Some years ago, the Artemis Fowl series was launched with a lot of noise and compared with Harry Potter. For that reason, I resisted reading it for quite a while. I can't stand ripoffs or publicity that tries to persuade you to buy it because it's "like" something else.
But a friend who had read it assured me it was wonderful and as I respected his taste, I picked up a copy of the first novel and read it. And loved it. The only things this has in common with the Harry Potter series are the age of its hero and the fact that it's likely to become a classic. Harry is a good boy who is bright but not brilliant. Artemis is a criminal genius who kidnaps a fairy and holds her for ransom. The stories are funny but touching.
The humour in the books is strong. The fairy police are known as LEPRecon(geddit?) and the fairy he kidnaps is more like a female James Bond than Tinkerbell. They have to live underground, but their technology is advanced way beyond ours and Holly the fairy police officer is supplied by a centaur called Foaly, who is like Q. There's a dwarf called Mulch whose ability is to unhinge his jaw and eat his way through the dirt, then fart his way along at tremendous speed. It's his means of travel and he actually has a trouser flap at the back for the purpose.
The thing is, despite his genius for crime, Artemis is, deep down, a good boy from the start. He commits crime in desperation because his mother is sick, physically and mentally, and his father, who was never cut out for the family business(crime) has been kidnapped. And as the series continues, he becomes more and more of a good boy and the fairy he kidnapped becomes a close friend.
And this is the problem - it's become impossible to keep him as a criminal and the author Eoin Colfer has decided to finish off the series. It is, I think, always going to be a problem when you make your heroes baddies. It's one British writer Mark Walden admits to, with his H.I.V.E series (see my interview with him here).His young heroes being trained to be super villains just aren't evil, only good at crime. There is only so far you can go.
I, for one, will miss Artemis and his friends and his over-the-top adventures, even if I can see why it has to end. But I will have to read the last book to provide myself with closure.