Author: Andy Weir
Pub. Date: November 14th, 2017
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
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’d like to preface this review with how much I REALLY wanted to LOVE this book! I’d read so many glowing reviews for The Martian and having missed that spaceship, figured maybe this would be the one to get me wanting to read all things Weir…sadly, this wasn’t the case. This doesn’t mean I won’t be reading The Martian, it actually has me all the more curious to see whether this was just a case of…well let’s just get into it shall we. Artemis is based on a heist that is pulled off by our MC Jazz Bashara, a Saudi Arabian who was born and raised on the Moon city. As soon as I met Jazz, we hit it off! I love me a good sarcastic character who as they say has no hair on her tongue. Jazz is intelligent, resourceful, cunning, and at the very heart a HUSTLER! haha! she is after the $$$ & has pretty much got the business of smuggling in illegal goods on lock. There isn’t anything that enters Artemis without her knowledge. With the exception of drugs, Jazz will get you anything you need for the right price. Jazz mentions a specific dollar amount (astronomical) that she MUST earn in order to something…it’s never quite disclosed to the reader & I kept reading hoping that by the end it would be revealed only it never was. She has some high profile clients on the Moon & one of them recruits her to pull off a big heist. I won’t reveal what that actually entailed since that would be spoilery but I could’ve used more heisty action.
We follow Jazz as she makes her rounds working her legit regular day job which isn’t anything fancy or high paying, as well as her side hustle. It is inferred that Jazz is so intelligent, she could have an amazing career if she only cared to apply herself. We do see Jazz get herself out of some sticky situations using brilliant ingenuity. I really enjoyed meeting some of the supporting characters in this world & then others not so much. Although I began enjoying Jazz & getting used to her self-deprecating humor, I soon became aware of how excessively male characters were pointing out her promiscuity. Jazz rolls with the comments & never denies anything & yet she has no sexual encounters in the book whatsoever which left me a bit confused as to why she’s depicted as being Queen of casual sex. So, I think it’s safe to say that I was a bit dissapointed with the representation of women. I cannot draw comparisons with the well loved Mark Wattney in The Martian, but I also won’t ignore what I do know of that character & how eerily close Jazz resembles him.
Here’s where it gets a awkward…besides the fact that the only other two women in this book were at odds with Jazz, upon meeting one of them, Jazz assumes the woman is Latina due to having a “Latina complexion.” This left me a bit confused as to what that looks like exactly being that I’m a Latina woman with family from Puerto-Rico, Salvador, and Argentina…over the holiday weekend we took a family photo and the range of skin tones ranged from white to olive to black with blue, green, and brown eyes. In another scene, the author breaks the fourth wall to assume we the readers don’t know what a niqab is by stating “Okay, you can stop pretending you know what a niqab is. It’s a traditional Islamic headwear that covers the lower face.” which again left me with a raised brow and a icky feeling. I was prepared to give this book all the love for it’s diversity but by the end saw how left it went with its efforts and assumptions.
One of things that lured me to request Artemis on Netgalley was its setting…who doesn’t want to read a heist that takes place on the Moon?!?! Over joyed to dive right into the world building, I went in confident this book would suck me in. I LOVE world-building & it only comes second to my love for well fleshed out characters. The city of Artemis is 1 of I believe 5 dome-like cities. The book comes with a pretty cool map that gives you a better idea of what it looks like. Since Jazz is very mobile all throughout the book, we get to familiarize ourselves a tad bit better with this world & I really enjoyed seeing some of the other cities. Now, there is mention of Artemis being the property of Kenya but unfortunately that’s as far as we get in terms of info. which I was a bit bummed out over because I wanted more on that connection. On the writing front, I will admit that I struggled with info dumping. The many scenes where we get Jazz walking us through the particulars of welding & the science behind it left me wanting to get back to the main story line in a hurry. I have a love for the subject of science however, the focus on welding took some of the fun away from the fact that we were on the Moon. The ending left me feeling as if there is potential for more story & I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still interested in Jazz’s story, which means I guess you can say I’m conflicted…
*Many thanks to Crown Publishing Group, Netgalley, Goodreads (also won a physical copy) and Andy Weir for the eGalley copy of Artemis in exchange for an honest review.
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