Book Review – The Martian

Title: The Martian

Author: Andy Weir

Format: Trade Paperback

Year Published: 2014

You’ve probably heard of The Martian. It is, after all, a major motion picture, advertised on every television, movie screen, and billboard around. Everybody I know who has seen it has enjoyed it, and most also read and enjoyed the book (full disclosure: I have yet to see the movie. I will be Redboxing it as soon as possible.)

In general, when it comes to books-made-into-movies, I’m going to prefer the book. There a few exceptions (Hunger Games, I’m looking at you), but due to this, I generally prefer to see the movie first and then read the book, just because I’ll enjoy the movie more if I’m not comparing it in my head. (That said, I also generally go to see these movies *because* I read the book, so it’s not always a foolproof option). Yet, I chose to read the book first. We’ll see how it compares once I see the movie.

The Martian is the story of Mark Watney, who, due to a series of unfortunate events, ends up left for dead on Mars. He must survive on his own, using only the supplies that are there for him, until the next Mars mission arrives and he can hitch a ride home.

The book is full of sciencey-details and facts. Rumor has it that the science actually works, but I cannot verify, as I haven’t done any kind of science in a decade. I’m sure it was interesting to people who like to work that out, but for me it was mostly a skim (nice to see that the character knew what he was talking about, but the author could have made up half of it for all the good it did me).

I liked Mark – he was a good mix of sarcastic and level-headed, and the narrative style worked well for me. In fact, I don’t think that there was a single character I really didn’t like, which is pretty rare for me. (Of course, I liked some more than others.)

The stylistic changes should have thrown me – going from Mark’s written POV to the third-person POV of the rest of the book – but for some reason it worked. Probably because Mark had such a strong voice. Though I did feel that the story dragged in some parts, in general the pacing worked well (and the dragging parts mostly only dragged because I was going “uh, there’s still a huge chunk of the book left. Something has to go wrong”) and the ending was emotionally satisfying. I look forward to reading more by the author.

4/5 pages


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