Review: The Martian by Andy Weir


Title: The Martian 
Author: Andy Weir 
Series: Stand-alone 
Genre: Science Fiction, Adult Fiction 
Publication date: February 11, 2014 
Rating: ★★★★★ 

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue 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 kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Things didn’t go exactly as planned, but I’m not dead, so it’s a win.

This is truly an extraordinary book. There’s been this huge fuss about it for quite some time now, but it had still been standing on my shelf for a couple of months before I finally picked it up. I instantly regretted not starting it sooner. I’ve never read anything like this before. This is a must-read for just about everyone.

The Martian is a piece of science fiction, but it’s so masterly written it becomes completely realistic. As if this was based on a true story instead of an invented one. Has there really never been anyone to Mars? There really isn’t a Mark Watney out there? Are you sure? Because I swear this felt real to me.

I can’t imagine the insane amount of research that went into it. There are tons of scientific calculations, chemical reactions etc. Really difficult stuff and I could have wrecked my brains trying to comprehend everything, but it’s written in a way that makes you understand the essentials without suffering from brain overload. All of this made it realistic, made it feel like people have always been going back and forth to Mars.

It’s a strange feeling. Everywhere I go, I’m the first. Step outside the rover? First guy ever to be there! Climb a hill? First guy to climb that hill! Kick a rock? That rock hadn’t moved in a million years! I’m the first guy to drive long-distance on Mars. The first guy to spend more than thirty-one sols on Mars. The first guy to grow crops on Mars. First, first, first!

This is the story of astronaut Mark Watney (part of the Ares 3 mission) stranded on Mars, trying to survive a planet that seems intent on killing him. The situation is close to hopeless. He’s all alone on a planet that’s not designed for humans to live on. There are countless obstacles to overcome, each worse than the one before, but he feels he owes it to himself to at least try to survive. And so he goes to work. He starts planning even though he has no idea if any of it is going to work out in the end.

I loved the guy. He found himself in the most impossible of situations and yet he remained strong. His courage and creativity were admirable. Yet it was his personality I fell for. He relied on humor instead of self-pity to cope with it all. The ability to self-relativize and to joke in the hardest of times are some of the best characters traits a person can possess.

Actually, I was the very lowest ranked member of the crew. I would only be “in command” if I were the only remaining person. What do you know? I’m in command.

You should be truly heartless not to root for Watney. It was a real struggle not to skip to the end of the book just to see if he would make it. The book became real tense near the end, to the point where I literally couldn’t stop reading. It’s so so so good.

If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it's found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don't care, but they're massively outnumbered by the people who do.

The book is partly told through journal entries, but don’t let that be a problem. They’re fluently written and even though I don’t usually like books told through letters etc., here it didn’t bother me one bit. I say partly, because after a while, it changes to multiple POV – which is a good thing. We get to follow his story through the eyes of NASA on Earth. It brings different perspectives and more dynamics to the story. The pacing sped up and I got even more attached to the story and Watney’s survival than I already was. They really want to help him, but there isn’t all that much they can do for him.

I’m pretty much fucked. That’s my considered opinion. Fucked.

Conclusion: read this book, you won’t regret it. It’s absolutely spectacular.

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3 comments:

  1. I know what I'll be reading next thanks to this great review! The book's been on my shelf for a while though so it's about time I should pick it up and see what the hype is about :p

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  2. This sounds so interesting! And I'm glad you loved it :) It's not really my type of book but I think I'm going to have to check it out now! Great review

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  3. Yaaay. You should all definitely try this. It's not my usual type of book either, but I had so much fun reading it. I hope you'll like it as well.

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