Book Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.”

“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. (Goodreads)

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This was another bookstagram buy 🤣 But more than that, I must admit I wanted to read this book because of the premise of reading a story about getting the life you always wondered about.

I have a beautiful family, a charming home and the cutest son but I honestly still find myself in a bad place sometimes where I think of what might have been, or what if I did things differently. Perhaps it’s due to stress, or minor depression (is there such a thing?) or just an unhealthy mindset–I may never know. Anyway, that’s a story for another day!

As I was saying, so that is why I was really looking forward to this one. It’s possible I was too hyped up with the rave reviews because as much as the story was intriguing, I felt it had a rather slow start. Things got exciting for me at around 3/4 of the book.

*Fair warning before I proceed: major spoilers ahead*

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As a side effect of all the time & space travel the main character Jason did, in the end a lot “Jasons” converged into one dimension and fought for the chance to return to his family. Each of these Jasons is a “true” Jason, because they are all a product of branched out possibilities from the original Jason. I loved this part, I think it really captured the complexity of time/space manipulation and this was the part that really engaged me.

However, the ending was just a bit too easy for me. The many Jasons agreed to let the main character and his family go and just gave way to the MC Jason. It is not very believable given the amount of violence we have already witnessed all throughout the book. We know how committed all these other Jasons are, and they are all technically deserving of a happy life with his wife and kid.

This brings me to my other point: I feel really bad for the wife Daniela. She now has multiple husband Jasons, albeit from different parallel universes and each is still very much the original Jason. And he/them is/are murderers, among other things. All those Jasons killing each other were witnessed by his family. Who would want to be a part of that? And what about their lives, especially their son’s? Is it really that easy to uproot everything and just leave?

Let me list some alternate endings that would have made this a better experience for me:

Alternate ending 1: It would have made more sense for Daniela to split up with Jason and start anew. At this point, their lives have been too f*cked up. It’s just something that can’t be fixed. Blame it on irreconcilable differences, or on your husband killing his parallel universe self in front of you and your kid, maybe? No amount of love can save this mess 🤷🏻‍♀️

Alternate ending 2: In the final scene, the many Jasons could have had a more intense discussion. Or split up in two groups and fight to death while our main characters escape on the side. I need to see more struggle!

Alternate ending 3: They all kill and blow up each other. This really makes sense to me. You really shouldn’t mess with the multi-universes unless you’re a further evolved human. But that’s just me ✌🏻

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*end of spoilers*

I’ve always been fascinated with time travel and multiple/parallel universes and for me this was really not as mindblowing as they said it would be. I was more impressed with the scifi of The Hitchhiker’s Guide series by Douglas Adams, Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu, Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang and Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones. For movies/series I love Rick & Morty, About Time, Interstellar, Doctor Who, etc.

“All you can do is live the best version of yourself.”

It read more like a movie than a literary piece to me. However, it is still an easy and enjoyable popcorn fiction. I also think it’s a great choice for fun discussions with friends. Parallel universes always are.

Overall rating: 3/5⭐️

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

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