Amy Caudill‘s review
Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara is just your typical small-town girl-she works hard to make ends meet, hangs out with friends at the neighborhood watering hole, fights with her devoutly religious father, and occasionally runs afoul of local law enforcement. That is, she’s typical until you take into account the “small town” is actually a colony on the moon, and she augments her work as a courier with running a smuggling operation that is mostly ignored and tolerated by the Artemis government.
As far as smugglers go, Jazz has integrity and a conscience-no weapons, no drugs, nothing overly dangerous for the fragile bubble-domes that support life on the unforgiving surface of the moon. So when she’s approached by wealthy businessman Landvik Trond to sabotage an entire industry whose by-product is life-giving oxygen, she has to think twice. When said businessman is murdered in his own home and Jazz finds the body, she knows she’s in trouble.
Jazz learns from the Artemis governor, Ngugi, that the man sent to kill Trond and herself works for a powerful Earth-side mafia organization with designs on taking over the colony. She then enlists her friends and allies to find a way to stop the takeover bid. However, a glitch in the life support systems leaves Jazz the only person awake and capable of stopping everyone on the moon from being killed. The smuggler with a conscience chooses to risk her life to save the inhabitants of the domes she calls home.
In Artemis author Andy Weir skillfully weaves sci-fi with action, thrills, and gangsters in a book that transcends genre. Parts of the story reminded me of Total Recall, particularly the oxygen drought and the journeys on the surface in EVA suits, but the story of Jazz, told in first person, is unique and special in so many ways.
The complex central character is both an anti-hero and a heroine in her own right. She is self-involved and openly runs an illegal operation, but despite that she is a good, moral person who will go to any lengths to protect her family and friends.
This book was a choice for my local book club and I had not seen so much as a summary of the action before I began reading. I will say the novel was completely different than my expectations, but I was hooked from the very beginning. I rate this book a full five stars and would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of empowered female characters, sci-fi or thriller stories.