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Dark Matter Review: Back-of-Book Description

A mindbending, relentlessly surprising thriller from the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy.

 

“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. Hiswife 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 brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

Dark Matter Review: My Thoughts

Holy guacamole!

And that’s a fitting exclamation, really, because I started this book on a beach in Mexico. And also because I absolutely Loved this book.

But backing up. I previously read and raved about a different Blake Crouch book, Recursion. I thought that book was so amazing (be sure to click the title and read the review) so I immediately went out and bought another of his. Dark Matter caught my eye, and here we are.

Dark Matter actually has a similar premise to Recursion – the question of whether or not you would go back and change things that you wish had happened differently. (And c’mon – who can’t relate to that?!) But it approaches it from a different angle.

I started this book on vacation. It’s not what I would call a “beach read” at all, but for some reason, that’s where I was when I decided it was the time to begin. So I had to take it slow since…you know, I was distracted by waves and tequila. That being said, I really was hooked right from the beginning.

I read a lot more of it on the airplane and when I got home. Once I was in a normal setting, all I wanted to do was read this book! The plot was so great, the action was packed in there, and the suspense was perfect.

The author also did a wonderful job with the characters and setting. I found both the main character and his wife relatable in different ways. And I had no trouble at all picturing the variety of worlds (some of them very complex) described in the book.

I think Dark Matter would be a perfect book club choice because the idea of wondering what your life might have been like had you taken a different path is so relatable. But when you see how the story unfolds you’d have a lot to discuss and opinions to share.

I think Dark Matter would be a perfect book club choice because the idea of wondering what your life might have been like had you taken a different path is so relatable. But when you see how the story unfolds you'd have a lot to… Click To Tweet

He touches on whether or not it’s the right path to sacrifice potential success at work to find more fulfillment with a spouse and family. There are also some brief discussions of emotional loss and physical violence, though those are not the main focus.

Along with the crazy interesting science fiction story, Blake Crouch also writes the narration and dialogue so well. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I marked so many quotes in this book (and also in Recursion).

Favorite Quotes from Dark Matter

“It’s the beautiful thing about youth. There’s a weightlessness that permeates everything because no damning choices have been made, no paths committed to, and the road forking out ahead is pure, unlimited potential.”

“We’re more than the sum total of our choices, that all the paths we might have taken factor somehow into the math of our identity.”

“We’re all just wondering 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 Plexiglass.”

“It’s terrifying when you consider that every thought we have, every choice we could possibly make, branches into a new world.”

“I think about all the choices we’ve made that created this moment…Then I think of all the possible events that could have stopped this moment from ever happening, and it all feels…so fragile.”

“Imagine you’re a fish, swimming in a pond. You can move forward and back, side to side, but never up out of the water. If someone were standing beside the pond, watching you, you’d have no idea they were there. To you, that little pond is an entire universe. Now imagine that someone reaches down and lifts you out of the pond. You see that what you thought was the entire world is only a small pool. You see other ponds. Trees. The sky above. You realize you’re a part of a much larger and more mysterious reality than you had ever dreamed of.”

“I’ve always known, on a purely intellectual level, that our separateness and isolation are an illusion. We’re all made of the same thing – the blown-out pieces of matter formed in the fire of dead stars. I’ve just never felt that knowledge in my bones until that moment, there, with you.”

“But it’s all, in the end, just life. We see it macro, like one big story, but when you’re in it, it’s all just day-to-day, right? And isn’t that what you have to make your peace with.”

“I know part of our story is the electricity of our connection, but the other part is equally miraculous. It’s the simple fact that you walked into my life at the exact moment you did. You instead of someone else. In some ways, isn’t that even more incredible than the connection itself? That we found each other at all?”

Dark Matter Review: In Conclusion

As previously stated – I absolutely loved this book. Dark Matter gets 5 stars from me! I stayed up way too late finishing it one night and had weird dreams about the plot…but I don’t even regret that! It was such an interesting, thought-provoking story that I will think about for a long, long time I’m sure. It has a beautiful ‘lesson’ in that the grass isn’t always greener on a different path.

I will continue to buy more books by this author and I would definitely recommend this and probably any of his others to people who like science fiction thrillers. For sure his books provide great discussion for book clubs! Maybe don’t read it on a beach though – best to be totally sober and able to comprehend all the science. 😉

Thank you for taking the time to read this review of Dark Matter – feel free to share! Check out my other book reviews here and pin or share your favorite quotes below. 

“It’s the beautiful thing about youth. There’s a weightlessness that permeates everything because no damning choices have been made, no paths committed to, and the road forking out ahead is pure, unlimited potential.”
“We’re more than the sum total of our choices, that all the paths we might have taken factor somehow into the math of our identity.”
“I think about all the choices we’ve made that created this moment…Then I think of all the possible events that could have stopped this moment from ever happening, and it all feels…so fragile.”
“It’s terrifying when you consider that every thought we have, every choice we could possibly make, branches into a new world.”
“I know part of our story is the electricity of our connection, but the other part is equally miraculous. It’s the simple fact that you walked into my life at the exact moment you did. You instead of someone else. In some ways, isn’t that even more incredible than the connection itself? That we found each other at all?”
“Imagine you’re a fish, swimming in a pond. You can move forward and back, side to side, but never up out of the water. If someone were standing beside the pond, watching you, you’d have no idea they were there. To you, that little pond is an entire universe. Now imagine that someone reaches down and lifts you out of the pond. You see that what you thought was the entire world is only a small pool. You see other ponds. Trees. The sky above. You realize you’re a part of a much larger and more mysterious reality than you had ever dreamed of.”
“But it’s all, in the end, just life. We see it macro, like one big story, but when you’re in it, it’s all just day-to-day, right? And isn’t that what you have to make your peace with.”
“We’re all just wondering 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 Plexiglass.”
“I’ve always known, on a purely intellectual level, that our separateness and isolation are an illusion. We’re all made of the same thing – the blown-out pieces of matter formed in the fire of dead stars. I’ve just never felt that knowledge in my bones until that moment, there, with you.”
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