The Martian, by Andy Weir

I was intrigued by the premise of The Martian, a NASA astronaut stranded on Mars, and expected it to be interesting but maybe a little dry.  Boy was I wrong.  This book had me gripped from the opening page all the way through to the end.  A book that spends a good portion of its time alone with one character only works if that character is interesting.  I absolutely loved the character of Mark Watney.  Not only was he believable as a mission specialist who would have been selected by NASA for a Mars mission, but he gave me a whole new appreciation for the type of incredible men and women it takes in real life to go into space and the risks they face.  NASA should hand out copies of this book as a recruiting tool.

Along with intelligence and resourcefulness, Watney’s sense of humor is what makes him such an outstanding character.  Obstacle after obstacle gets placed in his way.  I kept turning the pages to see how he would deal with his challenges.  Author Andy Weir keeps you guessing, not only about what happens next, but about whether or not ultimate disaster will be the outcome.  The secondary characters, both Watney’s fellow astronauts and those on earth, were well drawn and had you both cheering them on and pulling your hair out in frustration.

The plot seemed realistic, both in the characters triumphs and failures.  The book was obviously meticulously researched, with the research lending believability to what is really a character story.  It is not often that a book makes me gush, but I can’t stop thinking about this one.  It demands to be reread and is already in the beginning stages of being turned into a movie.  One I will be first in line to see.  I expect to see this book on a lot of “Best of 2014” lists when all is said and done.  If you enjoy adventure or science fiction, do yourself a favor and pick up this book.  You won’t be disappointed.  Highly recommended.

I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.

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