I generally don’t start off by giving away the amount of stars I give a book but let’s get that out of the way for now; I give this book 5 stars out of 5. I had very little complaints about this book and the story or of anything that was going on throughout the three days that I read it between work and laundry and general house cleaning.
Weir starts off by pointing out that the main character of the book, Mark Watney, astronaut, botanist, and mechanical engineer to Ares 3 (the third manned mission to Mars, is not dead. He is very much alive and very much stranded on the red planet due to a dust storm that was strong enough to detach an antenna from the communications array and impaled him with. All the rest of his teammates saw was Watney get impaled and blown away by the dust and wind. If getting impaled hadn’t killed him then probably losing pressure on his suit would have so there was no point in endangering the rest of the Ares 3 crew when they too could be stuck on Mars.
Watney comes to the realization that he’ll have to live long enough for Ares 4 to come pick him up in five years’ time. For that he has to stay alive long enough for that to be possible. He needs food, water, and other things in order to survive and it’s a lucky thing that he has enough food from the rest of the crew since they won’t be eating it. He begins to log all of his experiences (what the reader is reading) in order for some future archaeologist or NASA mission to be able to learn from him and what it was like for him before he dies on the planet.
I went through a roller coaster ride as Watney tried everything possible to just survive one more day in a planet that seemed to be so set on killing him every single step of the way. A good chunk of the science I couldn’t wrap my head around and I was super glad that Watney dumbed it down enough so that the common folk that weren’t NASA engineers could know what the hell he was doing on Mars. The book kept me at the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it and I don’t know how Watney just kept his cool the entire time he was going through all this considering that everything just seemed to go wrong whenever he fixed it.
I’ll be watching the movie (and reviewing that, too), to see just how Hollywood imagined the characters in this book. It was so amazing and I don’t want the big screen to ruin all the images I had in my brain for it.
I would recommend this book to any space enthusiast. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a good edge of your seat story where you don’t know whether they’ll be a happily ever after or not (after all, rations can only last so long before they run out and you have to start thinking about eating your hand or something). I would recommend this book to anyone that judged it by its cover (like I did). I would recommend this book for everyone and anyone that just wants to sit down and be immersed in science that’s explained in such a way that you understand exactly what’s going on without feeling dumb.
Complaints about this book:
1. Andy Weir/Mark Watney, I don’t think ghetto means what you think it means. It’s irritating and jarring to see it in the middle of my reading when Mark says “I’ll have to build a ghetto whatever.” Bro, not cool.
2. Would have liked to see more reactions from the public and not just NASA and other scientists.
3. WHY WOULD YOU EVER TAKE SHORTCUTS IN NASA? SEEMS LIKE A RECIPE FOR DISASTER!
Things I’ve noticed and loved:
1. Teddy’s OCD and how he had to have all his papers and books aligned with his desk.
2. Mitch Henderson’s total devotion to the Ares 3 crew and keeping them in the loop at all times and being the guy that wanted to rescue Watney.
3. China National Space Administration
4. Rich Purnell is a genius
5. Mindy being a space paparazzi/interplanetary voyeur. She’s obviously the hero in this book. Without her no one would even know about Watney. She was shy once upon a time but then she became the go-to gal for Mark Watney updates.
6. The names of the places on Mars as well as the names of the equipment. I loved the map at the beginning and I loved knowing exactly where Mark was at all times and how exactly he was going to get from one place to the next.
10/10 would totally read this again. I suggest you read it as much as possible and then lend the book to your friends so that they can understand the awesomeness that is this book.