Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

So I feel like I am one of the last people in the universe who has read The Martian by Andy Weir. And appropriately enough, it was my last read of 2017. I just had no idea how good it was going to be. Another lesson in not judging a book by its cover (I am totally guilty of this).

I tend to stay away from science fiction because I’m not drawn by the technical intricacies and macho space battles that seem to wallpaper the genre. I picked up The Martian solely because I wanted to remove it from my audio library, where it had resided for some years. I decided over winter break would be the best time to read it, when my brain isn’t overwhelmed with a deluge of science for school.

Mark Watney is stranded on Mars after a freak dust storm. And with no signal to Earth, nobody even knows he’s alive.

The Martian is Watney’s struggle against all odds to survive on a hostile planet. The botanist and mechanical engineer has to figure out a way to 1. Not starve to death. 2. Not kill himself while trying to survive. Easy enough, right?

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“I started the day with some nothin’ tea. Nothin’ tea is easy to make. First, get some hot water, then add nothin’.”

At first glance the book sounds pretty boring. How much exciting can one person stuck in one place really be? But then you add into the mix Watney’s biting humor, a series of unexpected events, and MARS, and it quickly became a riveting novel. While there is some science, it’s laid out in an approachable user-friendly manner so I never felt like I wanted to go run and hide my head under some Martian rocks.

“Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.”
I loved Watney’s wicked sharp one liners, and his character was strong and believable. The Martian takes place in a very harsh and unforgiving landscape so the success of the novel really hinged on his portrayal. Watney was someone I would want as a friend or coworker #dreamteam. Although I was cynical going into the novel I was quickly sucked in to the book. I just wanted to highlight all the words and never let it end. I rarely give a book 5 out of 5 stars, but this book deserves every single one. Well done Mr. Weir.
“Something very hot and very explodey had happened.”

 

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