Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (February 11, 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 0804139024
  • Source: Publisher

Mark Watney is one of several astronauts making up the crew of the Ares 3 mission to Mars. Just days into their mission, the Acidalia region is hit by a dust storm. Believed to be killed during the storm, Mark is left…alone…on Mars.  He has the food rations that would have lasted the crew two months but it’s going to take much longer for NASA to realize he is still alive…and to come up with a means of rescuing him.  Watney uses his ingenuity to come up with means to survive until help arrives (including growing quite the impressive harvest of potatoes). Will all this ingenuity be enough for Watney to survive the harsh and unforgiving Mars terrain, repeatedly hammered with obstacles to test his survival (and his sanity)?

The Martian is a truly tremendous novel, one of the best I have read in some time. It reads like a nonfiction narrative of a survival story, for Weir’s knowledge of the subject matter is quite vast and impressive. While there is a great deal of technical and scientific jargon, rather than bogging the reader down I think it added a level of believability that will allow readers to grasp the severity and intensity of Watney’s survival.  Personally, I found myself devouring the novel, hungry to learn what next great feat Watney overcame.

The character Weir builds in Watney is outstanding. Though it’s obvious he is terrified about his fate, he keeps a level head on him, using quite a bit of sarcastic humor that lightened up an already dark and devastating storyline.  Watney’s human spirit was tremendous. One can’t help but root for him and pray for his safe return to Earth. I found myself forgetting that he is a fictional character, assuming that I can look up his name online or turn on the news to hear about his death-defying saga. At the end, I did find myself missing him quite a bit. I plan on checking out the audio book soon, desperate to reunite with this character.

You don’t have to be a fan of science fiction to appreciate this novel.  It’s a truly intense analysis of human character and survival, dozens of unknowns on such an unknown planet. This is a novel people will be raving about, I guarantee. Months after reading it, I countinue to rave about it (including it as  my monthly recommendation for Bloggers Recommend).  Highly, highly recommended.

7 Responses to Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

  1. On its face, this doesn’t seem to be a novel I’d be interested in but reviews have been so flattering about it, I might need to rethink.

  2. I am glad I bought this last week… Now if it would just arrive! I was just going to do it on audio because I have bought so many books lately, but it is a ‘me’ book I think. :)

  3. From your review, this sounds awesome! Looks like I’ll have to add it to my “To-read” pile.

  4. This sounds awesome. I love that you say it reads like a work of narrative nonfiction, so I may have to pick this one up.

  5. I’ve heard so much about this recently. Doesn’t sound at all like something I’d normally be into, but I definitely want to check it out.

  6. Ahhh I want to read this! Have you seen Gravity? I feel like the two are very similar, but I guess I can’t say until I actually read it.

    • Jenn
      Twitter: jennbookshelves

      Yes! I’ve seen Gravity (loved it!). The two are similar in that they are both in space, but that’s about it. The situation in THE MARTIAN is much more bleak and devastating, yet the main character still keeps a sense of humor. It’s quite excellent.

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