You can’t go wrong with a city on the moon.
I read The Martian back when it blew up, and I really enjoyed it. I found it to be the perfect book for a movie adaptation, and I really liked Weir’s humor and the ease with which he tells his story. I also enjoyed the sciency bits at times, but I found them overwhelming at others. I personally preferred the movie to the book, which is blasphemous, I know, but that’s how it is.
This experience was more or less the same. This story follows Jazz Bashara, who is a Saudi Arabian woman living on the moon, in the city of Artemis. She is a petty criminal (meaning mostly a smuggler), but she gets tangled in a very large scoped heist operation.
Overall, I really enjoyed this. The highlight of this book is the way Weir wrote Artemis. I think he did an amazing job. I found the city on the moon to be completely believable. Everything seemed to make sense, it seemed real and like he was just explaining a thing that exists in the real world. I find that to be a general characteristic of Weir’s writing. He can make you believe anything, and I really appreciate that. The way he manages to do that is through his signature “sciency” writing. Weir uses a lot of really technical terms to explain his world and his plot, and he just does it in a really authentic way, so you don’t really care if it’s actually true. It feels true and that’s the only thing that matters.
Moreover, Artemis is just super cool. The city is vibrant, it has like a rich and a poor neighborhood, it has a park, it has it’s own economy and it’s all just super amazing. I loved the setting and it’s definitely my favorite part of the book.
Jazz Bashara was a compelling heroine. She is spunky and really funny, and seems super competent. She is loyal and really smart, kind of a jerk, but in a good and an endearing way. I personally like characters like that, but I think that a lot of people would have issues with how Jazz treats people. She is kind of your Mark Watney, but cruder and more awful to people. I did feel like she was too similar to Mark, with the constant jokes and that sort of the same way of dealing with issues.
I don’t think Weir did an awful job at writing a female character, but I don’t think he did a good job either. There were stuff that felt really like they were written by a man, some slight annoyances that got on my nerves at times, but I did not find them so awful to be unbearable. It wasn’t that great, but it wasn’t that awful. Jazz could have easily been a man, and it wouldn’t have made much of a difference, which I don’t like.
As for the rest of the characters, I found them all to be charming, but there wasn’t a lot of depth to them. I enjoyed them, especially Svoboda, but I am a sucker for nerdy, clutzy scientists. I really am. So the characters were colorful, but there wasn’t a lot of depth there.
The plot is rather slow. There’s a ton of build up, which I get. The set up of the world requires time, and Weir did a great job in creating Artemis, so he had to use up a lot of pages to set the scene. Which means that the plot starts picking up over halfway through, and gets really exciting at probably 70 percent. Which I personally did not mind, because I liked the setting so much, but it was slow in its build up.
The problem is that the build up wasn’t that exciting. I think the plot could have been a lot more developed and explored and I just felt like something was missing, even though it was enjoyable.
I honestly can’t wait to see this as a movie. As with his previous work, this is really cinematic and I think it would really transfer well to the screen. I think Artemis as a concept is going to be really great to see in action and I am looking forward to that happening (because I think it will).
As to which one I prefer, I would have to say The Martian. I think the plot’s more exciting, I think the side characters are more developed and I really like Mark as a hero, while Jazz is a struggle at times. I do prefer the setting in Artemis to Watney’s Mars in The Martian. I do however think that if you enjoyed one, you will enjoy the other. They are quite similar in feel and concept.
Overall, this was fun, and I’d recommend you check it out, especially if you liked The Martian. As stated above, I did have some issues, but it’s a book that is really enjoyable and keeps you interested until the end.
Final verdict: 3.5 stars
Are you excited to read Artemis? Did you enjoy The Martian? Let me know in the comments below!
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