Monday, November 28, 2016

Book Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Title: Dark Matter
Author: Blake Crouch
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Publisher: Crown
Pages: 342
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“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. 

Earlier this year I read Pines by Blake Crouch and LOVED it! Although I didn't know anything about this book, I picked up Dark Matter solely based on the fact that the author had really impressed me in the past. The cover isn't much to look at if I'm being honest, but the synopsis sounded super interesting! Based on my past experience, I fully expected to be blown away and I wasn't disappointed.

Jason is the protagonist of this story and he has a pretty all right life, thank you very much. No, he isn't a huge success in his field, but he has an incredible wife and kid and is quite content. Unfortunately, he's snatched from his world and unwillingly thrown into another one. Jason was an amazing character who was extremely intelligent but also able to explain all the science-y things in a way that didn't make him irritating. It was easy to sympathize with him as he did everything in his power to make it home to his wife and son.

From the moment Jason was taken, the ride was breakneck. I was constantly wondering what the heck was going on, which is honestly my favorite way to spend a book. We find things out along with Jason and there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding where he is, how he got there, and how he will get home. As things began to unravel and the twists were revealed I found myself truly shocked more than once - exactly what I expected in a book by Blake Crouch. Dark Matter isn't just your average mystery though. This book presents deep questions and explores them in thought provoking ways that may make you examine your own life.

Although this book has a contemporary setting, there were a lot of other components to the world building that the author really did a fantastic job with. I loved the way he melded the sci-fi elements of the story into the "real world" in a way that felt completely believable. A sense of unease surrounded everything and made the twists that much more exciting!

My complaints about Dark Matter are few, but I did feel that there was a bit too much repetition at times and not enough explanation. There were locations visited briefly on Jason's journey home that I would have loved to know more about. I also wish there had been some kind of follow up after he and his travel buddy went their separate ways. These issues weren't enough to ruin the experience, though.

Dark Matter is the kind of book that I really can't say much about without spoiling, so I'm going to have to cut this short. This book wasn't perfect (like Pines was), but it was immensely enjoyable and was really just a thrilling ride. I enjoyed going with Jason on his journey to find his wife again and loved figuring out the pieces of the puzzle along the way. If you're a fan of sci-fi and huge twists, this is definitely the book for you!