Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (Book Review)

Project Hail Mary is the third sci-fi novel from bestselling author Andy Weir. Most readers are probably aware of his great debut The Martian, but if not you can read my review of that book here.

Scientist turned school teacher, Ryland Grace wakes up on a spaceship with no memory, only to later discover that his two crewmates are dead and the Earth is on the brink of catastrophe. It’s now up to Ryland alone to figure out how to stop the Petrova Problem.

Project Hail Mary is structured in a similar manner to The Martian with first-person narrative from the point-of-view of Ryland Grace, our main character who is all alone in space. However, this narrative process is basically a constant dump of scientific information thrown at the reader, and it quickly becomes tedious. I usually love hard sci-fi books simply because I enjoy reading about the science, however even I got tired of reading all of the textbook style descriptive detail.

Another annoying issue I had with this book, was that Ryland always seems to regain relevant memories at just the right moments to move the story forward, and for me this makes it feel unrealistic. The information he requires just randomly appears in his head as he needs it, or he recalls relevant facts via flashbacks.

I also find it ridiculous that the spacecraft was sent out on such an important mission, without having some sort of operations manual left out in a noticeable manner, for the crew to view when necessary. Without knowing essential details of the mission, Ryland essentially spends the entire novel solving problem, after problem, after problem, slowly figuring everything out piece-by-piece, as seems necessary.

Having loved The Martian I really wanted Andy Weir’s writing to return to that really enjoyable, gripping sci-fi, instead of the lacklustre space-heist thriller of Artemis. As a fan of hard sci-fi I wanted to love Project Hail Mary as it had an interesting concept about a last-ditch suicide mission, using tiny alien beings as a fuel source to power spacecraft to a far-off star and save the planet Earth. However, after about a third of way along it veers off-course a little, to become a story of first-contact between Ryland and a brand new alien species. After that the book just becomes totally ridiculous and unbelievable, dragging on and on and on. 

After reading all three of Andy Weir’s novels I can honestly say now that I’m not a fan. I loved The Martian so much that I’d class it as one of my favourite books of all time, and while I detested Artemis, at least it had a good base premise and a cool location. If you read it knowing what it is, it’s almost enjoyable. However, at just 1 out of 5 stars, Project Hail Mary is simply awful and far too long. I definitely won’t be reading any more books written by Andy Weir.

 

See also:

The Martian

Artemis

Author: Sarah

I review science fiction, fantasy and horror novels.

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