Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Published by Crown on July 26th 2016
“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 science fiction thriller that hooks you instantaneously and just doesn’t let go. Addictive, to say the least. I ripped through it in about a day in a half, and happily found it to be one of those books that pretty much demands you neglect all other aspects of your life because it refuses to get to a point where you feel you can set it down. But I certainly wasn’t complaining. I love getting so into a story that I can’t/won’t do anything else. Thankfully not all the books I enjoy are like this as I do have a life that needs tending to, but when a book grabs me like this, I have to say I love leaving the real world behind for a bit.
The concept of this book is fascinating as well. It examines the questions, what would you do differently in your life if you were given a chance? How would that one decision impact the rest of your life? What would you do if one day your entire life has changed with no explanation of how or why?
We get a brief picture of our protagonist, Jason, in his current life (his life before the story really kicks into gear). His life might be somewhat lackluster in terms of fame or success, but one thing is clear. Jason is happy. His life with his wife and son is full of love and appreciation. He’s happy and content, and when it comes down to it, what is more important than that? But after being attacked one evening, he wakes up in a life which is not the one he knows. He’s surrounded by people that seem to know him and have expectations of him, but he’s at a complete loss. This is not his life, these are not people he knows, and where is his wife and son?
Part of the fun of this book is stumbling through with Jason as he tries to piece together what has happened to him, if he has lost his mind, or if one of these ‘realities’ is a dream or if there is a logical explanation for this completely illogical turn of events he has awoken to.
At about the 75% mark, I was honestly unsure how the book might end. As exciting as that can be, not knowing what was coming, it was also something I noticed because as much as I was loving the story, I could see possibilities for a less than satisfying ending. I wasn’t 100% sure what ending could happen that I would be happy with and I was hoping that the book would deliver. Turns out I needn’t have worried. I felt the ending was just as well done and exciting as the rest of this book.
Overall, I highly recommend Dark Matter. It is a great story that will tear you from your real life for a while as you experience Jason being torn from his. Loved it.