Weekly Wrap-Up (3 Books)

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Andy Weir is popular for his novel The Martian – later adapted for the screen into a film starring Matt Damon.

When I read the premise for Project Hail Mary I wondered, with the space travel and a main character carrying a whole lot of responsibility on his shoulders, whether this novel wouldn’t be similar to The Martian

So there are some parallels but certainly not enough to make it feel like The Martian. That said, fans should be happy with his latest offering. The science-fiction story follows our main character, Ryland, who, through several twists of fate or circumstance, finds himself having to carry out a mission in space vital to humanity’s future.

The character development was excellent; this includes the quirky side characters of the international crew, the seemingly hard-nosed head of operations, a couple other characters, and of course, Ryland. The observations by those who populate this novel helped lend the story bit of humour that I appreciated in an adventure story that was often tense and suspenseful.

The pace is excellent overall I’d say it’s a medium pace that trots along but slows and speeds up in just the right places. The is pace is dictated by discovering the catalyst for the events in this story. Given his point of view, we have a clear understanding of events as Ryland is forced to piece together bits of his mission. Given his point-of-view, readers get to follow along at his pace of discovery again. It helps keep this a page-turner and helps the reader to properly follow events despite the shift back and forth between the present and past events.

The world-building is superb, with the narrative description providing the perfect framework for a reader to imagine the world as Ryland sees it; this is often enhanced by the characters’ conversations. All their dialogue is meaningful, and I cared about what they had to say, and found it easy to picture the conversations in my mind. I won’t claim to have paused long enough to ask myself if I really understood all the science, but I can’t say that that was a barrier to my enjoyment of this book. 

There are some fab twists and turns to keep readers further invested, and I thought the story was amazing.

 The Keening by Margaret Pinard

This historical fiction novel follows the characters who form the McLean family. Set during the backdrop of an industrialized world in 1822, we explore the family’s decisions when they are displaced from their land and find themselves destitute with only one another to rely on.

The characters were all very well drawn and distinct, at the start, the pace was slower than I’d anticipated. Soon events pulled the story along for all the characters and I felt invested enough to want to know what happens to the characters next. 

The world-building is informative without being overloaded on description; I found it provided with the perfect amount of detail to imagine what our world was like in the early 1800s in Scotland and Canada. This is book one of a trilogy and just as I was engrossed in the story of courtship for one of the McLean daughters’ the novel ended with a shocking event and cliff-hanger. Considering I really enjoyed these books so much, I’ve now downloaded books 2 and 3 onto my e-reader.

Just Like Heaven – Book 1 of the Smythe-Smith Quartet – by Julia Quinn

This regency romance follows Honoria Smythe-Smith and Marcus Holroyd as they move from firm friends to falling desperately in love. I enjoyed the light-hearted tone of this romance and that while both characters were flawed, they remained likeable. 

The plot is simple, and the story’s pace is slow, but not so slow that it felt tedious. Honoria and Marcus don’t feel like overly complex characters. There was something comfortable in their story being predictable with just a couple of sub-plot twists adding a diversion and some doubt to the inevitable conclusion of them finding their way to each other. 

And that concludes what I read this week. Let me know what you’ve been reading. Have you read any of the books I mentioned, or do you intend to read any of them? Take care.

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