I was in a bit of a reading slump this past week; nothing I had on hand was grabbing my attention more than the new season of Grace & Frankie so I spent my downtime binge watching instead of binge reading. I knew I was in trouble when I was pulling up Hulu on my lunch break to catch up on Late Night With Seth Meyers instead of reading the book in my purse (Word by Word, don’t expect a review). Then I picked up Artemis from the library and was instantly hooked. My husband put it best when he said “How’s your book? It must be good because you always ignore me when it’s a good book.” Well, at least it only took two nights to finish so I didn’t have to ignore him for long.
I borrowed Artemis based on my affection for The Martian and its high (although not exceptional) rating on Goodreads so I didn’t know much about the plot of Artemis before reading it.
“On a scale from one to ‘invade Russia in winter,’ how stupid is this plan?”
Jazz Bashara lives on Artemis, the only colony on the Moon, which is exorbitantly expensive for its handful of full-time residents. Jazz lives in a coffin sizes apartment and makes ends meet by smuggling in contraband for the city’s wealthier inhabitants. One of these wealthy clients offers Jazz one million ‘slugs’ (the unit of currency for the Moon) to sabotage a competitor in hopes of gaining a lucrative contract for his company. When things don’t go exactly as planned Jazz is put in the center of a complicated conspiracy.
Jazz’s past is complicated and the depth of its complications are parceled out through email exchanges a young Jazz has with a pen pal. Her trouble past and questionable ethics made her more of an antihero than I was expecting. Overall, Jazz just isn’t as endearing as Mark Watney. I didn’t want her to die but I wasn’t going to mind her getting her comeuppance.
I’ve never been a huge sci-fi fan but Weir does an excellent job of creating engaging, mostly realistic characters whose stories happen to be set in outer space. His real world experience with science and technology goes a long way in making life on the moon seem completely possible and plausible. He created a fully realized world with scientifically sound explanations for everything.
“By the way, we also hate it when people . . . call Artemis ‘the city in space.’ We’re not in space; we’re on the moon. I mean, technically, we’re in space, but so is London.”
Jazz does a lot of stupid things and conveniently manages to get out of trouble several times by being good at just about everything. Come to think of it, Mark Watney was extraordinarily good at everything he set out to do as well. Perhaps Weir masks his weakness for character development by giving his leads superhuman intelligence and technical skills. While Weir is still finding himself a bit with character development he did a great job developing the relationship between Jazz and her father.
We all know this will be optioned for a film sooner rather than later so can we start the campaign to get Priyanka Chopra as the lead now?