Book Review – ‘Dark Matter’ by Blake Crouch

Mind-bending and expanding. Sci-fi at it’s best.

dark-matter-book-review-pic-01-by-casey-carlisleGenre: Science Fiction, Mystery

No. of pages: 340

From Goodreads:

“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.

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Dark Matter’ turned out to live up to all the hype I’ve been hearing. Although I was starting to doubt the great reviews I’d read because it takes half of the novel for things to get heated up, but when they do, it takes off in a fiery blast.

The protagonist, Jason, was the type of character that took me a while to warm up to. I guess because he flailed about so much. Reacting to the bizarre. But what else could he do? There was so much of it thrown at him in the first half that we didn’t get to know him. It wasn’t until his strength and hope started to get tested (along with his sanity) that I started to connect with him.

Amanda, fellow traveler, I felt could have been more poignant to the story – she added some psychologist wisdom as to the psyche and the multiverse, and even about the impact of facing infinity… I feel there was a missed opportunity to drive home a point at the heart of this novel – fear, inevitability and infinitesimally small nature of things. Mind blown. Instead she felt more or less like a non-event. With enjoying her take on the situation I wanted more of her in the story than we got.

Jason’s wife and son really make the narrative with their added perspective. And it’s needed because this novel gets hella cray-cray. You’ll understand when you read it.

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Dark Matter’ got waaay better after the half way mark, as I mentioned earlier, getting to know Jason, and setting up the premise of the science behind ‘Dark Matter’ takes a while. But once you get past that hump it is extremely engaging – I stayed up late to finish it. The tension and pacing were expertly crafted.

I had difficulty with any predictions on how it was going to turn out- the nature of the science and the bleak tone of the novel just leaves you with a feeling of despondency. Why? And it’s a marvellous experience to be kept on the edge of your seat. Bravo Blake Crouch!

It still only feels like we’ve scratched the surface too – that’s how massive the concept to this novel is. I think I sat there staring off into space for a while after finishing, trying to take it all in.

Dark Matter’ has a brilliant ending. Very satisfying. Highly entertaining. I’d been told it was great, and it certainly did not disappoint. There is even a little moral lesson from Jason’s wife that I thought added something extra.

There is something distinctly masculine and dry about Blake’s writing style – I found myself frequently putting this book down for a rest. The story is certainly amazing, action packed, and science nerd porn. Chock full of all the elements I love in a story, but there was something about the narrative which didn’t grab me straight away when I started reading ‘Dark Matter.’ Definitely recommend it though, especially if you like your more obtuse science fiction references.

Overall feeling: my brain! My brain!

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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