*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Netgalley arc Artemis by Andy Weir

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I loved The Martian and was delighted when I realised that Andy Weir had another book in the works and thrilled when I managed to obtain a Netgalley arc for it. Question is – does Artemis live up to Weir’s stunning debut?

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.

The short answer is yes. Oh yes – Artemis has yet another memorably enjoyable protagonist every bit as ingenious and determined as Mark Watney – Jazz is a street-wise moon-girl who plays the odds. She ekes out a precarious living by a series of shady deals under the cover of her lowly job as porter as she needs more money. Lots more money. And it is that need that drives her to make a deal against her better judgement… a deal that trips over into something a whole lot more serious. I’m aware some readers have had a problem with her lack of judgement and maturity, but I feel her poor impulse control is entirely realistic and when we learn the whole story of what went wrong between her and her father, there is also a valid explanation.

Like The Martian, we are charmed into really caring what happens to this lively, irreverent protagonist as she takes us into her confidence and tells us how the domes work, how the society is structured and about her tempestuous relationship with her father. So when it all goes really wrong, we are with her every step of the way, hoping she will prevail. As Weir steadily ups the stakes and increases the pressure – I found this one almost impossible to put down.

Despite the strong character-led nature of the story, there are still plenty of details about life on the Moon for hard science fiction fans. We learn about how the domes were constructed, who initially settled this first moon settlement and what currently powers the economy – all without compromising the pace or the narrative tension. It’s a neat trick to pull off and far harder to achieve than Weir makes it look. If all these geeky details tend to slide past you, my firm advice would be not to skim too much – because some of this stuff has a major impact on the story progression.

So after setting up a precarious situation where our plucky heroine finds herself on the sharp end of the trickiest conundrum – does Weir satisfactorily wrap up the story? Absolutely. We get a gripping conclusion to this plotline, while there are also some dangling tendrils that would give Weir the opportunity to revisit Artemis with the surviving characters. I would love to see him do so. Highly recommended.
10/10

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19 responses »

  1. Was excited to get an Arc for this as well. The audiobook of The Martian is my favourite audiobook of all time.

    Sadly, I didn’t think this hit the same levels. I thought it was good but not as amazing as The Martian. Jazz seemed too perfect for me to ever feel as though she was in any real danger of failing.

  2. I’ve found it really interesting how Jazz has divided opinion – a number of my fellow book bloggers have found her too annoyingly flawed and immature. I’m sorry you found this disappointing and I hope you have better luck with your current read.

    • Thank you, Laura:). I really was very impressed and while I was looking forward to this one, to be honest when I heard Weir had written a female protagonist, I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did.

  3. Lovely review Sarah. I found Jazz annoying at the beginning of the book, and, yes, a bit immature – but she definitely grew on me and I can’t help thinking that Weir wrote her in a way that give her room to develop and grow on the reader – or that could just be me! But, if he did write her in that way then it worked.
    Lynn 😀

    • I also think Weir wrote her that way because of the damage to her sense of self confidence when she messed up regarding her father. And I’ve met so many twenty-somethings who have slightly lost their way just like her…

  4. I glazed over your review to see what you rated it because this one is next in my audiobook queue. I can’t wait to read it! I’ll come back and read your thoughts when I’m done. 🙂

    • I’m really looking forward to seeing what you make of this one, SJ:). It seems to have really split opinion – I loved Jazz and thought she is an effective, well rounded character, but other folks haven’t been so impressed.

  5. Great review, Sarah! Every review I’ve read for Artemis so far has been been positive. So I’m looking forward to reading it eventually myself. Though I have to get a copy of it first. 😉

  6. I admit, I enjoyed The Martian (even though it had its flaws), but it didn’t win me over to the extent where I’d be looking forward to Weir’s next book. I’m sure I’ll get to Artemis eventually, but at the moment it’s not even on my TBR. Nevertheless, reading your review was a pleasure. 🙂

    • Thank you, Joanna, for your kind words regarding the review. While I really loved The Martian, I think in some ways I preferred the protagonist in Artemis as she is far more flawed and interesting.

      • That’s great to hear :). Even if I’m not going to pick up the book, I love the idea of the author growing as a writer. 🙂

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