Artemis by Andy Weir

Book Review

 


ArtemisBook Genre: Science Fiction, 

Book Series: N/A

Released: 11/14/17 by Crown Publishing

Pages: 384 Price: $27.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the Book: Amazon Artemis: A Novel

Source: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Book 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.

My Review:

Let me start this review off by stating that I love The Martian,  I mean really love that book.  If you follow my blog then you already know this because it seems like I am constantly pimping the book.  I have reviewed it three times after all…(all linked in this review) I was super excited to get my hands on Mr. Weir’s second title because I have also enjoyed many of his short stories that he has published on his website.  Let me also get this out-of-the-way, Artemis is not as strong a story as The Martian.  It simply isn’t.  That’s okay, though, there was a lot to live up to in The Martian and that doesn’t mean that Artemis isn’t a thoroughly enjoyable book because it is.  I’m still giving it five stars, not that I think they are equal, just that The Martian probably deserved like ten stars from me.

Before I started my review I decided to check out some of the other blogger’s thoughts on Artemis and found a mixed bag, some glowing some more critical.  I tend to agree with many of the points of either type of review but they didn’t sway my opinion and decision to give this book five stars.  Let me tell you why.

Lets start with Jazz who seems to receive most of the harsh criticism from reviewers.  Yep she is a little rough around the edges and it can be difficult for a male author to capture the essence of female-hood.  Not that it can’t be done, but it can be a challenge, just as the opposite can be true of a female writing a male.  The tendencies to get carried away with stereotypes can be strong, also sometimes the character can come off feeling a bit off.  Personally I liked Jazz.  I thought she was well written, sure a bit awkward at times and juvenile, but that isn’t necessarily mean she isn’t authentic.  When you take into account the history of the character I think Jazz is pretty true to form.  She was a young girl raised by a single father on the moon.  She is a tomboy and probably didn’t have a strong female role model in her life.  I think she works and have known people in real life like her.  She was smart and funny and I appreciated the strong moral code she lived her life as a smuggler under.  She was flawed but redeeming which makes for a pretty strong character in my book. Just because you might not like someone and think they are awkward doesn’t mean they are lacking.

Now for what I love most about Andy Weir’s books.  The science!  I love that his science fiction is based in real science.  He doesn’t cheat, at least to my non-scientific liberal-arts fine art-degree mind that is.  I might not understand everything he explains in his stories but I love the fact that he takes the time to anyway and doesn’t make me feel stupid in the meantime.  I also enjoy how the lead character talks to the reader, breaking the fourth wall can be tricky.  Easily overdone but not in this instance.  Weir uses it to keep the reader engaged and invested in the story not to mention for comedic reasons.  I loved it!

On last point in this book’s favor that I feel has been overlooked in all the reviews I’ve read thus far.  The diversity in this book is amazing!  I can’t think of a more diverse cast of characters in any book that I’ve ever read, and there have been quite a few.  I don’t know if this speaks more to my reading taste or the industry in general but one of us needs to expand our horizon’s more.  This book was amazing in this regard.  Jazz is a Muslim Saudi female who is the hero of this story!!!  I don’t want to spoil anything else (that was leaked already by Mr. Weir on Facebook) but this book does an excellent job of portraying a diverse blended society.  One other thing I noticed in this book was the lack of Americans.  I’m sure they were there but most of the main functions of this society were not run by companies or people from The United States.   Hmm.  I wonder if this was a bit of social commentary by the author of what might happen to a powerful society that rejects science.  I think it does.

Is the book perfect.  No it can feel a little awkward at times but it was still fun and the ending was amazing.  I can’t wait to add this title to my home library permanently.   I also can’t wait to share this review and book with you my followers and my library patrons.

My Rating: 5 Stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Among the Stars

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

September 26:  Ten Books That Feature Characters That live or work in Space

I’ve been on a science fiction kick lately so I decided for this open-ended topic I would pick ten characters that either live or work in space.  They might be human or alien or living on another planet but all of them will spend most of their story not on Earth. After all with all the crap going on right now space sounds like an ideal place to be despite its inherent danger….

Ten Characters That Live or Work in Space

  1. Yesterday's Son (Star Trek: The Yesterday Saga, #1)  Going to start with probably my favorite space character that I have.  Spock.  He was my first crush, and was the first alien I was introduced to growing up.  He remains one of my favorites and I often find myself longing for his cool, calm, detached logical facade.  Because we should all know by now that Vulcans do have emotions they have simply learned to control them.
  2. Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1) John Perry from Old Man’s War.  Here is what I said about him in the review: “The characters made this story, getting to know them and grow with them and grieve them. Took my breath away at the end. John is, of course, the main character in this story but also my favorite.”
  3. The Space Between the Stars Jamie Allenby in this fairly recent release is an interesting character.  She is far from perfect and faces a great internal battle for much of the book to overcome her past.  This is a science fiction story for those that want more of a character driven story than a hard-core science fiction.
  4. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) This is tough story to pick just one character from as it is the ensemble cast that makes this story great.  If I had to pick just one I would have to say Rosemary Harper was in my top three.
  5. Artemis Jazz Bashara is the main character in the upcoming release of Andy Weir’s next book.  I’m not going to say much more as I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone but I enjoyed her character quite a bit.
  6. Born of Legend (The League, #9) Not the latest release in this Kenyon series but the last one I’ve read and the only book in The League series that I’ve given five stars to. Danger is the type of character I love from Ms. Kenyon.  She spend countless books making us hate him only to have him redeemed in his book.  This was a great read!
  7. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1) Another instance of a great ensemble cast to pick from.  I’m going to pick Marvin from this story and mainly for the movie version of the character.  Who doesn’t love a depressed paranoid AI.
  8. Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1) I read this before I was writing reviews and it is a toss-up between the two lead characters as to which I enjoyed more.  For the sake of the list I’m going to pick Amy because why the hell not, its a good name ;).  (actually I’ve never been particularly fond of my name…)
  9. Tor (Women of Earth, #2) It has been a while since I read this one but I’m going to step out of my norm for the list and pick the character Mohawk as a favorite from this story.  Partially because he was mentioned in the review as one of my favorites and I do remember being rather fond of him.
  10. The Martian  I tried really hard to not put this book on the list.  I didn’t want more than one book by an author or from a series/franchise but I just couldn’t do it.  I’ve simply not read enough science fiction yet.  Then there is the fact that Mark Watney is an amazing character.  I loved so much about him!  His sarcasm, inventiveness, intelligence, wit, persistence! He will remain one of my favorite characters and stories for years to come.

Well there you have my list this week.  What characters that live or work in space do you love that I haven’t met yet?  Feel free to leave book suggestions in the comments!  Wrote your own TTT list?  Leave that there too for everyone to go check out!  Happy Reading~

ARC Star Trek: The Q Gambit by Mike Johnson – 4 Stars

Star Trek: Ongoing, Volume 9: The Q GambitCover art thanks to Goodreads, click on it to visit book’s page there.

Graphic Novel, says ongoing: Publication March 2015

I received a copy of this from the publisher through Net Galley for an honest review.

Synopsis:

The crew of the new Star Trek film franchise encounters the classic villain Q for the first time in this galaxy-spanning adventure developed in association with screenwriter/producer Roberto Orci! The mischievous Q sends James T. Kirk on a quest that will see the Enterprise joining forces with familiar faces from Star Trek lore.

My Review:

While this is not my first graphic novel (third maybe), it is the first one I have reviewed.  I’m kind of lost on how to begin and what to comment on.  A little back ground on why I picked this one up.  It was free for review on Net Galley and I am a huge Star Trek fan!   I figured why the hell not.

Reading a graphic novel is quite a different experience from a typical book. The story is much shorter, you don’t need to fill in all the imagery yourself and it doesn’t work so well on an e-reader.  I found the pages would lag and it disturb my reading flow and then you have the much smaller screen and teeny tinny little print.  I would have enjoyed and appreciated this much more if I had had the print version instead.

Otherwise the story was a lot of fun.  It took characters from two of the TV series and threw in the cast from the latest movie and sent them on an adventure orchestrated by perhaps one of my favorite Trek characters, Q.  So many great characters made cameos in this book I couldn’t wait to see who showed up next!  Compared to my last read the plot moves at warp speed and I found myself wishing for more pages.  I will definitely keep my eye out for more of these Star Trek graphic novels.

The art work was amazing and beautiful.  I was surprised at how well they captures these familiar ships and faces from the shows and movie.  Again the only thing I wish here is that I had the print version so I could have seen it on a grander scale.  I think it might have lost something on such a small screen.

If you are a Trekkie like me give this graphic novel a try.  I think it will keep you entertained for an afternoon and have you wanting to check more out.  It did me.

 

ARC Horizon by Keith Stevenson – 3 Stars

Horizon

Cover art thanks to Goodreads, click on it to visit book’s page there.

Release date: Nov 1, 2014

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley for a honest review.

Book Synopsis:

Thirty-four light years from Earth, the explorer ship Magellan is nearing its objective – the Iota Persei system. But when ship commander Cait Dyson wakes from deepsleep, she finds her co-pilot dead and the ship’s AI unresponsive. Cait works with the rest of her multinational crew to regain control of the ship, until they learn that Earth is facing total environmental collapse and their mission must change if humanity is to survive.

As tensions rise and personal and political agendas play out in the ship’s cramped confines, the crew finally reach the planet Horizon, where everything they know will be challenged.

My Review:

While I didn’t find myself getting totally engrossed and swept away by this story, I did enjoy it.  There was just something about it that kept me removed from what was going on.  The pacing, the descriptions, or maybe the main character.  It was an interesting story that I am glad I read, but  I didn’t love it.

So lets start with what I did enjoy about the story.  I liked the questions the story brought up more than anything.  I liked that this story set in the future humanity was still grappling with the same petty problems, only now they had global consequences that could no longer be ignored.  It was a pretty grim prediction of human nature, but I fear probably an accurate one.  This book is going to make people think about the real effects of our current course if we do not try to get along and work together or take care of our home. The technological advances were interesting too, especially how humans were able to interact with technology.  This is a thought-provoking story and I hope people read it for that alone.

What didn’t work for me.  I think the story could have been expanded.  I wished there was more information about life on Earth and how history got to this point.  There is a chart at the end, but I think a companion book or prequel would be nice to help set the story better.  I was confused a bit to how the countries and governments were now broken up.  We do get a good idea of what happen to the Earth, but the context was lost a little bit.  I would have also loved to spend more time on Horizon herself.  They went so far and so little time was actually spent discovering this new world.  Granted I think this was more a study of human nature and character then a space exploration, but still a little more time looking around would have been nice.

I was satisfied with the end, like I said I would have liked to read more about this story set before Horizon.  It is a good story, interesting, but wish it had something more.

Born of Fury by Sherrilyn Kenyon – 3 Stars

Born of Fury (The League, #7)Cover art thanks to Goodreads, click on it to visit book’s page there.

Book # 7 in The League series

I own a copy of this book on my Nook

Book Synopsis:

The war is on…

Counted among the fiercest Andarion warriors ever born, Hauk is one of the five founding members of the Sentella- an organization that has declared war on the League that rules the Ichidian universe with an iron fist and terrifies it with an army of well-trained assassins. Hauk’s enemies are legion, but he fears nothing and no one. He will do whatever it takes to survive and protect his Sentella brethren.

Sumi Antaxas is one of the best assassins the League has ever trained. In her world, failure is not an option and she has never met a target she couldn’t execute. So when she’s assigned Hauk, she believes it’ll be a quick and easy mission.

But nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and Hauk is far better trained and skilled than his dossier shows. More than that, as she pursues him, she stumbles upon the key that will bring down not only Hauk, but the entire Sentella organization.

In the race to report her information, she is overtaken by enemies out to end her as effectively as she intends to end Hauk. Now her only key to survival is the one man she’s been sent to kill. And Hauk doesn’t trust her at all.

The only question is, will he help her to live… or send her to her grave.

My Review:

Alright last review was a glowing tribute to Ms. Kenyon, this one not so much.  Still my favorite author, but this book was a bit of a struggle for me to get into.  I love her League series as much as I adore her Dark-Hunter world, but this one was not one of my favorite contributions to that world.  I’m glad I read it, but might not be re-reading it.

Lets get the negative out-of-the-way first.  What didn’t work for me? Or more like what didn’t I care for.  All the crap having to do with the kids.  Kids, kids, kids everywhere in this book.  Babies, teens, toddlers everyone in this world is reproducing and about 25% of the story was dealing with kid crap.  NOT what I want to read about.  I’m happy that they are all happy in their H.E.Aers, but I don’t need scenes by the pool, shopping sprees for the youngster and about half of the expedition into the wilderness with the two teens could have been cut.  Some of it was cute and/or funny, but much of it was just boring to me.  I’m not a fan of children, and to me many of these kids, especially the young ones are far more developed than they would be communication wise in reality and it came off as inauthentic.   This was the only major complaint I had about the book.  I do want the characters to have large families, if they want them, but I really don’t want to read about it, or perhaps just less of it.  I would love it if Ms. Kenyon could have a character in her world that didn’t want to reproduce at the drop of a hat.  I guess one other complaint I have is the insta-families that were created out of thin air.  I must have an easier time accepting insta-love over insta-families.  It take time to build up that type of acceptance and a young child would not have become so attached or trusting of someone who shows up and tells her he is her father.  Just wouldn’t have happen.

Alright rant over.  What did I enjoy about the book.  I liked Hauk and thought that Sumi was a great match for him.  The scenes between the two of them, minus children, were great and I was so happy to see how she handled his family.  Like I said the first half of the book was slow for me, but the second half picked up and it was nice to see so many familiar faces and see them stand up for Hauk and Sumi.  I hope the next book deals a little more with this upcoming or current war, I would really like to see Kyr get what is coming to him.  I also enjoyed getting to know Fain and look forward to his story.  We learn quite a bit about the Andarion race in this book.  What a twisted civilization they are, warriors who are not accepted once they get a scar, really.   Oh well,  some of the things frustrated me about their world, but I still found it interesting.

Overall, despite all the kid crap I had to wade through, I did enjoy the book and like most of Kenyon’s works it had a great message about good over evil and being there for those you love.

 

The Martian by Andy Weir – 5 Stars!

The Martian

 

Cover art thanks to Goodreads, click on it to visit book’s page there.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through the Blogging for Books for an honest review.

They also asked that I share these links:

The Martian Press ReleaseA Conversation with Andy WeirAuthor Bio

Book Synopsis:

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

My Review:

I’m so excited about this book I’m not sure where to start with the review.  (Be prepared for a love fest…)  I LOVED this book!  If I could give it more than five stars I would.  I took a look at some of the other reviews, well mainly the negative ones cause I could not believe people didn’t like this book, and I can see some of the points they were making.  But you know what?  I don’t care.  This book worked for me and I think it will work for many readers out there.

So I should tell you how much of an annoying person I was while reading this book.  After getting 30 pages into it I handed it to my husband and told him to read the first chapter.  I then went to Facebook and even a post here to sing my praises of this book.  I then jumped on Goodreads to find out more about the author and what other books he has written ( none).  He did write a short story called  The Egg, which is also brilliant and available for free (go read it, I’ll wait). After all that research I settled in to enjoy my story, only to be compelled to follow my husband around the house reading him excerpts.  Well, until he told me to stop…  I have been such a pain to live with because I am so excited about this story.  I wanted to go out and buy a case of them and hand the book out to strangers and say “Here read this book.”  I still say someday Hollywood is going to take this story and utterly destroy it with a sad attempt at capturing its brilliance in film.  They will fail.

Alright you get it, I liked the book.  No, LOVED it.  So why?  The main reason, and the reason most often cited against the book, was the humor.  Who would have though a story about a man being stranded on Mars facing death at every turn would be so funny.  And it was.  If you are not a fan of sarcasm, witty on-liners and gallows humor then the book isn’t for you, but personally it is what made the story for me.  I loved that even in this serious life and death situation the main character was able to look death in the eye and crack a joke.

I also loved all the science, not that I got it all, but the author did a great job of making it understandable for people like me who can’t do basic math without a calculator and never did well in science class.  Everything seemed plausible to me and I was delighted the few times I would see a solution right before the main character did.  This is the ultimate survival story.  If you think surviving on a deserted island is hard, try Mars.  The technology didn’t seem too far into the future either.  It helped make the story feel like this is something that could take place in our near future.  Which I believe made it more relatable or understandable for readers.

The character is another aspect that made the story for me.  We aren’t just following Mark around from one near death experience to another for 369 pages. There is also the crew that was forced to abandon him and the teams at NASA down on Earth.  This helped to round out the story and broke up the journal entries which account for much of our time with Mark.  The author did an excellent job of creating people I cared about.  You root for these characters,  you want them to succeed.  They are likable and Mark wasn’t the only one with a sense of humor.  Some complained that they were one-dimensional, but I disagree.  They are trying to overcome a terrible accident and many of them are confined to a planet or a spaceship,  a lot of their back stories are not needed to make this one work.

The story is fairly formulaic; there is a problem, think up solution, implement solution all the while making jokes.  Didn’t bother me, but did notice it about mid-book.  Would have been nice if Mark had a break from time to time, but that probably would have made a more boring book.  This book is a survival thriller that grabbed me from chapter one and didn’t let up until the very end.  I’m serious,  it wasn’t until the last page that we know how everything ends up.  I laughed a lot in this book, cried some even and that last few pages I held my breath as I read.  This is an amazing story, go get a copy and READ IT!  I don’t think you will be disappointed.

OMG! My new obsession, The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian

Don’t wait for my review.  Go get yourself a copy of  The Martian by Andy Weir and READ. THIS. BOOK!  If the first 61 pages are any indication this is going to be an amazing read.  The humor is outrageous, a dry witty gallows humor, it is a compelling thriller/survival story about an astronaut stranded on Mars with only 30 days worth of food, no communication and nobody expected to return to the planet for 4 years.  There is quite a bit of science involved, but the author does a good job of writing it  for us who are not so inclined(bright).  Someday Hollywood is going take this book and ruin it with a movie.  Read it first!    Sorry couldn’t wait I had to share…