Author: Blake Crouche
Genre: Sci-Fi, Suspense
Source: Local Public Library
First Published: July 26, 2016
First Line: "I love Thursday nights."
Book Description from GoodReads: “Are you happy with your life?”
Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.
Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”
In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.
Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.
Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.
My Rating: 4/5 stars
My Review: Dark Matter is a 'fast-paced, unrelenting, mind bending Sci-Fi, edge of your seat suspense with a healthy dose of romance and familial love' kind of read. Yup, that is an ODD mash up of genres and descriptions ... but it works. My regular readers will know that Sci-Fi isn't a genre I'm drawn to. In fact, I have read but a small handful of Sci-Fi books in my entire life. But after hearing praise from other readers, and specifically my friend Beth (who has similar literary tastes as yours truly), I knew that I had to give it a try.
Crouch has written a very compelling plot and his writing is solid yet has a simple feel to it. He pulls readers into Jason's life/nightmare as he desperately tries to figure out what has happened to him and his family. From the get-go readers will be itching to find out what's going on. If you take the time to think about it this book could also be seen as a fairly deep read and may make readers think about who they are, what they were and what they want and could become. Sounds deep and it kind of is ... if you want it to be.
The one thing that has always concerned me about Sci-Fi is the world building and the Science-y (totally not a word but you get my meaning) aspect. While there were some uneasy instances where I felt like I 'sorta-kinda but not really' grasped the science behind the plot, overall the Sci-Fi aspect wasn't as convoluted as I was expecting. Is it odd that Sheldon Cooper and his Big Bang posse had helped me understand some of the scientific theories like the thought experiment/paradox of Schrödinger's cat or string theory before I even read this book?
My only criticisms on this book stem from the fact that A) you have to suspend belief a fair bit in order to believe that Jason (and other characters) were able to, from all the options presented, find himself in exactly right place and right in the nick of time. B) Jason is a little too good to be true with his perfect life, wife and child. But that's just the cynic in me talking. And C) I wish that the reader had been privy to what happened to another character who was by Jason's side for a good chunk of the book. Leaving her fate out of the plot was a disappointment to me (although I could also understand, based on Crouch's explanation of the scientific theories why this may not be feasible). I just wanted to know what happened to her.
I don't say this often but this book is worthy of the hype. I will not even try to describe the plot due to the risk of divulging too much. But, suffice it to say, this is a clever, multiple world-building suspense read that is not only edge of your seat but thought provoking as well. I applaud Crouch for being able to take a very complex idea and bring it down (for the most part) into layman's terms.
Dark Matter is a unique, unnerving and twisted read that will make you think outside the box (I'm so punny), think about how small decisions could have drastic repercussions and maybe even hold your own family a little tighter tonight.