Artemis Fowl is a genius . . . a criminal genius. His greatest achievement? He has discovered that the Faerie actually exist.

These books are light and not at all mentally taxing to read. However, thanks to a variety of short sentences, some well chosen technical jargon and scientific trivia (that perhaps only a genius would know or could prove) they are also fast-paced, humorous and entertaining. The plot leaps and bounds with a pleasant unpredictability all the while proving that Artemis Fowl is indeed a genius in every sense of the word. They are the perfect reads for boys and girls of this age and perhaps a little older, who like to have a healthy dose of unpredictable action.

What is most impressive about this series is the way in which it traces the evolution of its titular character from the age of twelve to adulthood or, perhaps more accurately, from villain to hero. Artemis takes a realistic internal journey, amidst the most unrealistic external circumstances, to maturity. Other main characters may begin from “nothing” yet possess a certain amount of virtuous qualities which they have somehow acquired in the face of adversity. Artemis is the opposite. He begins with “everything”; knowledge, riches and so on. However, he must acquire the very qualities some readers may take for granted in their heroes. What makes the series so effective is that the reader wants Artemis to be the hero, and they are not disappointed. This does not mean that Artemis makes one decision to be good and is perfect from then on. On the contrary, Artemis realises the need to be a good person, to put others before himself, and he recognises that this is a hard thing to do. He, like a normal person, takes some steps forward and some steps back, helped along the way by his friends and allies.

Some books in the series are weaker than others but as the final book is due out in 2012, I do not wish to pre-empt the author and tell you what they are. Even the weaker books may yet be drawn to the others to form a whole. For my part, I look forward to reading the final installment.

Maryana Garcia is the eldest of four sisters. A student at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, she plans to major in History and is currently an employee at the Mount Albert Community Library.