Published July 2016 by Crown
“Are you happy with your life?”
Do I have your attention yet? If this mind-numbingly awesome book cover doesn’t draw you in, that line sure as hell will.
You all know I am a cover monster. Show me a beautiful book cover and I am all over it. This familiar feeling of infatuation come over me when I first laid my eyes on this sci-fi thriller, Dark Matter. And is it not just the best feeling in the world when you are rewarded with content inside the book that is even better than the amazing shell on the outside?!
I jump from genre to genre all the time, and I felt like I needed some science fiction in my life. When I picked up Dark Matter though, I was not expecting this absolutely insane reading experience: the kind of experience where you are left breathless after every chapter, where you find yourself contemplating all the life choices you have ever made. Yes, Dark Matter is that kind of book, and it is so good.
“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.
I know this summary doesn’t do much in telling you what this book is REALLY about, but trust me, it is much better this way. Have you ever heard the expression “non-stop, pulse pounding action”? Well, never has an expression been more applicable to a read. My heart was beating as fast as a bunny rabbit escaping from a predator while I was plowing through these pages. Reading Dark Matter is an experience, and it would be silly to ruin that experience with things of little importantance, things like summaries.
What I will tell you about though, is a tiny bit about our main character, Jason Dessen. He is first and foremost a father and a husband, but also he is a scientist. And since this book is written from the first person perspective, I am going to have to take a moment here to applaud Blake Crouch for writing this book like a scientist would. There are no overly flowery descriptions of Jason’s environment or feelings. There are short, concise sentences that drive this book forward even faster than the plot already does.
Sometimes its annoying
But mostly you get used to it.
I honestly felt that if I didn’t finish this book as fast as I possibly could, it would spontaneously combust in my hands. It felt so real, which is kind of crazy to say, considering IT WAS A BOOK. So, yeah, it is pretty impressive of Blake Crouch, who makes us feel like maybe, just maybe this scenario is possible, and then proceeds to scare the shit out of us.
Usually in science fiction novels, there is this point in the book that I like to refer to as “the dreaded info dump”. You know what I am talking about though, don’t you? It’s that really awkward few pages where one character has a huge monologue, explaining all the science or background information to another character, for the reader’s benefit. Well, Dark Matter had no such info dump. AND THAT MADE ME SO EXCITED. (Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to follow along, I was about to enter cardiac arrest the whole time I read this crazy book.) So, instead of an info dump, we are given small insights as to ‘what exactly is going on’ as Jason reasons through his impossible situation, and this makes the experience so much more enjoyable.
But Dark Matter is so, so much more than just a science fiction novel. It is kind of a philosophical, science dipped, love story. Now don’t get me wrong: I am not implying n a type of love story you would see in a Nicholas Sparks story, but story based more on love, and less on lust. A type of love that transcends all ages and all genres. The type of love that makes you think, “I will have that one day” rather than “I want that one day”.
Who cares if I didn’t really understand all the science behind what was going on. What matters is how infinitely small and insignificant Crouch made me feel in 300 pages. What matters is how this book made me realize the importance of every decision that I have ever made, and will ever make. This is a story that is sure to stick with you once you turn the last page, and for that reason, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Please note I did receive this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review, but all opinions are entirely my own.