Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

4stars

Back Cover Synopsis:

When a dust storm forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, astronaut Mark Watney finds himself stranded on Mars’s surface, completely alone.

Armed with nothing but his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength — Mark embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive.  But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Attention all math, science, and space nerds; current and future engineers; astronauts; and aliens: Read this book.

Andy Weir’s first novel is nothing short of an all-star.  It’s smart, funny, and keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time — there’s a reason, of course, that a movie is based on the book is about to come out.  That being said, this, like any other book, has its pros and cons.

Book Pros

The main character, Mark, is extremely likable.  He has a dry, down-to-earth (down-to-Mars?) sense of humor, which is what keeps him going on the planet when he is by himself for so long.  And it adds a comical streak to a potentially depressing novel — I laughed out loud at least once a chapter.

Also, the science of the book (as far as I can tell) was extensively, meticulously researched, which makes complete sense when you consider the fact that Weir was an engineer long before he was an author.  It  made the struggle for survival more believable, the successes more triumphant, and the failures that much scarier.  Crunching the numbers is not fun (for me anyway), and it often showed a bleak picture for Mark, which makes the reader root for him all the more.

Book Cons

Because Weir is an engineer first and a writer second, his characters could have been developed a little better.  We never got to know anything about Mark’s Earth life; just that his parents were worried for him, which any reader would’ve guessed.  Also, the other characters in the book, such as the other crew members and the people at mission control, were very similar to Mark, especially in the way they spoke.  Weir was great at making quips, it just seemed like every character had the same sense of humor.

Book Verdict

The Martian was written as an adventure novel, not as a work of literature.  As such, it is a fantastic read that I believe definitely deserves all the hype it has gotten.  Everyone loves an underdog, and Mark on Mars is the ultimate one.  I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys adventure.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for this review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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