others he is a calculating genius, but we get to understand that he has doubts about his choices and that there is still a scared kid behind the facade.
Except for the obvious similarity in terms of the creatures included in the story, I would not think of comparing this with Harry Potter in any level. I think both efforts are excellent in their own way. I would compare the humor though, with the one presented by Lemony Snicket in "A Series of Unfortunate Events"; I think that if you like this series you will probably like "Artemis Fowl" too. I am looking forward to read the next book by Colfer, which I already ordered.