I’m finally getting out of my holiday slump to write some reviews and check in on how everything has been. I partially blame it on all the Black Friday Sales I was combing through but honestly I was just vegging out. Although I’ve now got all the pieces to build myself a decent PC so there’s that.
Author: Andy Weir
Genre: Science Fiction
ROTS Setting: CU, Modern, Hard Scifi
Synopsis: 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.
Recommendation: Definitely recommended. Teen or older, with mild language and references to sex and drugs.
I was honestly a bit nervous heading into this book and I’ve very glad that I was. It made me slow down a bit and focus on what’s actually on the page. What I found was a solid novel with good characters and decent plot.
Jazz, the main character, grew up on the moon and the bizarre societal culture that had developed there. It’s got a small town feel but with intense divisions just like the environment in which it exists. I enjoyed the quirks in her personality and found her to be layered and textured in all the most interesting ways while still having points of relatabilty. Other reviews I read said that she knew things she shouldn’t, but I found her character to be meticulously detailed. She wasn’t an expert on everything but she was a hyper-competent person and given time she could be above average at pretty much anything. Those times in which an expert was actually needed she went to the expert and had them do it. Really, she was an amazing character even if I wouldn’t have liked her on a personal level.
I’d also like to address the comparisons to Mark Watney, the MC of Andy Weir’s first novel The Martian. There are similarities but I’d venture that their mostly due to association than them actually being the same. The snarky attitudes while superficially similar are actually almost polar opposites. Watney has a professional quality to his sarcasm, as if it’s just a single minor aspect to his overall personality but when put under intense stress it comes to the forefront. Jazz is extremely casual with her sarcasm and it feels like it’s a major aspect of her personality that developed as an almost defense mechanism due to the extremes she’d had to grow up with. Again, their both extremely intelligent but one used that to get where they are and the other is using it to do the least amount of work to get by. So the same but opposite. I had been concerned that Mr. Weir was just going to reuse and adapt his first character to fit this but Jazz is very much her own person and the similarities are probably mostly due to Mr. Weir’s own personality than anything else.
As for the setting, it’s way more complex and interesting than the summaries or synopses conveyed. The plot is decent but not absolutely amazing. The plot didn’t pull me out of the experience and all the sciency bits were just amazing. (In fact, I’m reading another book set on the moon, by accident, and it’s making all the inaccuracies standout. Curse you, Andy Weir, for your accurate portrayal of living on the moon!)
In summary, I really enjoyed myself and I can’t wait hear what Mr. Weir is up to next.