Let’s be frank, The Martian was a great little book. Good for kids, good for adults, and a whole mess of science told in a way that makes you want to do science. So of course I was excited that author Andy Weir wrote another science fiction novel: this time set on the moon! Let’s be frank again: Artemis is so bad it makes me think The Martian might be bad. Kids who read The Martian will wonder if Artemis is what grown up books are like and give up reading, and adults will wonder if a child wrote it.
There’s a lot to hate here, so let’s run down the plot real quick. Jasmine “Jazz” Bashira is a smuggling courier who just happens to also be really smart and good with anything technological (zero effort required). She’s tasked by one of her billionaire clients, Trond, into destroying another companies mining equipment, thus allowing him to establish a monopoly on the tiny moon colony. Only the company is owned by the Brazilian mafia. There’s a lot of money to be made and they don’t take too kindly to losing it. As a plot, I’ve read worse.
But the execution is so so bad.
Jazz is the first and worst character of the book. She’s childish, she could be anywhere from 14 to 28 based on her dialogue. You know that trope of male authors writing female characters in unrealistic ways? This is ten times worse than anything in Game of Thrones. At least that was well-written unrealistic thoughts. We have zero reason to like her, absolutely none. Zero reason to root for her, since honestly she’s kind of a dick to every single person she meets and they just ‘like’ her for no reason. And finally, one of her entire motivating character arcs is that she can’t get over a guy.
Wait, it gets worse.
She can’t get over this guy because he was super nice to her. We never meet this guy, so he has nothing to say about all this. But he left her for her best friend. Who is also a guy. So he’s gay, right? Sorry about your relationship ending but this guy finally discovered his true self. NOPE. SHE HATES HIM NOW. And her old best friend! For fucking him! She brings this point up mercilessly over and over again. Get over yourself. It’s not like he’s described as bi, yes he shouldn’t have cheated on her, but have a little heart. This book isn’t so far in the future that gay people aren’t routinely discriminated against. In a whole host of dumb character decisions, this one irked me the most.
About her. The rest of the cast is equally mentally disturbed in their subservience to the plot. That best friend from earlier (who “stole” her boyfriend), despite knowing that she committed corporate sabotage and broke all of the very few laws on the moon, LETS HER OFF THE HOOK BECAUSE HE’S SAD SHE’S NOT FRIENDS WITH HIM ANYMORE :(((. Obviously, she treats him like a dick because that’s Jazz! This fucking idiot is risking both his job and his life on the moon just to get his drinking buddy back. A drinking buddy who hates him. You know, for being gay.
The only saving grace of this book is that the suffering is quick. I flew through it like I was hate watching TV. I could go on and on but I’ll let the Washington Post do it for me: 5 Worst Scenes from Andy Weir’s New Book
God-awful dialogue, thin, poorly written characters, and nary an editor in sight: Artemis is the worst book I’ve read this year. Don’t read it.
0 out of 4 stars.