Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer

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Artemis Fowl is brilliant, inventive, cunning, devious, and the mastermind of a vast criminal empire. He is only twelve years old. His father lost and presumed dead, his mother suffering from a nervous breakdown, Artemis sets out to restore his family’s fortune by trapping a fairy from the underworld of magical creatures and holding her ransom for fairy gold. Unfortunately for Artemis, he picks the wrong fairy to kidnap – Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon (Lower Elements Police Reconnaisance) Unit. When Holly’s comrades come to rescue her, things don’t exactly meet up with Artemis’ plans, or theirs.

I had little choice. Knowing how much I love Harry Potter (having read each book at least five times) and scifi/fantasy, my friend Suzanne and her three kids handed me their copies of the Artemis Fowl series and insisted that I read them. Well, it pays to have friends who know you well. These books by author Eoin Colfer are a hoot! Colfer describes his book as “Die Hard with fairies.” Yep, that sums it up pretty well. Sort of like James Bond, Encyclopedia Brown, and Grimms all rolled up in one. Highly entertaining. Artemis Fowl is the first in an ongoing series. In Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident Artemis teams up with Holly and the LEP to save his father from the Russian “Mafiya” and fight off a goblin rebellion. In Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code Artemis gets the whole world into trouble by using secret fairy technology to try to extort money from a evil industrialist.

A Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket

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It’s not Disney,” explained one child upon being asked why he liked Lemony Snickett’s dark and dismal Series of Unfortunate Events. Kids seem to love this book series about the three Baudelaire children – Violet, Klaus, and Sunny – whose parents died tragically in a fire and who spend most of their time trying to evade the evil Count Olaf, a master of disguises who plots to steal the orphan’s fortune. Violet is the oldest with a knack for inventing, Klaus the younger boy who loves to read and study, and Sunny, the baby with 4 exceptionally strong and sharp teeth. The books in the series have predictable plots. In each, Mr. Poe, the Baudelaire’s hapless executor, appoints a guardian who is often a distant relative of the children who proves to be incapable of keeping Count Olaf away. The adults in the stories are all fooled by the Count’s disguises and don’t listen to the children who are never fooled. It’s up to Violet, Klaus, and Sunny to figure out the Count’s nefarious plan before he can implement it and abscond with the children. It always takes the three kids working together to foil the Count’s plans.

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A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle

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I still remember getting Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time from the book mobile library when I was probably around 11 years old. As my first introduction to science fiction, I devoured it. The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature sums up the story well:

Juvenile novel by Madeleine L’Engle, published in 1962. It won a Newbery Medal in 1963. Combining theology, fantasy, and science, it is the story of travel through space and time to battle a cosmic evil. With their neighbor Calvin O’Keefe, young Meg Murry and her brother Charles Wallace embark on a cosmic journey to find their lost father, a scientist studying time travel. Assisted by three eccentric women–Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which–the children travel to the planet Camazotz where they encounter a repressed society controlled by IT, a disembodied brain that represents evil. Among the themes of the work are the dangers of unthinking conformity and scientific irresponsibility and the saving power of love.

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