Published by Crown on November 14th 2017
The Martian was a spectacular hit, and I’m sure the first question on everyone’s minds is “how does this compare”? Well, it had a very different feel. The type of humor was similar, but not quite the same. In The Martian, the humor all stemmed from surviving on Mars, and was self deprecating and a bit dark in the ways he might die, or how others might see ultimate demise. Jazz definitely has a bit darker sense of humor as well, but its not as life and death, and maybe doesn’t come across quite as nice. I don’t mean that as a negative, just that is how I compared the two styles.
In this book, the moon has been colonized with a single city called Artemis. The city is a connected series of multi-level domes, where people under or above ground. The city has both permanent residents as well as many wealthy tourists, because really, who wouldn’t want to go visit the moon if they have the means. Because of the controlled atmosphere that allows humans to survive on the inhospitable moon, there are many restrictions on substances and items allowed in Artemis. Anything that could pose a fire hazard is extremely dangerous and outlawed.
Enter Jazz. Her legitimate day job is as a porter, delivering packages across Artemis. But her main job is as a smuggler, delivering those contraband items that people in Artemis are looking for. I enjoyed Jazz’s character. She is strong and smart and fiercely independent. I also enjoyed her sense of humor. You could also say Jazz is a bit of a Mary Sue. When I say she is smart, that is a bit of an understatement. She is a whiz at figuring things out, and honestly, sometimes those deductions and scientific reasonings seemed to come a bit too easy when she was outside of an area of expertise. (I can understand if it is in her background, but when something new to her pops up, she still seems to reach expert level awfully quick). This really didn’t detract much from my enjoyment of the book, and Jazz was certainly not infallible, but I do suspect some readers will find her resolutions a bit “easy”. That said, Weir does still include scientific explanations for many of the problems, events and solutions presented in the book. I didn’t find it anywhere close to being hard to follow, or overly scientific. Really, it was presented quite simplistically, likely to ensure readers could follow and still feel like there was a sound basis for what was happening.
Overall, I would say this was an incredibly fun book. Is it perfect? I don’t think so, but I also find that I didn’t care much about the imperfections I did notice. I don’t think readers should go in expecting more of The Martian, but do know that some of the key traits from The Martian (that “off” sense of humor and a very bright and scientific protagonist) are present in Artemis as well.