Saturday, April 25, 2015

DNF Reviews: The Martian by Andy Weir & Nil by Lynne Matson

Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
Publisher: Crown
Pages: 384
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Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue 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 kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

The Martian has a premise that really caught my attention when I first read the description! I'm not huge into sci-fi, but I am a HUGE fan of the Twilight Zone and half those episodes are related to astronauts being stuck on Mars. How could I resist?!

I started this audiobook for the first time last year and only made it through maybe thirty minutes of audio before I had to shut it off and go to something else. I feel bad every time I stop that quickly, but not quite so bad when it's an audiobook... In any case, when I found out it was being made into a movie I gave it another shot. This time I made it several hours in before calling it quits.

While I feel like there is probably a really good story in The Martian, the writing style just wasn't what I prefer. I have a hard time when humor is mixed into another genre and it really didn't work in this situation. The main character was really unrealistic and unlikable, in my opinion. He seemed like the kind of person who would get on my nerves very quickly. Not to mention, he felt the need to constantly throw in his botany jargon, which I obviously don't get any use from as a non-botanist.

The setting of Mars really didn't seem all that terrifying either, which is really unfortunate. It had really great potential and maybe it got better as it went on! I'm assuming there were aliens later?

I'm really sorry that I didn't get further into this book because I really wanted to love it! I will definitely go see the movie and I honestly feel like it will translate better in that medium, at least for me.

Title: Nil
Author: Lynne Matson
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 374
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On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have exactly 365 days to escape—or you die.

Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that she has to find a way to beat the clock, and quickly.

Nil is the kind of book that should be right up my alley. I am totally in love with the survival genre (is that a genre?) in general and when I read that blurb and saw the bit about the island that didn't exist, I knew this was the book for me! When I saw a copy at a great price on I grabbed it up immediately and dug in when it got here.

The main characters on Nil are Charlie and Thad. Thad has been there for quite awhile with not much time left and Charlie is the noob. Both characters were likable and their romance seemed believable, if a little rushed. Thad was a fantastic leader and Charlie really jumped right into the island dynamic and made herself immediately useful. I also really enjoyed the rest of the cast of characters (except for Bart - what a jerk)!

The action begins at the beginning of the book and continues while these two get to know each other. There is constantly something going on, whether it's crazy animal attacks or crazy conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, this book just didn't hold my attention.

I think my problem with Nil was that it dragged on and on and on. While the idea was interesting, I just don't think it was executed well - or at least well enough to keep me reading. I really did try! I trudged through this book for two whole weeks before I finally gave up with 100 pages left (yes, it took me two weeks to make it just over 250 pages). While there is always something happening in the book, it really gets repetitive quickly: new people come, old people search for escape, they eat pineapple, Thad and Charlie kiss, repeat.

I feel like if I'd stuck it out I might have liked the ending - maybe. But there comes a point when you just have to cut your losses and move on. Better luck next time!