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Book Review – Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

I loved Andy Weir’s upcoming release Project Hail Mary so much I want to shove a copy in everyone’s hands – it was that much fun. Clever, exciting, funny, smart, and fast paced…I could go on. (And I do, in my review below!) Read on to learn more about the book (but just a little) and why I loved it (a lot).

I received an advanced copy of the book from the publish via NetGalley; all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links that may earn me a commission if you purchase through them.


Book Review – Project Hail Mary by Andy WeirProject Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Published by Random House Publishing Group on May 4, 2021
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Action & Adventure, Thrillers, Suspense
Pages: 496
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A lone astronaut must save the earth from disaster in this incredible new science-based thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Martian.
"A novel that would have delighted Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov."--George R.R. Martin, author of A Game of Thrones
"Weir's finest work to date . . . the one book I read last year that I am certain I can recommend to anyone, no matter who, and know they'll love it."--Brandon Sanderson, author of the Stormlight Archive series

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?
An irresistible interstellar adventure as only Andy Weir could deliver, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian--while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.



If you were a fan of The Martian, you need to pick up Project Hail Mary. In all honestly, I think I liked this one a little bit more.

Ryland Grace makes for a fascinating main character – when you start the book, you know as much about him as he does. Because he doesn’t know who he is, where he is, or how he got there, for that matter. Much of the backstory is filled in via flashbacks as he slowly regains bits of his memory.

And that’s why this review is difficult to write, because half of the fun is in letting the story unfold!

But I will tell you this much – I loved this book because of:

  • the clever, inventive MC with a wry wit.
  • a really inventive plot premise
  • all the crazy science and math that Weir somehow makes accessible (and if it’s not entirely accurate, who cares, he made me feel smart in that I generally understood what was going on)
  • fascinating secondary characters. I mean, REALLY intriguing, maddening, and/inventive secondary characters. Rocky absolutely stole my heart.

This book rockets along (pun intended) even with the MC not knowing a lot of anything to start. He has to piece together where he is and moreso what he’s meant to be doing, which is a clever way to let the story unfold. When we first meet Rocky, his ally in space, the pace changes, but it’s important to the development of their relationship. For a quick moment, my brain said “this is going to take forever” but frankly, I’m glad for it, as it made for a more meaningful relationship between the two of them – and part of what makes the story unique.

Yes, Ryland Grace is a character very much reminiscent of Weir’s Mark Watney in The Martian in that he’s wildly clever in a Mcguyver-ish way, funny, and a bit self-deprecating and more than a little geeky.. He’s incredibly brilliant but unpretentious and very likable. (GRANTED: I think if you’re put in this situation and you’re none of those things, you’re probably going to die quickly, and that’s not much of a plot.) However, Grace has no hesitation showing/sharing that he doesn’t fit in with the people he’s working with or the job he’s tasked to do, and it humanizes him all the more to me.

“How did you do it? What killed it?”

“I penetrated the outer cell membrane with a nanosyringe.”

“You poked it with a stick?”

“No!” I said. “Well. Yes. But it was a very scientific poke with a very scientific stick.”

“It took you two days to think of poking it with a stick.”

“You…be quiet.”

Andy Weir, Project Hail Mary

I need to talk a minute about the sciencing (yes, that’s a word for us non-science people) in this book. It’s crazy complicated, inventive, and detailed. I’m not smart enough to grasp it fully but I feel like I got the gist of it. (I’m sure there are biologists out there shouting “what the heck dude” but I don’t care.) My brain should have exploded from the pace and the detail – and there is a LOT of detail – but it didn’t. And then, sometimes, he refers to what he’s working on with more relatable terms like “goop”, or he has to name it himself.

The hardest part about…saving humanity from extinction is constantly having to come up with names for stuff.

Andy Weir, Project Hail Mary

Hand-in-hand with ALL the science is the world-building in this story. Detailed, inventive, and well depicted – I could envision it all, even the wilder bits. And yes, it does stretch the limits of plausibility at times, but just roll with it. (You’ll be too busy trying to figure out the math anyway.)

This book is funny, fascinating, fast-paced, and the ending was a true surprise. I really loved this book.

If you loved The Martian, you really need to give Project Hail Mary a try. (If you were disappointed by ARTEMIS, you really need to give Project Hail Mary a try.)

You won’t be disappointed. I’m giving it a big five stars.
Or in this case, FIVE SUNS. ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️

TL/DR Wrap-up

Premise: SPACE AMNESIA! (Just kidding. Kind of). An unexpected hero wakes up not knowing who he is/where he is or why he’s there. After he works out most of the who/where/why, he meets an unlikely friend on a similar mission and together they work on the “how” they will save their respective worlds.

Perfect for: readers who like science fiction/adventure, readers who are fans of Andy Weir’s The Martian, readers who like stories of friendship and the lengths we will go for the people we care about

Or, might want to take a pass: readers who don’t like books loaded with science and math details, readers who found The Martian implausible

Genre(s): adult fiction, science fiction, adventure/thriller

Trigger/content warning: death, suicide, needles, alcohol

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