3 out of 5 stars | Goodreads
I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
This was chosen as Sci-Fi Book of the Month for my Goodreads book group, Dragons & Jetpacks, back in August. I went into it expecting great things – so many positive reviews from friends, such high praise – and I’m sad to say that I was pretty disappointed.
The premise is terrifying. Mark Watney is now the only person on Mars, after a freak storm that led his crewmates to believe he was dead. The Martian is Watney’s account of survival in the bleak landscape of the Red Planet, told through a series of mission logs, interspersed with third person perspective chapters from NASA. Whilst his self-deprecating sense of humour and dry wit was brilliant, especially in the face of such peril, there were so many chapters where it just felt like lists and lists of what he was doing. Understandably, there’s not actually much to do on Mars, but still…
Whilst I was gripped by the story and rooting for Mark, who was a really likable guy, at times I felt a little bored. I felt that the pace and my enjoyment of the book picked up a lot more towards the end, however, and Andy Weir managed to conjure up many moments where things could go very, very wrong, and I was on the edge of my seat hoping that Mark would be okay.
I can see why the book has such high praise. It’s a unique account and Mark is amazingly brave, considering that he is pretty much staring death right in the face at all times. But I’m sad to say that overall, it just didn’t work for me.