Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

TheMartianCoverOfficial Synopsis from Goodreads: 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 while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long 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 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. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Genre: Science Fiction
Setting: Mars, Houston, and Pasadena. In the year 2035.
My copy came from: I purchased a used copy at a library book sale.

*** this post contains affiliate links ***

Review: A nail-biting survival story on Mars! I’m about 4 years too late on reading this book, but what a great read! The Martian by Andy Weir is survival at its toughest, in a tough environment, with minimal food, and almost no hope for escape. Even though I’d previously seen the movie based on the book back when it was released, I still was on the edge of my seat while reading this.

The Martian is mainly written as log entries, as Mark Watney, who has been stranded on Mars, is trying to figure out how to survive. He’s an astronaut, engineer, and botanist, and how he uses his skills to survive was fascinating. Many of the technical parts went way over my head, but this didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the book at all. I stopped trying to figure out what each part looked like, or what each term meant after a bit, and that helped me just go along with the story and not focus too much on how to visualize it in my head.

The questions are many: How long can he last? How much food does he have? Can Ares 4 rescue him? How will we talk to him? The answers to these questions are not what we want to hear.

I can’t promise we’ll succeed in rescuing him, but I can promise this: The entire focus of NASA will be to bring Mark Watney home. This will be our overriding and singular obsession until he is either back on Earth or confirmed dead on Mars.

Besides the log entries, we also get glimpses into the workings of NASA, and the PR that goes on once NASA discovers that Mark is alive, and how the men and women on Earth try to save Mark. We also meet Mark’s team, who are on a spaceship heading back to Earth after they fled the dust storm on Mars, and how they try to help save Mark, too. The scenes on Earth were my favorite scenes. I loved seeing how Annie, the director of media relations for NASA, was spinning all of the stories. I loved seeing the drive and determination of the workers doing what they could to help Mark. I loved seeing how the whole world was coming together for Mark.

There is quite a lot of bad language in the book, so you might not like it if that bothers you. Besides the complicated science and technical parts, which really read very quickly, and don’t bog the book down, there is a lot of heart here, with a compelling survival story that will keep you reading. I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected to, and highly recommend it! Now I need to re-watch the movie!

Bottom Line: Nail-biting science fiction! I couldn’t put this down!

LINKS ***the Amazon link is an affiliate link which means I receive a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase***

Amazon   Book   |   Movie
Author Website

Have you read The Martian? Have you seen the movie? What do you think of the casting? Do you read a lot of science fiction?


16 thoughts on “Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

  1. I have to admit I didn’t like the book much, I found the narrator annoying after a while and it seemed like Robinson Crusoe in space. I haven’t seen the film though, which I’m sure will make it more exciting. I’ve read Artemis which I thought was better.
    Good review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! That’s too bad that you didn’t enjoy Mark. He had that snarky and humorous attitude that is not for everyone! I’ve never actually read Robinson Crusoe – someday I will! Glad to hear that Artemis was good – I was curious about it. I don’t read a whole lot of science fiction, so wasn’t sure if I should try to read that one.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad you enjoyed this one – I loved it too! Usually the bad language would have out me off, but somehow it’s all done so light-heartedly it didn’t bother me. I liked the film too, but this was one where I thought the book was so much better. I’ve never looked at a potato in quite the same way ever since… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the language here was just a tad annoying for me. I just re-watched the movie and at least the movie toned down the language! I enjoyed the movie much more on the re-watch, as I was able to understand more of what he was doing. Oh dear, those poor potatoes… ! Andy Weir was so clever the way he wrote all of the solutions to the various problems that Mark encountered.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I felt like the movie was watered down compared to the book, but in all fairness, it’s a chunky, dense novel. I also hated how they changed the ending to be goofy in the movie. I read this book aloud to my husband. My favorite part went largely unspoken in the novel: how much is a human life worth? NASA is spending, what millions? billions? to bring Mark Watney home, and what else could that money be used for? That’s a pressing question that’s omnipresent but largely ignored in the novel. My husband loved the science stuff best and recently went on to read a trilogy called “The Bobiverse,” recommended by Lou Lou (not sure if you follow her).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great point about the worth of human life. That’s an interesting concept that the book didn’t really focus on – I think perhaps the character of the head NASA guy (Teddy) attempted a little bit to bring this up – he was definitely more money and safety concerned in the book.
      I just re-watched the movie over the weekend and I agree about the ending of the movie – when Commander Lewis sailed out there on her floating seat that seemed silly to me rather than suspenseful. Plus, the effects of that scene haven’t aged particularly well in my opinion. I also didn’t like how Annie’s role in the movie was diminished. They had Teddy or Kapoor do all of the press conferences instead of her. But I did like the casting of the movie – especially Matt Damon. He was a great Mark Watney! I did feel like I understood the movie much more now that I’ve read the book – when I first saw the movie years ago a lot of the science stuff was confusing to me.
      Did you read the book before watching the movie?


      1. Yes, I saw the book first and then the movie came out in theaters after that. I remember being surprised by how short the movie was compared to how long the book is. I knew that wasn’t a good sign. I immediately agreed with you that Matt Damon was a great Mark Watney, but then I thought about how Matt Damon always plays every white guy who does something incredible and felt more meh. Did you ever see the images in which someone replaced white male actors with John Cho to prove that he could be a leading man? It’s actually really interesting. Here is the linke (scroll all the way down):

        One of the posters is The Martian 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. What a great site! Thanks for sharing the link. 🙂 Yeah, Matt Damon does get cast a lot in those roles. I’m not a huge Matt Damon fan – I loved Good Will Hunting, but not really anything else he’s done, but I did enjoy him in The Martian. I don’t recall the author specifying race or anything physically distinguishing (hair color, height, etc) about any of the characters, really.


            1. I think I read an interview with the author that said he left everything open ended so anyone could’ve been cast in any of the roles. I’m not sure if I prefer an author to detail everything about a character or to leave it open ended. Some descriptions help me picture a character in my head, but I don’t need everything detailed about a character – I like to cast the roles in my mind instead of going off of what someone else has decided would fit the role. In this case, since I did see the movie so long ago and have a firm idea of Matt Damon being the lead that he really fit it when I was reading 🙂


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