05 July 2014

Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

*Copy courtesy of NetGalley *

The Martian by Andy Weir is the best science fiction novel I've read in years; probably since giving Eifelheim by Michael Flynn 4.5 stars in 2009.  (Click here to read that review).

The martian of the title is NASA astronaut Mark Watney, who finds himself deserted on Mars following a failed mission saw his team depart the planet thinking him dead.

Mark's skills and knowledge as an engineer paired with his incredible problem solving ability leads to all kinds of schemes in his attempt to survive.  His observations and sense of humour is 'laugh out loud' funny and I found myself wanting to read out snippets and share the humour with anyone who was around.

I adored the level of science in the novel and while there was a lot, it was explained in layman's terms and I certainly didn't feel out of my depth -  not being a science fiction devotee.

There's an element of MacGyver in the novel and if you enjoyed the TV show, then you'll definitely fall in love with the ingenuity of Watney in his lonely predicament.

The only downer was the ending.  Clearly when you're in love with a book you don't want it to end, however that aside, I did feel The Martian ended a little abruptly and prematurely.  I wanted to know more about 'what happened after' and while I'd like to think there was going to be a sequel, I really don't think there will be.  The story definitely ends, but I was left wanting to linger a little longer.

I recommended this book to my husband, and it's the first book in 10+ years that we've both enjoyed; no doubt due to the overlap of our interests and plentiful humour. I've just learned that Twentieth Century Fox optioned the film rights and that Matt Damon might play the protagonist, Mark Watney.  Wow, I can't wait for this one!

It's a no-brainer for me to give The Martian 5 stars and I recommend it widely to a range of readers; especially to those who don't browse the science fiction shelves often.  This is a pure gem and a funny and entertaining read. (And there are no aliens, just in case you were wondering).

My rating = *****

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