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Review: Artemis by Andy Weir

December 14, 2017

“On a scale from one to ‘invade Russia in winter,’ how stupid is this plan?”
― Andy Weir, Artemis

 

2**

 

Oh boy, where to begin? I am sad to say, Artemis is not a good book. I am not a sci-fi reader, but loved The Martian, so I was excited to read Andy Weir's latest.  I got to see him on his book tour, and he seems like a fun and friendly guy, so I feel especially bad rating this so low. As an author myself, I also look at the massive team he had behind him, a team of editors and marketing and who knows what else who helped him publish this book. I can't quite excuse just how disappointing it turned out to be, how messy the plot and honestly how weak the writing was as well.

While the book is fast-paced, I got to the half-way point without much having really happened. That being said, I can love a book even if the plot isn't the strongest as long as the characters are. Sadly, this was not the case here. Jazz Bashara is not likable, but more than that, she is not developed. She is a caricature of what I think Weir imagines a "cool, tough chick" to be. In his effort to capture the voice of a woman he made her sound like a petulant teenager with a vocabulary primarily consisting of swear words and cliches. Weir tries waaay too hard to make her sound chill and prove that she doesn't give any f***s, which gets old very quickly. She seems both bored and irritatingly manic. A badly written protagonist ruins a book for me, and this, in addition to a weak plot and uninspired writing was the case for me with Artemis.

I am sad to write this, because I was looking forward to the book, but there is no way around it. The Moon, or rather Artemis as a setting sounded intriguing, but came across as forced world-building and a riff on something like Star Trek. All the "cool stuff" felt forced and unnatural, or just boring. The plot revolving around a half-assed heist was not enough to grab my attention, and my biggest issue beyond Jazz's irritating personality was probably that the plot and her mission are based on getting rich and screwing the system. Mark Watney's mission was survival and he was clever and cocky, but also thoughtful and well aware of his own mortality. I know comparing Artemis to The Martian may not be fair, but I can't help it. I rooted for Mark Watney with baited breath, and I could hardly have cared less about Jazz Bashara. Despite feeling worried for Mark in The M

Oh boy, where to begin? I am sad to say, Artemis is not a good book. I am not a sci-fi reader, but loved The Martian, so I was excited to read Andy Weir's latest.  I got to see him on his book tour, and he seems like a fun and friendly guy, so I feel especially bad rating this so low. As an author myself, I also look at the massive team he had behind him, a team of editors and marketing and who knows what else who helped him publish this book.I can't quite excuse just how disappointing it turned out to be, how messy the plot and honestly how weak the writing was as well.

While the book is fast-paced, I got to the half-way point without much having really happened. That being said, I can love a book even if the plot isn't the strongest as long as the characters are. Sadly, this was not the case here. Jazz Bashara is not likable, but more than that, she is not developed. She is a caricature of what I think Weir imagines a "cool, tough chick" to be. In his effort to capture the voice of a woman he made her sound like a petulant teenager with a vocabulary primarily consisting of swear words and cliches. Weir tries waaay too hard to make her sound chill and prove that she doesn't give any f***s, which gets old very quickly. She seems both bored and irritatingly manic. A badly written protagonist ruins a book for me, and this, in addition to a weak plot and uninspired writing was the case for me with Artemis.

I am sad to write this, because I was looking forward to the book, but there is no way around it. The Moon, or rather Artemis as a setting sounded intriguing, but came across as forced world-building and a riff on something like Star Trek. All the "cool stuff" felt forced and unnatural, or just boring. The plot revolving around a half-assed heist was not enough to grab my attention, and my biggest issue beyond Jazz's irritating personality was probably that the plot and her mission are based on getting rich and screwing the system. Mark Watney's mission was survival and he was clever and cocky, but also thoughtful and well aware of his own mortality. I know comparing Artemis to The Martian may not be fair, but I can't help it. I rooted for Mark Watney with baited breath, and I could hardly have cared less about Jazz Bashara. Despite being worried for Mark, stranded on Mars, the book was also really fun, which Artemis was not for me. I am sure it is very difficult to compete with a sensation like The Martian and this book may simply be a sophomore slump. Artemis was voted the Goodreads Choice sci-fi winner this year (a month after publication, which feels a little unfair to some of the less famous nominated books) and has been getting loads and loads of positive attention, so I feel it is fair to be critical of it, too. I guess I feel especially frustrated as my expectations were so high, and I wonder whether other readers feel the same? That being said, I am not writing off Andy Weir's future books simply because this book was a let-down. I know he can do better, and am prepared to see him prove his ability and creativity in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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