• The Good: Science! Memory loss! In spaaaaace!
  • The Bad: Nothing
  • The Literary: Alternating timelines

A man wakes up in an unfamiliar place after a very, very long sleep, with two corpses for company. He can’t remember his own name, let alone what he’s doing on a spaceship. But as his memories slowly return, he realizes he’s humanity’s last chance for survival.

This is one of those books where I really don’t want to give any spoilers, so I’m not going to discuss specifics of the plot. The surprises and twists are extremely enjoyable, and just when you think things are going too easy for Ryland (ok, one spoiler, his name), things get very complicated in the second half. Until then, the alternating chapters between the present and the events leading up to Ryland’s interstellar journey set the up the ultimate stakes, giving the present some weight as Ryland tinkers with spaceship controls to figure out how they work.

If you enjoyed The Martian, you’ll certainly enjoy Project Hail Mary. First, it’s very science-heavy, which I personally love. Even the more fiction-y side of the science-fiction is very science-y. Instead of The Martian’s crass Mark Watney, you get wholesome and enthusiastic Ryland Grace, though both are quite funny as they deduce their next scientific puzzle. In addition to the one-man survival plot, Ryland has the weight of saving the Earth on his shoulders, all while trying to figure out who he is, and why he’s there.

Laughs, thrills, and optimism! Realistic science fiction that gives you hope for humanity—what more can you ask for?

Thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine Books for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.