Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Artemis - Andy Weir

Title: Artemis
Author: Andy Weir
Publication Date: 11/14/2017
Pages: 305
How I Found It: I read and enjoyed The Martian.
Date Completed: 3/11/18

Summary: Jazz Bashara could have had just about any job she wanted. She's chosen to be a porter officially and a smuggler unofficially. When a wealthy customer makes her an offer she can't refuse, suddenly life on the moon gets significantly more dangerous. 

What I Thought: I was really excited for Weir's new book. Like everyone else, I really enjoyed The Martian. It was fun and different and the movie adaptation was fabulous. It was a little heavy on the science stuff and I would have liked some more characters, but I liked it a lot.

When Artemis was announced, I was excited and eager to learn more. The Martian was so unique that I wasn't sure how Weir would follow it up. It was so clearly a stand alone novel, so a sequel seemed out of the question. I think something like Artemis does the job well. It's set on the moon rather than Mars and about 100 years in the future so a city has been built and some of the modern complexities of space travel which Mark Watney faced in The Martian have become obsolete. Others remain integral plot points - include the fragility of human life in space.

The book centers around Jazz Bashara, a young, bright smuggler who has lived most of her life on the moon. A few notes about her character. It took me at least ten pages to remember or realize the protagonist was a girl. Of course, that made me question why that is. What does that say about me? about us? that I expected the protagonist of a science fiction book written by a male author to be about a man. The answer is probably complex and I don't want to get into that here. Only to point out that it did make me pause and think. I did love that Jazz is not white. She is Saudi Arabian and the city of Artemis on the moon seems to be very diverse. Excellent move on Weir's part. I particularly loved that he made Nigeria such an integral part of founding Artemis and keeping it supplied. It was an unexpected and lovely detail. 

I could have read several chapters of just world building material about how Artemis came to be and the politics behind it all. Weir spells out quite a bit of it over the course of the book, which I appreciated. I always get a little irritated when an author builds such a complex future world but ignores how it connects to our own era. 

As usual with a book like this, I like to leave the plot points for you to discover when you read it - and I do recommend that. Basically, it revolves around Jazz accepting a job from one of her very wealthy smuggling clients. He wants her help in upending the existing balance of power on the moon. Turns out, there are darker forces at play - both on the moon and Earth. Like The Martian, there are several thrilling sequences where Jazz's life - or the lives of other characters - hang in the balance. The plot moves quickly and kept me engaged throughout. 

I think Weir did a great job toning down some of the science details in this book. It got to be a little much in his first novel. There's still a lot of science here for people to whom that appeals, but it's more manageable for the rest of us. There were a few passages I skimmed over because I didn't care much about the logistics of the moments, but overall, the content was more accessible for me. 

This book is part of my 2018 TBR Challenge!
It was fun to see Weir have a larger cast of characters with which to work. In The Martian, there really isn't tons of character interaction - at least not with our hero. In Artemis, Weir has a whole city to work with and gets to create the culture of that city. I enjoyed having more character content and world building in that regard. 

Even with these many, many positives, I did feel as though the book lacked some of the magic The Martian had. It's not really fair to compare them, but it's so hard not to. I enjoyed this one for sure and I think I would have just as much without ever having read The Martian. I think this book could make a great movie as well. It's definitely worth reading and if you are a science fiction person, I think you will particularly enjoy it. 

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: Possibly
If You Liked This, Try: Wool / Armada / Red Rising
Other Books By Andy Weir: The Martian

A Reduced Review: In this fast-paced adventure, Weir corrects some of the mistakes he made with The Martian. However, Artemis doesn't have quite the same magic. 


  1. I think it’s interesting that you thought Jazz was a male character at first. My husband felt the same way about Katniss when he read The Hunger Games. I liked how Andy Weir wrote his characters. He’s really good at creating character that you can’t help but connect with. I felt the same way about The Martian and Mark Watney.
    I also agree with you that this book was great, but didn’t have the same magic as The Martian. And you’re right, it’s hard not to compare the two. I felt that Artemis was enjoyable but in different ways. This novel had a murder mystery aspect to it that I was pleasantly surprised by.
    I would definitely like a movie version!

    1. That's so interesting that he felt that way about Katniss. I can see that. She bucks our stereotypical image of a female protagonist in so many ways.

      I hope they do make this a movie. It would be a great one! It might even be better as a movie in some ways.