The prologue here is short and sweet. Barely a full page of writing, if even. As such there isn't much to get from it but it does set up a few key points. Artemis Fowl is a genius of unknown capacity and he dedicates said brilliance to criminal endeavors. The story is "written" by someone who has studied these events as an outside observer via firsthand accounts. However, it is mostly written as a normal story with only the prologue and epilogue reading as a case study. The other things to note here are that it takes place in early 2000s, Artemis's family fortune is lost somehow and he is currently 12 years old.
Here's what happens: Artemis Fowl and Butler are introduced in Ho Chi Minh City looking for something. They meet up with an informant, Nguyen (which I still can never pronounce for the life of me. Seriously. Nguyen.), and after thoroughly scaring the man, they are led to an old healer with mottled green skin. After they find her Artemis pays the man and strikes a deal with the healer who is, in fact a sprite of some kind. A fairy, if you will. She is addicted to alcohol and with this; Atremis ruthlessly poisons her, giving her some made from holy water. In exchange for a cure as well as something to restore her to her previous magical, non-addicted self, he wants a her book. Make that her Book; it is capitalized with all the importance of a proper noun. He only wants it for 30 minutes. After she agrees he has Butler take pictures of it and sends those pictures back to the Fowl computer servers via email. There is some history on the Butler family and then we learn a bit more about how Artemis operates.
Characterization: Alright, so that's what generally happens but what do we learn? What can we take away from this about the characters? Well, the only two that really matter here are Artemis and Butler so let's start with Butler, a side character. Butler is a bad-ass. That's really the best descriptor for the man. He is Eurasian which is a mix of (gasp!) European and Asian. He is giant. We don't actually get much description in this chapter, instead we let our imaginations run wild with the beast of a man. We learn that all the Butlers get training in many skills to guard members of the Fowl family. Starting at ten they learn "Cordon Bleu cooking, marksmanship, a customized martial arts form, emergency medicine, and information technology". Butler has been serving Artemis for the entirety of the young Fowl's life and in fact, is the closest he has to a father figure. We also learn that he trusts Artemis implicitly though isn't above asking about his plans for clarification. He has full faith in him and is unwavering in his loyalty. He is ruthless as is seen when he breaks a pickpocket's fingers without even looking his way.
|Butler's Head is Shiny|
Next up is Artemis. Artemis Fowl II to be precise. Physically, he is a very pale and thin boy. IN fact, he is described as vampiric. It's actually pretty difficult to separate my own knowledge from what we learn only in this chapter. He seems to remain very calm and is highly observant. He is persistent in his goals as they looked at 6 places that all turned up as nothing before they got this find. His observational skills are shown early in his interaction with Nguyen and it's actually very similar to the film or television adaptations of Sherlock Holmes. He seems very ruthless and also enjoys tormenting the informant. However, while he may enjoy it, I believe he did it for the more practical reason of making him more pliable and less likely to try anything to offset his plans somehow. One thing is made clear in this chapter: Artemis doesn't leave things to chance if he can help it. He does as much research as he can on the subject before even beginning his venture (which, considering he is dealing with fairies is actually very impressive as he has to sort out facts from the bull). He poisons the fairy healer in order to assure her cooperation, he makes sure to send the picture files of the Book back to his home so they wouldn't be accidentally wiped by airport security, and at the end of the chapter we learned that he let the fairy live so that The People (who are just mentioned barely) wouldn't suspect anything. He assumes that the fairy wouldn't talk about her showing the Book to a human but to make sure of it, he slipped a mild amnesiac into her second injection so that the entire last week will be nothing but a blur. He operates like a chess grand-master and is always two steps ahead. Something else I'd like to point out is that Butler is surprised that Artemis didn't have her killed. This implies to me that he has done so before as a way to avoid arousing suspicion. Oh yes, and Artemis is Irish.
|I really like Artemis Fowl stuff done in an anime style...|
I didn't get much else out of these first chapters though we did learn that fairies can fly and also are magical in both nature and abilities. They can heal and normally are (supposedly) able to use it offensively as well. One thing I have to include is the list of weaponry Butler has just on his person during this outing: "... has a Sig Sauer in his shoulder holster, two shrike-throwing knives in his boots, a derringer two-shot up his sleeve, garrotte wire in his watch, and three stun grenades concealed in various pockets. ... Oh, yes. a good old ball-bearing cosh stuffed down his shirt." Also, "No, Butler could kill you a hundred different ways without the use of his weapons. Though I'm sure one would be quite sufficient." I'd like to reiterate that Butler is a bad-ass.
My general impressions of this first chapter are positive (naturally) it makes the characters intriguing and pulls you into the story by making you wonder just what is going on; what are the fairies really, who are these two people, and most importantly: what do they have planned? I unfortunately already know the answers to these but it'll be interesting to see how things go as I look into each chunk of the book more in depth. I'll probably do more than one chapter at a time but it's really late and this took longer than I suspected as it is. Hope you enjoyed! If so, you should let me know and I'll feel that I'm doing this for more than just myself. Not that I mind of course, it's a good exercise even if I didn't want to read these books again! The hardest part will be putting it down and writing these out!