The Martian by Andy Weir (…Again!)

Book Review


The MartianBook Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure, Suspense, Audio Book, Thriller

Book Series: Stand Alone

Released: 11/4/14 by Brilliance Audio

Pages: 9 hr 59 min Price: $15.99

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this as an audiobook from my library.



Book Synopsis:

A mission to Mars.
A freak accident.
One man’s struggle to survive.

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, Mark 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.

My Review:

I can hear it now.  O.M.G.  you are talking about that damn book again.  We get it you loved The Martian move on already.  Let me start out by saying this was not a planned re-read of this title.  I was getting ready for my BEA trip to Chicago and decided on my last day of work to pick out an audio book to listen to on the drive.  I was limited by the need to have actual CD disks as I do not have a fancy car stereo that can stream from my phone that would also be busy telling to turn left and follow highway 34 for 24 miles.  She was going to have enough to do making sure I stayed on the right route; I didn’t want to make more demands on her little battery life than necessary.  Looking through the racks for inspiration a little orange cover caught my eye and I thought perfect!  I’m going to listen to The Martian!  I have read the book before so if I miss parts no big deal, I know I enjoy the story and listening to an adventure story on my own adventure fit nicely together.  It was Kismet and the reason you are reading yet another review by me of The Martian.  Suck it up already…

Sure I could have just listened to the book and saved you tedium of reading another review (if you’ve stuck it out so far kudos), but this is the first time I have read, listened to and watched the same story so I felt honor bound as a reviewer to deliver to you my thoughts on the different versions in a compare and contrast review.  So we are going to be talking less about the plot in this book and more about the different formats available to consume this story.

So if you haven’t figured it out yet you can either read the book (print or e-version), listen to the audio book, or watch the movie.  I would have to say my preference ranks in the order I listed them in.  The book is always going to be better and not being a huge fan of audio books the print version beats the one read to you, and while the movie was great it is a pale comparison to the depth you delve into this story in either of its predecessors.  The book is ALWAYS better.  Always.

When I popped the first disk into my car stereo the first opinion I formed was, that’s not how Mark Watney sounds!  Kind of what I thought when I saw they cast Matt Damon as the character.  Unlike the movie though, this narrator did grow on me as the book progressed.  I still think Damon was a poor choice for the movie.  Sorry, but that is just how I feel.  I pushed on with the book, it was saving me from surfing from radio stations after all, and slowly got into the story line.  Once the point of view changed and I got a taste of how the actor could change his accent to fit the different characters I was sold.  This was going to be fun.  I still thought he sounded a little rough for Watney, but I got over it as his timing for jokes was far better than Damon’s, what more could I ask for…

One thing that did surprise me was how much I missed while reading the book.  Oh sure tons of stuff was left out of the movie, but there was a lot of details that I missed in my previous two readings of The Martian and that surprised me.  I love this book, devoured it, twice.  Watched the movie twice and there were still details I had overlooked.  How odd. Nothing too major, mainly just pop culture references.   Goes to prove re-reading is worth it when you enjoy a story.  When we read we don’t read. word. for. word.  We read sentences or phrases at a time and sometimes that means we miss something, but when a book is being read to you your brain can’t decide what is important and what isn’t.  You hear it all, word for word.  This is going to be something I keep in mind for future audio book selections.  I’m not going to pass something up just because I already read it,  I might check it out if it was a title I really enjoyed.  Already have some Kenyon books in mind for the next yard work project.

As to the quality of the audio book, it is one of the better ones I’ve listened to and I agree with the other positive feedback I’ve heard on this audio book.  They did a great job, and the narrator was a good pick, even if he doesn’t sound like Mark Watney… (no I won’t let it go).  This book is an excellent pick for a road trip, probably not with youngsters in the car (too many f-bombs), but for adults heading out on their own adventure why not go on one with Mark Watney as well.  This remains one of my favorite reads and if you’ve not given it a shot yet, why the hell not!

My Rating: 5 Stars



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