E-ARC. 496 Pages
By: Andy Weir
“When I’m stressed out, I revert to imperial units. It’s hard to be an American, okay?”
Confession time: this is my first time reading Weir’s books and I did not know what to expect. I did not read The Martian (I did not watch it either and I have nothing to say in my defense) and I did not read Artemis. I am not the biggest fan of sci-fi novels but I did enjoy this one. I can’t have any comparisons to his other works for the aforementioned reasons.
So the story follows Ryland Grace who wakes up with a fuzzy memory, can’t remember his own name and he is greeted by his crewmates corpses. Gradually his memory starts returning and we understand why is he is in space and what the hell is going on. At the same time, it is a first contact kind of novel with the most wholesome ally!
I am going to break my thoughts into quarters rather than the usual format I use because I felt that I had different feelings in each of those quarters.
“Just think of the kids, Grace,” she said from the doorway. “All those kids you’ll be saving. Think of them.”
The First 25%: The first quarter kind of is shrouded by mystery and it takes a few pages to understand what is happening but at the same time, I can not say it is confusing because it wasn’t. The first part is very nerdy and there are all different kinds of physics equations (Accelerations, Pendulums, Power, Speed…etc) I was very thrilled by this because I was a straight A student in all those subjects and Maths is one of my favorite subjects. I literally wanted to get out a paper and a pen and do calculations along with the protagonist (It has been years since I left high school but I also had to study Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics, Bio-statistics and even Economics in Medicine school). I also loved how the memory getting back thing was used because it was really smart and made for an intriguing read.
The Second 25%: This is the part where I felt equally smart and stupid. I felt smart because I knew many of the mentioned scientific stuff but it was getting kind of overwhelming and kind of too much. I think it is hard to enjoy this book if one does not have a background in these things or at least has great interest in them. I realized in this part that I also preferred the memories because it allowed for interactions between the protagonist and other people which allowed for some character growth.
The Third 25%: The science was more tamed and I was comfortable with the settings now. I enjoyed the ally that joined the narrative. I felt there were too many convenient things happening to forward the narrative but I did not want to overthink things. The protagonist can sound as a Gary Stue because he knows everything on a very deep level, from physics to chemistry to biology and even to computer sciences which came out as exaggerated! I liked the interactions between the characters and I was loving the humor (Which may sometimes be dirty or Juvenile).
“Fist me!” I push my knuckles against the xenonite. “It’s ‘fist-bump,’ but yeah.”
The Last 25%: I was impressed by how things came to be and how things even ended (I had to sleep on the ending and think about it a bit before deciding I liked it). I am truly impressed by how Andy Weir could research all of the stuff in the book even if he had help from specialists. (I had some questions like how a DNA of an Eukaryote could stand such high temperatures without degrading and why Grace was intubated then Sedated and not the opposite but these were really nothing in the grand scheme of things).
Summary: I really enjoyed this book and I think I will watch The Martian soon. I liked the writing though sometimes it did feel overwhelming, the characters were well written and funny (Although they sounded exaggerated and comical sometimes). The plot is very interesting and the pacing was not bad. I am really impressed by the research that was put into this and really respect the author for pulling it off!