Book Reviews · The Reading

The Martian by Andy Weir

the-martianTitle: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Published: February 11th, 2014 by Crown

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Summary:

A mission to Mars.

A freak accident.

One man’s struggle to survive.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive. And even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, Mark won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark’s not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills—and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength–he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.

As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive.

But Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.

The Review:

I really like to read sci-fi. I also like survival stories. So when I saw The Martian, I immediately added it to my TBR. Now I’ve finally read it and I have to say, I’m glad I did. The Martian is a very enjoyable read! I was fully engrossed in the story and I never wanted to stop reading. Too bad I actually had to do other things 😦

The story is told through a series of log entries by astronaut, Mark Watney, who was accidentally stranded on Mars when his crew thought he’d died. I think it’s a really fun way of telling the story because Mark Watney is possibly the sassiest, most awesome astronaut ever. In fact, reading his log entries made me laugh out loud a few times.

I really like Mark as a character. He’s remarkably optimistic and not much gets him down. I’m paraphrasing, but when he finds out that he was stranded he just goes “okay. I’m stranded on Mars. Time to fix things”. It’s very fun to read. He’s just so good-natured about the whole thing, never blaming the crew or anyone for the whole situation. I was a bit thrown off at first, when he didn’t really show much emotion about being left behind, because I think if it were me, the first thing I would do would be to find a corner to sit down,  curl into a ball, and try to convince myself it’s all a bad dream. But maybe the reason why he’s not too miserable is because he’s writing everything in a ‘diary’ that he thinks people would read? Maybe he didn’t really want people to know how scared he is? I don’t know, it’s just something that came to mind as I was reading.

The multiple POVs are great as well. I like knowing that so many people were so invested in the fate of Mark Watney. I loved how everyone worked so hard to bring him back to earth. The whole world cared, the whole world wanted to help. It really shows humanity at its best and I love that. 

“But really, they did it because every human has a basic instinct to help each other out. It might not seem that way, but it’s true.

If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood…

…I had billions of people on my side.”

Andy Weir, The Martian – page 369

I would’ve loved to read more about the rest of the crew of the Hermes. I want to know more about how they’re dealing with the fact that they thought that Mark Watney was dead, and then finding out that he’s alive and they left him behind. I think it would be great to have more chapters from their POV because each of them seems very interesting.

There is definitely a lot of scientific terms and explanations throughout the book, like when the characters are talking about fixing this equipment or doing that procedure, but it didn’t bother me.did have to read certain paragraphs twice because it went over my head the first time, but for the most part, it was understandable and not very complicated. It’s all highly realistic and it’s obvious that Weir did a lot of research. Maybe he wants to be an astronaut too?

So in the end, I think The Martian is an exciting read. It’s very entertaining, the suspense keeps you on the edge of your seat, and the characters are just awesome. If you like sci-fi, definitely give it a try if you haven’t already! Now I can finally go see the movie 😀

“I guess you could call it a “failure”, but I prefer the term “learning experience”.”
Andy Weir, The Martian

4 Stars

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