Joint Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

Where did you get the book: Bought
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: Out now

Apollo 13 meets Cast Away in this grippingly detailed, brilliantly ingenious man-vs-nature survival thriller, set on the surface of Mars.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.

themartianIt started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission 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 get him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

*Blurb taken from Goodreads*

Has: THE MARTIAN is not a book I would choose because I tend to gravitate towards mostly romance, PNR or SFF with romantic elements. But after hearing such rave reviews and needing a change of genre after a huge reading slump, I was really glad I picked up this book. It was hilariously fun with edge of your seat tension that kept me engrossed.

Mark Watney find himself stranded on Mars after a freak accident while the rest of his team managed to escape in an emergency lift-off. With low rations, air and water, and no communication, he has to find a way to survive on a bleak and unforgiving planet, and find a way to contact home for a rescue mission. I loved, loved, loved Mark’s narration, which was irreverent, funny and full of snarky humour, especially with the way he dealt with big and minor problems he had to face when shit literally hits the fan in his case. And I think if he wasn’t such an engaging character, while this premise would have been interesting, I wouldn’t have been sucked into the story.

Lou: I agree with everything Has wrote above. I would not have picked up The Martian if not for Has and another friend of mine recommending it. I’m a romance girl at heart–probably always will be for many years to come–but occasionally I get what I call a reading funk. After a death in my family, which left me unable to believe in any HEA, I found myself gravitating towards non-romance books, and this is where The Martian comes in. The Martian manages to deliver a fantastic story that had me glued to the pages. It took me a few days to finish the book (I won’t pretend; I’m a slow learner when it comes to science) but the narration was just perfect. I was expecting a dry, serious type narrator for what was going on but Mark was so funny. His humour is probably what kept him sane (and obviously Nasa’s training) on the red planet.

Has: Yes! His humour was the saving grace for him and for the reader because it was such a stark and dangerous setting he found himself. I loved that the humour helped to balance out the dark tone without letting up on the tension which built up beautifully throughout the book and comes to a climactic end. I also loved how he made the science so accessible and easy to understand without droning on, or preaching which is one of the reasons why I’m not a huge fan of hard SF books. Watney also added humour into it as well which was pretty funny especially in the situation where he had to find a way to grow food and things doesn’t go to plan.

Lou: Who knew reading about growing potatoes with your own crap could be so entertaining? Followed up my self-made explosions and producing water, Watney’s comedic timing in the book was perfect. While there is much humour to be found in The Martian, the tragic predicament Mark finds himself in is also told through his story on Earth, via Nasa, who realise after an eagle eye spotter viewing satellite images that Mark is still alive. Through detailing the rescue mission and decisions on whether to tell Mark’s crew that he’s still alive, Earth’s story is also steeped in minor politics within Nasa and how they played it out publicly for the world without causing any bad publicity for themselves. The story is told in a linear fashion where it builds towards the day where Mark hoped to be rescued. If there is one critique I have then it’s the ending of the book. I wanted more. I found it quite abrupt and no– I’m not telling you whether Mark survives or not. That was what kept me on the edge of my seat reading this book.

Has: I agree about the abrupt ending and I would have liked to see more of what happened to the other characters towards the end. I also found that the emergencies that seemed to crop up stretched the tension in the story. But I didn’t mind that because I was on tenterhooks with the outcome of the story and I was really concerned with the fate of Watney. And I unashamedly peeked at the end because this book did make me question whether he would survive or not, which showed how much I cared for his character.

I also would have liked to have seen more of the subplot of his team-mates and there was a very subtle romance with two of his colleagues which was sweet but the real focus was on Watney who was the real star of the story. I also enjoyed the chemistry with his team-mates and Mission control, which had a few moments of funny and snarky interactions which had me giggling especially when politics and strict protocols became too restrictive for Watney who had to be a rebel with his improvisations to survive. The author did a fabulous job with keeping the tension and interest focused on him.

Lou: I loved that even stuck alone on a different planet, Watney rebelled and knew that there was bugger all the higher ups at Nasa could do about it. I would have loved to have seen more of his colleagues but perhaps we’ll see that happen in the film. I was glad there wasn’t romance to be seen in this book–unless the author was gonna introduce green aliens who liked probing *grins*. Joking aside, The Martian is a cracker of a book and I’ll definitely be reading future books by Andy Weir.

I give The Martian an A.

Has: I am pretty sure if aliens did crop up in the book Mark would have been a great ambassador for introducing the human race to them, or if they were evil invaders, he would have found a way with the exploding crap to defend Earth. But enough of the joking. This was a wonderful, humorous and tense filled book that kept me riveted with each click of that page. I salute Andy Weir for keeping me in engaged in a genre which I rarely read but The Martian was definitely one of the highlights this year for me and I am thankful it helped me to get out of a serious book funk. This is a book that will appeal to all readers because Mark Watney was a fabulous and engaging memorable character. I will also check out Andy Weir’s next book because he has a great voice!

I also give The Martian an A.

3 thoughts on “Joint Review: The Martian by Andy Weir”

  1. I loved this too. I expect I bought the audiobook because one or both of you told me it was so good! Even thought I’m a romance reader and this book isn’t a romance, I’d have to say it’s one of my favourite books for the year so far.

  2. @Kaetrin:

    I must check out the audio at some point–though that means going back to Audible which I swore never to do lol.

    The Martian is definitely in my top picks of the year so far also.

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