Last weekend I spent around 22.5 hours on planes as I flew from Adelaide to Edinburgh.
It was a VERY productive 22.5 hours.
I finished two books and started one during the flights, all of them audiobooks.
So, I have two reviews for you today, and we may as well get started!
Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Genre: Science Fiction
Date Completed: January 16 2016
Goodreads rating: 3 stars
I’m stranded on Mars.
I have no way to communicate with Earth.
I’m in a Habitat designed to last 31 days.
If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.
So yeah. I’m screwed.
I LOVED the film of The Martian. I loved it so much that if I hadn’t seen Star Wars it probably would have been my favourite film of 2015 (but I mean obviously Star Wars won). I’d also heard nothing but fantastic things about the book, so I was pretty excited to read it.
I’m going to be honest here, I was disappointed.
The Martian is not a bad book. Far from it. But I’d be lying if I said that (for me) it lived up to all the hype.
I would give the plot of the Martian five stars. Even though I’d seen the film (and therefore knew how it ended – not usually good for a thriller) I still felt so tense listening to it. I wanted to know what would happen to Watney, even though I already knew. Which is obviously the sign of an amazing plot.
For me, it was the writing style that really let me down. This, I should preface, is all just my personal opinion. I know heaps of people who loved the writing style of the Martian. But I didn’t. Firstly, I found that Weir had a habit of dumping a lot of highly scientific information all at once. Authors are usually discouraged from info dumping because it slows down and distracts the reader, and even though I understood WHY he was giving the reader so much information all at once, I still hated it. For me it slowed down the pace of the thriller, and I very quickly had to switch to the audiobook, which I will admit I found more bearable. The info dumping dropped off a bit towards the end of the book to make way for all the drama and action, which I loved! I also just found some of Weir’s writing style in generally frustrating. His overuse of ‘said’, for example. Every character just “said” things. For example (and no, this isn’t actually a quote from the book):
“Watney’s trapped on Mars.” Teddy said.
“Well fuck.” Mitch said.
“I know right.” Teddy said.
“What are we going to do?” Mitch said.
“I don’t know.” Teddy said.
It drove me insane. Actually insane.
Overall though, I did enjoy the book, and once the audiobook finished I wanted to reread it immediately. Ultimately, for me the fantastic plot and moments of great writing made up for the rest of the prose, but I still could have enjoyed it so much more than I did.