I'm recommending another favorite series today. The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer is targeted to a young adult audience, but my husband and I both really enjoy them, along with all three of our kids, my older brother, and many other authors I know.
The word I would use to describe these books are: clever. Oh, and imaginative with fantastic voice. Technically, I guess that's 4 words. In case you can't tell, I really love these books.
Artemis Fowl is brilliant, devious, a technological genius, filthy rich, and the mastermind of a criminal empire. He is also twelve years old. His father is lost (along with the family fortune) and presumed dead. His mother slipped into a catatonic state from the shock, and Artemis is left holding the reigns of the "family business." He has big plans to restore and surpass his family fortune, but not in a normal way. His scheme is to trap a fairy from the world underground (where magical creatures retreated to once humanity overran Earth) and hold her for ransom for fairy gold.
But the fairies haven't been living underground on fairy dust alone, they are technologically superior to those on the surface. Well, to everyone except maybe Artemis Fowl. Unfortunately for Artemis, the fairy he kidnaps is Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon (Lower Elements Police Reconnaisance), the first female on the squad who is not only tough as nails, but very good at what she does. Things don't go according to plan, either for Artemis or the fairy comrades who come to rescue Holly. The result is a rousing tale, full of characters we like and leaving us anxious for more Artemis adventures.
Author Eoin Colfer describes Artemis Fowl as "Die Hard with fairies." I think that sums it up pretty good. Artemis Fowl, published in 2001, is the first of the NY Times Bestselling series. So far there are six books. The first, Artemis Fowl, is followed by Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident, Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code, Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception, Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony, and the most recent, Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox which was just released in July, 2008. Pop by the really fun Artemis Fowl website, complete with a book trailer for The Time Paradox and an online game.
You can't beat reading these books, but I would also recommend the audiobooks. We have checked them all out of the library and had a blast listening together as a family. Nathaniel Parker does a fantastic job as the reader, and I enjoy his performance as much as the award winning audiobooks for Harry Potter (which are excellent, if you haven't listened to them).
Eoin Colfer lives in Ireland with his wife and two sons. He was a teacher until the publication of Artemis Fowl, which allowed him to resign from teaching and concentrate on writing full time. You can find out more about Eoin Colfer on his website.
My Status: Fighting a head cold.
Song of the Day: More Than This by Peter Gabriel