I have an unhealthy attachment to her as an actress and even forced myself to watch the movie version of Rent because of her. So, when I heard this movie would be narrated by her, I had to pick it up. I wasn't disappointed and have found one of the most entertaining characters of the year with Jasmine "Jazz" Bashara. Unfortunately, the book is two-thirds of extremely good writing followed by 1/3rd of extremely poor.
The premise of the book is the moon has been colonized. The moon has no resources to exploit except aluminum and tourism. It turns out a lot of rich people on Earth are willing to pay a large amount of money to fly to the moon and look at barren empty rocks. I would be one of them if I had the money so I can understand the appeal. There's only a tiny town of about two thousand five hundred people but it is the most unique civilization in the solar system.
Jasmine "Jazz" Bashara is a Saudi Arabian born girl who was raised on the moon and become an irreverant smuggler who provides cigars among other minor luxuries to the people there. She's barely tolerated by the moon's only policeman but has friends in high places. One of them has the ambition of taking over the moon's aluminum industry and offers Jasmine an absurd sum of money in exchange for graduating from petty smuggling to industrial sabotage. After that, everyone goes downhill for Jazz.
The first two thirds of the book are awesome, describing how the moon functions and it's hard science background. I love Jazz as a character and she reminds me of a PG-13 cyberpunk protagonist. I think Rosario Dawson could make an excellent movie version of her even if it would be an age-lift. Artemis feels like a awesome place to live and there's hundreds of little details which make the book a treat to listen to.
Generally, the cast is excellent as we have a bunch of oddball misfits which have found themselves on the moon for various reasons. People who immigrate are usually either skilled craftsmen who have found themselves with minimal work once construction stopped or those who have managed to flee to the one place even farther than the most godforsaken part on Earth. Even so, it's a beautiful tourist location with everyone ready and willing to bilk visitors out of every last bit of currency they have. The book is humorous, too, with scenes ranging from talk about the practicalities of a reusable condom (ew) to how one deals with idiots who don't realize you can't get away with murder in a town less than five miles long.
Unfortunately, the final third of the book gives up all sense of realism and becomes ridiculous. There's a mass "harmless gassing" of the population, numerous huge explosions, and a lot of incredibly expensive crimes which our protagonists receive a slap on the wrist for because they are the protagonists. I like Jasmine and wanted her to have a happy ending but the book sort of handwaves any consequences for her actions. It actually soured the overall experience a good deal even if I loved the first part.
In conclusion, this is a great book hurt by a poor ending. I recommend reading it but feel readers should be warned about the fact it moves from being a Kubrick meets Joss Whedon-esque novel to a Michael Bay one. I think it's probably a 3/5 novel but I'm going to add an extra .5 for Rosario Dawson's amazing voice acting. This only applies to the audiobook, though.