Mini-reviews: The Martian by Andy Weir; The Three by Sarah Lotz; and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

martianTitle: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Genre: Science fiction
Publisher: Crown Publishers
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
Number of pages: 369
First line: I’m pretty much f*cked.

Goodreads blurb: Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Okay, once again I waited way too long after reading a book to sit down to write the review. I had all sorts of wonderful thoughts after finishing, but they’ve completely flown. I’ll blame the heat; it’s been in the 90s every day for the past week. Anyway, I remember thoroughly enjoying this and reading it very quickly. One minor quibble is about the technical sections; there were a few that I skimmed because it was simply way over my head and too much detail. But other than that, I was fully invested in Mark’s story, and in the story of those trying to bring him home.

thethreeTitle: The Three
Author: Sarah Lotz
Genre: Science fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
Number of pages: 467
First line: Come on, come on, come on… Pam stares up at the seat belt light, willing it to click off.

Goodreads blurb: Four simultaneous plane crashes. Three child survivors. A religious fanatic who insists the three are harbingers of the apocalypse. What if he’s right?

The world is stunned when four commuter planes crash within hours of each other on different continents. Facing global panic, officials are under pressure to find the causes. With terrorist attacks and environmental factors ruled out, there doesn’t appear to be a correlation between the crashes, except that in three of the four air disasters a child survivor is found in the wreckage.

Dubbed ‘The Three’ by the international press, the children all exhibit disturbing behavioural problems, presumably caused by the horror they lived through and the unrelenting press attention. This attention becomes more than just intrusive when a rapture cult led by a charismatic evangelical minister insists that the survivors are three of the four harbingers of the apocalypse. The Three are forced to go into hiding, but as the children’s behaviour becomes increasingly disturbing, even their guardians begin to question their miraculous survival…

Creepy, disturbing, and weird. This one makes me never want to fly again – and I wasn’t all too keen on flying in the first place! I do think it would have been a bit easier to get drawn into the story with some more distinct main characters, but the format (of book chapters, newspaper articles, chat conversations, etc.) doesn’t really allow for that. It was a unique way to write the book and made the story seem more real.

discoveryofwitchesTitle: A Discovery of Witches
Author: Deborah Harkness
Genre: Fantasy, paranormal fiction
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from my personal library
Audiobook reader: Jennifer Ikeda
Audiobook length: 24 hours and 2 minutes
First line: The leather-bound volume was nothing remarkable.

Goodreads blurb: Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

I adored this the first time I read it in print, and I absolutely loved it as a re-read via audio. Jennifer Ikeda did a fantastic job with all the voices, both male and female, and all of the various accents. Now that I remember what happened in book one, I will definitely be continuing the series on audio – as long as Ikeda is narrating.

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12 Responses to Mini-reviews: The Martian by Andy Weir; The Three by Sarah Lotz; and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

  1. I haven’t decided yet about whether I want to read The Martian. It seems to be getting a lot of praise, but the subject matter hasn’t won me over yet. It’s on my maybe list. :-)

    I am glad to hear you enjoyed A Discovery of Witches the second time around. I have only read it the once, but I enjoyed it very much. I’m looking forward to reading the final book in the trilogy.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Wendy – you’re ahead of me – I haven’t read book two in the Discovery of Witches series yet. I have it on audio on my iPod, though – so soon!

  2. bermudaonion (Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion

    A friend of mine lent me her copy of The Martian – I need to get it read so I can return it. My sister loved A Discovery of Witches too but I don’t think it’s for me.

  3. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread

    The Martian was truly incredible on audio…great narration that really captured the snark. It allowed you to kind of breeze through the technical stuff. I am reading The Three now (actually started it on my flight up here to IN – heh heh) and I like the format. I agree though that it doesn’t really allow you to get close with any one character. And I DID listen to Discovery of Witches on audio and really enjoyed it. I have the second one on audio too, and have no good explanation to why I haven’t listened. Distraction I guess.

  4. Heather
    Twitter: BookAddictHeath

    I have both The Martian and The Three on my immediate TBR pile, I’m excited for both of them.

  5. Vasilly
    Twitter: Vasilly

    I keep meaning to pick up The Martian but I haven’t gotten around to doing it. A Discovery of Witches is a good book. I loved the imagery of the ending.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      V – Me, too! I am going to start listening to book two soon – I’m almost finished with my current audiobook.

  6. Susan says:

    Yeah I agree I liked the Martian but there were parts where the technical details got way too excessive. But it will probably make a good movie! I’d like to read the Witches book someday. thanks.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Susan – I hope you get a chance to read Discovery of Witches – it’s a great series so far.

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