Read: 16th October 2016 – 19th October 2016
Spoilers in review: No
Holy shit this book.
Mark Watney is an engineer and botanist who through a ‘ridiculous sequence of events’ ends up stranded alone on Mars. This novel documents the time he spends there.
There are two main points of view. There’s Mark’s, via the logs that he keeps, and there’s everyone else’s (NASA, his crewmates, and others). While I personally preferred reading Mark’s POV it was only a slight preference as the whole thing was amazing.
I loved Mark. His sense of humour is great and I was constantly laughing because of something that he’d said. He never lost this at any point, and despite being stranded so far from home, his first instinct was to do what he needed to to survive, not to just panic. I know that I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I was in his position.
I also really liked the rest of his crewmates. Their interactions were entertaining, and I found myself wanting to give Commander Lewis a hug almost from the first time she showed up. She’s great. They’re all great.
I have been informed by a couple of my friends, who are much bigger space nerds than I am, that this book is also impressively scientifically accurate. So many numbers get rattled off throughout the novel that I just ended up taking Weir’s word for it, but it’s nice to know that it’s not crap. Although if it had been inaccurate in any way it would have been harder to spot than, say, examining how people react to things and their brains in order to see how they were immune to a disease (looking at you James Dashner). But if you, like me, don’t fully understand all of the science stuff, things still get explained in layman’s terms and it’s not hard at all to follow what’s going on
I’ve been in a reading slump of sorts for a while, in that I was reading but not enjoying it as much as I used to. This book has made me really enjoy reading again. I read it super quickly (to the point where a friend actually told me to slow down), found myself complaining if I had to do something other than read it (like go to lessons in school) and had already decided that it would be a favourite of mine before I was a third of the way through.
To summarise, this book is amazing. I recommend that everyone read it. Even if you don’t care too much about physics or space, this is still a great read for the humour alone.
And despite moving straight on to another book, I’m still feeling the ‘book hangover’ from this one.
Review originally written in 2016