Published: 14 November 2017
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Category: Science Fiction
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.
Rating: DNF @ Pg. 78
I wanted to like this book for two primary reasons. The first was that the narrator of the book is Rosario Dawson, one of my favorite actors currently working. The second reason was that the plot sounded really cool. A heist of sorts on the moon? Neat!
However, the tone of the book and that of the writer led to me putting it down around page 78.
Why? The narrator, Jazz, was nice enough as a character until the author slid in lines that made her talk down to the readers. I felt condescended to more than once. There was a scene in particular when Jazz is buying clothes and mentions a niqab, then proceeding to say that the reader needn’t bother continuing to pretend like that know what that is. Seriously? Yes, in fact, I did know before reading this book, but even if I hadn’t, why would you phrase something in this manner?
That scene was actually really problematic for me not only because of what Jazz says to the reader, but also the comment she makes about buying a niqab and wearing it paired with a hijab: it’s a great way to wear a mask without arousing suspicions. I wanted to throw the book because in the current climate, WHY THE F*** would you say that? It’s incredibly insensitive and furthers the belief that religious women wearing one are underhanded or something.
Something else I noticed was that either the author or the editor was really inconsistent when talking about clothes from Kenya or Saudi Arabia. When Jazz meets the head of Artemis, the Kenyan woman is wearing a dhuku, a type of head wrapping. No explanation is put in parentheses, you just learn that in context clues. However, any time a item of Saudi clothing comes up, such as the religious head wear that Jazz’s father wears, there’s an explanation that details what it is. I can’t see that there was a reason for this and the inconsistency was off putting.
The sheer amount of detail jam packed into Artemis is amazing. I am assuming that the author knows what they’re talking about or they researched a whole lot because every other page there was an explanation of how the air filters worked or something other piece of trivia about the Artemis colony surviving on the moon. Getting to know how things work is great, but for great swaths of writing I felt like I was reading a technical manual and it was not a fun one. I could feel myself getting bored long before the horrible comments about Jazz’s niqab.
I’ve haven’t read Andy Weir’s other book, The Martian, so I can’t say for myself whether this is typical of his writing, but I can’t recommend Artemis. I listened to the audiobook partly and even Rosario Dawson’s reading couldn’t save it. A unique problem there is that her accents didn’t come across well; they sounded to me like she wasn’t putting in the effort I’d expect to learn what these voices should really sound like.
Artemis gets a big nope from me.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.