Book Review | Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir


Title: Project Hail Mary

Author: Andy Weir

Publisher: Del Rey

Release Date: 4th May 2021

Source: Own Copy
A lone astronaut.
An impossible mission.
An ally he never imagined.


Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission - and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn't know that. He can't even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he's been asleep for a very, very long time. And he's just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it's up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery-and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he's got to do it all alone.

Or does he?

Andy Weir has done it again with this magnificent book.  I love this book, truly love it and I devoured it in a matter of days.  

Project Hail Mary (for quickness’ sake PHM going forward) once again takes a very likeable principal character and throws him in the deep end with a very narrow chance of getting out of the fix he has found himself in.

Ryland Grace is our main man but when we start he doesn’t know who he is or indeed where he is.  He wakes up groggily in a small room being tended to by some robotic arms who unhelpful keep asking for his name.  He doesn’t know.  Little by little as he recovers his strength, he explores his surroundings and discovers two corpses and a laboratory with some equipment that rings a bell in his foggy head.  As he explores more and more details come back to him, he is Ryland Grace and he is in space on a mission to save the Earth.  Crap.

It is so difficult to review this book without giving away major spoilers.  Ryland has flashbacks and they give us in greater detail the reason why he is on his own miles from home.  There is going to be an Extinction Level Event (ELE going forward) but luck if you can call it that is on the side of humanity.  Earth has twenty-odd years to solve the problems that the ELE may cause.  Ryland is a science teacher, but he is also a disgraced scientist, a paper he wrote before he gave up his academic dreams has come back to bite him and with it comes the not to be messed with Eva Stratt.

Stratt is a woman who gets stuff done.  She is in charge of Project Hail Mary, the project that will save humanity, and she brings Ryland along for the ride and to be honest he isn’t always willing to do what she says.  The decisions she makes are simultaneously impressive and horrifying, it’s not just a complicated coffee order, this is next level crazy.  There are several sections in the book where I messaged my friend saying “you need to read this, you won’t believe what this woman has done”.  I know why she is doing it but it still doesn’t make her decisions any easier, they are gob smacking, unbelievable acts.

As I read this I was imaging the movie version. Maybe it’s because I loved both the book and the film of The Martian, but I could easily imagine Matt Damon as our science teacher extraordinaire Ryland Grace.  I can imagine him bobbing about the Hail Mary, moaning at the robotic arms and trying to remember who he is.

PHM is full of wonderful, crazy science.  It is full of friendship and hope.  It is funny and sad.  It is immense.  If anything, I think I like this more than The Martian.  If Andy Weir keeps doing this, imagine what his next book will be like.  I wish I could go in to more detail about this book but I won’t!  All I can say is read it, you won’t regret it.






9 comments

  1. Yes! I adored this as well, such a great story with some very good surprises๐Ÿ˜

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  2. I've sworn off buying any books this year, but I just put this on my list to get for my husband as a very early Christmas present! :) It sounds so good.

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    1. I’m not buying either but I preorder this last year so I’m not counting!

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  3. I loved The Martian, and I can't wait to read this one. It's the first book I plan to read in June when school's finally out for the summer. :)

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  4. I was going to pass on this one but, after your review and a few others, I MUST try it for myself. Great review - I like Ryland already

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  5. This book seems daunting, but really keen to read it.

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  6. I liked it more than The Martian, too, and I adored The Martian! Thanks for sharing your review. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

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  7. I downloaded the audio of Project Hail Mary as I heard it was good but, it may take me a while to listen as I have a few other audios I want to get to first.

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