Author: Andy Weir
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Broadway Books
Original Publication Date: 2018
Genre(s): Science fiction
Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara lives on the moon colony called Artemis. She’s lived there practically her entire life with her welder father. At twenty-six years old, she lives in poverty and makes her money smuggling things from Earth to the wealthier residents of Artemis. One of those residents, a billionaire with a new scheme up his sleeve, recruits Jazz for an illegal heist that will be almost impossible to pull off—but would make her a millionaire. How can she refuse? But nothing ever goes according to plan. Not only is the Artemesian law enforcement after her, but so is a killer, and now money is the least of Jazz’s worries.
I don’t even know where to begin. I mean, half of me is speechless, and the other half just wants to go on a maddening rant. Like most readers, I fell in love with Mark Watney and the beauty that is The Martian. I was so excited to get my hands on Weir’s next sci-fi, though a little disappointed at the heist plot. I’m really not big on heists, so I probably shouldn’t have read this at all. But I had to give it a shot—I’m a lover of sci-fi and so far, Weir hadn’t let me down. Well, that streak is over.
Let’s dive in. Artemis is told in first-person POV from Jazz’s oh-so-witty perspective. If Weir hadn’t provided any indicators about Jazz’s identity, I would never have guessed that Jazz is a 26-year-old Arabian female. I would have thought Jazz was a 19-year-old white male with an ego. Why did the narrative in The Martian work? Because Watney was a white man. There was little dialogue because he was literally stranded on the moon by himself 95% of the novel. He was smart, witty, and likable. Unfortunately, Artemis is full of dialogue, and it’s bad. Oh, man, it’s bad. And though Jazz is smart and independent, her sarcasm and wit is turned up way too high, and it’s obvious she is written from a male’s perspective. And let me just say, I’ve read books with female protagonists written by men that are excellent. SO GOOD. But Weir failed in this endeavor.
For example, let’s enter the mind and thoughts and dialogue of Jazz Bashara with some direct excerpts from the book:
I giggled like a little girl. Hey, I’m a girl, so I’m allowed.
Sure, I have a nice body, but I wish it had been a little more effort to become so trashy.
Oh my God! I could not believe the shit the prince’s second wife was saying about him in the press. That’s just mean! Still, I can empathize with any woman who’s been cheated on. I’ve been that woman. And honey, it sucks.
“Billy, I’ve swallowed better-tasting stuff that came out of people.”
And then, just dialogue in general. Take, for example, this exchange between Jazz and an adult male friend:
“Cool! I don’t have many of those. You’re my only friend with boobs.“
“You really need to work on how you talk to women.”
“Yeah, okay. Sorry.”
And this one:
“What’s in there, anyway?”
“Porn, mostly. Starring your mom.”
I just…I can’t even describe how cringe-y the writing is. I hope these example give you some insight.
So, the writing is…not great. Our MC is ridiculously misrepresented and awful. What about the plot, you ask? Ah, yes, the heist. Again, I’m not the best person to ask about the plot, because I’m not big on heists. But for a high-stakes moon heist, I just feel like this one was really, really boring. I didn’t care about it at all. I also didn’t care about all the science, because unlike in The Martian where science was cool and life-saving and interesting, the science in Artemis pertains to welding. Not really a subject I find fascinating. Sorry.
I had high expectations for this one, but wow, this book let me down hard. Do yourself a favor and don’t even glance at this one, guys. Let me tell you I almost DNFed it a million times. I only pushed on because I thought I owed it to Weir to give it a real chance. How could I not, after loving The Martian? There’s no similarities except the moon, guys. Just don’t.