I have Liz from Liz Loves Books to thank for drawing my attention to this book. Her enthusiastic tweets convinced me it was a book I needed to check out.
The Martian is set some time in the near future when Mars landings have become a reality. The first two missions were a success but the third ends in disaster when a storm means the crew of Ares 3 are forced to evacuate just six sols (Mars days) into the mission, leaving behind Mark Watney who they believe has been killed in a freak accident...except Mark has survived and is now alone on Mars. He has no way to communicate with Earth and only enough supplies to last six people for the length of their planned 31 day stay on the Red Planet. Can he find a way to let NASA know he is still alive and stay alive until a rescue is possible, if indeed a rescue is possible. Luckily he is a botanist and engineer so has the much needed skills to make survival at least a possibility but nevertheless the odds are stacked against him.
As the central character who dominates the book it is vital that the reader roots for Mark and I really did. Throughout the book I was with him every step of the way, desperately hoping he'd survive but having no idea whether he would. He is brave, resourceful, optimistic and more than a bit cheeky. This is a book that really puts the science in science fiction, there is lots and lots of science and the book could have become too technical and dry but the sheer force of Mark's personality keeps the story one of remarkable human endeavour. A rollercoaster of a read with plenty of laughs, heart in mouth white knuckle tension (particularly the conclusion), moments that had me wiping away tears and The Dukes of Hazzard - The Martian has it all! If you enjoy a gripping and intelligent story with humour and heart then I strongly recommend you check it out.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me a copy of the book and thank you Liz for your tweets!
The Martian will be published in the UK by Del Rey on 13th February 2014.