by Andy Weir
Overview (from Goodreads): 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?
My Thoughts: I figured The Martian would be Cast Away (with Tom Hanks) on Mars, especially since that was part of the description. I thought that sounded a bit boring, but worth reading since quite a few people enjoyed it. Cast Away it is not. It is so much better.
The Martian seemed a little slow for the first 1.5 chapters, but a large part of that was probably just getting used to the author’s unique way of writing. I’m also using unique in the best possible way here. I’ve never read another book like The Martian. There was math, physics, botany, and chemistry, but you never felt lost or stupid. Trust me on that one, physics was not my strong suit at all in college. It’s not written in a way that would be over the heads of the average readers, but it’s also not dumbed down to the point where you have to roll your eyes.
Mark was an absolutely incredible character. All of the other characters were interesting and I enjoyed reading about them, but Mark was in his own league. He was smart, but not un-relatable Sheldon smart (from The Big Bang Theory). He was a sarcastic, smartass, which was hilarious and had me chuckling at some of the things he said and did.
The different perspectives in the book were a surprise and I loved them. You were mostly with Mark on Mars, but there is also perspective shown from his crew mates and NASA. These parts were interspersed brilliantly so I never got bored with Mark (he’s alone on Mars, that can only fill so many pages).
In case it wasn’t obvious, I absolutely loved The Martian. I actually borrowed it from the library and once I was done with it, I bought myself a copy. I couldn’t help it; it was that good. I would highly recommend The Martian, unless you loathe all things science fiction.
5 out of 5 Bookmarks = Absolutely brilliant and I will be reading it again.