Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Sometimes you just have to give in to the recommendations and reviews.  After seeing this book on many respectable book blogs, on multiple lists for annual book awards, and being Indigo’s book of the month in October, I had to see what all of the fuss was about.  The blurb to pitch this book is a seller: ‘Are you happy with your life?’.   The bestselling SciFi/thriller promises and delivers on fresh ideas and perspectives.  I bought this novel, looked at it on my to-be-read pile for a couple days, and couldn’t help but dive in.

You may recognize author Blake Crouch from his Wayward Pines trilogy that was adapted into a television show in 2015.  The established writer of 9 novels has gone on to say this is his best work to date.  Dark Matter was published in July of 2016, signing a $1.25 million dollar film deal with Sony before its release, and was Amazons best book of that month.  With a respectable 4.13 overall rating on Goodreads, it is currently a finalist for SciFi book of the year.

Mind-bending is the theme of Dark Matter.  Jason Dessen is a quintessential everyman, a loving husband, father, and science teacher.  When he is kidnapped at gun point he knew his life was about to change.  What he didn’t expect was to wake up in an alternate reality where his home is empty, his wife is with another man, and his son doesn’t exist.  As he questions his own sanity, he holds on to fading memories of his true home, and contends with the thoughts that there is no way back.  When he finds his way through the multiple universes things seem more bleak than when he had a gun to his head.

There are so many wonderful things about this story it is hard to know where to begin.  Overall the plot is predictable, in the sense that you know where things are leading to, it is the journey that captivates, full of unexpected events and situations.  The blending of worlds and genres made this book entertaining with every turn.  Sympathy is at a high in this story as being in Jason’s shoes would be an unimaginable nightmare.

What I enjoyed most was how well written it is.  Mr. Crouch has a skill with voice, reading this book feels like a conversation, at no point did I feel like I was being explained to, or talked at, but it all felt very organic.  The first person perspective was composed expertly.  Jason Dessen is a very real person, the way he questions himself, and processes his thoughts are relatable to the point that I feel I would be saying the same things.  Most importantly, the major events and big ideas are handled in good form, holding back from going over-the-top and explained in a way that is easy to understand.

A look back on this novel I cannot find any major flaws.  It is enjoyable through page one to its hard conclusion.  The journey takes quick turns, changing themes and genres throughout, and there is not one unnecessary or un-intriguing piece. 5/5, a mix of big ideas and down-to-earth prose, bending genres and blowing minds.  I highly recommend this book to… well, most anyone.  Even if SciFi or thriller is not your thing, there is a heart to this story that can appeal to anyone.

Thanks booknerds, happy to be sharing this reality with you.

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