Andy Weir’s newest novel Artemis drops today, and I was one of the lucky few to receive an advance copy for review. I spent the course of two weeks balancing reading the book and performing my daily routine, but it’s worth noting I read a majority of it during my last two days. That should tell you one thing: this thing is goood.
God, this is gonna be hard not giving away any spoilers.
If you’re unfamiliar with Andy Weir, he’s the brains behind the hit novel The Martian which originally debuted back in 2011 when it was first published. It became a major success and eventually, Fox bought out the rights to produce the movie which it did back in 2015. Since then, things have remained radio silent surrounding Weir’s next project, but as of today, you can walk into your local Barnes & Noble and pick it up, entitled Artemis.
For reference, here’s what Artemis is about. Essentially, it’s about a smuggler who lives in a city on the Moon. The city, unsurprisingly, is called Artemis and consists of five “bubbles.” These “bubbles” are where folks get things done such as live, eat, work, and, yes, smuggle things. As a touch of nostalgia, Weir decided to name the hubs after some pretty famous people: Armstrong, Aldrin, Conrad, Bean, and Shepard. Various airlocks, a visitors center to view the Apollo 11’s descent module, a train that runs from an aluminum smelter to the city and back, and more are all found on the map of Artemis.
This was Weir’s canvas to paint his picture upon. And, of course, the main character he stroked with his paintbrush, named Jasmine Bashara, has wit, chemistry, and a personality that grips readers from the moment they pick up Artemis. The same can be said about Mark Watney in The Martian. There’s a pretty grand resemblance between the two characters and you can tell the same author is behind them both.
And that’s why current fans of Weir’s work will love this book. Immediately, they’ll attach to Jasmine much like they did Mark. The same smarty-pants jokes, quick-witted off-the-cuff comments, and I-don’t-give-a-care attitude stretches to both characters and creates a familiar face for an entirely new concept.
Touching a bit more on Jasmine herself, she’s one of the workers who manage shipments that come into Artemis from Earth and deliver them to folks around the city. Someone with that kind of access to things, of course, could make a quick buck simply by telling no one what’s inside a certain package, and that’s just what happens. In fact, it’s her main source of income since the job she has pays very little “slugs” (the currency found on the Moon).
Jasmine is also rather skilled in certain ways I won’t get into. That’s why a pretty important guy who happens to have a bunch of money makes an offer to Bashara to do some dirty work in exchange for quite a fortune. She accepts, but by doing so, puts her life in her hands and risks either being killed by a mobster or being deported to Saudi Arabia after living on the Moon from a very young age.
Without giving any important details away, I can tell you this book is gripping. I’m a bit of a space/sci-fi junky, and this book has it all: space, the Moon, chemicals, science, you name it. You even feel smart while reading this book since Weir made it scientifically accurate like he did The Martian. Of course, I’m sure there’s a slip up somewhere in the book that wouldn’t sit easy with the most trained engineer or chemist, but for the average reader, you’ll feel like you’ve already known all the information shared. And that’s a pretty nice feeling.
I’ll admit, the beginning of the book feels a bit empty and doesn’t grab your attention as much as I was hoping, but as soon as reach chapter 4 or 5, things start heating up. Colorful characters, a few jerks, and the occasional authority that Jasmine hates pop up throughout the story in ways that just work. I probably sound like Weir’s paying me to say this, but there’s nothing that doesn’t work in this book.
If I had to be nit-picky, I’d say the consistent use of sexual jokes is a bit much. I mean, it’s a space novel, not the next entry in 50 Shades of Gray. Of course, if there were one or two references I wouldn’t even have to mention them in this review, but at least to me, the excessive use of a few choice words is a bit much and, ironically, is a turn-off.
That being said, everything else about Artemis is delightful. The way Weir has envisioned a city on the Moon seems like it could actually happen at some point in the not-so-far-off future. The entire book balances itself between quick wit, scientific references, and the whole running-for-your-life-otherwise-you’ll-get-deported thing. I have to say, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, and if you buy it, you won’t regret it.
For returning fans of Andy Weir, you’re probably wondering whether this book is any better than The Martian. Considering these books happen in two different places at two different time periods, it’s hard to compare the books to determine whether one’s better than the other. However, I can say you’ll immediately fall in love with it. Everything will feel familiar yet new with different twists and turns that will demand your attention. In a nutshell, you’ll probably like it as much as you did The Martian.
Oh yeah, and everyone eats Gunk on the Moon. You’ll find out why by picking up Artemis or by entering our giveaway and winning a free copy.