Project Hail Mary
By: Andy Weir
My Rating: FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS!
Best for: 16 and up
Come on, lighten up people! Project Hail Mary was fun!
Actually, most reviews don’t need to lighten up–this book is getting some great, and well deserved praise. But there are a few reviewers who want to focus on a few (admittedly) hard to swallow bits.
Sure, there are huge, complicated science dumps. Sure, the hero is a junior high science teacher who knows way more than he should about…well…science. Sure, he can pick up foreign languages really, really fast. Sure there are a few head scratching plot holes.
To all those who are hung up on any of that stuff, I say chill out! Project Hail Mary was FUN! So fun, in fact, that for me, all those nit-picky details dissolved into peaceful insignificance.
Will he survive? Will Earth be saved? How is this possibly going to work out!?!?
There’s no way to not compare Project Hail Mary with The Martian. It’s another story about a guy stranded in space who has to use his brain to science stuff or die. This time though, it’s not just his own life at stake…it’s the entire planet!
So, no pressure.
The story starts with a Jason Borne vibe–our hero wakes up and doesn’t know who or where he is. His memories return slowly as the pages turn, and early on he realizes Earth is facing an extinction level event and he’s humanities last hope. In classic story awesomeness, we learn the back story along with the hero, and together we discover the problems and come up with the solutions. Of course, this space, so we also walk the fine line between disaster and discovery together, which makes for a white-knuckled adventure that goes to wonderfully unexpected places!
If I ever get to talk to Andy Weir, I’m going to ask him about his clearly intentional decision to make Ryland Grace, the hero from Project Hail Mary, a gosh-darn puritan vs The Martian’s Mark Watney and his very severe potty mouth. Personally I appreciated it very much, but I’d love to understand why he did it.
There are still a couple swears in the book, but no violence. No sex, but there is one instance of talking about a sexual relationship. Plus there’s all that complicated science–particle physics, relativity, molecular biology, chemistry–it’s all in there, with lots of detail. I found the heavy science an interesting character in the story, but I could see others (my teenage sons, for example) not enjoying it. But at least now you can go into it eyes wide open.
Lighten up! This book is FUN!
Best for 16 and up.