The Martian by Andy Weir

So, you probably know the movie for this book came out recently, and I’ve been meaning to go see it – I figured I’d buy and read the book first. It wasn’t really what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it anyway. (Most of the time.) (Some of the time?)

The plot, basically, revolves around how main character, astronaut Mark Watney gets left behind on Mars after being presumed dead because of a freak storm – he’s left alone and the book is about him trying to get home. It’s very science-y at times and some bits just went straight over my head but generally I liked the idea of it.

It could have been great, but the writing let it down…the premise is decent and it should have made for a fun read, but Watney is quite possibly the most horribly characterised fictional character I’ve ever come across. He’s totally one-dimensional and has the vocabulary of a thirteen-year-old boy, with a sense of humor to match. You’d think, being stuck on Mars, you’d end up having at least one moment of depression or just the slightest moment of unhappiness, but he’s so, so cheerful, and eventually all the “yay!”-ing got to me — since most of the book is written in the form of log entries, in first person, I ended up skipping several pages at a time to get to the good bits. Also, the final solution required a fair bit of imagination-stretching; still, that’s forgivable, it’s fiction. The writing was my main problem, but otherwise, it was mostly decent. I’m hoping the movie will be better, since we won’t have to deal with the awful first-person writing – reviews I’ve read say it’s good, so fingers crossed!

 

Author: Andy Weir official web site

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The Maze Runner by James Dashner

“When the lift cranks open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he’s not alone – an army of boys welcomes him to the Glade, an encampment at the centre of a terrible maze. The Gladers have no idea why they’re there, or what’s happening to the world outside. And following the arrival of a girl with a message, they must find a way out – or die.”
First off, this book is fantastic, and as the movie is coming out later this year I recommend reading it as soon as possible. It’s about this boy, Thomas, and he wakes up with no memory – he doesn’t even remember his last name, or how old he is. There are all of these boys trapped in the middle of a maze, and the walls move around every night, repeating themselves every month or so. Every evening, the walls close, and it’s practically suicide to stay out at night – there are terrible creatures called Grievers that roam the Maze after dark.

It began around two years ago, and a new boy would arrive every month – but the day after Thomas arrives, a girl called Teresa turns up, saying she’s triggered the Ending. Supplies stop coming and the sun seems to vanish, and they need to solve the maze or they’ll all die – with no supplies and no sun for crops to grow, there’s no chance of survival anymore.

I read this based off a really enthusiastic recommendation. I wasn’t expecting much – basically, I heard some fans talking to a friend of mine. My friend was saying she was still on the first book after over a month because she found it too slow. I’d seen the book around bookstores, and I didn’t have much to read, so I gave it a try. I found the first half slow, but then the book really picked up and I found myself unable to put it back down. The characters are very human, with flaws and good points, so they were pretty relatable. Chapters were varied in length, all ending on a dramatic point, which was effective – you couldn’t stop reading.

The series is a trilogy. The next two books are The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure, as well as a prequel, The Kill Order. You don’t have to have read The Maze Runner before you read Kill Order,and vice versa, although I think reading Kill Order kind of kills the suspense if you read it first – it gives away a lot. Age…well, I’d say you could read it at the age of eleven but you could also read it at the age of fourteen and you’d enjoy it either way, so the age doesn’t really matter – the book’s completely clean, which is a pleasant contrast to most teenage books you’ll find. Definitely recommend this!

Author James Dashner official web site

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