Book Review – Artemis

A smuggler living in the only city on the moon takes on an extremely dangerous, possibly life-changing job in her pursuit of a better life.

Artemis is the city on the moon where the rich come to play and workers are always in high demand. The city itself is housed in several bubbles which are named after aerospace pioneers like Buzz Aldrin. Each bubble mostly serves a different purpose including production, housing, tourism, administration, a personal estate, and various smelters.

The city is basically a tourist destination. These kinds of places always need workers to live there full time which usually means that it has low-paid workers catering to the higher paying visitors throwing cash around. Because Artemis is not run by any formal government (it’s corporation run), there are only a few semi-laws and everything revolves around the Artemis currency “slugs”. Basically the book says that one “slug” is worth 1-gram of cargo on delivery from Earth to Artemis. Traditional food is not grown on the moon, so anything good has to be transported from Earth, which makes it super expensive. So, for all the non-rich locals, they get to dine on this tasteless algae stuff, but if they have a bunch of “slugs” they can flavor it so it’s more palatable. Our protagonist though, she’s low on funds and usually opts to spend hers on booze instead of flavors.

Jazz Bashara has been living on the moon since she was 6 years old and moved there with her father, Ammar. They are Saudi Arabian and it is a big part of their characters throughout the books which I found to be interesting. I don’t encounter many western-written books that feature main characters who originate from the middle-east. Jazz has a day job on Artemis but she’s also a pretty good smuggler on the side and sells to some influential locals. She’s a 20-something adult who is fiercely persistent, annoyingly stubborn, and dogged by some teenaged mistakes she’d like to make up for.

Jazz is offered a secret sabotage job that involves all kinds of danger and possibly upsetting the mob. The pay is a million slugs, so Jazz jumps right on in. Immediately, the plan goes wrong, there’s some murder happening and some blackmail, but Jazz is determined to get the job done and enlists her friends and allies to help. Along the way, we get to see her attempts to repair her relationship with her father, Ammar.

The action in this was pretty good. There were several anxiety-inducing moments when she’s messing with airlocks and spending time outside the safety of the bubble. The mystery and excitement was also interesting but I wouldn’t say that they were anything amazing. I actually had a difficult time getting into this story at the beginning and I can only say that it was a weird mix of boring content and annoying young protagonist. At one point, I had to double check to see if I was ready a YA book. At about the 60% mark, it started to take itself more seriously and Jazz began to make more adult decisions. By the end of the story, I was glad I’d hung around because the story was wrapped up nicely with a well done climax and some sweet had-it-comings for Jazz.

The narration was great – Rosario Dawson can read me any book, any time. She’s a wonderful narrator.

Overall, I give it a 3 out of 5.

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