Skip to Content

Project Hail Mary: What’s Rachel Reading?

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir, a short book review of the new title by the author of The Martian. Next up in our intermittent series: “What’s Rachel Reading?”

project hail mary book

Walking through the library last month, I impulse-grabbed Project Hail Mary: The new title by the author of The Martian. At the time I hadn’t yet heard of his latest, but had read, watched, and enjoyed that previous book and movie. So, I figured that this would also be a good read (which actually turned out to be an understatement!).

Turns out: I loved Project Hail Mary even more than I enjoyed The Martian. While it covers some of the same themes (space travel, survival, and science), Weir’s writing has tightened up — and the plot twists & turns were completely riveting.

Project Hail Mary: A Mini Book Review

Truth be told, this is a difficult book to discuss without giving away a bit too much. Jump right in on page one, where Ryland Grace is slowly emerging from a coma with no knowledge of who or where he is. The plot advances along with his understanding of his situation, as he gradually learns more about his mission through a combination of clever calculations and recovered memories — then rockets through a series of unexpected, yet believable, discoveries.

From the outset, Project Hail Mary hooks the reader as we tag on along on Ryland’s journey to (literally) save the world and marvel at a seemingly non-stop series of encounters and revelations along the way. The book gets even better as it goes along: Weir does a great job of interweaving Ryland’s personal story & character development together with thrilling deep-space adventure and remarkably plausible plot twists; the world-building here is both thorough and fantastic.

I enjoyed Project Hail Mary so much that I immediately purchased a copy for my fiancé. Books, they are great gifts, and he’ll enjoy some of the over-my-skis math & physics content that I skimmed over while reading for plot. No worries, though: Weir weaves that science and math quite deftly into the science fiction, with just enough humor and self-deprecation from his characters that the story remains accessible to all readers.

This is the best book I’ve impulse grabbed at the library in quite a while, and I binge-read it in just a few days. Highly recommended: Project Hail Mary is great for fans of hard sf, thrillers, adventure tales, and softer character driven sf alike.

Oh, and if you enjoy movies more than (or in addition to) books: A Project Hail Mary movie starring Ryan Gosling is apparently in development.

What are you reading lately?

What have you been reading lately? Tell us about it in comments — And, you can browse all of the What’s Rachel Reading? book reviews here.