Book Review – The Martian by Andy Weir

Posted February 18, 2014 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2014 / 6 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – The Martian by Andy WeirThe Martian by Andy Weir
Published by Crown on February 11th 2014
Pages: 384
Genres: Sci-fi
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

Also by this author: Artemis, Project Hail Mary


Apollo 13 meets Cast Away in this grippingly detailed, brilliantly ingenious man-vs-nature survival thriller, set on the surface of Mars.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he's stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

‘I can’t wait till I have grandchildren. When I was younger, I had to walk to the rim of a crater. Uphill! In an EVA suit! On Mars, ya little shit! Ya hear me? Mars!’

Mark Watney is a part of the six crew team sent to Mars on a 31 Sol (Martian day) mission. On Sol 6 a dust storm blows in which is so large that NASA immediately aborts the mission. In the process of getting back to the ship, Mark’s suit is punctured by an antenna and the winds blow him far away from the rest of the crew. After being unable to find him and thinking him dead, the now five crew team get to the ship and head for home. Only problem is, Mark survived.

The story is told (for the most part) by detailed work logs as Mark survives day to day. Mark Watney is seriously the most inventive survivalist I’ve ever encountered in a story. I’m sure that’s expected since he has to be smart to have been selected by NASA to go to Mars but this guy was constantly thinking up the craziest and most creative ways to stay alive. He definitely made an extremely unrealistic situation where survival is an impossiblility an actual possibility. But the best part about Mark? He was freaking hilarious.

‘If ruining the only religious icon I have leaves me vulnerable to Martian vampires, I’ll have to risk it.’

‘After a search of everyone’s personal items (hey, if they wanted privacy, they shouldn’t have abandoned me on Mars with their stuff) I found my answer.’

‘I’ll spend the rest of the evening enjoying a potato and by “enjoying” I mean “hating so much I want to kill people.”

Okay, I’m done. But seriously, for a book that contains the craziest survival story I’ve ever read I was quite surprised to be laughing as much as I was.

The science aspects of this novel are extremely detailed and even though several passages were unrecognizable as English to me it’s clear that a vast amount of research was done to make things appear legit so I can appreciate that even if I didn’t always understand it. I loved how at one point he kept continuously referencing ‘Kilowatt-hours per sol’ and realized how exhausting that was so changed their name to pirate ninjas and that was pretty much the best thing ever. A story bogged down with excessive technical detail can easily become tedious but between Mark’s ongoing sense of humor and the ever-present seriousness of the situation he’s in, the story was a consistent nail-biter.

Highly recommended for science geeks who love detailed technical jargon and survivalists because you’re bound to learn a lesson or two from this genius.


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