Look, I loved The Martian. Mark Watney was a bad-ass, the story was super exciting and full of adventure, and the sciency-part simple enough that my non-scientific mind could grasp most of it. I’m pretty sure I squealed in delight when I saw Andy Weir had a new book coming out – and I definitely squealed when Artemis popped up in my Netgalley approvals.
And then, I waited three months to read it because I still haven’t gotten over how horrible Armada, Ernest Cline’s follow-up to Ready Player One, was. I was terrified Artemis would be the same thing – an author writes a book I adore, only to follow up with a disaster. It didn’t help that several reviewers I respect bashed Artemis.
Eventually I realized I couldn’t put it off forever. So with a lot of trepidation, I gave it a go.
And. Well. Sigh.
What made The Martian such a great book was that you had this endearing character in a situation where he’s totally in over his head, but it’s either figure it out or die, so he figures it out. Artemis follows a similar story arc….except that the best thing about Jazz Bashara is her name, and the story lacks all of the urgency that worked so well in The Martian.
Let’s talk about Jazz first. Weir clearly has no idea how to write a female protagonist. Or at least, not a likable female one. Jazz is flippant, rude, and talks like a frat boy. She’s entitled, but I’ll give her this – she makes no excuses about what a bitch she is. She has a couple of things she’s committed to – her word, namely, but they aren’t enough to make me care much about her. And that’s the thing…rather than hate her, I simply didn’t care that she existed. Not what you want to say about the main character.
As for the story, I didn’t really care about that either. Maybe that’s because I’m not really sure Jazz cared. It all just felt….boring. Dull. Unimportant. Kind of like, oh hey, let’s go commit a felony to get rich, oops that didn’t work out, maybe we’ll try something else. Oh, you want to kill me? Meh. I’ll just hide out in a closet and then weld some stuff.
I wish I was joking, but that’s about the gist of it. I gave it 3 stars, but that was generous – it’s closer to 2.5.
Artemis isn’t a go-out-and-buy-it-right-now book, and unless you’re just desperate for something to read, not really even one I’d put anywhere near the top of your list. Put it on hold through the library, and maybe in a few months it’ll get to you. Go back and read The Martian instead.
Hardcover: 384 pages Published: November 2017 by Crown Source: Netgalley
Artemis on 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.
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