Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Published by Random House Audio on July 26, 2016
Genre(s): fiction, mystery, science fiction, thriller
Format & Pages: audiobook
Find on Goodreads
Purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository
“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.
From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.
Well, that just blew my mind.
“…it all feels right somehow. Like a half remembered dream.”
Dark Matter has been on my radar since it’s publication back in July 2016, and I had actually borrowed a physical copy from my library on a few occasions only to have to return it when I severely underestimated how many books I could get through in the window of time I had it for. Oops. So when I saw it was available in my library’s digital catalog on audiobook, I borrowed and began listening immediately.
When it comes to audiobooks, the narrator can really make it or break it. In this case, Jon Lindstrom did an excellent job! He not only gave each character a unique voice, he also managed to read detailed sections in such a way that they were perfectly clear. Going into the book, I also had some concerns that given the scientific nature of the story, it wouldn’t translate as well in this format, but it managed to work quite well.
I don’t want to go into the plot too much as to spoil anything; the blurb does a fine job of showing just enough information to intrigue without giving away too much. I will say there were a few twists, one of which I kind of expected but a second really surprised me! In hindsight it made perfect sense, but I was so firmly entrenched in the story that it simply hadn’t occurred to me.
I’ve seen several reviews that call out Crouch’s writing style, in particular the short sentences and paragraphs; people seem to either love it or hate it. I can’t speak to this point as the audiobook flowed quite nicely and I wouldn’t have known anything about it if I hadn’t seen these reviews. What I can say about the writing style is that, in audio format it had a truly cinematic quality and it almost felt like this was written with a movie in mind. Who knows? Maybe it was; apparently Sony Pictures picked up the rights for this back in 2014, well before its publication date. I know I’d watch that movie!
“I am one facet of an infinitely faceted being…”
What I really loved about this novel is that it is based in actual scientific theory of quantum mechanics. Crouch takes this incredible idea, turns it into a clear and cohesive fictional story, and humanizes it. Both wildly entertaining and thought provoking, Dark Matter worked for me on multiple levels. In these ways, this book reminds me of the movie Interstellar. (If you haven’t seen it, go watch it! Now. I’ll wait.) If you liked that movie, or even just science fiction in general, I highly recommend giving this one a shot!