I discovered Blake Crouch when I first came across the Goodreads page of Dark Matter, even though I only added it to my TBR pile at the time. I ended up reading Recursion first, and absolutely loved it. You can see its review here.
Finally ended up getting a copy of Dark Matter in July this year, and I delved right in. Did it meet expectations and was the novel everyone raves about better than Recursion? Read on to know.
Science Fiction, Thriller
Jason Dessen is happily married with an amazing son. His career as a college physics professor is satisfactory. His wife is an art teacher who enjoys her work. By all accounts, they’re happy… he’s happy. Except, a part of him wonders if his wife’s unplanned pregnancy and their consequent decision to give up his research and her attempt at being a full-time artist was the right choice. What could they have achieved if they’d made different choices? Would they… he… have been happier?
Of course, those are just thoughts… everybody has them.
Except, Jason is attacked one evening when he’s walking home to his family. When he wakes up, he is himself, but not in a world he knows. He’s not married, he has no son, and he’s not a professor. But, he is a known and celebrated genius who pursued his research to phenomenal results. He tries to make sense of his surroundings even as memories of his life seem to fade away.
What is this new world? Who is Jason Dessen in this world? Where is his family? And, most importantly, was the world he knew real… or is this the real one?
8 out of 10 stars
10 out of 10 stars
10 out of 10 stars
9 out of 10 stars for its sci-fi and its thrill
10 out of 10 stars
Part of a Series:
A roller coaster of a sci-fi ride that’s as strong on evoking introspection as it is on keeping the pages turning.
What I Liked:
Blake Crouch brings sci-fi and fragile humanity together, and weaves stories that are not just interesting but thought-provoking too. He does just that in Dark Matter. The book also has some great characterization – subtle but powerful, that makes each character impactful, regardless of how much visibility they have. The story and the basic premise are intriguing, taking the age-old question, “What if?” to a brilliant level.
What I Didn’t Like:
There is nothing really wrong with Dark Matter. In my opinion, it just wasn’t as edge-of-your-seat as Recursion. That’s the only reason I’ve rated it lower than a full 10.
Who Should Read It:
Anyone who likes science fiction will enjoy Dark Matter. Especially if you like sci-fi that delves into the beauty and ugliness of human psychology. I’ve always found Michael Crichton’s work to be that perfect mix of sci-fi and psychology (especially how people behave when driven by greed while influenced by their own histories). I’ve found Blake Crouch’s work similar in its approach to the combination, although he explores human psychology in different ways. If this is your first shot at sci-fi, I’d definitely recommend checking out Blake Crouch.
Who Should Avoid:
If you’re not a big fan of sci-fi, especially multi-timeline / multi-universe stories, I’d recommend skipping Dark Matter.
Read It For:
A glimpse into what someone can truly be capable of when pushed to different limits.
I’m definitely going to keep reading more of Blake Crouch’s work, including his older and newer novels. I’m especially excited about his latest release, Upgrade, even though it has been getting mixed reviews on Goodreads.
Recursion, Dark Matter, and Upgrade are all available in beautiful hardcovers. You can get them delivered across the world for free through Book Depository using the following links:
Let us know what you thought of Dark Matter or other works by Blake Crouch in the comments below. And as always, thanks for stopping at The Book Review Station!
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