I have been thoroughly impressed by this book. The Martian was such a great read for me; say a ranking system goes from one to five stars, this book would absolutely be a five, plus some. Yeah, it was that good. I’m not sure how much fun it is to read a rave review but it sure is fun to write one, so here goes.
SPOILER ALERT: Do not read on if you have not read this book.
The main storyline of the book is that during a mission on Mars, crewmate Mark Watney supposedly dies after a freak accident forcing other crew members to evacuate the planet. The plot of the book explores the challenges Watney faces while trying to contact NASA and come back home to Earth safely.
The first thing that impressed me about The Martian was that the author, Andy Weir, was able to write complex, science-y ideas in a simple way to make the average reader understand. When I read these specific types of sentences I felt like a rocket-scientist genius, but newsflash: I know practically nothing of the subject. This book obviously took a great deal of time just to get the scientific part believable for the audience. I don’t know how scientifically accurate the book actually is, but that’s not really why I chose to read it.
Another great thing about this book is how it is set up. The chapters are a bit longer than usual so sometimes I had to stop in the middle of a chapter if I didn’t have the time. But that’s just fine because the chapters were a series of logs written by Mark Watney in his struggle to survive on his own. I could pause my reading after a couple of logs if necessary. These logs are relatively short, and are set up to summarize the most prominent events of the day. At first I thought this book would be quite a snooze; how could someone make months of being stranded on Mars interesting? The book starts out with Watney narrating through the series of blogs, then splitting the attention between Watney and a NASA center when NASA realizes that he is still alive on Mars. This was a great construction for this book, because in duller parts of the story Watney would crack a joke while explaining the science behind something. An example is when he is trying to configure “the Hab” which is basically his home as a life-supporting tent on Mars and says this bit: “Problem is (follow me closely here, the science is pretty complicated), if I cut a hole in the Hab, the air won’t stay inside anymore.” The joke is a bit out of context, but you get the idea.
Mark Watney is an all around funny and entertaining character which makes the story flow easily. There were no breaks or poorly written transitions in this book, which can sometimes occur when a story follows more than one person. Yet ANOTHER great thing about The Martian is that there is a movie that goes along with it! I saw the movie when it first came out before reading the book. I knew that there was a book that the movie was base off of; I’m not usually the type of person to watch a movie before the book, but I didn’t think the book was worthwhile at the time. How wrong was I on a scale of one to ten? I’d say around eleven (I’m a Stranger Things fan). In an epic science story paired with crucially placed profanities as comedy relief, Andy Weir’s The Martian has definitely made it to one of my favorites.