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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Monday Morning Check-In: Just made it…

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Good Monday morning my bookish friends.  I just made it!  Well for Iowa that is, still morning and I have nearly all my chores done and am ready to check-in with you all.  I hope you had a great weekend.  Mother nature seems to think it is October and no longer August so I am freezing my butt off.  Hoping for a return to warmer temps because it is not fall yet!  I want every last day of summer I can cling to with my jagged dirt-encrusted finger nails.  I still have crap that needs to be done…

So the weekend was pretty quiet, trying to get a handle on my diet again.  Failing miserably, but only one treat managed to come home with me.  So for much of this week if I want to snack it is going to be carrot sticks. Yum(sarcasm).   I did visit our weedy garden to see what was still good and ready to harvest.  Ended up with a ton of eggplant and Brussel sprouts.  Those are yum for real and I spent Sunday cooking all of them up for the week.

Isn’t this a reading blog?  Yes it is, and I was just getting to that.  On Saturday I started my re-read of The Martian by Andy Weir.  You can stop with the groans now, I know I have a serious love of this book and mention it along with all things Kenyon weekly on the blog.  See I managed to get both of my addictions in. Anyway.  I read half the book on Saturday and hope to finish up the rest today. The great eggplant bake-a-thon interrupted Sunday’s reading.  While I there is nothing like reading a book for the first time, the second reading of The Martian is going well.  I still find myself captivated by the plot and laughing out loud at the wit.  It really is an excellent read.  Why have you not started it yet?!  The movie releases October 2, hence my decision to re-read it now, and I am so excited to see it on the big screen.  Still not seeing Mat Damon as Mark Watney, but oh well they didn’t poll me when they cast for the movie.

Well I’m off.  Happy reading everyone!

The Martian by Andy Weir – 5 Stars!

The Martian

 

Cover art thanks to Goodreads, click on it to visit book’s page there.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through the Blogging for Books for an honest review.

They also asked that I share these links:

The Martian Press ReleaseA Conversation with Andy WeirAuthor Bio

Book Synopsis:

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.

It 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?

My Review:

I’m so excited about this book I’m not sure where to start with the review.  (Be prepared for a love fest…)  I LOVED this book!  If I could give it more than five stars I would.  I took a look at some of the other reviews, well mainly the negative ones cause I could not believe people didn’t like this book, and I can see some of the points they were making.  But you know what?  I don’t care.  This book worked for me and I think it will work for many readers out there.

So I should tell you how much of an annoying person I was while reading this book.  After getting 30 pages into it I handed it to my husband and told him to read the first chapter.  I then went to Facebook and even a post here to sing my praises of this book.  I then jumped on Goodreads to find out more about the author and what other books he has written ( none).  He did write a short story called  The Egg, which is also brilliant and available for free (go read it, I’ll wait). After all that research I settled in to enjoy my story, only to be compelled to follow my husband around the house reading him excerpts.  Well, until he told me to stop…  I have been such a pain to live with because I am so excited about this story.  I wanted to go out and buy a case of them and hand the book out to strangers and say “Here read this book.”  I still say someday Hollywood is going to take this story and utterly destroy it with a sad attempt at capturing its brilliance in film.  They will fail.

Alright you get it, I liked the book.  No, LOVED it.  So why?  The main reason, and the reason most often cited against the book, was the humor.  Who would have though a story about a man being stranded on Mars facing death at every turn would be so funny.  And it was.  If you are not a fan of sarcasm, witty on-liners and gallows humor then the book isn’t for you, but personally it is what made the story for me.  I loved that even in this serious life and death situation the main character was able to look death in the eye and crack a joke.

I also loved all the science, not that I got it all, but the author did a great job of making it understandable for people like me who can’t do basic math without a calculator and never did well in science class.  Everything seemed plausible to me and I was delighted the few times I would see a solution right before the main character did.  This is the ultimate survival story.  If you think surviving on a deserted island is hard, try Mars.  The technology didn’t seem too far into the future either.  It helped make the story feel like this is something that could take place in our near future.  Which I believe made it more relatable or understandable for readers.

The character is another aspect that made the story for me.  We aren’t just following Mark around from one near death experience to another for 369 pages. There is also the crew that was forced to abandon him and the teams at NASA down on Earth.  This helped to round out the story and broke up the journal entries which account for much of our time with Mark.  The author did an excellent job of creating people I cared about.  You root for these characters,  you want them to succeed.  They are likable and Mark wasn’t the only one with a sense of humor.  Some complained that they were one-dimensional, but I disagree.  They are trying to overcome a terrible accident and many of them are confined to a planet or a spaceship,  a lot of their back stories are not needed to make this one work.

The story is fairly formulaic; there is a problem, think up solution, implement solution all the while making jokes.  Didn’t bother me, but did notice it about mid-book.  Would have been nice if Mark had a break from time to time, but that probably would have made a more boring book.  This book is a survival thriller that grabbed me from chapter one and didn’t let up until the very end.  I’m serious,  it wasn’t until the last page that we know how everything ends up.  I laughed a lot in this book, cried some even and that last few pages I held my breath as I read.  This is an amazing story, go get a copy and READ IT!  I don’t think you will be disappointed.

OMG! My new obsession, The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian

Don’t wait for my review.  Go get yourself a copy of  The Martian by Andy Weir and READ. THIS. BOOK!  If the first 61 pages are any indication this is going to be an amazing read.  The humor is outrageous, a dry witty gallows humor, it is a compelling thriller/survival story about an astronaut stranded on Mars with only 30 days worth of food, no communication and nobody expected to return to the planet for 4 years.  There is quite a bit of science involved, but the author does a good job of writing it  for us who are not so inclined(bright).  Someday Hollywood is going take this book and ruin it with a movie.  Read it first!    Sorry couldn’t wait I had to share…