The Martian by Andy Weir is about an astronaut named Mark Watney who was left behind during an evacuation of the planet Mars. With very limited food and supplies, he must find a way to survive on his own.
I read this book over the span of a weekend and I didn’t want to put it down. The only reason I had to set it down was to help take care of my injured brother.
I don’t have much to say about this book prior to the actual review, so let’s just get into it.
A man is justly left on Mars during an evacuation, thus making him a resident of the planet. He is now a Martian. He also knows that it will be years until he could possibly be rescued and has only enough food for about a year. He must think extraordinarily outside of the box to make this work…to survive.
That is an amazing premise for a book. The back cover summary of the book alone had me hooked on this one.
Plot Development: 5/5
This novel was brilliantly paced from the beginning to the end of the book. It was fast and full of action, but had enough slower paced bits for balance. It was a rollercoaster of a read and I enjoyed every minute of it. Weir successfully makes us feel the isolation that Watney, the Martian, feels. Furthermore, I went through all of his emotions, along with everyone else’s, right there with him.
Even though the ending had been spoiled for me (by a librarian, no less), I still felt anxious for each of the characters and the risks they were taking.
The only issue I found with plot development was while it was fast paced, it was unevenly paced. I was so hooked into this book and I read it so fast that Watney’s adventure felt like it was much shorter than it actually was. Months had gone by in a short number of pages in some sections; a few days had gone by in the same number of pages in others. I had to really pay attention to the log titles and do some math in my head to figure out about how much time had lapsed between entries.
I love Mark Watney and I want to be his friend. He has a sense of humor that I absolutely find appealing. He turned some pretty dark situations into some pretty funny logs.
All of the other characters acted believably and even went through periods of growth. I had expected this only of Watney and was pleasantly surprised. Some of the major decisions made by teams of NASA scientists mirrored humanity very realistically.
Writing Style: 5/5
The novel is put together in a series of logs done by Watney, scenes back at NASA, scenes on the spacecraft of Watney’s crew, and some other settings as needed. For the most part, I liked this style. It was pretty easy to follow the change in point of view. My only issue that I’ll mention is that some of the points of view were typical third person perspectives, while others read like a narrator. They sounded like a deep, disembodied voice in my head. My other issue could potentially involve some spoilers. To put it vaguely, I wish some points of view lined up better or were held back according to certain situations.
This book is not for everyone. The genre of the book is “real-science science-fiction.” It’s definitely science-fiction, involving lots of science and space and other planets. However, the most important piece of that genre title is “real-science.” Boy is there a lot of actual science in this one. Luckily for the reader, it’s done in such a way that makes the story very believable, but doesn’t distract with info-dumping science. I was able to grasp what was going on without fully understanding it. Part of it was Watney’s sense of humor and his understanding that his diary-like logs didn’t need to be over-explained because the only people reading it would be NASA people. Well done, Weir.
While I liked that he glossed over a lot of science, I didn’t like that some acronyms or names of materials weren’t fully explained. Like with all of the science stuff, the reader is able to “just go with it,” after a while, but I’d still like to know what some of those terms mean without looking them up.
Total Score: 24/25, avg. 4.8/5
Without a doubt, this was a five-star read for me. It’s one of my favorites for the year so far!
SIDENOTE: I bought this tall mass-market paperback at the grocery store because I couldn’t find it anywhere else. I can get past the awkward hand cramps from holding the tall book open, but I was kind of upset with the printing of this book. Multiple pages were practically unreadable. The ink was so faded that I had to strain my eyes to read it.
It’s honestly easier to read in this unedited picture than the actual book.
Naturally, I grumbled about it on Twitter on Sunday evening. Monday morning, I received a response from the publishing company. They’re sending me a new copy! Hooray!
I love when companies are friendly and fix their mistakes.
Have you read The Martian? Tell me what you think!
I’ll see you soon!
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