Thoughts

Book Review: Dark Matter

Dark Matter

by Blake Crouch.

Dark Matter After being attacked and abducted, physics professor Jason Dessen wakes up in a life that is not his. Or at least, not his life as he remembers it. It’s a version of what his life could’ve been if, say, 15 years ago different decisions had been made. Trying to navigate this new life while figuring our how he got there, if the life he remembers is real, and whether he can get back to it and the family he loves soon lands him in worlds of trouble. Literally and figuratively. What follows is a tense story- part thriller, part adventure- about choices, consequences, and the ideas of self and reality.

This is my favorite kind of science fiction. It takes a theory from science, makes it a reality in the story, and uses that to explore what it means to be human. It makes you think. It surprises you. It maybe worries you and gets a bit trippy, depending on the exact tale and theory. That’s what we get with Dark Matter- a really well-written and inventive exploration of one man’s life, through the lens of science fiction.

I’m having a hard time writing this review, simply because I want to avoid any overt spoilers. So I’ll look at some nitty gritty instead. The main character, Jason, makes a great protagonist. He seems real, in his reactions to situations and his narration. It’s a good blend of honesty, storytelling, and slightly offbeat humor. The supporting characters are not quite as well-rounded, but that may only be because they don’t get as much page time or the narrative driver’s seat.

As for plot, even once the main device had been introduced, the author still throws a few surprises in there. One (x100) in particular I did not see coming, and in this case that was a positive. Two minor things kind of nagging on my mind with this story were: a) the fate of a certain character who drops out partway through and b) wavering as far as the ending. The ending satisfied the conditions of the story and can be considered a proper ending, but sometimes a reader just wants a bit more. I say wavering, though, because even though I wanted more I think the author made the right choice to end it where he did and not include an epilogue or final chapter afterwards.

On a design nerd note: I love the cover. I thought it was cool looking before reading it, but after reading the story I think it’s perfect. You’ll have to read it to find out why. If you enjoy clever, thought-provoking science fiction free of aliens, give this one a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

I give it 4.5/5 stars.

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Dark Matter

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Book Review: Fledgling

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Book Review: Nevernight

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The Bear and the Nightingale (The Bear and the Nightingale #1) by Katherine Arden. Vasilisa, the youngest of 5 siblings, grows up in the Russian hinterlands with a special connection to the wild. She loves her nurse’s stories of the different spirits of house and forest, but most of all she loves tales of Morozko, the fearful king of winter. When her father remarries to a devout citywoman, who comes with a new priest, it triggers a change in Vasilisa’s comfortable existence. And, as she soon comes to realize, a change in the natural balance. As the new priest’s influence […]

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Book Review: All Our Wrong Todays

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Recent Reads

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately (who, me?) and wanted to catch you up on some of the highlights. Here’s what I’ve enjoyed recently: Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye. A Gothic retelling of Jane Eyre, this novel follows the protagonist through similar life events: an uncaring aunt, abusive schoolmaster, refuge in a country house as a governess with a brooding master. There is one big difference, though – this Jane has escaped each horrid circumstance by killing her tormentor, leaving a trail of bodies behind her. Is she truly wicked, or a victim fighting back against cruelty? Will […]

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