*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Author: Andy Weir
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication Date: November 14, 2017
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
I’ve never read Weir’s The Martian–although I’m very excited to and will be borrowing a friend’s copy to read soon!–so I didn’t have any expectations going in to read Artemis. I always appreciate a really good sci-fi book. I’m not a hardcore sci-fi devotee, but I do enjoy a great story about space travel or technology in the future. Artemis takes us to a settlement on the mood. In this society, there are no real rules or laws. Bad behaviour is punished often with a fine, and if it’s bad enough, with deportation to Earth where one will face gravity sickness. Terrible crimes are left to the punishment of the country to which the criminal is sent. Petty crimes are hard to track and have few consequences.
Jazz Bashara is a smuggler and a porter in the city of Artemis. She doesn’t make a lot of money but has great aspirations to earn substantial wealth and finally, FINALLY, have access to a private apartment with her own private bathroom with a shower. It’s hard to achieve such wealth on Artemis. Everything is expensive–most goods having to be imported from Earth. Jazz avoids work in her skill as a welder, not wanting to fall under her talented father’s shadow. She wants to do it on her own. She’s a rough-and-tumble kind of character–a bit crass, often mingling with those from the wrong side of the tracks. When the opportunity presents itself for Jazz to finally reach her financial goals, she jumps at the chance, a decision that changes absolutely everything. She risks her own life and the fate of Artemis in order for the chance to turn her luck around.
This story is exciting and the plot is fast-paced and innovative. Weir has built a stellar lunar world full of complicated technology, intricate politics, and heart-stopping danger. I always appreciate excellent world building and Weir does a great job of immersing the reader in this advanced society on the moon. It’s imaginative and vivid. However, in contrast, I didn’t love the dialogue throughout and I found the characterization to be lacking. I would be surrounded, lost in the world and enjoying the details of the setting and the thrill of the plot, but the dialogue would bring be back to reality. Jazz’s lines are often a bit silly which detract from her character quite a bit, making her seem less believable. Additionally, Jazz–as the protagonist–doesn’t really progress through the course of the book. She becomes less selfish and learns tough lessons, but there’s no really improvement or change in who she is, even after life-altering and death-defying events. I left the novel feeling unsatisfied which how things turned out.
That being said, I think this would make an excellent movie and was a quick and overall enjoyable read. The world is completely fascinating and Weir leads his characters to explore every facet of it. Each component of the setting is essential to the story are we learn about each in great detail. To see this brought to life on the big screen would be breath-taking. It’s worth the read! I think many of you will really enjoy this book.