Philip's Reviews > Artemis

Artemis by Andy Weir
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it was ok
bookshelves: 2017-releases, hard-scifi, sci-fi

2.5ish stars.

Right off the bat I'll just say, I think the first half of this book is awful. It was like Weir conceded that plot set-up and characterization are things that novels should include, so he gave it his best shot and attempted to cover up his lack of ability in those areas by making lots and lots of (middle school) jokes. Once the heist starts, the action kicks in, and the surprisingly believable and interesting technical, science-y bits come into play, the book hits its stride and shows off Weir's strengths. It ends on a high note, so much so that I initially rated it 3.5 because I was left with such a good taste in my mouth. In hindsight, reflecting on the book as a whole, it's really not that good.

I've read that Weir realizes that characterization isn't his greatest strength and that he'd rather focus on the story, which is fine! If the story is engaging enough, it can absolutely balance the lack of strong character work. Why, then, does Weir try so hard to make the protagonist, Jazz, seem clever, and oh-so-cool, and brilliant, but too badass to care about living up to her obviously enormous potential, and oh yeah, she has a lot of sex, too, and she's super hot, but she just likes to chill because she's just one of the guys, your typical, relatable dudebro. But also she's a girl. How do we know she's a girl? Because she says so. A lot.
“I giggled like a little girl. Hey, I’m a girl, so I’m allowed.”

All of the secondary characters are indistinguishable from one another except for the various races, nationalities, sexual identities, genders that they're assigned by Weir. None of these traits are ever actually evident in how the characters are portrayed, it just feels like Weir thought it would be good to have a diverse cast. Does it count as representation just because we're told that so-and-so is gay, or Irish, or Muslim? I'm not sure.

Anyway, once all of the characterization yadda yadda yadda is out of the way, the story itself ends up being exciting and a lot of fun. There's a ton of welding which, um, gets old eventually, but mostly the technical detail is interesting and contributes to the overall enjoyment level. The setting (a moon colony) is also pretty cool and Weir does a good job of making it feel real. There's tension and action and science in this science fiction. Unfortunately it's burdened down by the author himself exposing his very apparent weaknesses.

Posted in Mr. Philip's Library
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Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)

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Sharon Ugh, I have a feeling I’m not going to like this either, but after “The Martian,” I just have to see for myself. Great review.


Matthew Lloyd She points out that she's a girl so often how did an editor not do something about that?


Marzie We are in perfect agreement! Can I tell you how much I loathed this book? I was so disappointed. Jazz as so badly written, but all the characters were! And I still have no idea how it made it to the Goodreads Best of 2017 finals for sci-fi *before it was published* and managed *cough* to win with three times the numbers of votes as it had reviews the week after it published. Another interesting fact? Amazon wouldn’t publish my review for two weeks after the book released. Now, not only do I not like the book, I think the publisher and/or his agent bought its positioning in the rankings.


message 4: by Mel (new) - added it

Mel Fantastic review! Also, thanks for including the quote. You made sure I am not gonna read the book since this representation and the stereotypical gender platitude is a no-go for me.


message 5: by Erin-Elizabeth (new)

Erin-Elizabeth Oh no! Sounds like a classic case of unbelievable female characterisation! Not good. Great review!


message 6: by Tammy (new) - added it

Tammy I didn’t like this either. Great review, Philip


message 7: by Adina (new) - added it

Adina Not you as well, Damn, i still want to read it although I will probably be disappointed.


Philip Sharon wrote: "Ugh, I have a feeling I’m not going to like this either, but after “The Martian,” I just have to see for myself. Great review."

Yeah I won't blame you for trying, the reviews have been mixed but some have really enjoyed it! Good luck. :)


Philip Matthew wrote: "She points out that she's a girl so often how did an editor not do something about that?"

I know, right?! I really didn't need to be reminded that often. :)


Philip Marzie wrote: "We are in perfect agreement! Can I tell you how much I loathed this book? I was so disappointed. Jazz as so badly written, but all the characters were! And I still have no idea how it made it to th..."

It wouldn't surprise me if that was the case. Or there was just so much love for The Martian left over that everyone figured they'd like it sight unseen (or unread, I suppose). I've given up on the GR awards for that very reason, it's just ridiculous.


Philip Mel wrote: "Fantastic review! Also, thanks for including the quote. You made sure I am not gonna read the book since this representation and the stereotypical gender platitude is a no-go for me."

Thanks, Mel. :) Yeah I promise you that this is not the book for you haha.


Philip Erin-Elizabeth wrote: "Oh no! Sounds like a classic case of unbelievable female characterisation! Not good. Great review!"

Yep it's your typical "Strong Female Character" trope that basically equates to a carbon copy of Mark Watney in female form, because woman can do anything men can, so why not write them exactly like male characters? :)


Philip Tammy wrote: "I didn’t like this either. Great review, Philip"

Thank you, Tammy. :) Glad we're on the same page.


Philip Adina wrote: "Not you as well, Damn, i still want to read it although I will probably be disappointed."

Your mileage may vary, there have been some people who really enjoyed it, but if you do read, go in with low expectations haha.


Alex Can Read I Haaaaaaate this book. Capital H HATE. Jazz was so badly written it's insulting.


ElphaReads Absolutely, regarding the characterization. So maddening.


message 17: by Liz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Liz Kirchhoff YES. I hated it so, so much. And I loved his first one. This was just a bad book.


message 18: by Pearl (new) - added it

Pearl I dnf-d this pretty early into the book, it was a non-stop cringefest, i ended up setting it down and losing interest in continuing😅.


message 19: by Eilonwy (new)

Eilonwy I love this review, because you call out so many things that tell me that this book and I would not get along at all! Thank you, Philip! These kinds of details are really helpful.


Philip Lizhubert wrote: "YES. I hated it so, so much. And I loved his first one. This was just a bad book."

ElphaReads wrote: "Absolutely, regarding the characterization. So maddening."

Alex (Alex Can Read) wrote: "I Haaaaaaate this book. Capital H HATE. Jazz was so badly written it's insulting."

SUPER disappointing after The Martian. I almost wish he wouldn't have given her a personality at all. :)


Philip Pearl wrote: "I dnf-d this pretty early into the book, it was a non-stop cringefest, i ended up setting it down and losing interest in continuing😅."

I came really close to DNFing during the first half. I guess I'm glad I finished because it got better, but eh... probably not worth it haha.


Philip Eilonwy wrote: "I love this review, because you call out so many things that tell me that this book and I would not get along at all! Thank you, Philip! These kinds of details are really helpful."

Thanks, Eilonwy. :) Always happy to help!


message 23: by Erin-Elizabeth (new)

Erin-Elizabeth Philip wrote: “Yep it's your typical "Strong Female Character" trope that basically equates to a carbon copy of Mark Watney in female form, because woman can do anything men can, so why not write them exactly like male characters? :)”

In total agreement with you there; you’re preaching to the converted. This book is up for review on a major radio station this week (BBC radio 2) so I’m really interested to see whether the listeners feel the same as the reviews I’ve read on here about it.


Philip Erin-Elizabeth wrote: " Philip wrote: “Yep it's your typical "Strong Female Character" trope that basically equates to a carbon copy of Mark Watney in female form, because woman can do anything men can, so why not write ..."

I'll be interested to check out the consensus there as well. Readers seem to have very mixed opinions.


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