This post may contain affiliate links. For more info on this, visit my disclosure page. Thank you for your support in this way!
Recursion’s Back-of-Book Description
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the bestselling author of Dark Matter and the Wayward Pines trilogy comes a relentless thriller about time, identity, and memory—his most mind-boggling, irresistible work to date, and the inspiration for Shondaland’s upcoming Netflix film.
“Gloriously twisting . . . a heady campfire tale of a novel.”—The New York Times Book Review
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Time • NPR • BookRiot
Reality is broken.
At first, it looks like a disease. An epidemic that spreads through no known means, driving its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. But the force that’s sweeping the world is no pathogen. It’s just the first shock wave, unleashed by a stunning discovery—and what’s in jeopardy is not our minds but the very fabric of time itself.
In New York City, Detective Barry Sutton is closing in on the truth—and in a remote laboratory, neuroscientist Helena Smith is unaware that she alone holds the key to this mystery . . . and the tools for fighting back.
Together, Barry and Helena will have to confront their enemy—before they, and the world, are trapped in a loop of ever-growing chaos.
This is yet another Book of the Month book find – I honestly may never have heard of it otherwise. But thankfully, I picked Recursion to be my BOTM way back in June 2019!! And then I just left it sitting on my shelf, waiting to be picked up.
Fast forward to July 2021 and I felt compelled to read this book about memories… WELL. It is about memories, yes. But it’s about so much more than that, too. I would honestly call this more of a time travel book. It’s hard to explain it without giving too much away.
Definitely science-based fiction, with some thrilling suspense aspects thrown in. Even a little romance, too. Recursion has it all! I read it fairly quickly because I was so engaged and drawn into the story. I constantly wanted to know what was going to happen next!
However, I did have moments where I had to put it down for a bit, so I could really think about and process the information. The concepts of neurology, memories, and time alterations get a little heavy to digest. But just setting it down for a bit and thinking on it before returning was enough for me to push through the hard-to-understand parts.
I thought the premise was really interesting and made me want to ask people their opinions on it. I read this alone, but I desperately wished I had someone reading it with me to talk to about it (which makes this great for book clubs!). It was so thought-provoking!
I read this alone, but I desperately wished I had someone reading it with me to talk to about it (which makes this great for book clubs!). It was so thought-provoking! Click To Tweet
The character development was great. It felt like all the main characters were fully developed and rounded out. Over the course of the story, the main ones went through changes and evolved, which is always good to see.
The setting descriptions and overall “world-building” were fantastic. The author did a good job of showing the action and delivering the suspense, while also controlling the pace during slower, more touching moments in the story.
His overall writing style was really enjoyable, too. As you can see below – I marked quite a few lines. I think he’s written a few other books and based on this one, I’m very curious to read more of them.
Buy It Now!
Favorite Quotes from Recursion
“Physically speaking, a memory is nothing but a specific combination of neurons firing together – a symphony of neural activity. But in actuality, it’s the filter between us and reality.”
“We think we’re experiencing the world directly and immediately, but everything we experience is this carefully edited, tape-delayed reconstruction.”
“There are so few things in our existence we can count on to give us the sense of permanence, of the ground beneath our feet. People fail us. Our bodies fail us. We fail ourselves….But what do you cling to moment to moment, if memories can simply change. What, then, is real? And if the answer is nothing, where does that leave us?”
“…perhaps there’s a reason our memories are kept hazy and out of focus. Maybe their abstraction serves as an anesthetic, a buffer protecting us from the agony of time and all that it steals and erases.”
“…consciousness is a result of environment. Our cognitions – our idea of reality – are shaped by what we can perceive, by the limitations of our senses. We think we’re seeing the world as it really is, but … we can’t see what we’re missing.”
“He has wondered lately if that’s all living really is – one long goodbye to those we love.”
“…and he wonders if he will ever grow used to it, or if it will always – for him and others – represent the unreliability of reality.”
“If your aim is to repair the evil that men do, maybe it’s in your interest for evil men to fear you.”
“A growing silence caused by the people you most love, who have shaped you and defined your world, going on ahead into whatever comes after.”
This was a wild, sometimes hard to comprehend, ride but I LOVED it. Recursion gets 5 stars from me! I’m really looking forward to discovering more from this author, too. It was engaging, thought-provoking, suspenseful, ALL THE THINGS! If it wasn’t for the science and high-level topic addressed, I wouldn’t have put it down. But indeed I had to, to take time to think about it properly.
I would recommend this to anyone who likes a good sci-fi, or suspense. Anyone who likes to think about time travel or hypothetical questions of “what would you do” should definitely pick this up! Because I could not stop thinking and asking people about what they would do in this situation.
Also great for book clubs as it inspires a lot of questions!
Seriously, it was just so incredible. Give it a shot – you won’t regret it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review of Recursion – feel free to share! Check out other book reviews here and pin your favorite quotes below.