(Disclosure: I received a copy of this title from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.)
The Martian, by Andy Weir (paperback, 369 pages). 2.5 out of five stars.
I think that some books can be just okay, or even kind of good, but not truly “great” unless you’re a hardcore fan of their given genre. The Martian was definitely one such book–it was pretty decent, but unless you’re a hardcore “real science” sci-fi fan, you’re probably going to struggle with the text.
It’s not that the book is draggy, or dull, or that the main character is unlikable. Quite the opposite, in fact! I picked this up based on a recommendation from a friend, even though it didn’t really catch my eye as being my “type” of book, and I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed it. The plotting and pacing was great, there was plenty of humor sprinkled throughout, and you’re really never sure if Mark will make it back to earth or not.
So why only 2.5 stars? Because as good as the story was, the heavy focus on Mark’s scientific endeavors started to wear on me. I ended up skimming through the last 100 pages or so because my eyes were starting to glaze over. Sci-fi is one of those genres that can be tricky if you’re not a dedicated fan, and I personally don’t get into “real science sci-fi” quite so much as hypothetical sci-fi (think Fringe). This book reads like a literal manual of How To Escape Mars in 364 Easy Steps (or something like that). If you love this particular branch of sci-fi, then you’ll be thrilled, but for myself it started to feel a little tedious.
Overall, it’s great for hardcore genre fans, and a good “borrow” title for the rest of us.