Published by Crown on February 11th 2014
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Source: I Own This
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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, he 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.
This book started out as my very first buddy read ever with two of my dear Twitter friends, Lucy and Sashana. Unfortunately, partway through the book they both decided they weren’t enjoying it (for understandable reasons!) and I finished it on my own. The wait for this book at my library was a bit ridiculous and I ended up buying it on my Kindle because I was desperate, and then Sashana was sweet enough to mail me her physical copy since she wasn’t going to read it. Thank you Sashana!!
The best part of this story for me was the main character, Mark Watney. Most of the story is from his POV and I loved getting inside his mind. Mark is a genius botanist-engineer with a fantastic sense of humor. He literally kept me laughing throughout the story, even though his situation is pretty dire. I know that some readers found his optimistic attitude to be unrealistic given his situation, but I really appreciated his go-get’m and glass-half-full attitude. I also enjoyed the other characters in this book. I won’t say who the other characters are, but I wanted to mention that it’s more than just Mark in the story. I was a little concerned before starting this book that he was the only character in the whole story because I wasn’t sure I would enjoy a book with only one character. Having side characters helped to break up the story for me.
Plot and Writing
I’ve always loved survival stories, although the setting of Mars was a new one for me. A lot of crazy stuff happens to Mark and it was so fun to see him science his way out of the situations (yes, I just used science as a verb – because that’s what he did!). Andy Weir did a lot of research for this novel and I loved how factual everything in this story was, despite it being science fiction. The book is very science heavy and it gets into a lot of math and chemistry equations. I personally enjoyed this aspect because, although I’ve never been good with chemistry, I do have a science background and could at least follow along with the science Mark was doing – I found it so interesting! However, this science heavy aspect of the book is where my friends lost interest in the story and I can definitely see why. I think the amount of math and chemistry in this story could turn a lot of people off, but luckily it worked for me.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book! Mark Watney is a memorable character who kept a smile on my face, even through his terrifying ordeal. Even though this book might be too science heavy for some readers, I enjoyed how factual and well researched it was. I don’t want to say how I felt about the ending because I don’t want to give anything away, but I recommend this to science fiction lovers who aren’t easily scared away by math and chemical equations! I have also seen the movie, which I think is a good adaptation of the book and I also recommend it – especially for those of you who don’t want to read chemical equations. 😛