Saturday, March 26, 2022

Book Review: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Book Review: Project Hail Mary by Andy WeirProject Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Published: May 4, 2021

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 476

Synopsis: Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and Earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn't know that. He can't even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he's been asleep for a very, very long time. And he's just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it's up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery—and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he's got to do it all alone.

Or does he?

An irresistible interstellar adventure as only Andy Weir could imagine it, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian—while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.

Thoughts: Some years ago, I tried to read The Martian and fairly quickly gave up because of the author's writing style and the abundance of science mumbo jumbo from the get go. Now, if you know me, you might be like, hmm, that's weird, you like science (especially space science), why would the science turn you off? Maybe I just wasn't in the right head space for it, because I loved the movie version. Now, flash forward to this year, when I thought I would give the same author's most recent book a try. Would I feel the same?

To a very small extent - yes. I don't particularly like how he writes character dialogue. I feel like it comes off a little bit hokey, but I pushed through that initial hokey feeling in Project Hail Mary to truly give the story a chance, and I am very glad I did. I will say, though I got used to the writing style of the dialogue, I still don't particularly love it, but I did end up loving the story itself. My only other qualm with the book is in how it was formatted, going back and forth between the present day and the past, with those past moments explaining how the main character, Ryland Grace, ended up on this mission in the first place. While those flashbacks were intriguing at first because Ryland had amnesia, once the story really got moving, I found them annoying and just wanted to get back to the present story as soon as possible. 

Now, I get the point of those flashbacks - they show us that Ryland has grown and yada yada yada - but I feel like that could've been presented in a different way. Still, I zipped through this book, wanting to see what was going to happen next and how each new obstacle would be overcome. I rooted for and grew attached to Ryland and another character, and may have even got a little teary eyed toward the end. And the science in this did not bother me as I found it pretty fascinating and was also impressed with how accurate it all felt. Weir clearly did a lot of research for this book, and it shows.

While I would like to give this the full 5 out of 5 rating, because of those two issues I had with the dialogue and the flashbacks, I had to knock it down a little. Despite that, though, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is a space scifi fan, and especially if you read and liked The Martian.

Rating: 4.5/5

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What I'm Reading Next: Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson

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