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ARC provided by Goodreads and the publishers—Ballantine Books, Cornerstone—in exchange for an honest review.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Genre: Science fiction, Space Opera, Hard Sci-fi
Pages: 496 pages (Kindle edition)
Published: 4th May 2021 by Ballantine Books (US) and Del Rey (UK)
Andy Weir is back with a new novel suitable for fans of The Martian.
“Stupid humanity. Getting in the way of my hobbies.”
I’m sure I’m not the only that became a fan of Weir’s work because of The Martian. For years I’ve heard such amazing things about The Martian, and it’s not until three months ago that I caved in and finally read The Martian. I was blown away by how good it was. It’s an incredible thing, especially because I’ve watched the movie adaptation first, and I knew how the story will go already. And still, I was impressed, entertained, and felt satisfied from reading the novel. I know that Artemis has been mixed received; I haven’t read it yet, so I can’t say much on this novel. However, if you’re a fan of The Martian, I really don’t see how you’ll end up disliking this one.
“Sometimes, the stuff we all hate ends up being the only way to do things.”
If you haven’t heard of the premise of Project Hail Mary, I’m going to sum it up briefly now. Ryland Grace is a lone astronaut with a task to save Earth from disaster, but he’s alone, and he has no memories of what has happened before. He has to find a way to save Earth from disaster, and then come back home, all by himself. See? It’s practically the premise of The Martian with a new addition of saving the world. I won’t lie, there were times where the plot and the structure of the storyline felt too similar; I enjoyed it, but an extra distinction would’ve earned this book a better remembrance strength in my head. That being said, this isn’t a carbon copy of The Martian; Weir still managed to make Project Hail Mary a different book besides the incredibly similar premise and storytelling structure.
“I feel like Sherlock Holmes. All I saw was “nothing,” and I draw a bunch of conclusions! Conclusions that are wildly speculative and with nothing to prove them, but conclusions!”
Ryland Grace, as a character, felt pretty much like a non-foul-mouthed Mark Watney. Other than that, the voice of his narrative felt highly similar to Mark Watney; whether this is a good thing or not, it’s up to each reader to interpret. Personally, despite the similarity to Mark Watney, this was a good thing for me because I was indeed in a mood for reading a POV of a character that can act positively despite their harsh circumstances; I got what I wanted here. I did, however, found that the scientific details were too much.
“Human suffering is often an abstract concept to kids. But animal suffering is something else entirely.”
I’m not claiming that I understood every scientific detail in The Martian, but in my opinion, Weir did a superb job in balancing the science info-dump in The Martian along with the characterization, plotting, and humor. The Martian never stopped feeling super intriguing and captivating to me. That’s not the case in Project Hail Mary, not at first, anyway. The heavy discussions on mathematics and physics were simply over my head, and there were so many of them in the first half of the novel that it felt to me like I was transported back to high school to fail these two lessons again. Fortunately, the second half remedied the pacing; the balance between plot, characters, dialogues, and scientific info-dumps was handled significantly better. And similar to The Martian, the ending of Project Hail Mary was enormously satisfying.
“Maybe it’s just the childish optimist in me, but humanity can be pretty impressive when we put our minds to it.”
Filled with positivity, intellect, and thrill, to me Project Hail Mary was almost as good as The Martian. I will admit that my expectations towards this novel may be a bit too high, and I’m sure many readers who enjoy—plus understand—the intricate scientific details will have a more enjoyable reading experience. What’s the highlight of Project Hail Mary? Rocky. That’s all I’m going to say on this.
Official release date: 4th May 2021
The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
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