andy weir

Book Review: The Martian - by Andy Weir

6:46 PM

Summary from goodreads: 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 and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars' surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years 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's not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills — and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength – he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth. As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive – but Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Martian, a science fiction novel written by Andy Weir in shifting perspectives, keeps the reader laughing and on the edge of their seats with the intense plot and humorous narration. With half of the novel being written as a journal in first person point of view and the other half being written in third person point of view, the story was innovative and realistic, although there was room for improvement in regards to the characterization.

Firstly, it should be noted that facts make up a big part of The Martian. Watney, the main character, explains technical aspect after technical aspect when describing his plans for survival on Mars. That means a lot of aerodynamics and a lot of chemistry (amongst other things). However, the technicalities don't really weigh down the plot or make the story dull because there was an abundance of comic relief found in the narration. While this could be a problematic area for some readers, the research and knowledge that went into writing The Martian should be commended. 

As for the characterization, it could have been done differently. It could have been done better, to be more specific. There was only one personality trait that was given to each personality, and naturally, it was that one characteristic that distinguished each character. This trait would have been much more annoying and obnoxious had the novel been character driven as opposed to plot driven, but that's not how The Martian played out. The reader would probably be too preoccupied with the details of something almost blowing up or someone almost dying to worry about character development, anyway. Still, more focused characterization would have been a nice addition. 

What sets The Martian apart from other science fiction novels is how realistic it was made to be. Sure, the chances of someone being stranded on Mars and telling his potential survival tale in real life is slim to none. But with all the science facts and the way the characters ran through the process made the reader feel as if it was all so plausible. 

All in all, The Martian was funny and stressful and entertaining. If you're not one to really mind science facts being dropped on you, then I recommend this thriller for you.

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  1. Great review! I totally agree with you about the lack of character development. I still liked this book, though. I thought it was really funny.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Thanks! I haven't watched the movie yet, but I hope it's as funny as the book.