Book Review: Artemis by Andy Weir

A lot of the reviews I’ve seen for this book on Goodreads and Amazon whined about how badly written Jazz was. And, to be honest, I was a little surprised by this.

I am very hard to please when it comes to female characters and I had 0 problems with Jazz’s personality. Yeah, she was a bit crass and really full of herself, but women can be crass and full of themselves.

I believe in equal opportunity, folks.

Plus, it helps that Jazz reminded me a lot of myself. Cause I’m kind of a little shit too, so I felt more than a little validated by her less than savory behavior. Maybe that’s a bad thing?

Usually, when I’m reading a book written by a man I get pissy when they write women this way, but that is not the case with Jazz Bashara. I mean, who doesn’t love a little shit smuggler with a heart of…uh…chloroform?

Maybe that’s not the right term? I don’t know. I just really liked Jazz Bashara, ok? Okay.

All this being said, there are a few problematic things that gave me pause, but no more than most books. There are a few racial-type things I was like “Um what?” on, but I don’t know if that was problematic or not because I’m not part of or educated on any of the cultures involved.

I do work with a few Ukranians though and they would be the first to tell you that if you want someone to perform a crime, you go to Moldova. Not Ukraine. Just saying Andy.

Though, the fact that Svoboda (the Ukranian in question) is a scientist and a damn good one at that, is exceptionally Ukranian. Considering both of the Ukranian dudes I work with are physicists and smart as heck.

Incidentally, Svoboda is my favorite character out of the whole book. Though, I’m a bit partial to Rudy too. Sorry, Jazz.

I genuinely enjoyed this story. I love science and I love science fiction so, every second of this book was exciting to me.

I loved Jazz’s letters to Kelvin and their whole relationship. I do wish Kelvin could be a bigger part of the story, but considering he’s on Earth while Jazz and company are on the moon, that’s understandable.

I think it might be interesting to read the story from his point of view, though. Where Jazz’s story is more actiony and life or death, Kelvin can be the doting best friend worried shitless about her and the entire colony of Artemis. It would be beautiful.

I was sad about Trond, but I do know you reap what you sow and even though he wasn’t a big bad, he did piss off some really influential people. Post-Trond, though, everything gets a whole lot more exciting. So it wasn’t completely in vain.

Still made me really sad though, especially for his daughter. Though she really stepped up after that. At the behest of one hardheaded Jazz Bashara.

At the end, when Jazz fucks everything up, it was such a big mood. I love how she is both completely clueless and way too damn smart for her own good throughout the book.

If she ever decided to team up permanently with Svobota they would own the entire settlement of Artemis. Fingers crossed?

Well, they would if Ngugi let them. She’s no force to be trifled with and other than Svobota, she was my favorite character in the book. She was just so super cool and smart as shit. I kind of even loved how manipulative she was.

This book was really great, honestly.

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(5/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: ????

Plot: ????

Characterization: ?‍??‍??‍??‍?

Boredom meter: ?????

Artemis was gripping and amazing from start to finish! (With very few boring parts in between).

Review: Starlight Taxi by C.M Lanning

This book was actually a surprisingly entertaining read. I’ve known C.M Lanning for years, but only just managed to get around to reading his books and to be honest, I’m really mad about that because he’s an incredible author.

I seriously recommend his books to anyone who likes paranormal, but his foray into the world of science fiction with Starlight Taxi is, *kisses fingers*, delicious!

There are a few things I don’t agree with in the narrative, but I won’t focus on that since I know the author will update them when he rewrites this short!

First off, let me just say, I was not expecting to like this nearly as much as I did. A story about a taxi driver seemed really weird to me. However, from the very beginning I was hooked.

It kind of reminded me of the strange people you meet driving for Uber! I thought the writing was fantastic and the story was so compelling and interesting that it easily kept my attention.

The ending seemed weirdly rushed and I would have liked to see that expanded more, but you run into that a lot with writing novellas. I am no stranger to writing them myself and you are constantly running out of space.

All and all this is one of my favorites by Lanning. Or, at least, my favorite he has published on Amazon. Cannot wait to see what becomes of The Last Fire Mage!

5/5 Stars.

More on Starlight Taxi

Take a ride with the driver as he goes from planet to planet, picking up fascinating passengers and dropping them off at their destinations. 

Being an intergalactic cab driver isn’t the worst job in the world. He gets to meet new people every day as he adds their tales to his own. 

Set in the future, mankind no longer exclusively inhabits Earth. Instead, people left and terraformed other celestial bodies in the galaxy. When those people need a lift, they call Starlight Taxi, and the driver comes to pick them up.

Buy it HERE, only on AMAZON.

Author Interview: C.M Lanning

One of my dear friends C.M Lanning has a new book coming out called Ragtag Gamblers that I am really excited about.

So, in true super-fan fashion, I convinced Lanning to do an interview to help promote this incredible book.


Desdemona Wren: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

C.M Lanning: I’d say in middle school. My uncle Bob actually got me interested in writing because he was a writer himself. He was working to get a historical novel that centered on an Scottish farm girl published, and he’d ask me to read it for him and give him my thoughts when I was in middle school and high school. I was honored and decided to give writing a go. Sadly my uncle died without his novel being published, but he inspired me to keep on keeping on with my own writing.

DW: That is an incredible story. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your uncle sounded like a great person and his book sounds incredible. Thank you for sharing.

DW: What inspired you to write Ragtag Gamblers, an epic space opera?

CM: I was in kind of a frustrated place. I’d already had over 100 rejections from agents and publishers for The Last Fire Mage (which thankfully now is under a publishing contract). So, I decided to try something different. I love the space opera genre, and I thought having a young adult novel would endear it more to publishers or agents. So far, that hasn’t been the case. But my beta readers have been extremely positive about the story and crew. I really do love the crew, and I really want to] continue the story to see what’d happen to them.

DW: Tell us a little about your process for writing Ragtag Gamblers

CM: I actually wanted to get the book done quickly. So as opposed to The Last Fire Mage, which had 150,000 words, I decided to keep this one at 70,000 words. And I just sort of flew through the first seven chapters, one or two every weekend for about six weeks. Then I hit crash burnout and didn’t touch it for a couple months. Finally, I got around to finishing it.

It got hard to finish because I knew it’d end on a cliffhanger, and my brain just didn’t want to do it, ya know? Plus, I write for a newspaper at my day job, and it’s just hard to output at a crazy pace without crashing like I did.

DW: Well at least I have that to look forward to. Thanks for ending your book on a cliffhanger. I’m literally going to be bugging you every single day until you finish the next one. (Also don’t hate me for ending Marjorie Book 2 on a cliffhanger as well).

DW: Describe the lead character in Ragtag Gamblers, Captain Selena Karmen, in 5 words.

CM: Tough one. But I’d say: Dry, damaged, loyal, scheming, and self-reliant (am I cheating with a hyphenated word?)

DW: Ha. Probably? But I’ll give it to you.

DW: Your book covers are always excellent, what is your process for working with your cover artists and designers?

CM: Oh thanks! My secret is coincidentally being friends with great artists. My lovely wife, Meghan, drew the art for Starlight Taxi. A friend of mine named Bee at Cat Scratches Art did The Last Fire Mage cover. And a friend of mine named Robb O’Nale did the cover for Ragtag Gamblers.

My secret is giving them money and then patiently waiting for their beautiful art.

DW: Is Ragtag Gamblers a series or will it stand alone? If it’s a stand alone book, tell us what else you’re working on or hoping to release in 2018.

CM: It’s a trilogy. Like I said earlier, the first book ends on a giant cliffhanger I’m sure readers will hate me for (probably even Desdemona—DW: Can’t hate you have I just did it myself…and yet…).

As for what else I’m working on. . . I’m about four chapters into a new epistolary superhero novel I’m calling Extraordinary People. It’s about people developing super powers in a very realistic sense, but it’s told entirely from documents, like diary entries of survivors, court documents, police reports, etc. It’s nowhere near being done, but I’ll shop it around when it’s finished.

DW: Do you have a favorite character from the book or, at least, one you connected with on a deep level?

CM: There’s a nonbinary shapeshifter named Flora that joins the crew. His appearance is quite androgynous, and he uses he/his pronouns. He’s spent a good deal of his life in an all-female household and being hated by his mother and sisters for being born a “boy” but not being a big strong man like his father who works in the factories.

I think there’s something in children that longs to please their parents. All Flora wanted was affection from his mother, so he pushed his shapeshifting abilities further and further as a result of psychological abuse, trying to look like his sisters for as long as he could. He’s unique among his species because none of the Almary can change their entire body. Most can just change pieces of their appearance.

But because Flora was so desperate, he pushed and pushed his abilities to the point he did the impossible, and even that wasn’t enough to please his family.

I came out as a transwoman to my family not long ago, and they’re still. . . processing. It’s hard for a conservative southern family to really understand what I’m going through. And I’m torn between what I clearly am and the person I feel like I need to be to make my family happy. So, I connect with Flora a little more.

Shapeshifting is the superpower I feel most transgender people would choose so they can have the body that matches their brain. I kind of envy Flora’s abilities, but I sure don’t envy the pain he endured to develop them!

DW: Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m really excited to read Ragtag Gamblers when it comes out April 8th!

Where to Preorder / Official synopsis

You can preorder Ragtag Gamblers here on Amazon

From the synopsis:
“Firefly may have been your first space opera love, but this story will be your next!

Ragtag Gamblers kicks off the Ragtag trilogy, a new young adult space opera that follows Captain Selena Karmen, a budding crew leader with an eye that can see the future.

Her oddball crew travels the galaxy aboard the Gamble, searching for their next big payday. As they soar between planets and other celestial bodies, Selena and her crew will take on odd jobs, dodge the Galactic Federation, and maybe even save the galaxy from a swarm of planet-eating insectoids.

Before the end of this book you will fall in love with this crew, laugh with them, cry with them, and root for them to win it all. “

Get your copy now!

About CM Lanning & where to find them online

C. M. Lanning is an Arkansas journalist and author. They spend most of their time daydreaming about finally becoming a published author. And in their spare time they like to write and actually fulfill that dream.

They have written books “Starlight Taxi” and “The Last Fire Mage.” Lanning’s newest book is the first in a new science fiction young adult series called “Ragtag Gamblers.”

When they aren’t writing, Lanning is probably playing video games, watching a movie, or reading a book. Yeah, they’re just that exciting.

If you seek to summon them, an appropriate sacrifice of Pepsi must first be made. Then you must speak the words “Miss Chenandler Bong.”

For the latest updates on Lanning’s writing, check out their website.

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