The Martian: A Book Review

Posted October 22, 2015 by Carlisa in Book Reviews / 8 Comments

The Martian: A Book ReviewThe Martian by Andy Weir
Published by Crown on February 11, 2014
Genres: Adult Fiction, Science Fiction
Pages: 369
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

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 & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& 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—& 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?

Ever since I saw the movie for this trailer, I knew that I had to read the book. It sounded freaking awesome. Not for Mark Watney, of course. But for me as a reader…freaking awesome. And it did not let me down.

The premise is that this mission to Mars, Ares 3, had to abort their mission because of a powerful dust storm. Trying to get to their shuttle, Mark Watney was hit with flying debris and presumed dead. Though the decision was hard, the rest of the crew boarded and started flying back to Earth. Watney woke up a few hours later…still very much alive.


So basically the book is the story of how he tries to survive on a planet completely alone. I can’t even imagine. You know, sometimes, it’s easy to feel alone. Like nobody understands what you’re going through. Yadda yadda yadda. But Watney was quite literally alone alone. There was no other lifeforms on the entire planet he was on. [Wouldn’t that have been the biggest plot twist if *real* Martians had come out to help and/or kill him? Turns out you weren’t alone Mark!]

But this book is seriously so interesting. His perspective is written in his logs every day and it’s. so. interesting. And I am not a science-y person. Like, at all. So a lot of the more technical stuff did go over my head a bit, but I never once lost interest. It captivated me. “What the freak is going to happen next?” was the question constantly on my mind because, honestly, I never had any idea. How in the world would a story like this be predictable? There’s just no way. 

Also, Mark Watney is hilarious. This would have been a completely different book if anyone but Watney was the one stranded. He has this great sense of humor where he takes a pretty crappy situation (understatement of the century) and just jokes about it. Like this moment…These are gifs from the movie (which I haven’t seen yet) but this quote is almost exactly the same. Mission Control (who has no way to contact him) has been watching him in satellite pictures and they say this…and then simultaneously, Mark Watney is logging that:

martian5 martian4

So, as you can see, he’s a funny guy. And he’s like that the entire book. Usually they’re just small, subtle comments that are actually hilarious. I really liked the character Andy Weir built in Watney. You just root for him the entire time, you know? 

Also, can we just talk about how people actually thought that Mark Watney was stranded on the moon after seeing the movie? THEY THOUGHT IT WAS A TRUE STORY. Sure, the book and probably the movie are set up so it almost seems like it’s nonfiction…but obviously it’s not! Don’t you think you would have heard about Matt Damon flying into Mars before he was stranded there? I just think it’s hilariously awesome. Man, some people…

Anyways, you should go read this book. It’s action-packed, tense, thoughtful, hopeful, funny, scientific…SO MANY THINGS. And if science isn’t your thing, do not despair. Because you will most likely enjoy it anyway.

[Disclaimer because I know I have readers who’d care: The f-bomb is used more than a couple of times in this book. Just so you know. End of disclaimer]




  • VanessaIsen!

    I loved the movie so much! I am sure the book is just as good! I’ll have to pick that bad boy up.

    • I want to see it soooo bad. I’m hoping to go next Tuesday because tickets are cheaper on Tuesday.

  • Maraia

    *raises hand* I’ll go! I’ve heard the movie is great. I was a little unsure about Matt Damon at first, but the advantage is that he’s actually a good actor instead of just a pretty face. I think he can pull off the humor. And oh man, the humor. That’s what really made this book amazing. 😀

    • Seriously, the book wouldn’t have been good without Watney’s humor. If it had been any other scientist, it would have been awfully boring, I’m sure of it. BUT I want to see the movie so badly. If only I could teleport and we could go see it 😮

      • Maraia

        *gets to work on teleportation machine* 😀

  • I’m super excited for the movie, too! I didn’t enjoy the book quite as much as you did, but I definitely think that the plot will translate way better on screen than on paper. Plus, Matt Damon is a fantastic cast for Mark Watney, he does a brilliant job from what I’ve seen in the trailers.

    • I think you’re right that the movie will probably actually be better than the book. I feel like it’s blasphemous to say that, but I think it’s true in this case. Being able to see everything for ourselves, in a world that’s so visual but so outside of anything that we know, is going to be amazing. I’m hoping to see it in the next couple of days!

  • So normally I have this rule that I will read the book before I see the film, but I was pretty late finding out about this one and I just couldn’t wait to go see it (plus my boyfriend bought me tickets, so I could hardly say no!). And wow was the film amazing! It makes me want to read the book even more now! Such a unique story (I love that people thought it was based on real life) and even though I too am not really into the whole science thing, I find the whole thing fascinating so I know it wont impact my reading! Great review, thanks for reminding me to read the book and I hope you get to see the film soon! 🙂