Overall … awesome!
As an author, I’m probably more critical than others when it comes to the mechanics of storytelling. There were a few things that I didn’t like – some of the dialogue was clunky and forced, there were way to many speaker attributions (he said, she replied, etc.), and the journal entry style put all the action in the past-tense, which meant the story was entirely made up of “telling” (what amateur authors are scolded for) versus “showing” (what experienced authors do). Combined with the abundance of technical details, these things made for a slow start to the novel.
But after a few chapters, I settled into Weir’s method of storytelling (I took off my author hat) and soon lost myself in a story that was so thoroughly researched, it actually felt plausible. I was there on Mars with Mark Watney (the protagonist). His sarcastic personality provided many laugh-out-loud moments and kept the technical descriptions from becoming boring. The environment played a huge role in this book, and Weir did an amazing job of developing it as a character of its own. In the end, Mark Watney’s relentless problem solving and desire to live was inspirational, and I was disappointed to reach the end of the book.
An excellent read that I highly recommend!