Quick Note: We received a copy of Artemis from NetGalley in return for a free and honest review. For anyone interested, Artemis comes out November 14, 2017. And now to the good stuff:
So this is the second book by Andy Weir, and I think this is the point where I have to admit I have an unabashed love for the Martian. Seriously, it’s a book that I reread every year and recommend to people whenever I can. I recognize that it might not be the best written book ever, but it doesn’t’ change the fact that there’s something about the sheer goodness of humanity,, the way that people work together tha makes me absolutely love that book (and movie, it’s not quite as good, but still a solid movie.) Which is why when I got this book early I was absolutely pumped.
What I drank:
I had a few friends who had birthday parties tonight so I drank a lot of happy hour beers and beers that other people bought. There also wasn’t much dinner involved so I’m dfinitely feeling some stuff.
This book takes place on a lunar colony in some unnamed (or I just didn’t pay close attention to) future year. Jasmine, or Jazz, our main character has been on the moon since she was a fairly young child and while she was bright and brilliant and everyone tells her she has a future in whatever she wants, decides that she doesn’t want to work in any legitimate field and works instead as a porter, and also smuggling in items to Artemis (said lunar colony). She takes on a job that has some risks to it, and as Andy Weird is wont to do, there are some pretty serious consequences. This book has quite a bit going for it. Like I said I love The Martian, though while I loved this book and enjoyed the female (muslim) protagonist, it doesn’t’ change the fact that the book feel short in a few different ways. Starting with Jazz didn’t really read like a woman. She didn’t read like a man either, but there was something about the character that seemed very gender ambiguous to me. That’s not really a huge complaint, just something I’ve been noticing after someone had mentioned to be a book they loved where the main female character wasn’t a ‘female character’ and was instead a character that happened to be female. I’m still happy that there are more female protagonists out there, but there was something about the inner monologue that didn’t quite come off right to me. As with the Martian the writing wasn’t the best, and honestly there were moments where the inner monologue felt a little bit forced (the whole, someone of an older generation trying to mimic a millennial kind of thing – it wasn’t painful, just weirdly noticeable). This was still a caper novel, I’m not going to get too into it in this section, but some things go wildly which requires a decent amount of on the fly science-ing which is always fun to read.
So what goes wrong is that Jazz is given the job of sabotaging a few harvesters of moon rocks that were used to make aluminum and as a side-product oxygen, so that someone else can take over the production of said aluminum and oxygen. The problem is that the company becomes aware of the sabotage while she’s working. She ends up wrecking three of the four machines but the company has a goon on planet who goes and takes out the guy who hired her, as well as everyone else involved with the situation, so Jazz has to go on the run. Obviously there’s more science-ing, as mentioned early, and there were some really clever ways to get around things. Andy Weir is really good about heightening tension, as soon as you think everyhthing might be okay, the main character realizes that everything they had done had let to an unintentional choloforming of the entire lunar colony. It’s things like that, the kind of science stuff that I would never think about, that makes this story fun.
I gotta say, I’d probably give this this a 3.5 out of 5. I really wish that I could rate it higher. Like I said, I loved the Martian with all of my nerdy heart and soul. But this book really didn’t have quite the same feel of the first book. And it’s hard not to compare this book with the Martian. Basically Jazz didn’t have the quite the same draw as Mark Watney (though given Mark WAtney’s innate charm which was both shown and told it’s a bit of a high bar).
What to drink:
This is always the part I have trouble with. Partially becuase there are a few different options. The book heavily featuers a bar that reconstitutes alcohol though it’s all reconstinutued wrong. Like it’s just really bad, pretty much undrinkable. But that is in no way shape of form the right thing for this book. I think this book ends up being a gin and tonic. It’s probably not the best book you’ll read, it’s not really the best drink, but it’s solid enough that you probably wouldn’t mind ordering it again.