Artemisby Andy Weir Published 03 Jul 2018
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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.
1 1/2 stars. I really wish I could say I liked this. A couple of years back, I gave in to the hype and read Weir's The Martian, and I have to say-- I loved it. The scary scenario of being stranded so far away from everything and everyone you know, the very high probability that Mark Watney wouldn't survive, his chirpy sense of humour that keeps him going... unfortunately,Artemis's plot is convoluted and less exciting. And Jazz Bashara is SO ANNOYING.
Look, I completely get why Mark Watney annoyed some readers and, given that Weir transplanted his personality and awkward sense of humour into Jazz, it might seem a bit contradictory to have a problem with her personality. But, you know, Mark's narration worked for me because I could imagine this man in the middle of space needing to stay peppy and chatty. His inner narrative is conversational because he is talking to himself - and the reader - to avoid losing all hope. With Jazz, it doesn’t work so well.
Even though Jazz is a woman in her twenties and Arab, she is basically Mark Watney. You can tell Weir really struggled to adapt his writing style in order to write from the perspective of that most alien of all species - THE WOMAN. Jazz has the sense of humour of a twelve-year-old boy. Her constant quips feel forced and unnecessary. Some of the comments she makes about her sex life and body are just... not funny. She's the local lunar tramp, which is, apparently, so hilarious. But her whole narrative is just plain awkward.
I turned my head inside the helmet, bit a nipple (try not to get excited), and sucked some water out.
“Billy, I’ve swallowed better-tasting stuff that came out of people.”
And what grown woman responds like this:
“What’s in there, anyway?”
“Porn, mostly. Starring your mom.”
The real problem for me, though, was that I could not get invested in this half-assed heist plot. I was bored out of my mind with the random talk of gangsters, smuggling, some scientific sabotage blah blah and - oh my god - the welding. Mark Watney talked science to explain how he was going to survive and feed himself on Mars; Jazz talks science to explain the mechanics of welding. I couldn't understand why we were supposed to give a damn about this heist, or the whole conspiracy that develops out of it. Who cares whether Jazz earns herself some slugs (lunar currency)? Who cares if that guy who I didn't give a shit about dies?
Weir takes some minor steps toward making the setting interesting, but then does nothing with it. This lunar colony is run by Kenyans, which is intriguing, but the culture is unmistakably American, and he never expands upon why or how Kenyans came to be controlling space travel. It is like a throwaway fun fact without context or explanation. The main story is also broken up with Jazz's letters to a Kenyan pen pal, starting when she is nine years old, but this never really goes anywhere and feels kind of pointless.
Also, the author chooses to have a Muslim (non-practicing) narrator, which could lead to important representation, but it's hard not to cringe when he addresses his narrative to a solely white, non-Muslim audience:
"Okay, you can stop pretending you know what a niqab is. It’s a traditional Islamic headwear that covers the lower face."
And then goes on to show Jazz using said niqab as a disguise while carrying out criminal activity. She pleasantly declares:
"Great way to wear a mask without arousing suspicion.”
It's just a very messy book overall, with a narrator that tries to be Mark Watney and fails, and a plot that tries to be compelling but isn't. Where the science added thrills and realism in The Martian, here it bogs the story down with boring detail. Weir should stick to survival stories with male narrators.
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A new book from Andy Weir? Happening on the moon? A heist where the main character survives with her scientific knowledge?
COUNT ME IN!!
I was so excited for this book but I didn't end up loving nearly as much as The Martian.
Even though I liked the overall idea, I didn't like the characters and the constant jokes and insults felt incredibly forced.
The main character Jazz, a 26 years old woman, was talking and thinking like a cringy 15 years old boy. She mentions a few times her appearance and sexuality in an unnatural way. I don't understand why men authors struggle so hard to write female characters.
At one point, she stays the night at a friend's house and after showering she wears one of his shirts. He comes back and, him being awkward with women, simply stares at her not knowing what to say. She thinks to herself "I was pretty sexy I have to admit"... really?
Most characters had cringy moments like this and it ruined the book for me.
I'm still not sure how to review the ending so I'll have to sleep on it and come back for an update!
UPDATE: After thinking about it, I wanted to add that it was interesting to read about the heist with the scientific knowledge thrown in there but it wasn't enough to make this book a must-read. It didn't live up to my expectations!
UPDATE 2: The more I think about it the more disappointed and angry I am so I'm reducing it to 2 stars!
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Yay for my book winning 2017 GR award 😄
This book freaking rocks!!
No, seriously. The book does have science in it but it's not too bad. This is mostly about Jazz who has lived on the moon since she was 6 and now she's in her 20's. Her dad lives on the moon too but they had a falling out and she makes it on her own by doing. . . things.
I love the character of Jazz. She's funny and does crazy things but never anything to hurt any one.
AND SHE LIVES ON THE MOON!
Jazz doesn't live in the good part of town. Yes, the city on the moon is called Artemis and they have their rich side and poor side. It's just too awesome to read about.
Jazz does some odd jobs as a porter but she also brings in contraband and no it's nothing bad.
She has a cool friend she emails from Earth, his name is Kelvin. I love their talks.
Rich people come to the moon every year to spend their holiday. They stay in the fancy hotels and spend tons of money in the shops. Regular folk save up their money so they can come for a once in a life time stay.
But, life on the moon isn't all that it's cracked up to be. There just has to be some evil mobness going on. There are life and death situations and Jazz in put on the spot to save the whole city.
That's all I'm saying, you need to read it for yourself. If you loved The Martian (which I did) you will love this book. At least I think you will, I did because IT'S THE MOON! THEY ARE LIVING ON THE MOON!
And I have to mention some of the people I loved in the book:
and some randoms =)
*I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book*
MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Apologies in advance. You're not gonna like what I have to say.
This is not the review I was expecting to write, but this is not the book I was expecting to read.
Andy Weir has successfully taken the one element I didn't like in THE MARTIAN and expanded on that until ARTEMIS is almost a chore to read. Major disappointment.
Remember our hero, Mark, in The Martian? His jokey, sarcastic personality started to grate on my nerves towards the end of the book. It's like he never quit with the relentless joking. Staring death in the face? Make a joke. Starving to death? Play some funny music. Ok, we get it! Mark is all about the comic relief. Why does it have to be so overdone and heavy-handed? I still enjoyed the book for all the old-school science fiction fun.
HOWEVER, after cutting Weir some slack for his forced characterizations in The Martian, I am not so ready to do the same with Artemis.
Guess what? Jazz, our female protagonist in Artemis, has almost the exact same personality as Mark from The Martian. Ugggggghhhhh. And that goofy, insulting character is even more annoying in a grown woman. Is that sexist? I hope not. I don't mean it to be.
Oh, and by the way, Jazz is the town tramp (with a heart of gold) because of her reputation for sleeping with so many guys. Hysterical.
The book starts out very fun to read. I really enjoyed reading how the city of Artemis came to be established on the moon. I loved reading about the actualities of lunar living with 1/6 of the gravity. I liked learning about the moon's surface, dust and atmosphere. There just wasn't enough of the moon facts for me.
Also, I'm beginning to question Andy Weir's imagination for the future. The moon inhabitants walk around and do all their business transactions on small computers that they carry. They pay for items and surf the internet and make calls on these "gizmos" as they are called. FASCINATING STUFF right here.
What there is plenty of:
Welding. Yes, welding. More than I ever want to know about welding.
Stupid middle-school humor that the very smart adults all seem to love.
Forced, unnatural dialogue.
Convoluted, crazy plot that never really makes sense.
Integral characters that are unexplained, because of one-note superficial writing.
After the first third of the book, I had to push through to finish it. Especially the middle part with all the welding. Take my advice and skim skim skim through the welding. The very end ramps up with some excitement, but not enough to make up of for the rest. Sad.
I would have liked more moonwalking, less welding. More thinking, less insulting. More imagination, less joking. More sci-fi, less lame comedy.
When Artemis first came out I started seeing lots of one and two star reviews. Not wanting to spoil the book, I didn't read them very in depth. But, the star situation had me concerned as I was looking forward to this book as I enjoyed The Martian very much. Was I in for a big letdown?
Lucky for me, the book was a 4 star experience!
Thoughts on why others rated it so low - these are just guesses, I may be totally wrong:
It is not The Martian - sometimes when people are a huge fan of a book they are hoping for a same experience with the next book. While it had shades of The Martian with the space science and the sarcastic humor, it is not The Martian. For me, this was not a problem.
It is a comedy - this is a funny/silly book. Sarcastic, cynical, innuendo filled humor is rampant. If you are not a fan of borderline inappropriate jokes or cheesy puns, this is not the book for you. I liked it and thought it was hilarious!
Science/Technology - After The Martian, I think it would be expected, but this book has a lot of science/engineering and maybe that detracted too much from the story for some. It did not bother me.
It is a caper - in addition to the heavy science/engineering, there is also a fairly complex espionage/political intrigue element to the story line. Figuring out what exactly is happening and why is a bit difficult. For me, this was one part I can sort of agree seemed not quite as tightly woven as the rest of the book.
So, I liked it! Since other people I kind of expected to like this didn't, I am not quite sure who to recommend it to. But, if Weir keeps writing, I will keep coming back for more!
I HAVE SUCH MIXED FEELINGS.
The first half of this book was very fun, and the plot was interesting and all that. The only thing that bugged me was the writing style, which I suppose is similar to The Martian, but I felt it was a better fit with that story, and with Artemis it just felt forced. Other than that though, I was loving it! This book could have easily been 4 or 5 stars from me.
Then, around the halfway point, the book sort of lost me. The overall plot for this story is Jazz performing a heist, and I was expecting it to take the whole book, but the main part of the heist itself finishes around the middle of the book. Of course, there is plenty of backlash and more conflict that arises, but it wasn't what I was expecting, which could be partly the reason for me not enjoying the book as much.
All in all, I'm glad I read this, and I'm now anxiously awaiting Andy Weir's next book! I just hope whatever he writes next is from a male perspective because although I appreciate his effort, Jazz's voice just sounded like Mark Watney pretending to be a woman.