The Artemis Fowl Files
is part of the Artemis Fowl
series by Eoin Colfer
, but with a difference. It's mainly a guidebook rather than a story, designed to help fans of the Artemis Fowl
universe better understand its background, its special technology
, and of course, its characters.
The guide contains the following miscellaneous information:
The page of the Fairy Book: If you've broken the code from the first book and can read the made-up Gnommish language, this is fun, but it has some errors--a couple letters left out at key places, mostly. (In Gnommish, the sound for "E" is placed UNDER most letters, and in some lines some Es had not been placed or were placed under the wrong letters, resulting in gaffes like "feel" when only the word "flee" would make sense.) The message basically gives fairies some suggestions on what to do if a human discovers them, saying it's best to enter water (since humans don't like to wash themselves), put on an animal skin (which will probably work since humans are stupid), or, if cornered, try slapping the ground to frighten them away, trick them into thinking you're a friend in a costume, or if all that fails, ask them for money, which will surely drive them away.
The Gnommish alphabet: Man, that takes all the fun out of it. I thought I was cool for breaking the code and being able to read the fairy messages, and then they go and release a translation key. Boo!
A guide to the different kinds of fairies: This discusses elves (like Holly Short and Julius Root: Three-foot-ish creatures with brown skin, red hair, and pointy ears); dwarfs (like Mulch Diggums: Short, hairy burrowing creatures); trolls (huge, toothy, strong, and stupid); goblins (short, scaly, power-hungry creatures who lick their eyeballs with their forked tongues); centaurs (like Foaly: Half-man/half-horse); sprites (like Chix Verbil: Green-skinned, small pointy-eared creatures with wings, tend to hover when excited); and pixies (like Opal Koboi: very human-like except for pointy ears and short height). All this info was interesting because the first three Artemis Fowl books were not incredibly visual in describing the characters.
Interviews: We have interviews with Artemis, Holly, Butler, Mulch, Foaly, Root, and author Eoin Colfer. They're sometimes entertaining but actually pretty serious, though it was amusing to see that Artemis Fowl admitted a liking for David Bowie.
Artemis Fowl's report card: Just a scrap of silliness showing all the teachers at wit's end trying to figure out how to manage the child genius.
Fairy Quiz: This was kind of stupid--a test designed to see if you have fairy ancestry--and it contained one inaccuracy. The first question is "Are you less than three feet tall?" If you answer "no," it goes directly to the answer "You are almost certainly human through and through." But one of the possible results is that you are a troll, and trolls are "as big as elephants" according to the earlier fairy types information. Hrmm, does not compute. You can end up being categorized as human, goblin, troll, dwarf, elf, sprite, centaur, or pixie, with a little blip about you such as "You are probably popular, and your friends are able to sniff you out in the dark." Hah.
Haven to Earth: Fairy Transport Locations: An amusing little map where you match up a bunch of fairy transport shuttles with their locations. There's one shown in the USA (in L.A.) and one in Africa (Wajir, Kenya), and the rest are in and around Europe (Tara, Ireland; Murmansk, Russia; Martina Franca, Italy; Stonehenge, UK; and Paris, France). Seems to be more a geography lesson for little kids than a real piece of trivia.
Foaly's Inventions: Kind of cute. Each has a labeled diagram of the invention and an explanation of what it's used for. This volume features the titanium pod (which carries fairies from Haven to the Earth's surface); the LEP locator wristband; the LEP motorized wings (this shows "dragonfly" model); and the LEP helmet with communications devices, head lamps, oxygen, and a camera.
Crossword and Word Search: Nothing special. If you have read the books you'll know all the answers to the crossword without thinking, and even though the word search items can even be found backwards, it's not challenging. (Maybe for a kid, I guess.) Maybe if it had been written in Gnommish it would have been more entertaining.
Besides all this fun information, The Artemis Fowl Files contains two short stories that don't really focus on Artemis himself. The first story, "LEPRecon," is about then-Corporal elf Holly Short's pre-Recon days; an exciting story of her initiation tests, conducted by the always cunning and always amusing Julius Root (who does NOT want a *female* to make it into Recon). Of course nothing can go smoothly; Holly's exercise turns into a REAL mission with life-or-death decisions hanging over her head. Hearing how Holly became a Captain and attained her Recon job by behaving bravely and then outsmarting Root is a very good foundation to help understand their complicated relationship. And it contained some amusing gems: For instance, at one point Holly was involved in the drudgery of directing traffic, using a technological device that displays spoken words in text across the chest for motorists to see. When during a routine inspection there is an explosion, the text recorder manages to record her swearing, then of course malfunctions so that when she goes in to see her supervisor she's got a dirty word displayed on her chest. Way to impress the boss, Holly.
The second story, "The Seventh Dwarf," involves Mulch Diggums (of course) and a circus troupe of six other dwarfs from whom Diggums must make an astounding theft. Artemis and Holly Short are also involved in this story; Artemis wants the jewel in a stolen tiara so he can supposedly make a laser with it (and it has to be THAT blue stone, of course), but the tiara's already been stolen by the dwarfs in the Significants troupe, so Mulch has to work with Artemis to get it from them. (And, of course, the LEP gets involved, like they always do.) It's an amusing little blip that is supposed to occur between the first Artemis Fowl book and the second one, Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident.
Along the bottoms of the pages there is Gnommish writing, as in some other volumes, but unfortunately it only says "The Artemis Fowl Files" over and over again. Nothing fun to decode. There is also a block of Gnommish writing in the indent of the first paragraph of each chapter of the stories, but these only say the chapter titles, which are in English for anyone to read at the top of the page. No fun.
Recommended for any fans of the series, if only for the stories!
Other volumes in the series: Artemis Fowl * Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident * Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code * Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception * Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony * Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox