Monday, November 2, 2015

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: "The Martian" by Andy Weir; Narrated by R.C. Bray

The Martian
For Ages 18+ (Language)
Science Fiction

Crown -- Published in 2011
Audiobook, 10 hours and 53 minutes
Read in October 2015
Purchased from Audible


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 and 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—and 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—and 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?

"I'm pretty much fucked."

Science fiction has never been a genre that I usually gravitate towards though I have read some sci-fi romance and YA sci-fi that were enjoyable.  But, after hearing about The Martian, I decided to give it a try through audio book and am so happy that I gave it a chance.

Mark Watney is the hero/primary narrator and is an astronaut on the third Ares mission to Mars.  Things were going well for the Ares III team until the eighteenth day on the planet when a massive storm hit their research area and they were ordered to abort their mission.  During the evacuation process, Mark was injured and thought to be dead so his team was forced to leave without him.  But, Mark survived the dust storm and now must try to figure out how to survive on Mars (alone) long enough to get into contact with Earth and wait for a rescue to come get him.

The entire premise of The Martian was fascinating to me.  I love shipwreck stories and the fact that this particular one happened in space was just a bonus.  Mark's character was a joy to read both in and out of his point of view.  His sense of humor is obvious throughout the story and I could tell it helped him survive even the bleakest hours on the planet.  I also liked the fact that he divided the biggest problem (surviving on Mars) and divided it into smaller, seemingly more manageable problems like growing food, making water, etc.

Readers are also given insight into what is going on both on Earth and with the other Ares crew members during their attempts to rescue Mark.  The cast is large, but developed enough for me to root for them and feel like I wanted to know more about them.  I especially enjoyed NASA's public relations expert, Annie Montrose, astrodynamics genius, Rich Purnell, and, of course, Mark's disco-loving commander, Melissa Lewis.

The only thing that kept me from giving The Martian a higher rating was the amount of scientific details that went completely over my head at times.  Andy Weir does a good job of having Mark and other characters explain things, but I still found my brain going on vacation during some of the longer explanations.  Thankfully, the action was able to pull me right back into the story.  It also helped that R.C. Bray is one of the best audio narrators that I have listened to in a long time.  He was able to portray all the characters well especially Mark.  His understanding of tone was also obvious since he was able to bring the appropriate humor and tension depending on the situation.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed listening to The Martian.  The suspense kept me glued to my earphones late into the night and Mark's various quips had me giggling out loud more times than I can count.  Even if you aren't into science fiction, I recommend giving it a try.  I look forward to trying out more books in this genre if they are as funny as this one.

Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum.  Duct tape works anywhere.  Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped.

Goodreads -- Author Website

Amazon -- B&N -- BAM -- Book Depository -- Kobo -- Google Play -- Audible

1 comment:

  1. Glad you liked this one! I thought it was a fun time as well and I loved the narrator. He did a great job.


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