Book Review: “Project Hail Mary”

I read Project Hail Mary faster than anything else I’ve read in quite a while. Weir’s storytelling just drew me in and I could not put it down! I’ve read both of his previous works (The Martian and Artemus) and I would rank this up with the level of The Martian in regard to a fun and engaging read! Artemus was interesting, but I would say this is the better of Weir’s two books after The Martian.

The storytelling method Weir uses to revel the current story, and the connected backstory, is very clever. He reveals things “just in time” by alternating back and forth to the main character’s recall of his forgotten past. This keeps the backstory hints closely connected to current story solutions. The “ah-ha” connections this creates for the reader are very satisfying. I found myself constantly assuming things about the character’s past which the character himself was assuming, to only later learn of a twist or new revelation about his assumptions. This made the story a fun walk along side the main character which felt very much like I was living it out with him in real-time. Project Hail Mary has a similar “problem/try again/find a solution” feel to The Martian. I really loved that about his first novel and loved it here too.

All the characters are terrific. I love the humor in some of the two main character’s interactions as they get more established and get to know each other better. The main alien character is wonderful! He’s definitely very non-human in appearance and thought patterns – very strange at first – but I started getting a feel and love for his character as the story progressed. I think readers will easily learn to understand his personality and reactions quickly and even empathize with him in spit of his very in-human appearance.

The action and pacing is great. There are more than a few times when I thought, “good, they’ve solved that problem” when another seemingly insurmountable problem comes up. In this way it is very much like the beats of The Martian. The fun is in seeing how the problems are resolved.

There are a few minor things here and there that I felt it were a little too TELLING – characters explaining things that maybe they would not really do in real life – but these are minor and few and far between.

There’s one thing (I won’t give any spoilers here) that I did feel were kinda… unresolved… or maybe I just missed it, but the tying up of promises/problems and answers/solutions is handled very well. The one thing I still wonder about is maybe not really in need of an answer.

Overall, I loved this book and think Andy Weir has hit a home run again. I’m not sure if this would translate as well into a movie like The Martian did, but it made for an excellent novel and a very fun read!

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