If it were not for the occasional appearance of Mulch Diggums, the dwarf with f*rts so explosive they can propel him safely from an underwater submarine all the way up to the surface of the ocean, the adult reader would find this the equal of any thriller written for adult eyes.
In the present volume, the evil child genius Artemis Fowl has forgotten all about his friends the fairies, and is occupied stealing a famous painting from a bank vault in true Mission-Impossible style. His triumph is interrupted by his archenemy pixie Opal Koboi, who has a plot (perhaps this won't surprise you) to destroy the world. Without giving away any of the rapid-fire plot developments, let's just say that Artemis, accompanied by Holly Short the intrepid LEPrechaun, Foaly the tech-wizard centaur, Artemis' bodyguard Butler, and the strangely compelling Mulch, fouls her plans (ok, sorry).
The intriguing list of gadgets and devices author Eoin Colfer employs to move the plot forward includes: cloning, creatures who shed their entire skin and use it later as a disguise in a prison break, retinal imaging, 100 million tons of molten iron, heat-seeking missiles, spacesuits with helmets that carry biometric information back to the center of the earth, handguns that bond with their owners, etc.
The ending promises a change for Holly, but a future with lots of Mulch and Artemis in it - and possibly some romance in later volumes.
The excitement, pace, and humor would be precisely like the best PG-13 thriller you will see at the movie theatre this summer, were it not for the fact that many of the characters are fairies, pixies, trolls, and dwarfs. And just like those movies, a few parents will wish there were less, well, military hardware in this series. A few of the more humorless moms will wish there were fewer f*rts. If those things don't bother you, you should not let the kids keep it to themselves; it's a great fun read for all ages.