I’m not much for science fiction.
That seems like a good place to start. I used to really hate it, but then after reading books like The Martian, I realized I just haven’t read enough of it. The Martian helped me appreciate the genre. It was science-y but also humorous and not completely over my head. I was invested in the story, and I think a lot of people felt the same.
It’s hard to follow up a book that was hugely successful. A lot of people will pick up Artemis because the liked The Martian. It’s a lot of pressure. I know that everyone will be comparing the two in their reviews, but I want to avoid that where possible, and I tried to avoid it while reading. I will have one section towards the end of the review that compares the two for people who are interested, but the review as a whole will discuss Artemis as its own entity.
Disclaimer: This ebook ARC was received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Jazz Bashara is a criminal.
Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.
Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.
Things I liked
– The cover. It’s simple, but unique and beautiful.
– The setting. Most science fiction feels like a thousand years into the future, where the events that are happening are only possible through some scientific breakthrough that hasn’t actually happened yet. This book didn’t feel like that at all. It felt very plausible, and very current, like this could all be happening right now.
– The science. Going along with the accessible setting, none of the science felt like it was made up. And even though I’m not a huge fan of science fiction, I like it when real science is included in a way that makes it understandable. I felt like I learned a lot about oxygen and welding and just the nature of the moon in general. (Although honestly, I wish this would have been a bigger part of the book. The science was here and there, but it never took priority.)
Things I had problems with
– The writing. So, the concept of this book is really interesting. And maybe the book was rushed after the success of The Martian. Maybe it just needed more time. But the writing here just…it just isn’t very good. The dialogue feels forced, the cursing is either oversaturated (Jazz says shit about every other word) or stifled (I was reading some of the book out loud to Deacon and he said that the cursing didn’t sound natural at all). The science wasn’t well incorporated with the narration, and when it was, it was very formulaic, taking a “Statement. Why? Reason.” structure almost every time, which got really repetitive and was hard to ignore once I noticed it.
– The main character. This was my major complaint, you guys. I was really excited that we get a female main character for this one, partly because I don’t think that’s done in science fiction very often and partly because I usually love reading female characters written by men. (I find it really intriguing.) It’s in first person, so we see everything from Jazz’s perspective. But it was a huge letdown. Huge letdown.
It seemed like Weir really wanted to capitalize on how forward-thinking and trendy a female MC was because the book literally never lets you forget that Jazz is a girl. She even says I’m a girl multiple times. The book can’t stop talking about boobs or Jazz’s sex life. Most of the character development that we get for Jazz is that she sleeps with a lot of people, which would have been fine, but the book made it a thing. It takes every opportunity to throw in jabs about how Jazz has slept with so many people.
I think Weir was trying to take a step forward in female representation in science fiction, but it was actually a step backward. (Tip for male writers: Females aren’t obsessed with the fact that they are female. Treat your characters as people first, gender second.)
– The plot. We have a heist on the moon. I have no idea how that ended up being boring, but it was. It took me forever to finish the book because I would pick it up, read a page or two, and then get bored and set it down again. The motivation behind the actual heist felt incredibly weak and was not enough to get me invested in the story. Things did start to pick up for the last 20% of the book, but by then, it was too little too late.
Comparison to The Martian
For those of you who are interested in this book because you loved The Martian: to me, it wasn’t nearly as good. What worked really well in The Martian did not work here (especially the sense of humor of the main characters. The humor totally made sense in The Martian, but the same humor does not work well here). There’s not as much science, the stakes aren’t as high, it’s not a page-turner, and it’s not funny like The Martian was.
I think part of this is because The Martian was originally published online in installments, so Weir used a lot of reader feedback when writing the story. That wasn’t the case here, and I think everything was rushed to publish it while The Martian’s success was still relevant.
I did not enjoy this one. The premise is great and the last 20% was fine, but overall it was pretty disappointing.
Rating: 2/5 stars.
currently listening to // Still Into You by Paramore
Are you planning to read Artemis? How did you feel about The Martian?
If you’ve already read it, tell me what you thought!