Top positive review
So Good It's Now a College Assignment
Reviewed in the United States on October 24, 2018
I have read it three times, seen the movie twice.
I teach psychology and there is so much psychology in here (stress and health, cognition, intelligence, problem-solving, resilience, group dynamics. . . ) that I have made it an extra-credit assignment in my Introduction to Psychology courses at an engineering school. My engineers typically do not 'get' why they have to take a social science course, and because this is not terrifically SciFi but more of an adventure story (very near-future, based largely on existing technology, no aliens) it demonstrates perfectly how psychology is relevant to engineers. Plus I figure they'll enjoy it because the protagonist is a botanist cross-trained in mechanical engineering, which is what many of my students are majoring in. It is just geeky enough while still being, as one professional reviewer called it, "a cracking good read."
My point in telling you all that, knowing that the vast majority of you are not undergraduate engineering students or psychology instructors, is that this is the kind of book that anyone, even people who don't particularly like SciFi or aren't even regular readers of fiction can LOVE.
But for the rest of us, it is an adventure story with a character you can immediately both admire and identify with, and it is told perfectly. Seriously. Weir keeps up the tension, and just when you think you can relax. . . BAM!! (Literally: Things explode.) The dialogue is pitch-perfect, the dilemmas faced by all of the characters, both moral and practical, involve you in their struggles and make you think.
It makes a good movie, but you should read the book even if you've already seen it. There's a limit to what you can pack into even a 2-1/2 hour movie, and watching it all unfold is not at all the same as getting into Watney's head the way you do when you read it (it's written in first person POV).