I can't remember when I first read AF, but it was around the same time as I was caught up in Harry Potter. I wasn't sure at first about juvenile fiction with a criminal main character, but despite the age difference, I was hooked. The juxtaposition between our world and the fairy world was perfect and my only problem with the characters was I liked Artemis and Butler despite what they were doing. Except for Julie, for some reason I never could stand her. Holly Short, on the other hand, is one of my top favorite female characters!
While I've read the early ones multiple times, I've yet to finish the series and I'd never listened to them as audiobooks. So this year, when I felt the need to renew my acquaintance with Artemis, Butler, Holly, Root, and Foaly, I decided to have the book read to me.
Why didn't I do this sooner?!
Nathaniel Parker is amazing and I'd go so far as to say I don't think Jim Dale could have done as well! Parker nails the characters, with the exception of Root who he portrays as a cigar chewing gangster! As the head of the LEP, I find that a bit odd. Still, it wasn't bad and I did grow used to it.
As for the story, which I note hasn't made it into my original review of the book either, Fowl pits himself against the fairies, who he's found are quite real. Making use of his age + his genius, he kidnaps Captain Holly Short and holds the LEP recon (HA!) officer for ransom - for their "pot of gold". *snicker* I love this book! We get to see the LEP try to get her back, Short unwilling to play the damsel in distress (go girl!), and Fowl use his brain to outsmart them all...but he might have gotten more then he bargained for. And maybe, just maybe, some good can come of all this.
If you haven't read Artemis Fowl yet and are still a child at heart if not by the calender, do read this. And whether you have or not, I urge you to listen to the audiobook; the Irish accent alone makes it worthwhile.