Narrator: Rosario Dawson
Published by Audible Studios on November 14, 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Crime Fiction
Length: 8 hrs 59 mins
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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.
Bringing to life Weir's brash, whip-smart protagonist is actress Rosario Dawson. With the breathless immediacy of one realizing they're one cracked helmet visor away from oblivion, Dawson deftly captures Jazz's first-person perspective – all while delivering sarcastic Weir-ian one-liners and cracking wise in the face of death. And with a cast of diverse characters from all walks of life calling Artemis home, Dawson tonally somersaults to voice Kenyan prime ministers, Ukrainian scientists, and Saudi welders. It's a performance that transports listeners right alongside Jazz, matching her step for step on every lunar inch of her pulse-pounding journey.
Artemis is at heart a caper story with a sci-fi backdrop. Jazz is a small time criminal who is offered the chance to make big money doing a job she is capable of, because she’s brilliant, but is outside of her usual parameters. The job of course goes awry – as they so often do. But, it turns out the job just a part of the larger plan, a plan affecting all of Artemis. So, as she sees it, in order to save her city, she pull together the standard motley crew of misfits, including her dad (who I really liked), her ex-boyfriend’s current boyfriend, a Ukrainian scientist, and others to pull off a near-impossible crime.
Set on earth, this would be a fun enough crime novel. Jazz is a good character, smart as all get out, but under-motivated. She’s sarcastic and lonely. I didn’t always love her sense of humor, especially when she’s speaking directly to the reader, it feels like Weir is just trying too hard to make her funny and modern. But the moon setting made it stand out. There was enough information about how life on the moon had to work for people to survive and live together but it never got too technical for me to enjoy. And since I listened to the audio version, I couldn’t have just skimmed over any boring passages.
The scheme itself was convoluted and was clearly not going to go smoothly, but I love how Jazz manages to turn things around to her advantage, no matter what happens.