June 27, 2018

Review: Artemis, by Andy Weir




Title: Artemis

Author: Andy Weir

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Date of Publication: November 14th, 2017

Number of Pages: 305






Summary

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.

Review

Andy Weir will always have to compete with himself! Undoubtedly, The Martian was a big hit and it was only natural that Artemis would be compared to his first novel. Indeed, the main problem of Artemis is that it feels similar to The Martian, not that much story-wise, rather than all the things concerning the characters and general tone. Nevertheless, Artemis is a fun and easy to read novel.

Jazz Bashara is a moonchild. Not in the sense of Rory Gallagher's song, but literally. She grew up in Artemis, a city built on the moon. Life there is rather expensive and she struggles to make ends meet. In fact, she always has trouble with the law, as she smuggles various things into the city. These circumstances force Jazz to accept a job with a prize too good to be true, although it involves sabotaging the city's oxygen supply.

Of course, there wouldn't be much of a story, if this job went according to plan! Now this is the point where I think that the story takes a turn for the worst. I can't help wondering how much more enjoyable this book would be, if it was just a good old heist story! But in Artemis we have a book where everything gets out of control, a big "mafia" company gets in the way, and the stakes become as high as saving the entire city's population. It feels unnatural, and although Jazz certainly has the resourcefulness to survive, I'm not sure that I agree that at the end of the day she becomes the hero. But I have to comment that I love the fact that even though she saves Artemis, she is still in danger of facing the consequences of her previous actions. It gives the much needed sense of reality.

Another thing that I love about Artemis is that finally, in an Andy Weir book, we have a hint of a romance. And I say hint, because there is neither an action concerning this, nor a word, only bits and pieces that could possibly lead to something between Jazz and Svoboda. This makes me think of Jazz more of woman, not just the outlaw, the resourceful, carefree kind of person that she is in the rest of the book.

This brings me to the best part of Artemis in general, its characters. Jazz is a great character. Just like Mark Watney, she has a strong sense of humour, a will to survive whatever might come in her way, and an ambition to rise from her current situation. I like that she embraces her current self and she realises that what she does is questionable. Her relationship with her father is difficult, but it makes sense that she comes from a traditional, strict, and religious environment. In reality, the whole book becomes enjoyable because if Jazz's character.

The rest of characters have their moments in the novel, although I'm not convinced that I really got to know anyone that well. There are certain traits of them that I find compelling, like Rudy's sense of duty, and Dave's true friendship. The one character, that is gradually built as an important one in the book, but I find utterly unnecessary, is Kelvin Otieno. Through the e-mails that he exchanges with Jazz we learn some things about our protagonist, but mostly we learn things about him. Normally, I wouldn't mind, but why should we care when he doesn't play a role in the story? I would expect more from a character that appears at the end of every chapter.

All in all, Artemis is an enjoyable read. It has its flaws, but the tone is light-hearted, and it's full of action. It has more action than The Martian, if I dare say. For those reasons, I would gladly recommend it to those who want something easy and fun to read.

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