Genre: Science Fiction
The bestselling author of The Martian returns with an irresistible new near-future thriller—a heist story set on the moon
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.
From the author of The Martian comes another scientific space story that features a young Saudi woman, Jazz Bashara, as the main character. I couldn’t wait to dive into another epic science fiction story rooted in actual science. Unfortunately, Weir’s inability to write a believable female character is a huge disservice to the story as a whole.
Jazz Bashara is a 26-year-old woman living on the moon working as a delivery person. She’s made a lot of mistakes in her past and is doing everything she can to right those wrongs, even if it means bending the rules. Jazz’s character is intriguing and works, theoretically. Unfortunately, Weir’s obvious inability in writing a female main character ruins everything that he was trying to accomplish. The science and actual plot sometimes takes a backseat to Jazz’s cringiest moments. Most of the time her internal monologue comes off as a 15-year-old boy. So, Weir’s attempts at creating a cohesive and sexual female character failed miserably because Jazz ends up being a caricature of a woman.
The other characters weren’t fleshed out and only existed to serve the plot at different moments. Some of them would have been interesting had they been developed more and some of them were just flat-out annoying. However, the most developed character, apart from Jazz, was a character the reader never sees because Jazz has an e-mail only relationship with him. I came to enjoy their interactions by the end of the novel, but that was after I overcame how random the e-mail exchanges were placed in the story. Had the exchanges been organically added it would have improved Artemis tenfold.
Artemis features a heist on the moon with Jazz leading the charge. It’s fun and exciting, but comes off as more of a mindless action movie than a story rooted in science. The beginning of the novel is where most of the science is featured because it explained how Artemis works and what it’s like to live on the moon, but as the story progresses the further away Weir veers from the science. This isn’t necessarily a negative, however the reason I enjoyed The Martian so much was because it was deeply root in science. So, if you didn’t enjoy the science lesson of The Martian but want to read a realistic science fiction novel then Artemis is for you. But, if you enjoyed that lesson than you may find yourself underwhelmed by Artemis.
Overall, I didn’t enjoy Artemis nearly as much as The Martian. Perhaps if Jazz had not sounded like a 15-year-old boy Artemis would have been success. Maybe Weir should just stick to writing male characters in the future.
**I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review