For Christmas last year I looked through Jen's Amazon wishlist and got her a couple of books that she wanted. One of them included Dark Matter by Blake Crouch and I was so happy when Jen texted me upon finishing the book telling me she wanted to review it! I love a book that makes me feel anything strongly enough to want to write about it so I am happily letting her do so.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch was the best book I've read in 2016. The plot, tone, characters, and pure originality simply stunned me. I cannot recommend this book more. It is not often a book is so unpredictably good that you need to read it twice in a row, just because it was such a fun experience.
Dark Matter follows college physics professor Jason Dessen as he is abducted by a mysterious stranger one night and wakes up in a laboratory with a different recollection of the last 15 years than the rest of the people he encounters in the laboratory.
Jason at first believes he's gone insane, but in exploring the world he woke up in he realizes this is not his world. Daniela, the woman he remembers as his wife, isn't his wife and their son Charlie was never actually born. His worldview is simply shattered and he returns to the laboratory and begins to research his life and learns Jason Dessen in this world is a famous quantum physicist and the lab he is in is where he works on a giant Cube that acts as a portal to the multiverse.
Jason also learns he is the only person to have ever gone into the cube and return, which means the company that runs the laboratory needs him to be the award winning physicist not the college professor. He discovers that the person who kidnapped him was in fact himself from the universe he is currently in.
At the lab he encounters a therapist named Amanda, who discovers he is the same Jason she had worked with at the lab. As the company becomes more suspicious of Jason, they start killing the people around him to keep him and his knowledge in their hands. Amanda decides to help Jason escape the lab and then the real adventure begins.
This story then becomes Jason's quest to get back to his world, his wife, and his son. Amanda being stranded with Jason on this journey does her best to help him navigate the journey. They experience many hardships and tragedies as they explore the multiverse. Eventually they part ways and Jason finds his way back to his world only to discover that in each of he other universes he went to his decisions created more versions of himself, meaning potentially hundreds of Jasons are all back in his world plotting ways to get the same wife and son back. Some are plotting to murder each other, some are plotting to keep them safe.
To avoid any more spoilers I'll stop describing the plot. Truly this premise should be ludicrous and convoluted, but the author takes us on journey that kept me interested and routing for the protagonist.
The characters are so well written and I found myself sympathizing with not just Jason, Daniela, or Amanda, but also each version of himself that was created.
My only gripe while reading this book was actually that his son was so one dimensional and Amanda was just a vehicle to propel the plot. However both of these gripes were resolved when Amanda took off on her own to pursue her own journey (which I would love to read about in sequel) and with Charlie at the ending.
While the book dealt a lot with quantum mechanics and string theory, the science was well balanced by the humor and heart in this book.
An additional thing I loved about this book was the action. While I love a good action movie, I find it hard to read action scenes in books. There is usually something missing for me. Dark Matter, however, gave me all the Jason Bourne flashbacks. The way the action was written made my heart race and actually made me gasp out load.
I cannot recommend this book to people more. It's like if the reason Jason Bourne didn't remember his life was because he was abducted by himself from another universe and sent back to that universe.