Again, it's been a while since I did one of these, but there's no time like the present. On occasional Wednesdays, I've been going through and singing the praises of not just good books, but books that were instrumental (and inspirational) in making me want to be a writer. It's fun to look back and remember just what it was about certain books that made me think, or taught me something, or stayed with me and helped push and nudge me along the path to where I am now - my own book coming out next year.
Today's book - Artemis Fowl
This is one of those books where, yes, the cover caught my attention. I bought it from WH Smith in Harborne, Birmingham, and I bought it of my own volition with my own money - something still quite new to me back them. Eoin Colfer wasn't a name I knew but the blurb, promising both magic, faeries, and Die Hard-style explosions, knew what it was doing. The story's fantastic - and it started an entire trend of modern, tech'd up magical creatures that went strong for a couple of years. Artemis Fowl was the leader, though, and there have since been seven sequels charting the protagonist's adventures and battles with the various hidden creatures of the world. The writing is engaging but not patronizing, and the character himself - a somewhat smarmy, self-assured but essentially flawed boy - was brilliant because all young boys (and girls?) are pretty much smarmy, self-assured and exceptionally flawed.
Artemis Fowl was also one of the first books I read that broke the fourth wall (or the... second... page?) with interactive 'features'. Along the bottom of every page, a simple code, translatable if you used the key Artemis himself revealed earlier in the book, spelled out a hidden message. Simple, not difficult to crack, but for a kid, and for one new to books, it was spectacular that beyond just the story the book could offer more - breaking down, a tiny bit, the barrier between the fiction and my life. That's something kids' books strives to do, and it worked.
So, for that, and for the sheer goodness and awesome-ness of the cover, the story, and the characters, Artemis Fowl is today's inspiring book.
Read it? Like it? Let me know.