Blurb from Goodreads
Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission – and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.
Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.
His crew mates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realises that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.
Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian – while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.
This book was so much fun. It was the book equivalent of one of those slightly cheesy Hollywood sci fi blockbusters and I mean that in the best way possible. It was a thoroughly enjoyable popcorn style read: big ideas with high stakes drama. Cliches and stereotyped characters sure, but yet it all worked seamlessly here to create a book that I completely lost myself in.
From the opening paragraphs right to the very end I was engrossed. Was the science accurate? Honestly don’t know. I decided to not overthink it and let the story wash over me. It certainly seemed plausible to me (I have a BSc) and felt authentic to the storyline. I think the trick with good popcorn speculative sci fi, as this book is, is for the author to fully commit to their vision of the science required for their plot to drive forward and that certainly happened here. The book was interestingly layered with theories that took on their own meaning in this fictional version of our existence.
I don’t want to give too much away about the plot because a lot of the magic of this book is to let yourself be taken away on this adventure with no idea where the story will ultimately lead to. The basic outline is that the energy from our sun is being drained by a space organism which means a global extinction event is just years away. And it’s up to the brightest minds in the world to come together to figure out a solution. So enter a junior high school science teacher who’s a somewhat disgraced ex research scientist… I know. Super cheesy right? But yet it seems this man, Ryland Grace, is the one who can save the planet!
But what’s really great about this story is it opens with Ryland waking up alone on a spaceship with no idea how he got there. He has to rely on flashbacks of memory to help piece together the story of Earth’s doom and his role on board the spaceship Hail Mary. This recovery from an amnesiac state really gave the book an interesting hook as I as a reader desperately wanted to know what had happened on Earth as much as Ryland did.
And it soon turns out that Ryland may not be alone out there in space… I just can’t say more because of spoilers but OMG I loved this whole plot line so much. It appealed to every sci fi loving bone in my body.
I read The Martian a few years ago and loved the idea of that book but felt it lacked a little heart. Project Hail Mary suffers from no such issues. It has the action and tension that anyone could hope for from this type of novel, but also explores deeper aspects of humanity including our thirst for knowledge and our need for emotional connection.
Definitely a book I would recommend to anyone looking for a highly entertaining and easy to follow science fiction read.
*An e-copy was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for honest review*
Publishing 4th May 2021, Del Rey