I really loved Andy Weir’s The Martian – it was fast paced, it was funny, the science was compelling, and the diary format really worked in terms of telling the story and highlighting Mark’s isolation. I was very excited to receive this book from my Secret Book Santa; Artemis should have been a sure fire hit for me. But it wasn’t, this time.
This is a caper story, in essence, set on a city called Artemis that is located on the moon. The city is run by a Kenyan organization, it has its own currency, and has a multicultural population. It’s an interesting space – limited in size and resources, very carefully managed, and with a small population. Our protagonist is a transporter and smuggler, a young woman with a lot of baggage and an ability to learn pretty much anything very, very quickly. She picks up a job with a giant payoff, but of course it all goes sideways.
It should be great – Weir’s authentic-feeling science woven in, a sassy and bright woman leading the way, and danger. It felt a little like The Martian, a book I found engrossing, but it just wasn’t as fun or as tense as The Martian. It just didn’t have the same element of surprise; I could essentially predict the course of the plot after the first few chapters. Overall, the dialogue was stilted – this was ok in The Martian given Mark Watney was mostly talking to himself, but doesn’t work so well when there are actual conversations occurring. I also didn’t enjoy all the banter that was thrown around between Jazz and her primarily male friends – it felt a little too much time was spent “joking” about her apparent promiscuity. The whole thing just read as slight. I am hopeful it was just a sophomore slump for Weir, but this book was a miss for me.