I avoided Artemis Fowl for awhile because it looked like a blatant Harry Potter ripoff. Other than featuring a young gifted male lead in a world where magical creatures keep themselves hidden from humans, there is not that much similarity. Harry is an eager student of magic beset by evil forces, while Artemis is eager to exploit magical creatures in order to acquire as much gold as possible.
The plot is well thought out and occasionally funny, but not nearly as funny as it intends to be. The author does pull off one of the best fart jokes since The Canterbury Tales. The characters are all as flat cardboard, but you don't really expect Mrs. Dalloway in a YA novel about the fairy police.
The narrator repeatedly assures us that Artemis is a widely feared criminal mastermind, but there is not much evidence of his criminality beyond his possibly insane plan to kidnap a fairy and hold it for ransom. Far from coming across as evil, Artemis cares for his sick mother, treats his subordinates with respect, and scrupulously keeps his word. Artemis is plenty clever, but just a touch of maliciousness might have given him the darker edge he needs to pull of the criminal mastermind bit.