An out of practice reader discussing the books I get around to reading.
I'm gonna describe this book using a paraphrased quote from a favorite substitute teacher of mine. The context was she was describing a Finnish dish her in-laws make.
"It's the best thing you've ever tasted. It's delicious and amazing. But as soon as it hits your stomach, you've realized you've swallowed a brick."
Yeah, this book was dense. Real dense. But so, so good.
I'm so glad I read and finished this book. It was so well written and completely engaged my science-loving side. The characters were all interesting and compelling. And the suspense was really gripping. My pulse started going up during this last chunk so much it got a little uncomfortable. But I loved it.
For those who don't know, The Martian is about an astronaut, Mark Watney, who is stranded on Mars and his struggle to survive. As a survival story, it succeeds on all levels. As a scifi book, I also think it succeeds in all levels. As a book itself, it had a few short comings. But Just a few.
I've already talked about this book in past posts so I figure there's no need to repeat a lot of what's been said. So I guess I'll just add some final insights.
While it did make things suspenseful, after a point the disasters become predictable. It'd be like, "Watney's doing this, bet it's gonna go wrong. Oh look, it did!" I wouldn't say it's a bad thing since it didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book, it just was predictable. So I guess that's something to considering when looking at this book. If you don't like predictability, you might not like this one.
I wish the sections on Earth were shorter. They took up more space than I would have liked and there were a couple that didn't feel necessary at all. Those sections did serve as a nice pacer, kind of keeping us in suspense of what was going on with Watney. Well, the sections that didn't give away/repeat exactly what Watney was doing. So they were nice, I just wish they were a bit more restrained.
Finally, something to keep in mind about this book is that while it's hard to put down, it's also hard to pick back up. At least, it was for me. Probably due to the density of the book. So when you read it, know that it is a lot to swallow. Pace yourself accordingly and get ready for big bites. Maybe get an antacid ready as well.
Watney's a fantastic narrator. I loved reading his logs. He felt so real to me and his last log made me feel so incredibly happy.
"This is the happiest day of my life."
Good for you, Watney! You deserved it.
Final rating: 4.5/5. Deducted half a point because of the unnecessary sections. But I 100% recommend this one, especially if you love space.
Final thought: I'm really surprised no one died. It was not predictable in that sense.