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  • Mandy McHugh

FIVE HUGE STARS: Project Hail Mary, Andy Weir: A Review

I loved The Martian and Weir's writing, so when I saw Project Hail Mary available, it was an immediate request for me. I was thrilled to be approved and quickly dove in.

A chance observation leads to the discovery of a lifetime: a mysterious algae-like organism is cooling the earth at an astronomical rate. Chance of species survival over thirty years is zero, and agencies across the globe unite in order to solve the problem. Ryland Grace is tasked with identifying the organism and, through a series of flashbacks, learns that he is on a mission to save the planet whether he likes it or not. I don't want to give too much away with spoilers, but I absolutely LOVED this book. It's a lengthy read, but I could not put it down. I devoured it in two sittings and would gladly have read more. Weir's writing is immersive yet quirky. Grace's voice is equal parts sarcastic and logical, making for one hell of a narrator. His meticulous, problem-solving nature propelled this book, and while there is a lot of science involved, never did it feel overwhelming or out of reach. This isn't a book trying to be inaccessible through it's computations and calculations. Rather, Weir's use of space-centric dialogue beautifully creates atmosphere, claustrophobia, and tension that are pivotal to the successful world-building of this book. The flashbacks were structured well, blending into whatever obstacle Grace is trying to tackle without being info-dumping opportunities. There is a lot of information, but like Grace, we use the surrounding details to formulate or opinions of the situations, and that in itself was a wonderful reading experience. My favorite part of this book was definitely the survival aspect, but the unlikely ally Grace makes stole the show. No spoilers, of course, but their interactions and approaches resonated on another level, introducing interesting insight into the topics of morality, ethics, compassion, and evolution. The intersection of the two coming together was a beautiful, complicated mess that could've gone sideways, and was by no means a straight trajectory, but ultimately satisfying. Overall, Project Hail Mary is a riveting, engrossing, thrilling sci-fi suspense you won't be able to put down. For fans of Arrival, space survival narratives, the Netflix series Home, and anyone looking for a realistic apocalyptic read, this will be the book for you. Huge thanks to Ballantine and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.

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