The author of The Martian returns with another space adventure, moving from Mars to the moon. The Earth’s first space colony, Artemis, is a domed city on the lunar surface where tourism and big business go hand in hand with crime and corruption.
Amongst it all is twenty-something Saudi courier, Jazz Bashara, who does a bit of low-key smuggling on the side to supplement her meagre income. When an opportunity arises to make some big bucks, Jazz fails to foresee the consequences of her latest job, landing her amid a power struggle that threatens the entire city.
Weir lives up to expectations with his detailed research, building the city of Artemis around an economic model and a blend of current and developing technologies that form the basis for the city’s sustainability and workforce.
The plot itself, like The Martian, is relatively thin and straight forward, although the cast of characters is plentiful here, with some memorable personalities mixed in with a few stereotypes. The story is slow to get going but, once Weir gets to the main adventure, he delivers a nice balance of action and personal drama.
Rosario Dawson narrates the audiobook, providing a strong voice for the central character and first-person narrative. Her characterisations and accents are excellent – and there’s quite a range of accents that she performs. Dawson is articulate, with good pacing and emotion.
The enormous success of Weir’s first novel sets expectations for his second novel far higher than is fair so the book doesn’t quite hit the heights one would hope. Overall however, it is an enjoyable romp once it gets going, and Dawson’s superb narration adds extra life and interest to the tale.
Artemis was released in November 2017 by Audible Studios. It runs for approximately 9 hours and is available through audible. The novel is released through Penguin Australia and retails for $35 hardback or $32.99 trade paperback.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 7