Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Ryland Grace, a molecular biologist-turned-science-teacher, wakes aboard a spaceship with no recollection of who he is or why he is there. Gradually, as his memories return to him, he realizes that an alien lifeforce has been draining the sun’s energy, threatening devastation on Earth. Grace has been tasked with finding a solution through the Hail Mary mission.

I occasionally tend to pick up sci-fi books for the mere purpose of getting to read about unique systems and worldbuilding.

Image Courtesy – Goodreads

This was my first Andy Weir book. As such, I didn’t know what to expect, considering how well-loved his works are in the reading community. Right off the bat, the author displays his penchant for space and the ability to craft refreshingly three-dimensional characters.

Grace’s characterization stole the show, according to me. No matter how information-heavy it gets from the beginning, the moment we were introduced to the protagonist, I knew I’d enjoy reading the book. That’s the power his character wields.

From Grace’s internal monologue and infectious enthusiasm for all the discoveries to Rocky’s adorable mannerisms and attachment to Grace, the characters hold significant sway and made this book memorable to me.

There’s a lot that sets Project Hail Mary apart, creating a space for itself within the sci-fi genre. I was pleasantly surprised to find how the author’s approach to depicting aliens is quite unlike what I’ve read so far in sci-fi books. They’re not the instant enemies of mankind, needing to be vanquished immediately. In Grace’s desire to understand the ways of Eridians, he and Rocky form a mutual interest in discovering each other’s language and evolution that has nothing to do with power dynamics.

The story is fast-paced and follows a dual-timeline narrative style. On the one hand, you get to read about what’s going on in the present on the Hail Mary spaceship, and on the other, you get flashback sequences that help you piece together how Grace came to be on the spaceship. This structure of the novel added a lot of depth to my reading experience.

I would often find myself chuckling out loud; the humour in the writing is a solid highlight!

There isn’t much I would say I disliked about the book except for perhaps the amount of jargon and science-related explanations. The book deep dives into experiments and deductions. These were very frequent and would, at times, leave me baffled. But that has to do with my own lack of interest in science as a subject. If you have a better understanding of such physics and biology concepts, you’ll have a more nuanced enjoyment of the story.

On the whole, I’d say that Project Hail Mary is definitely worth the read. Pick it up if you are looking for character-driven sci-fi novels to read.

Want to know more of my detailed thoughts about the book? Check out our Bookbound Club live show discussion.

Published by Meera Nair

A 27 year-old freelance Content Writer, who spends all her free time ensconced in the pages of a book or writing to her heart's content about topics that excite the creative spirit in her.

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