If you liked The Martian, this book should be up your alley. It’s a little flashier and heavier on the fiction side of science fiction, but it’s definitely a grounded realistic space story similar to Weir’s first book.
This was a bit more Ocean’s 11 on the moon than the man vs nature tale of The Martian, but much like the first book, the action is grounded in a well-thought out extrapolation of current science and what it would mean for the future, while still being entertaining as opposed to eating one’s cultural vegetables. Here we are dealing with a functioning city on the moon, an established colony as opposed to terraforming for survival, and Weir again has fun playing with the details – for example, our protagonist finds that getting dust in your eyes in a low atmosphere environment means that the jagged edges of surfaces aren’t smoothed out by friction and you can’t rub them out, they need to be flushed – which really makes a science fiction story feel realistic as opposed to fantastic.
Also appreciated – we have a largely non-white cast, our protagonist is female, and Weir threads the needle of giving background for the various characters in a way that doesn’t feel like he’s explaining why they aren’t white as if that were the default, but also integrating those backgrounds so it doesn’t feel like he’s checking boxes off a diversity checklist. The fact that Jasmine is Saudi Arabian factors into her disguises at one point, but the fact that she’s a lapsed muslim and doesn’t know the faith as well as she should gives her away at another.
Definitely worth reading, but not going to lie, I didn’t love it as much as The Martian, in part because this was a bit further away from reality.