December 18

Dark Matter – Blake Crouch

dark-matter‘Are you happy in your life?’

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he wakes to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before the man he’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.


My thanks to Macmillan for my review copy

We will all be aware of the concept that each of our decisions can form our lives and that somewhere there is another version of “you” who lives the life you would have led had you followed the path/choice that you declined.  (Doctor Who does it fantastically in the episode Turn Left – one of Catherine Tate’s best performances).

In Dark Matter we meet Jason Dessen. He is a science teacher who had been on the cusp of scientific greatness when he met a girl and put his heart before his career. Jason is happy but when he goes to meet an old college friend to celebrate his friend’s success at winning a top science prize Jason does wonder what may have been had life turned out differently.

In Dark Matter we meet Jason Dessen…so does Jason Dessen. It turns out that the Jason we meet is the Jason that chose the “best” life and other Jason’s from other alternative realities have found a way to enter our Jason’s world and they want to live his life too.

Jason (our Jason) will find himself plucked from his reality and totally alone in a world where the things he treasures most just are not his any longer. His struggle to get his own life back will take him on a journey quite unlike anything we have seen.

I enjoyed the concept behind this one and warmed to the characters, however, it just slipped a wee bit too far into pure science-fiction fantasy towards the end.  I don’t read much of this type of novel so I either have to accept it is pure other world fantasy with dragons and elves etc or it needs to be a semi plausible earth-based yarn.
Dark Matter started brilliantly in the latter category but by the end the twists became too far removed from the grounded reality that I struggled to fully embrace it. By the time I reached the end there were just too many Jason’s in one place that I couldn’t go along with the story any longer.
That said I DID like the idea of taking the alternative realities and twisting them.
Fun to be had and some nice twists but a little out my normal comfort zone.
Dark Matter is published by Macmillan and is available in hardback now:

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Posted December 18, 2016 by Gordon in category "From The Bookshelf