Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter is a 342-page psychological/speculative thriller. I received the book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Dark MatterOne of my favorite things to read about in speculative fiction is the multiverse, and that’s the central idea of Dark Matter. Jason Dessen, on a walk home from celebrating a colleague’s scientific achievement, is kidnapped at gunpoint and drugged to sleep. When he wakes, he’s in an unfamiliar lab being congratulated for something he knows nothing about. From there, it’s a wild ride finding out where Jason is, how he’s going to get home, who kidnapped him, and most importantly–why he woke up in this strange world.

Blake Crouch had a surprisingly deep writing style; I didn’t expect intellectual quandaries in a thriller, but there were many “wow” moments that were a nice (though sometimes bleak) touch to the intense pace of the book. He also doesn’t shy away from focusing on character development, even though this is a science-centric book. He excels at both creating and breaking down the “family man” stereotype and showing the doubts that creep up in someone who had “so much potential” but instead of pursuing his dreams, settled down with his pregnant girlfriend to make a life. Jason is a fantastic character–he isn’t unhappy with his life, but still has lingering regrets.

Jason’s journey is both physical and mental–on his search to find his family, he wonders: Who is he really? Would he make different life choices if given a second chance? Would that make him happier? As a reader, I really connected with his struggle–who doesn’t wonder if changing certain choices would make life better or worse? Jason’s exploration of those possibilities weaves a dark psychological thread through the sprinting pace of the plot.

I don’t read as many suspenseful books as I used to (they make me anxious and also force me to stay up late to finish them), but Dark Matter is easily the best spec. fic./thriller I’ve read since Michael Crichton‘s peak. The plot is exciting, scary, and urgent, and the science has an actual effect on the end of the story. This is definitely a “grabs you by the ears and yanks you in” book and is easily one of my favorite sci-fi books of 2016.

TITLE: Dark Matter
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AUTHOR: Blake Crouch
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PAGES: 342
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ALSO WROTE: Pines, Run
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FIRST LINE: I love Thursday nights.
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FAVORITE LINE: We’re all just wandering through the tundra of our existence, assigning value to worthlessness, when all that we love and hate, all we believe in and fight for and kill for and die for is as meaningless as images projected onto Plexiglas.

BONUS LINE: I have suspicions of course, but suspicion leads to bias, and bias doesn’t lead to truth.
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SORT OF LIKE:

State of Fear     Timeline

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