Artemis is the long-awaited second novel from the author that brought us the outstanding novel-turned-movie, The Martian. Now the question remains, did Artemis live up to the expectations set by its predecessor, or is Andy Weir a one trick pony ?
Just like with The Martian, Andy Weir doesn’t look very far to create his world, but what he does create is very thorough and thought out. Throughout the novel we get little tidbits thrown our way on how Artemis is built, how life-support works, how labor is distributed, how tourism is a major part of the economy and how the economy of a moon city works. Instead of huge info dumps, the information is scattered throughout the novel, and only dispensed when it’s relevant to the plot, something I did appreciate. The picture he paints is vibrant and built on solid science.
Just like with The Martian, we have a very small cast, albeit a bit larger this time, on whose shoulders the entire faith of the “world” rests. Our main character Jazz is a bit of a strange one. I kept getting rebellious teen vibes the whole time, even though she’s supposed to be 26. This was not helped by the audiobook narrator whose voice really did match that of a pouty 16 year old. She does swear a lot, so maybe that was supposed to convince me ? Other than that, she’s smart, flip, witty and her own worst critic, reminded me a LOT of a certain martian I might have mentioned before. This being a strictly first-person POV, we got to spend a lot of time in her head and, it might just be me, this should be addressed by other 26 year old women, but her mind works in weird ways.
The secondary characters felt a bit flat though, like cardboard cutouts that stood in where necessary.
Jazz, the hot, petty criminal that’s good at everything she does, is tasked to do something and it turns out, she’s not as good at it and she messes up. That sums up about half of the novel. The other half is spent trying to fix the shit she messed up, by alternatively messing it up again, and then fixing it, again.
The story didn’t really impress. It was quite straightforward and lacked depth. There’s only one real storyline and everything builds on that, now one might argue that The Martian used the exact same setup, and I loved that book to pieces, but at least in the case of The Martian, I would then argue that that was wholy because the plot didn’t really allow for anything else.
The man was stranded on mars, there isn’t much to do alongside that other than getting him off that rock. In Artemis, there’s a whole city, built inside of multiple domes, with 2000+ people living and working there. I have the feeling that more should be possible. As it stand, the story is a bit “lazy” and “easy”.
Let’s continue our theme of comparison and say that the writing is on par with that of The Martian, and that, other than the forced first person POV, I don’t really have any problems with it. The flippy, witty humor is still funny, (although I find Jazz less funny than Mark) and the descriptions are solid and clear. It’s all very utilitarian, but that compliments the story really well.
Andy Weir obviously did his homework when it comes to the science of living on the moon, and as a tech-nerd, I appreciate that.
To sum it up, this novel isn’t as good as The Martian was, mostly because it feels like the same novel, with differente building blocks, but the same skeleton. I did enjoy reading this, but it definitely didn’t stand out as much as I hoped for. Solid 3 stars.