Thanks to NetGalley and Crown Publishing Group for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: November 14th, 2017
Synopsis: 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 to 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 for survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.
I have a confession to make. I think I am one of the few on the planet who haven’t read Andy Weir’s debut bestseller, The Martian. I know! I know! I haven’t even gotten around to seeing the movie yet. This is so embarrassing. When I saw Artemis offered on NetGalley I immediately pounced, barely even skimming the premise. The good news about not having read the hugely successful previous book, is that I didn’t have such high expectations as some other readers. However, it still wound up being just a “meh” read for me.
I liked that Jazz was of Saudi Arabian descent, although she’s lived on the moon since childhood. I also appreciated how her snarky personality and her independence mixed with occasional moments of emotional vulnerability. Jazz would have been a fantastic character for me if this was a YA novel. But it’s not. And Jazz isn’t a teenager, but a twenty-six-year-old woman. Her impulsive behavior and at times juvenile dialogue, is more in keeping with someone ten years younger. Many reviewers have complained that she’s written more like a male, and I have to agree. For me though, it was more her repeated immature actions which not only put her own life in danger, but others as well, that made her not entirely believable.
The secondary characters were interesting, but I think they could have definitely used more development. Especially Svoboda, Jazz’s awkward scientist friend. Their relationship could have been so much more, but instead it left me a bit frustrated.
Although Weir uses a lot of scientific and technical terms, which slowed the pace down for me at times, I was captivated by Artemis and life on the moon. Naturally there were major differences between living there and living on earth, but there were certain similarities especially socio-economic norms. Everything is well detailed, and by the time I was halfway through the story, I felt as though I was there.
The plot itself was basically your average heist mystery, only set on the moon. I definitely wouldn’t call it a thriller, but it did keep my attention. There weren’t any huge plot twists, but the story moved steadily along until the satisfactory conclusion.
Overall, I found Artemis to be an okay read, but definitely not in the blockbuster category. I’m glad I read it, and I still want to read The Martian, as well as try the next book Weir comes out with. If you’re a fan of Andy Weir and science fiction, I recommend you give this a try. It may not be an instant science fiction classic, but it’s still an entertaining blend of suspense, science and humor.