Author: Andy Weir
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Jasmine Bashara never signed up to be a hero. She just wanted to get rich.
“And like all good plans, it required a crazy Ukrainian guy.” (p. 55)
This was a fun ride! Jazz is a smuggler, moving illicit things around her home town of Artemis, a lunar based town of 2,000. It kinda pays the bills, if your idea of home is a coffin sized bunk and food is flavored algae.
Like all good smugglers, Jazz dreams bigger. Just one big job away from paying her debt and moving into a better compartment with better food. But, she gets more than she bargained for when she agrees to do a little sabotage for a very wealthy patron.
At its heart, this is a caper novel. Jazz has to enlist the help of her ex-boyfriend’s current partner, the crazy Ukrainian guy, and her devout father whose trade is welding at which, of course, Jazz has turned up her nose.
Aretmis is not The Martian. Those expecting that have been disappointed. And that’s unfair to Andy Weir. I really like that he wrote a strong, female protagonist who lives off her wits and solves the puzzle of which political faction wants to destroy her home town, all the while saving it.
Jazz is quirky. Her relationship with her devout Muslim father is strained, he heartily disapproves of the way she chooses to live. The crazy Ukrainian guy is an inventor and has a predictable role to play in Jazz’s life.
The math and science aren’t as strong in Artemis, even still I got lost in the explanations why things worked the way they did in gravity 1/6th of Earth’s. The story itself was fairly predictable. And yet, I still enjoyed the twists and turns and Jazz’s predictable snarky bravado.
I wanted to go to space so much, still do, as a tourist. Space programs fascinate me and getting to be a counselor at Space Camp in Mountain View was nearly heaven for me. Andy Weir’s homage to the Apollo program put a big goofy smile on my face.
There’s a saying, “You can’t be what you can’t see,” and I found myself wishing there had been more protagonists like Jazz to read when I was a much, much younger bookworm. Not being able to go to space because I was a female had become so normalized for me that it took Jazz to realize it didn’t have to be.
My prayer for girls and young women is that they find female characters who show them they can be what they want. As uneven and predictable as Artemis can be, it’s worth reading just for character development of a smart young woman named Jazz.