Title: The Martian by Andy Weir
Release Date: 2011
Rating: 2,5 out of 5 stars
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, he 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.
The Martian is one of those standalones that has been praised into the high heavens by many different kind of readers. So I figured I would love it as well. What could go wrong? Apparently a lot.
I found the start to the book to be pretty good. Especially the first 100 pages or so I quite liked. But in the second half it started going a bit downhill for me. I found it boring. It was a constant repeat of problem. Complain about it in journal, then describe solution. Fix it. It bored me after a while. I didn’t find it interesting anymore. It was a good thing that what happened on Earth and with the team that left him behind were also added into the book otherwise there is a good chance I had not finished this book. It broke up the Whatney bits which was a breath of fresh air.
There was clearly also more emotion in the parts of the other characters then there were in Whatney’s parts. Though the journal might be partly to blame for that I had expected a bit more, doom and gloom perhaps at some point. While I am normally drawn to sarcastic characters in books, I just couldn’t connect with him. I didn’t really like him at some parts, like when he said that nonsense in the email response to the investigation of his captain. That just struck a wrong cord with me and it never recovered.
One thing I did enjoy throughout the book was the team dynamics. Their interactions were great. Clearly they had bonded over their time in space.