Review: Artemis by Andy Weir
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.
Wow, Artemis was so incredibly disappointing. This story annoyed me so much the whole time I was reading it. How did someone who wrote The Martian, a book I loved, loved the humor, loved the science, loved everything, write this? Oh, it was bad. *note some definite spoilers for the story ahead. Especially the ending. If you don't want to know what happens in this book then skip this review*
So what didn't I like about this story? Pretty much everything. I am really struggling to think of anything that worked. Maybe the writing is not the worst I have ever read. Jazz, our main character, is probably the most annoying aspect of this story. I started it and was thinking Jazz was a guy, but then someone made some comment about someday being a "delivery girl like you" and context made me confused as to whether the guy was using girl as an insult, or if Jazz was actually a female character. It wasn't until someone used a female pronoun in reference to her that I realized this was supposed to be a female character. Only apparently the author can't write a female character because Jazz read like a 12 year old boy. I mean even after knowing she was a lady I couldn't see it. Eventually, after half the book of her constant comments on her body and the way she looked, all said in a very unrealistic way, more of a this is what a guy thinks a lady would sound like way, I started to remember that oh yeah - she is female. While it is nice that Weir tried to make a female main character for his sci-fi book, it was a flop. I just read another sci-fi book featuring a female lead who is supposed to be badass and everything Jazz is supposed to be and it actually worked. That lady actually was. At no point in that other book did I forget the main character was female. At no point did I question it because she read as a female character. Jazz reads as a male character, or at best what a male thinks a female is like. So annoying.
This was also problematic when he wrote about other cultures as they weren't represented in the writing. It is great that he wanted some diversity in the cast of characters, but unless you were specifically told that they were from x, or believed y, you never would have known. It wasn't shown through the story that the characters thought or believed or acted in certain ways. It had to be told to you so I kept forgetting that there were people from all over the world on Artemis. Either that or they were caricatures of what characters they were supposed to be. Like the cop. He was a great caricature of the kind of cop he was supposed to be. I didn't actually believe he was like that. Or the lady at the end who made no sense. At all. I get that she was super upset about her life's work being destroyed, but in a literal life and death situation, she just keeps complaining about things that are keeping her alive? At one point she had to get into Jazz's spacesuit to try and save everyone and stay alive herself, and she throws a hissy fit because....she was not a real person. And when the guy says how it is taking her a while to get into the spacesuit because she is taller than Jazz apparently that was super offensive to the lady and she has to whine and moan and throw a fit that she is not tall, but Jazz is short. It was just like seriously? They are in a race against the clock to live and she is offended that someone said she is tall? Tall. Like...seriously?? This book made no sense to me.
Okay so the characters were not good, definitely not believable, and pretty annoying, so what about the plot? Oh, that was laughable as well. I rolled my eyes sooooo much while reading this story. I kept thinking to myself is this a kids book? But how can it be a kids book when there is so much swearing and slut shaming? It made no sense. Jazz is a 26-year-old, but in reality, acts like she is 12. She is supposed to be super duper smart and amazing at anything she puts her mind to but is incredibly stupid. She doesn't think things through and once the heist starts it is just a series of half-assed plans to get out of what she did. Wait let's back up a minute. The heist. Why did she do it again? For the money that she needed for some mysterious reason (which you could guess at but is absolutely cringeworthily eye rolling bad)...it was like really? So she is supposed to destroy some machines so the aluminum smelter won't work so a rich guy can get richer. And so say you are just going to destroy these machines for the money so a rich guy can get even richer why did you not look into it more? She is apparently so inquisitive about everything except things that might actually affect her? She said something didn't seem right, why would richy rich want to do this, but let's not think about it. Let's just do it and make a huge mess that we can keep making worse as the story goes along because we are annoyingly stupid. Oh, it was bad. Every time something new happened I rolled my eyes and thought really? This is really how this is going? Ugh. This is stupid. I ranted to my husband every two seconds about how stupid the next plot point was. Really not good.
So Jazz's brilliant plan doesn't go according to plan and she doesn't actually disable the Aluminum smelter for good, doesn't take out all the rovers as planned, and then someone is after her. We are told it is the Brazilian mob who wants to make sure they get all the monies from this new thing. So a bunch of mobsters are coming to the moon to make sure their factory stays in operation. Okay, so Jazz has a great plan to take out the smelter and then the rich guy's daughter will make a new company (the rich guy was murdered by the mob) and take over for the now melted smelter. That all sounds fine and dandy, but are you seriously wanting me to believe that some mobsters who have no qualms against killing people are just going to say okay. Well, our person is not running the company anymore I guess we are out. Really? Like they wouldn't just still come to the moon and take out the girl who runs the new company if she doesn't cooperate with them? I mean come on! Jazz's solution was temporary at best. She almost kills everyone and I don't for a minute think that it really did anything in the long term from preventing the mob from running the moon. Man, this book made me angry because it was so stupid! Every step of the way I was like wait...this doesn't make sense because what about this? This would be an issue...and then it just magically wasn't. Because in Weir's world the mob is no big deal and will back down super easy. Sure. I believe that.
So Jazz's plan to destroy the smelter does destroy it, but almost kills everyone on the moon because of unforeseen circumstances that were lame. And then Jazz doesn't even get in trouble for all of the things that she did. Sure I believe that. Apparently she is the ONLY person on the moon who can be a smuggler and not smuggle in drugs and guns. Sure. I buy that there is NO ONE else who could do what she does. Yep. Just like the mob would never try to still take over things especially since they have more people going to the moon. Yeah, might as well let her off for everything that she did....Oh and don't get me started on Dale catching her after she destroyed 3 of the rovers and letting her go because he wants to be friends again. No. Just no. Nope. That is...it made no flippin sense! Who would do that? At least if he did it for money I could say well this guy that we don't really know is corrupt and let it slide. But to do it to try and be friends again? Whole lotta nope going on there.
Another thing was the science and welding stuff. In The Martian all of that worked within the story. I liked reading what Mark Watney was thinking and doing to try and survive. It made sense to the story. He had to work all of this stuff out to try and make it to when someone could come back to Mars and he could maybe be saved. It was integral to the story. The explanations in this book? Not so much. They were just shoehorned in there so that we could learn about welding. Which I don't care about. It was all told so the reader would know, not because it was needed for the story. Jazz already knows about all of this, how to weld and everything, so I don't need her to explain it to me in a condescending way just to explain it to the reader. There was no point to it like there was in The Martian. I mean you could take out all of the explanations in this book and it would be the same story. They were not needed, not necessary to the plot, and made me roll my eyes so much. Sometimes the author felt like he had to explain general things that most people should have a basic understanding of which was not good. Like at one point Jazz asked someone about the economy and how it worked. Really? Really. It was bad.
So yeah, this book was a huge disappointment. I thought it was going to be another fun read, but ugh. It made me rant every two seconds about how stupid it was.