Children's fantasy novel written by Eoin Colfer, tipped by publishing insiders to be the Next Big Thing and the answer to That Other Fantasy Series. Soon To Become a Major Motion Picture Event, etc. The eponymous protagonist is a twelve-year-old Irish boy and the world's greatest criminal mastermind. In this, the first book in a heavily foreshadowed series, his object is kidnapping a member of the fairy kingdom's elite security forces and holding her for ransom. The action plays out almost exactly like a cross between a Die Hard and a Tom Clancy thriller, only written for ten-year-olds and featuring a lot of magical creatures that seem to be written with action figures in mind. Artemis, ostensibly the hero of the book, is always at least one step ahead of the bumbling fairy security forces, who work just like the LAPD and FBI in the first Die Hard. The book's hook is that we are supposed to be rooting for the bad guy, but personally I found it hard to root for Artemis, for two reasons:

A - the kid is a spoiled billionaire genius who gets absolutely everything he wants, even if he has to bribe, poison or drug people into giving it to him. He's a fairly nasty character.

B - there's no thrill at all in seeing the hero's flawless plan fall into place. He works by the numbers, manipulating his opponents' rulebooks, and everything goes perfectly. I've never found plots like this interesting. Where's the suspense?