Reviewed by Bridget Schaumann, Kings High School, Dunedin
It started with the cover, I walked into a bookshop and grabbed it immediately. Not only is the cover uber cool, when you turn it over and see the words on the blurb:
I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Earth. I’m in a Habitat designed to last 31 days. If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of these things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death. So yeah. I’m screwed.
I didn’t even make it to the end of the blurb before I was standing in front of the counter and passing over an order number. Mark Whatney has been abandoned by his mission who thought he was dead, he wasn’t, he was knocked out and now he has come to, and realises that he is all alone on the red planet with very limited resources and the knowledge that the world thinks he has met his demise. Mark is resilient, he has the skills to help himself survive and how he does this is the crux of the story. It is exciting, had me often on the edge of my seat while I waited for disaster to befall him at every turn. I couldn’t put it down. Yes, there are better written books, this one was a self published Amazon hit but it is totally engaging. If you have senior boys in your school you may well want to supply them with this book. It has a bit of ‘language’ in it but it is perfectly placed and entirely appropriate for the story.
There will be a movie made by Ridley Scott out next year, and I can’t wait.