Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

“Are you happy with your life?”
Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

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Book: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you had made a different decision? If you went back and took the road not traveled? Atomic physicist professor Jason Dessen did. On his way to buy ice cream one evening, Jason is abducted and drugged, and wakes up to find himself in a version of Chicago that isn’t his own: he’s not married, he has no child, and he now appears to be an award-winning quantum physicist. Jason journeys through various nightmares to find his way home, or is it his home anymore?

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I recently discovered this book at our local library’s recommendation list. We’ve been searching for a book to read together, and the book’s cover and name had hooked my attention. I’ve always loved fantasy/sci-fi fiction books and it’s been awhile since my last Michael Crichton book. I thought I might try something new.

Read it for:

  • Mind-blowing, epic and nerve-wracking journey with a scientist through different universes. Due to the intensity of the events, I stopped reading halfway through the first chapter. I know, weak, but the beginning was rough. When I finally regained my courage to continue, I was hardly able put the book down. Crouch’s prompt and no-nonsense narration of the sequence of events keeps me at the edge of my seat (or more literally, bed).
  • The deep themes of regret. The million of times I spent wondering what would have happened. Dr. Dessen sees both his lives first hand, and has to decide what’s best. The big looming question in the book is something that I’ve fretted countless of hours over before. Do I choose a path that will lead me to success or a path that takes me to true love? These are tough questions and helps me redefine my own views. And if you’ve somehow had a perfect past without regret, there are themes of loss, selfishness, love, fear, and trust in it for you too. I feel the pain that he feels, I experienced his grief, longing, hunger, cold, anger. Where does that leave me? I started to get existential on this roller-coaster ride of emotions.
  • The possibility of something impossible. It was surprisingly easy to follow the physics to it. There were abundant amounts of WHOA, whaaa-?, and aha! moments in this book as I trail behind Dr. Dessen’s series of unlikely events. Picture an alternate you in another universe is dead or that the world is apocalyptic. No one can possibly know what happens. It’s a beautiful mash of Star Trek, Fringe, Doctor Who, and Inception.

Not so fond of: 

  • There’s not a huge character development across the board. It mainly focuses on Dessen, his thoughts, and his discoveries. Side characters could be more dynamic.
  • The big nerdy science theories and excitement aside, the fast paced and action-oriented book seems as if it’s written to become a movie. Sure enough, Crouch already has plans with Sony to get it on the big screen. Regardless, the final chapters of the book made it completely worth it. Read the book. Then watch the movie, because it will be epic.

Overall

The concept of the book is excellent, I was hooked from beginning ’till end. Despite the thriller movie vibe to it, the mind-boggling ending is worth the read. ❤

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