Overview (No Spoilers):
It has been quite a long time since I’ve been so absorbed within a book that I was compelled to literarily devour it from cover to cover within twenty four hours. Artemis, chock full of action from page one, will quickly draw the reader in for an out of earth adventure on the moon colony that shares the name of the novel. Weir’s second novel doesn’t disappoint, especially having to follow up the wild success of his debut novel, The Martian. The Martian was my first book every reviewed on The Critiquing Chemist, and I hesitated to link my review because my formatting has evolved so much from day one. It almost makes me want to reread The Martian so I can update the formatting of a book I so thoroughly enjoyed. Regardless, based on my initial love of Weir’s work, I was ecstatic to be sent an ARC copy of his sophomore novel. Taking the place of the memorable Mark Watney is the spunky, funny, equally innovative and intelligent Jasmine Bashara, a.k.a. Jazz, whose foul mouth ranges the full spectrum of cringe worthy to literally causing the reader to laugh out loud. The supporting cast is equally delightful, including a Ukrainian scientist that contains all of the stereotypical tendencies that are associated with that career, and a head of security that dresses like a Mountie with the law enforcement philosophy of a Wild West sheriff. Toward the end of Artemis, I found myself having comparable exasperated feelings as when I read The Martian, with regard to the myriad of disasters our protagonists would find themselves in only to have just the right tool or the right problem solving epiphany in the knick of time. Overall, Artemiswas a highly amusing read that will keep readers enthralled throughout as they embark on a harrowing adventure taking place within a city that calls the moon home.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- At the end of the novel it seems like O Palacio gave up way to easily after the initial fight they gave. It seems like they would eventually take terrible revenge out on Artemis, specifically Loretta (working for the new owners), Lene, and Jazz.
- As a whole I felt like the ending was just too clean. Jazz should have probably been deported, or at least had a better way of convincing the Administrator to let her stay other than so she could continue her smuggling operation.
- There was so much chemistry and general science intermingled within the pages of Artemis! I absolutely loved it! At one point they were discussing molarity of substances within a closed environment, temperature changes during a phase change, and yet another they were talking about radiation. I’m currently teaching a general chemistry class at a local college and my students will have an exam on radiation Monday. They’re lucky that I already had the test made up or I would have definitely added another problem regarding radiation levels discussed in Artemis.
- Welding was a major theme throughout this book. I’m going to be definitely spending some time tonight Googling the concepts behind welding. In the book it was stated that when welders cut a metal they are actually turning it into an oxidized gas and not just melting it. Is this true? If so, how fascinating!
- Another fact I’m curious about is that in the book it was stated that the original flag of Apollo 11 was knocked down during take off and is covered by dirt, whereas the later missions whose flags still stand are bleached white. In my head I always have the photo in my head of the flag on the moon standing and hadn’t ever thought of the lasting effects or what it looks like now.
- I liked that Weir chose to have his characters from all over the world, e.g., Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Canada, Hungary, Vietnam, China, ultimately adding a unique perspective.
When reading it is common that I encounter words that I’m not privy to the exact definition, however it is easy to infer the meaning of the aforementioned word based on the context of the sentence and story. As such, relatively new to the Critiquing Chemist, you’ll find an additional section that includes vocabulary words that I encountered upon reading the book being reviewed and either had to look up the definition or it is a word in which I would like to add to my repertoire. This endeavor is easier when in the Kindle format, and potentially impossible with audiobooks, however I’m going to attempt to continue this section for all future book reviews. I’ll be using the definitions from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
Recompense: to give something to by way of compensation (as for a service rendered or damage incurred)
Ambiguity: a word or expression that can be understood in two or more possible ways
Actuation: to put into mechanical action or motion
Collet: a metal band, collar, ferrule, or flange
Exudate: the material composed of serum, fibrin, and white blood cells that escapes from blood vessels into a superficial lesion or area of inflammation
Maelstrom: a powerful often violent whirlpool sucking in objects within a given radius
Conglomerate: made up of parts from various sources or of various kinds
Eddy: a current of water or air running contrary to the main current
Pedantic: narrowly, stodgily, and often ostentatiously learned
Sintered: to cause to become a coherent mass by heating without melting
Aplomb: complete and confident composure or self-assurance
Attenuation: to lessen the amount, force, magnitude, or value of
Machiavellian: suggesting the principles of conduct laid down by Machiavelli; specifically :marked by cunning, duplicity, or bad faith
Collate: to collect, compare carefully in order to verify, and often to integrate or arrange in order
Reprobate: to condemn strongly as unworthy, unacceptable, or evil
Caper: an illegal or questionable act or escapade
Capacitance: the property of an electric nonconductor that permits the storage of energy as a result of the separation of charge that occurs when opposite surfaces of the nonconductor are maintained at a difference of potential
Grommet: an eyelet of firm material to strengthen or protect an opening or to insulate or protect something passed through it
Pneumatic: moved or worked by air pressure
Provisional: serving for the time being
Convoluted: involved, intricate
Occlude: to close up or block off
Askance: with disapproval or distrust
Docent: a person who leads guided tours especially through a museum or art gallery
Ergonomic: an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely
Ilmenite: a usually massive iron-black mineral that consists of an oxide of iron and titanium and that is a major titanium ore
Olivine: a usually greenish mineral that is a complex silicate of magnesium and iron used especially in refractories
Moor: to make fast with or as if with cables, lines, or anchors
Anorthite: a white, grayish, or reddish feldspar occurring in many igneous rocks
Monopropellant: a rocket propellant containing both the fuel and the oxidizer in a single substance
Borscht: a soup made primarily of beets and served hot or cold often with sour cream
Credenza: a sideboard, buffet, or bookcase patterned after a Renaissance credence
Regolith: unconsolidated residual or transported material that overlies the solid rock on the earth, moon, or a planet