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Book Review: Project Hail Mary – Andy Weir

An engaging sci-fi epic for fans of the “incoming doomsday science fiction” genre!

Yet another true 2 a.m. book read, although I’m embarrassed to admit that by 2:30 a.m or so, my eyes refused to stay open and I passed out with my Kindle in hand. This is not because this book was boring, but because it feels LONG, clocking in just under 500 pages but packed so full of action and mystery that I honestly thought it was almost double the actual length. Is it worth reading every page and being unbearably groggy and cranky the next morning, even after two cups of crappy hotel coffee? Yes. Yes, it is.

Project Hail Mary is a sci-fi epic by Andy Weir, and it is absolutely more of a “science” sci-fi than a “fantasy” sci-fi like Star Wars. Do you find reading about a character computing complicated astrophysics equations to stay alive fascinating? You will love this novel. Even if you’re like me and find calculating general relativity and understanding time dilation a little beyond your typical daily ruminations, the story framing these equations is so intriguing you may not mind at all.

Some novels take a while to really warm up the reader to the plot; Project Hail Mary does not. The reader immediately finds our protagonist waking up in a groggy panic in a medical room, stuck with needles and unable to remember his name, his past, or his current location. He manages to think through his initial alarm and patiently begins deducing where he is, small flashes of returning memory filling in the blanks for both our protagonist and the reader–his name is Ryland Grace, he’s a Ph.D. candidate-turned-middle-school-science-teacher, and he is on a spaceship.

I feel that this is a very modern sci-fi novel, with the long, technical terminology of classic sci-books married with the sarcastic humor and faster-paced plots of more modern novels. I wish I could rave in detail about the character relationships and intriguingly creative solutions to issues between characters, but will not for it is all spoilers!

The first half of the book moves at a pretty decent pace, cumulating in Ryland remembering almost his entire past and the goal of his mission. The second half, however, starts to drag a bit: Ryland’s past is portrayed as more of a simple past plot explanation for the reader and no longer him recovering his memory (except for, of course, one crucial detail), and Ryland runs into technical problem after technical problem, each requiring a lengthy amount of prose depicting Ryland apparently using every physics and chemistry equation in existence to solve each problem, which grows tedious when there’s hardly any room to breathe between each issue. Apparently, Project Hail Mary may be made into a film, and while I believe it really could be a fantastic sci-fi blockbuster along the lines of Armageddon, the filmmakers are going to have to heavily consolidate half of the plot of the second half of the book to make it clock in under 5 hours.

Nevertheless, this was an incredibly enjoyable book I can see myself rereading in the future. If it becomes a film, I’ll be running to go see (or stream!) it the first week it’s out. If you’re any sort of sci-fi fan, I suggest giving it a read, as I do believe it has a little something for everyone.

Disclaimer: I checked the e-book version out from my local public library for free and read it on my 10th generation Kindle Oasis. I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own.

Title: Project Hail Mary
Author: Andy Reid
Publication Date: 04 May 2021
Print Length: 482 pages
Marie’s Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Project Hail Mary – Andy Weir”

    1. Oh wow, thanks for the compliment! My first review drafts are always really long-winded and rambling, so I do a fair amount of editing to make them actually readable, ha! Thanks!


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