[Book Review] Dark Matter

Dark Matter / Blake Crouch

Jason Dessen has a good life.  Not the life he once foresaw for himself, that of a brilliant research physicist.  But he's married to the love of his life, well employed, and has a wonderful son.  Then a masked man assaults Jason, takes him outside of town, drugs him, and when Jason wakes everything has changed.  He's still Jason Dessen, but his work in quantum physics was never set aside for a family, the his son never born, the woman he loves is dating his best friend and is a celebrated artist, and the man everyone believes him to be has done the impossible.  But some mysteries should never be broken open, and everything is now at risk.

Ok, here's the thing.  I wanted to like this book.  Alternate-universe, hard science fiction thriller?  Sounds amazing.  It's not a bad book, though I find it works better as audio rather than print due to a narrative style favoring short, abrupt phrases.  But I ended up bored (and to be honest, at times annoyed).  It doesn't differentiate itself from any other alternate/parallel/nested universe SF that I've encountered (admittedly, the ones I'm familiar with tend to be films).  Seven Monkeys did it well, so did Existenz, or The Thirteenth Floor.  Layers within layers, confusing the true reality, and different versions of the protagonist.  Maybe this book is so lauded because this sort of narrative is more popular in screenplays than novels?  I wanted to be thrilled and surprised, what I got was well written but honestly pretty standard.

Advance Reader Copy courtesy of Crown Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galley and the final edition.


  1. Sorry you weren't thrilled with this one. I liked it well enough. It didn't make my favorites pile but I found it to be compelling in a dizzying sort of way. At least you gave it a shot!
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
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    1. The book DEFINITELY has an audience that it meets. Otherwise there wouldn't be such a bevy of amazing reviews for it. I just hated the fact that nothing in it surprised me nor fell outside of the range of predictable. I started getting annoyed at the 'abduction' going "No, please don't let the assailant be who I think it is. Don't be that cliche."

      It is well written. And it definitely is one that I'll be recommending in certain RA situations.

      I'm glad you found it compelling.

  2. While this novel wasn't one of my favorites, I was intrigued by the whole parallel universe idea. That being said, I agree that it ends up being a bit cliche.

    1. I also have to concede that some of the cliches are a cliche for a reason, they're almost core to the parallel/nested universe storyline. Maybe I'd have liked it more if I had lower expectations of it?

      I do generally like storylines that like to play with reality or due to nested reality have a circular nature to the story.


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