Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

I didn't know what to expect from this book when I started reading it, it seemed like something that might catch the attention of fans of the movie Gravity (not having seen it so I can't really compare them). However, it turned out to be the most compelling book I have read in several years. I literally could not put it down, and on the odd occasion I did have to do something else, I couldn't wait to get back to the story and find out the latest catastrophe that had befallen the main character, astronaut Mark Watney, and how he dealt with and over came it.

On the third manned mission to Mars, a dust storm forces the astronauts to abandon the mission and escape into space, ready to return to Earth. Unfortunately Mark Watney is left behind, presumed dead. He is however, very much alive and well aware that he is on his own... The only opportunity for rescue will be the next scheduled mission, due to arrive on Mars in four years time.

The story is rousing one where no-one gives up even though the odds seem completely insurmountable.

There is quite a lot of luck involved in the the story, that quite frankly is completely skimmed over, it is lucky that the astronaut left behind is both the engineer and the botanist on the crew. Several times is extremely lucky that plans work perfectly first time and that no major obstacles are encountered. However, it is easy to forgive these points and to just go with the flow of this heart pounding ride of a story.

I read and advance ebook copy of the book, and I must admit that the moment I finished reading it I got straight online and ordered a hardbacked copy, as I really want to own this book and read it again at some point in the near future!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Book Review: Robin Hood from Osprey Publishing

This book covers just about everything you could need when researching Robin Hood. It gives a  good general overview of most of the common legends and tales surrounding the Lincoln Green clad outlaw and his band of Merry Men. It also looks at the evolution of the legend, from it's earliest beginnings right through to the latest incarnations as seen in film and on TV.
The book is well written and easily consumed. To be honest there is not a lot more to say about it! If you are interested in learning a little more about Robin Hood, whether it be the original legends, the locations they took place in, or the recent TV appearances this book is a great place to start.
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