#RRSciFiMonth Book Review: Artemis by Andy Weir

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

Artemis by Andy Weir

Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Crown Publishing (November 14, 2017)

Length: 384 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

A hit like The Martian is hard to follow up, but it seems Andy Weir has no trouble keeping the good ideas coming, producing another yet novel with realistic hard science and entertaining adventure. Still, while comparisons will no doubt be drawn between his debut and his new novel Artemis, it’s important to note that the two stories are very different, not to mention his new protagonist is a heroine cut from an altogether different cloth than Mark Watney.

Meet Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara, a twenty-six-year-old who has spent most of her life living in Artemis, the only city on the Moon. It’s a nice place to live if you’re wealthy enough to afford all the amenities, but as Jazz puts it, you can’t expect J. Worthalot Richbastard III to scrub his own toilets. Of the two thousand or so residents in the city, a bulk of them are the support staff and people who keep the place running, and Jazz is one of them. A genius who could have been anything she wanted, she instead chose to become a porter, a job that barely covers the rent, though she does occasionally supplement her salary with small smuggling operation on the side, sneaking in harmless bits of contraband.

Then one day, one of her richest and most trusted clients offers her a lucrative business proposal. The job, however, requires Jazz to pull off a crime that goes far beyond the limits of petty smuggling—one that, if she gets caught, can get her kicked out of Artemis and deported back to Earth. Having been on the Moon since she was six, Jazz can’t imagine a life anywhere else, but with this much money on the line, she can’t afford to say no either.

Like The Martian to some degree, I think whether you enjoy this book or not will largely depend on how you feel about the protagonist. While she may be exceptionally intelligent, Jazz lacks the aspiration and drive of a traditional hero, preferring to stay under the radar instead of applying her smarts to achieve something greater. However, that’s not to say she shies away from a challenge, for as unambitious as she is, Jazz also has a rebellious streak and seems take secret pleasure in using her intelligence to break the rules. Coupled with her sense of humor that tends to skew towards the juvenile, this admittedly makes her character feel much younger than her twenty-six years. I think Weir probably tried for “bold, cheeky young woman” but only managed “childish teenage girl” instead, ultimately giving Jazz a narrative voice that you’ll either get used to or you won’t.

Now with that warning out of the way, let’s get on to the good stuff. Weir has apparently created something that many readers—and not just science fiction fans—seem to be missing in their lives: a speculative genre that blends thrilling adventure and fun with realistic and believable science. Once again, he appears to have gone to great lengths to get everything as scientifically accurate as possible, beginning with a bit of insight into the day-to-day life of an average citizen on the Moon. Weir allows Artemis to unfold before us, presenting it in a creative and reader-friendly way through Jazz’s eyes as she spends the first few chapters 1) failing her EVA Guild exam, 2) traversing the city while carrying out her duties as a porter/smuggler, and 3) pitching in to help rescue workers at a factory fire. In one fell swoop, the story has not only introduced our protagonist but also managed to convey all the wonders and dangers of lunar life. Artemis is a place of dichotomies. It’s a vibrant ultra-modern city in the middle of a desolate landscape. The rich and the glamorous exist beside the poor and drab. And while authorities may take a lenient stance on some matters related to the law, on matters of safety they are unbending and resolute. Everyone takes the rules seriously when it comes to maintaining the integrity of the city’s framework or life support systems, because it could mean the difference between life and death.

Once the setting is established, that’s when the real fun begins. The story picks up considerably as soon as Jazz agrees to take on her wealthy client’s job. Her immature personality notwithstanding, Jazz is a force to be reckoned with when she sets her full mind to a task, and her problem solving process is an incredible thing to see. But of course, nothing ever goes as planned. Gradually, the excitement builds as Jazz unwittingly stumbles into a web of conspiracy and backroom dealings, putting herself and the people she cares about in danger. The action crescendos and doesn’t stop until we reach a boiling point in the climax, giving rise to some of the most intense chapters I’ve ever read, with the added bonus of making you want to fistpump the air yelling, “GO SCIENCE!”

All in all, I had a great time with Artemis, a story which was as fascinating and enjoyable as I expected from a brilliant mind like Andy Weir’s. The true test, really, is Jazz and how you’ll react to her personality and narrative voice. She’s one of those characters who would either endear herself to you or give you a raging headache, and where you fall in this spectrum will no doubt affect your experience with the book. If Jazz can win you over though, like she did with me, then I have no doubt you’re going to love this highly entertaining caper set on the moon.

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27 Comments on “#RRSciFiMonth Book Review: Artemis by Andy Weir

  1. Great review!! It’s very thoughtful. I really like this book, even though some have criticized Andy Weir’s portrayal of a female character. I enjoyed the story and your description of realistic science fiction is spot on.

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  2. Thank you for this review!! I have seen many people being a bit “meh” about this book and I was sad since I was also very excited about it, and your review has revived my desire to read this!

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  3. Great review. I’m interested to pick this one up but I sure hope Jazz doesn’t give me a headache. After reading this, there’s a possibility it might happen so I’ll have to read it and find out I guess 🙂

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  4. I’m so glad you enjoyed Artemis. I’m on the side of not liking Jazz at all. The science was fun, though, so I’m pretty down the middle on this one. I’m hoping to have my review posted tomorrow.

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  5. I’m almost finished with this, and I’m having a great time with Jazz. But honestly to me, she almost feels like a female Mark Watney, although her sense of humor is way more skewed. I still love The Martian more, but this is totally worth reading😁

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    • I’ve heard other people say the same! I didn’t get the “female Mark Watney” vibe while I was reading, but I can kind of see it now that you mention it. I think Jazz’s voice sounds much younger though, but it could also feel that way because she doesn’t use as much technical jargon.

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  6. Oooh, this has me even more excited about Artemis now! I’m going to wait till after the holidays to get it, but it’s great to hear that it’s a solid follow-up to The Martian while being its own “animal,” so to speak.

    I wonder where in the solar system Weir will visit in his third book. Hmmmmm…..

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    • Ooh, I hope you’ll enjoy it when you get a chance to read it! I would be curious to see what you make of Jazz! Opinions seem rather divided on her, some love her spirit and energy while others just seem to find he downright annoying 😀

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  7. I enjoyed this. It’s entertaining, there’s plenty included to make it sound reasonable and the ending is a blast. I didn’t absolutely love Jazz – not at first anyway – let’s just say she grew on me. But, even with that I still enjoyed this.
    Lynn 😀

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  8. You’re right: at times Jazz comes across as downright juvenile, far less mature than her age would entail, but somehow I came to see her attitude – and her abrasive commentaries – as a form of deception to hide her true feelings. And I’m one of those who enjoyed her voice and her story, so I’m very glad to see you did as well 🙂

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  9. Pingback: On the Horizon – artemis (Andy Weir) | Captain's Quarters

  10. You’re so right about jazz!! That’s where I’m seeing most of the contention in reviews and it makes sense, even though I liked her. And yes I loved how it made you feel like you were on the moon straight away! Great review!

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  11. Pingback: Mogsy’s Bookshelf Roundup: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

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