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.
I really loved The Martian by Andy Weir, so I was really excited to give this one a go. It’s not a bad book, but I did not enjoy it as much as The Martian. Jazz, as a character, is pretty great. She’s super sarcastic and not always likable, but I find I’m enjoying reading unlikable characters more and more. She has very human flaws and I can appreciate that. However, at times, as a woman, I didn’t find her to be realistic. I can’t really put my finger on why, but there was some authenticity missing for me in her voice. Despite this, she’s a decent narrator and I found myself laughing out loud, and I always appreciate made up words like kaboominess (and they are there).
At times, it also felt like the narrative was trying to do too much. There’s the heist part of the story, but that really came into play much later in the book than I imagined it would. In the beginning, it’s basically following Jazz around, getting to know her, and snippets of her past being dropped like breadcrumbs. As the story continues, you eventually get backstory about her and various other characters, but some of the reveals felt stilted and off kilter. It also irritated me the number of times other characters made cracks about Jazz’s sex life and how many partners she apparently has. It just didn’t feel quite right to me, and I didn’t enjoy that aspect.
All of this does not mean that I absolutely hated the book, though. The setting of the first city on the moon was pretty awesome. It was really interesting to see how it was run and how a society has been built there. I don’t think I would want to live there, but it was interesting nonetheless. The story was also enough to hold my interest. Some of the action sequences were hard for me to read and also simultaneously picture what was going on enough to fully understand what was happening, but I still wanted to know what happened in the end. I really liked the other characters in the book from a nerdy scientist to Jazz’s father to her ex-best friend, and the addition of her pen pal on Earth was also quite fun. I could definitely see this being made into a movie, and I would probably watch it, if it was.
So, basically, if you liked The Martian, you may like this. You might not. I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews on Goodreads, and I have pretty ambivalent feelings about it as well. Some choices didn’t quite work for me, but that doesn’t mean they won’t work for you. If you like sci-fi and heist movies like Ocean’s 11, you may also enjoy this.
Note: I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars