Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

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Title: The Martian
Author:  Andy Weir
Release Date: February 11th 2014
Publisher: Crown
Source: Giveaway 
Rating: ★★★


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 Review:

The Martian is a classic 'stranded on a deserted island' story. After Mark Watney is the last survivor of a freak dust storm killed the rest of the astronauts on Ares 3, he has limited supplies to survive until NASA rescues him. 

The writing is sharp and funny, and the novel is extremely well researched. Mark is extremely sarcastic and despite the fact that he might die on a foreign planet, he still cracks jokes.

Some of my favorite ones:  

“Ruining the only religious icon I have leaves me vulnerable to Mars Vampires. I’ll have to risk it.”

“Also, I have duct tape. Ordinary duct tape, like you buy at a hardware store. Turns out even NASA can’t improve on duct tape."

Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.”

The author does a great job of balancing humor and drama and not trivializing the dire situation that his main character is in. There's a lot of scientific terms that went over my head and I'm sure someone else who knows physics and chemistry better than the average person will understand it. I appreciated that the author researched the technicalities of space since it adds a level of realism to it. 

The Martian is a remarkable achievement and the story keeps itself at an excellent pace and balances between being funny, action-packed and engaging. 

The Martian is available here and the audiobook version here

-Amanda Leon

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