I thought it was about time for a review of one of my most favourite books I have ever read (based on the amount that I read, that’s really saying something) – The Martian by Andy Weir. If you haven’t read this book yet, or you’ve seen the movie but haven’t read it, what’s wrong with you?! If you have read it, I hope you loved it as much as I did and share some of my feelings.
Dust jacket synopsis:
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, Mark 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.
Grounded in real, present-day science from the first page to the last, yet propelled by a brilliantly ingenious plot that surprises the reader again and again, The Martian is a truly remarkable thriller: an impossible-to-put-down suspense novel that manages to read like a real-life survival tale.
I. Love. This. Book. I could probably talk about it forever, read it again and again, and not be bored. It has everything a good novel should have – out-of-this-world setting, hilarious and lovable characters, real-world science, suspense, humour, and adventure. Not to mention the most beautiful cover I’ve ever seen (I may or may not have a text-free print of it hanging on my wall…). Ridley Scott’s movie adaptation was also amazing, but please, please, PLEASE read the gloriousness that is this novel too!
The Martian’s setting is the first thing that really strikes you – a future Earth where humans are travelling to and walking around on the red planet like it’s nothing. It really makes you think about and appreciate the excitement felt during the time of the Moon landing, with an update. Given the fact that we haven’t sent humans to Mars yet, it strikes you that this is something that could happen – fuelling the tension, suspense, and sense of adventure that runs throughout the novel. Even though Mark Watney is the focus of the novel, there are many other characters back on Earth and in space that you can’t help but love. Our protagonist, however, is definitely the star of the show because he is the funniest, wittiest, most relatable character I think I’ve ever encountered. His humour is contagious and Weir’s writing makes it seem like we’re right there surviving Mars’ wrath alongside Mark. While reading this novel I realized that there are very few books that made me laugh as hard one minute, then bursting into tears the next as I did with The Martian. It’s also one of the most quotable books in existence, in my opinion.
There are science terms and concepts everywhere, and even though it’s quite complicated stuff, Weir includes it in his writing in a pretty straightforward way, but not overly dumbed down – something I really appreciated. I also really like how it’s a stand-alone novel, not part of a series, so we can appreciate it in all it’s Martian glory. If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m slightly (okay really) obsessed with this book and would recommend it to everyone (and by “recommend” I mean “demand and/or throw it at people to read”).
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I’m aware this review is longer than usual, but I adore this book and want everyone to love it as much as I do so this is me not-so-subtly trying to get you to read it.
P.S. Fun fact about me – among other time periods and genres, I love disco music. So the soundtrack to the movie and the numerous references to disco in the book made me very happy. I also put together a playlist of the songs mentioned in the book and those featured in the movie, which you can find here!