ARTEMIS

2/5 stars

  • Author: Andy Weir
  • Publication date: 11.14.2017

Apologies in advance. You’re not gonna like what I have to say.

This is not the review I was expecting to write, but this is not the book I was expecting to read.

Andy Weir has successfully taken the one element I didn’t like in THE MARTIAN and expanded on that until ARTEMIS is almost a chore to read. Major disappointment.

Remember our hero, Mark, in The Martian? His jokey, sarcastic personality started to grate on my nerves towards the end of the book. It’s like he never quit with the relentless joking. Staring death in the face? Make a joke. Starving to death? Play some funny music. Ok, we get it! Mark is all about the comic relief. Why does it have to be so overdone and heavy-handed? I still enjoyed the book for all the old-school science fiction fun.

HOWEVER, after cutting Weir some slack for his forced characterizations in The Martian, I am not so ready to do the same with Artemis.

Guess what? Jazz, our female protagonist in Artemis, has almost the exact same personality as Mark from The Martian. Ugggggghhhhh. And that goofy, insulting character is even more annoying in a grown woman. Is that sexist? I hope not. I don’t mean it to be.

Oh, and by the way, Jazz is the town tramp (with a heart of gold) because of her reputation for sleeping with so many guys. Hysterical.

The book starts out very fun to read. I really enjoyed reading how the city of Artemis came to be established on the moon. I loved reading about the actualities of lunar living with 1/6 of the gravity. I liked learning about the moon’s surface, dust and atmosphere. There just wasn’t enough of the moon facts for me.

Also, I’m beginning to question Andy Weir’s imagination for the future. The moon inhabitants walk around and do all their business transactions on small computers that they carry. They pay for items and surf the internet on these “gizmos” as they are called. FASCINATING STUFF right here.

What there is plenty of:
Welding. Yes, welding. More than I ever want to know about welding.
Stupid middle-school humor that the very smart adults all seem to love.
Forced, unnatural dialogue.
Convoluted, crazy plot that never really makes sense.
Integral characters that are unexplained, because of one-note superficial writing.

After the first third of the book, I had to push through to finish it. Especially the middle part with all the welding. Take my advice and skim skim skim through the welding. The very end ramps up with some excitement, but not enough to make up of for the rest. Sad.

I would have liked more moonwalking, less welding. More thinking, less insulting. More imagination, less joking. More sci-fi, less lame comedy.

Amazon link Artemis: A Novel

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DARK MATTER

5/5 stars

  • Author: Blake Crouch
  • Crown Publishers
  • Published 7.26.2016

“We’re more than the sum total of our choices, that all the paths we might have taken factor somehow into the math of our identity.”
― Blake Crouch, Dark Matter 

Sometimes the perfect book comes into your life at the perfect time. Dark Matter kept catching my eye in the year that it has been published. But, ya know, sometimes I like sci-fi and sometimes I don’t. I happened to hear Anne Bogel on her podcast “What Should I Read Next” recommend this book to a reader. She said it’s not too science-y. She’s right. I would describe Dark Matter as a suspenseful love story with a lot of cool sci-fi elements thrown in.

Jason, our main character, goes out to buy ice cream one evening and is abducted at gunpoint, drugged, and wakes up in a Chicago that is not his own. His wife and child are not his wife and child anymore and he is a prize-winning physicist in this new world who has invented a way to travel to an infinite number of universes (the multiverse).  He is on a mission to get back to his universe with his wife and child in his own life. The story that follows is one of lost opportunities, what ifs, and how the smallest decisions affect our life. It’s kind of a “Sliding Doors” premise with a sci-fi twist.

Blake Crouch writes in an exciting fast manner, you can read this book in a matter of hours (and you will want to!). I heard he’s writing the screenplay for the movie and I have no doubt it will be amazing. His writing is well suited to a screenplay. Short and to the point on descriptions, dialogues, relationships.

The book is suspenseful because he is on the run and desperate to find who has taken his place in his original universe with the love of his life, Daniela.

He’s not time traveling, he is jumping between different universes at one point in time. Sometimes he encounters a horrifyingly post-apocalyptic Chicago and another time he finds an angelic, seemingly futuristic Chicago. But all of these worlds are existing now because of choices we made as the human race in that world.  AAHHHH, I can’t even explain it, but it works!

After a summer filled with reading the same-old-domestic-suspense stories, Dark Matter was a breath of fresh air.  I absolutely loved it. You don’t need to understand quantum physics to understand this book. Suspend all disbelief, buckle your seatbelt and let Blake Crouch do the driving.

Dark Matter: A Novel AMAZON link

THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS

       5/5 Stars

  • Member of my TWISTER HALL OF FAME 
  • Author: M. R. Carey
  • Published June 19th 2014 by Orbit

I kind of hate that one of the major surprises in this book is all over the internet as if it is common knowledge. THE GIRL WITH ALL THE SECRETS works even better if you just go in blind. Trust me! I listened to this book on Audible when it first came out, based solely on the blurb below:

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

The Girl with All the Gifts is a sensational thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King, Justin Cronin, and Neil Gaiman.

This book is a little bit of every kind of genre you can imagine.  And it works. It is bursting with ideas, characters, explanations. The plot is based on the scientific theory of evolution and it is explained in such a manner, you will have nightmares for weeks just thinking it might come true.

The character of Melanie is so endearing, she’s one of my favorites of all time. She’s smart, fierce and scrappy.  She loves Miss Justineau in a heartbreaking way that will resonate with your own first crush on a teacher.

There are some longish sections of violence and war, but as a reader I was so invested in Melanie and Miss Justineau, I had to see how the book would end. It will not let you down. The ending is brilliant and unforgettable.

There is a movie version which I have seen. Don’t even bother, it was nowhere close to the Audible recording as far as performance quality goes.

AMAZON The Girl With All the Gifts