Emily May's Reviews > Artemis

Artemis by Andy Weir
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did not like it
bookshelves: sci-fi, arc, 2017

1 1/2 stars. I really wish I could say I liked this. A couple of years back, I gave in to the hype and read Weir's The Martian, and I have to say-- I loved it. The scary scenario of being stranded so far away from everything and everyone you know, the very high probability that Mark Watney wouldn't survive, his chirpy sense of humour that keeps him going... unfortunately,Artemis's plot is convoluted and less exciting. And Jazz Bashara is SO ANNOYING.

Look, I completely get why Mark Watney annoyed some readers and, given that Weir transplanted his personality and awkward sense of humour into Jazz, it might seem a bit contradictory to have a problem with her personality. But, you know, Mark's narration worked for me because I could imagine this man in the middle of space needing to stay peppy and chatty. His inner narrative is conversational because he is talking to himself - and the reader - to avoid losing all hope. With Jazz, it doesn’t work so well.

Even though Jazz is a woman in her twenties and Arab, she is basically Mark Watney. You can tell Weir really struggled to adapt his writing style in order to write from the perspective of that most alien of all species - THE WOMAN. Jazz has the sense of humour of a twelve-year-old boy. Her constant quips feel forced and unnecessary. Some of the comments she makes about her sex life and body are just... not funny. She's the local lunar tramp, which is, apparently, so hilarious. But her whole narrative is just plain awkward.
I turned my head inside the helmet, bit a nipple (try not to get excited), and sucked some water out.

***

“Billy, I’ve swallowed better-tasting stuff that came out of people.”

And what grown woman responds like this:
“What’s in there, anyway?”
“Porn, mostly. Starring your mom.”

The real problem for me, though, was that I could not get invested in this half-assed heist plot. I was bored out of my mind with the random talk of gangsters, smuggling, some scientific sabotage blah blah and - oh my god - the welding. Mark Watney talked science to explain how he was going to survive and feed himself on Mars; Jazz talks science to explain the mechanics of welding. I couldn't understand why we were supposed to give a damn about this heist, or the whole conspiracy that develops out of it. Who cares whether Jazz earns herself some slugs (lunar currency)? Who cares if that guy who I didn't give a shit about dies?

Weir takes some minor steps toward making the setting interesting, but then does nothing with it. This lunar colony is run by Kenyans, which is intriguing, but the culture is unmistakably American, and he never expands upon why or how Kenyans came to be controlling space travel. It is like a throwaway fun fact without context or explanation. The main story is also broken up with Jazz's letters to a Kenyan pen pal, starting when she is nine years old, but this never really goes anywhere and feels kind of pointless.

Also, the author chooses to have a Muslim (non-practicing) narrator, which could lead to important representation, but it's hard not to cringe when he addresses his narrative to a solely white, non-Muslim audience:
"Okay, you can stop pretending you know what a niqab is. It’s a traditional Islamic headwear that covers the lower face."

And then goes on to show Jazz using said niqab as a disguise while carrying out criminal activity. She pleasantly declares:
"Great way to wear a mask without arousing suspicion.”

Yikes.

It's just a very messy book overall, with a narrator that tries to be Mark Watney and fails, and a plot that tries to be compelling but isn't. Where the science added thrills and realism in The Martian, here it bogs the story down with boring detail. Weir should stick to survival stories with male narrators.

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Comments Showing 1-50 of 241 (241 new)


message 1: by Luxx (new)

Luxx Yikes. I hesitated on deciding if I wanted to take a stab at this one after I failed to connect with The Martian but now I think the choice is clear. Sorry this one didn't work for you.


message 2: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura I am so glad for your review. I started reading this but got annoyed with Jazz and couldn't continue. Glad to know it was not just me.


Emily May Laura wrote: "I am so glad for your review. I started reading this but got annoyed with Jazz and couldn't continue. Glad to know it was not just me."

Oh phew - also glad to hear it's not just me. All the early reviews I've seen on GR have been positive. I get that Jazz is very similar to Mark Watney but, hell, it just did not work here :/


message 4: by Dyann (new)

Dyann Well, that makes my BOTM easier to choose


Nikki "The Crazie Betty" V. This bums me out so bad. I LOVED The Martian, but even the blurb for this one didn't call out to me.


Gabby I just finished reading it and I was internally debating whether I liked this book or not and I came across your review and you put into words how I am feeling about Jazz! I feel like this is one of those books where it's painfully obvious that it was written by a man haha. I couldn't exactly pin point what exactly didn't work for me in this story until I saw this review and I completely agree with everything you said! Mark Watney's humor didn't work for Jazz. I agree Weir should stick to male narrators and survival stories!


message 7: by Brittany's (new) - added it

Brittany's Pages Is it bad to say that I find this review hilarious and entertaining?


Andi Jo Your review is giving me life. I had so many similar problems while reading this one. I loved this: "You can tell Weir really struggled to adapt his writing style in order to write from the perspective of that most alien of all species - THE WOMAN". Honestly, it was just cringe worthy. I couldn't sympathize with Jazz...and I didn't want to.


Holly  B I wanted to like it more as well!


message 10: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (MetalPhantasmReads) Well I won't be reading this...I'll still read The Martian but man that's awful stuff. Thanks as always for your reviews. Those quotes told me all I needed to know :/


message 11: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Thompson Oh no! My husband and i were pretty excited about this book because the Martian was so compelling. Sorry to hear it’s such a train wreck :(


lady victoriana just fyi, Arabic = language, Arab = person.


message 13: by Craig (new) - added it

Craig Tyler And here's an issue: both this book and the latest Expanse novel are on the Goodreads Best Books of 2017 ballot under sci-fi despite neither of them being published yet.


message 14: by Kay Dee (new) - added it

Kay Dee Thanks Hadeer! i thought they were interchangeable. whoops.


message 15: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle I was looking forward to reading this book because I enjoyed The Martian, but now I’m reconsidering picking it up.


Emily May Hadeer wrote: "just fyi, Arabic = language, Arab = person."

Thank you for your comment! I actually thought it sounded off when I read it, but I didn't know for sure. Jazz introduces herself to her pen pal as "I’m not white. I’m Arabic." >.<

For my review, is it correct to say she is Arab? Or should it be written as a noun - "she is an Arab"?


message 17: by Christian (new)

Christian Ekman Damn. I was planning on reading this, but I'm pretty sure I'll be annoyed by exactly the same things you were. I can very well see him trying to write about a very different character from Mark Watney, but then ending up having the other character have the same personality and humor anyway.


Amanda Agree with you, I really wanted to like this but didn't like it nearly as much as I thought I would.


message 19: by Amber J. (new)

Amber J. You had convinced me not to buy this book until I got halfway thru and saw you mention that the lunar colony is run by Kenyans, then I knew I had to have this book.

I never really see books with Kenyan representation, so I guess I have to take what I can get.


lady victoriana omg she calls herself Arabic in the book??? Wow. >.< Maybe Weir should have considered an Arab sensitivity reader...

"She is Arab" is preferable. I don't know that there's anything wrong with "She's an Arab" but it just sounds a bit stiff, I think (kind of like, say, "She's Italian" vs "She's an Italian"). It might also be an Americanism vs. Britishism thing I'm unaware of.


Emily May Amber J. wrote: "You had convinced me not to buy this book until I got halfway thru and saw you mention that the lunar colony is run by Kenyans, then I knew I had to have this book.

I never really see books with K..."


Yeah, the selection of books set in Kenya is tiny. Have you tried City of Saints & Thieves? I thought that was a good thriller and it's one of the few set in Kenya.


Emily May Hadeer wrote: "omg she calls herself Arabic in the book??? Wow. >.< Maybe Weir should have considered an Arab sensitivity reader...

"She is Arab" is preferable. I don't know that there's anything wrong with "She..."


Or, at the very least, he should have done some better research :/ And thank you, I will leave it as "she is Arab", which sounds better to me, too.


message 23: by Luke (new) - added it

Luke crumbs! had pre ordered this from audible but may reconsider after this pretty damning review.


Megan Leigh Agreed. This book was awful.


message 25: by Athene (new) - added it

Athene Yikes, indeed :/ sad that this didn't hold up to The Martian (which you pointed me toward!)


message 26: by CindyToo (new) - added it

CindyToo Bubble burst. *sigh*


message 27: by Amber J. (new)

Amber J. Emily May wrote: "I thought that was a good thriller and it's one of the few set in Kenya."

Thanks so much for the recommendation. I will check it out.


Sarah Ditto Racheal


message 29: by Georgeanna (new) - added it

Georgeanna Oh no :(


message 30: by gelowmichael (new) - added it

gelowmichael :(


message 31: by Stacie (new) - added it

Stacie C I dnf'ed this not even halfway through. So disappointed.


message 32: by Laura (new)

Laura Well now I don’t have to pick this one up. Thanks for another great review Emily!


message 33: by Belinda (new)

Belinda Frisch Ouch! Thank you for the thorough review. I hadn't read The Martian but I loved the movie and considered (briefly because sci-fi is not my cuppa) giving Artemis a try. It is now way down my list.


message 34: by Anne ✨ (new)

Anne ✨ Great review! Thanks for saving me from this displeasurable experience!


message 35: by Izabela (new)

Izabela Thank you for confirming I did not need to read this.


message 36: by Dai (new)

Dai Tilley Bummer... I laughed aloud reading The Martian, recommended it to countless people, and cried at the end, so I got more than a little excited when I saw that this was coming out! On closer look, doesn't seem to be for me.


message 37: by Tammy (new) - added it

Tammy I agree, Emily. I started this and just couldn’t bear it.


message 38: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Glad I read this review! I cancelled my pre-order of the audiobook. Doesn't sound worth my time when I have so many other books waiting on my tbr.


message 39: by Maria M (new) - added it

Maria M Wow, im NOT gonna get this book now! Thanks for the heads up!!


message 40: by Bea (new)

Bea I was so excited about this book, but reading your review makes me want to cross it off my to be read list. I loved The Martian, though.


message 41: by Anna (new) - added it

Anna ...it's interesting that you feel this way about Jazz, because as a woman, I still make jokes like these. Thus I would argue that she isn't an unrealistic portrayal of a woman, but as for annoying... Lol, I guess it is. But to be honest, I make way too many sex jokes, and I think it's hilarious too, so I don't think his portrayal was unrealistic.


Emily May Anna wrote: "...it's interesting that you feel this way about Jazz, because as a woman, I still make jokes like these. Thus I would argue that she isn't an unrealistic portrayal of a woman, but as for annoying...."

Haha, thanks for your perspective, Anna. Though I'm sure your jokes flow more naturally than Jazz's do :) Let me know what you think after you read Artemis.


message 43: by Rita Goss (new)

Rita Goss my


message 44: by Htb2050 (new)

Htb2050 From the excerpts it reads like cringy Facebook statuses.


message 45: by Joseph (new) - added it

Joseph Richardson Well that's a bummer. I was kind of looking forward to this.


message 46: by Jude (new) - added it

Jude Every review you write is negative


message 47: by Tom (new) - rated it 1 star

Tom McLean For what it's worth, as a white male reader, I completely agree. I've now read the book a second time because so many people seem to be liking it, and I still don't get it. Honestly, I think Jazz should have been a 17 year old white male, maybe Mark Watney's son or something. That would have made more sense, would have at least eeked another star out of me.


Daphne (Illumicrate) I believe the Kenyans controlled the moon because of their country's proximity to the equator, and they took advantage of the decreased distance to the moon for space travel.


message 49: by Holly (new)

Holly Mascaro Oh NO wow, have been looking to pick this one up but this definitely makes me think my time is better spent elsewhere!!!


Alex Can Read OMG I completely agree. I thought Artemis was embarrassingly bad.


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