Artemis Awakening is the start of a new series by New York Times bestseller Jane Lindskold. The distant world Artemis is a pleasure planet created out of bare rock by a technologically advanced human empire that provided its richest citizens with a veritable Eden to play in. All tech was concealed and the animals (and the humans brought to live there) were bioengineered to help the guests enjoy their stay…but there was always the possibility of danger so that visitors could brag that they had “bested” the environment.
The Empire was shattered in a horrific war; centuries later humanity has lost much of the advanced technology and Artemis is a fable told to children. Until young archeologist Griffin Dane finds intriguing hints that send him on a quest to find the lost world. Stranded on Artemis after crashing his ship, he encounters the Huntress Adara and her psych-linked companion, the puma Sand Shadow. Their journey with her will lead Dane to discover the planet’s secrets…and perhaps provide a key to give unimagined power back to mankind.
On occasion I purchase books that I’ve never heard of, just to keep life fun and exciting. Artemis Awakening was one of these random, “I’ll take that one!” purchases and I’m glad I picked it. The world of Artemis is exotic and gives me vague impressions of the planet Pandora from Avatar, though perhaps not quite so luminescent. I’ve also been fascinated by the ideas of terraforming planets and space travel ever since I finished Red Rising and Golden Son by Pierce Brown. The overall plot of Artemis Awakening has an almost romantic explorer feel to it, where an Indiana Jones type goes off and discovers a world that has been lost to mankind for half a millennia.
Once Griffin Dane (our proverbial Indiana Jones) crash lands on Artemis, he meets up with Adara the Huntress and her puma companion Sand Shadow. Here our exploration of this lost Eden begins and eventually progresses to become a Saturday night Dateline NBC mystery. Scholarly but brave, Griffin travels into danger so he can learn more about the previous owners/inhabitants of this planet and perhaps find his way back to his orbiting spacecraft. Adara and Terrell accompany him to Spirit Bay, a larger coastal town, where they each hope to find answers of their own.
I found each character to feel distinctly unique from each of the other characters, which adds a great deal of depth and complexity to any story. In addition, the history of Artemis and its native inhabitants was well-thought out and intriguing. The unique adaptations possessed by some of the planet’s natives are simultaneously fascinating and disturbing due to the manner in which they were acquired. You see, the people who created Artemis wished for a wild and untamed world, but bred its people to have specific traits to fulfill specific niches within the society. I could go on about the ethics of this for another paragraph or so, but I’m sure you see the point I’m trying to make.
Overall, Artemis Awakening was a pleasing and mostly light read, but it presented a complex society that I enjoyed thoroughly. I would appreciate recommendations for similar books, so feel free to leave a comment below!