Friday, October 13, 2017

Dark Matter Review

For the first time in quite a few months, I can write a review for a book club selection! You have no idea how happy this makes me. A few ladies from North Dakota have moved here within a couple weeks of each other, and decided to form a displaced "DC by way of ND" book club as a means of keeping in touch! Of course, I missed our first get together...but I DID read the book (of course). We are all fans of thrillers, so decided to pick from that genre initially. I'd had Dark Matter by Blake Crouch on my To Read list for quite some time, so figured this was the perfect opportunity to give it a read...and for some reason the rest of the ladies went along! 😁

Dark Matter is one of those thrillers that probably reads more as Sci-Fi than I'd originally realized when I picked it out...and I don't read many books of that genre. So, just know that I'm never analyzing the science behind anything, as that's just not me. I read for enjoyment, and rarely do I let plausibility get in the way of my entertainment!

And now to try and review this without any dreaded spoilers...

Jason Dessen loves his wife and son, and the life they've built together, but has always had the niggling 'what if' thoughts in the back of his mind. Years ago he chose to work as a college professor and devote his time to building a family instead of following the path of his old best friend, and becoming a dazzling celebrity scientist whose name is recognized by others. He was the smarter of the two, but now that his old buddy is winning prizes and the accolades are piling up, he's starting to wonder if he made the right decision. Following an argument with his friend, he wanders the city internally debating his life choices, when he's accosted by a man whose identity is hidden. When he wakes up, he finds life isn't as he remembered. There is no son...and he's the famous scientist. Is it all a dream? And if it's not, is there any way for him to return to his old life? And does he even want to??

This book was a total binge read for me. Once I started it, I had to keep reading until the end...and spent a good deal of the time scratching my head, wondering whether I was mentally keeping pace with the plot as it does get a bit complicated. In high school, I read a book with a slightly similar premise, although for the life of me I can't remember what it was called...and can't seem to find it online with my stilting description of "parallel universes and airplane". But this book took it all to such an extreme level that it hits a point where you're wondering if it could get any more messed up!

But in the end, this book is all about your choices in life, and owning them. Being present in your life, and not spending it looking back and constantly analyzing decisions you've made and wondering how you could've done it differently. If you take all of the science out, that's what you're left with...which makes for a compelling book club read. I'm super irked that I missed getting together with the other ladies who read it, because I'd have loved to pick their brains and see if they felt the same way, although I'm pretty sure they all at least enjoyed the book.

Don't get me wrong, this is a fast-paced thriller, filled with a scientific premise that I'm sure loads of people analyzed. There were a couple of sections that had me literally holding my breath! But, broken down and stripped of the science and suspense, for me it was about owning your decisions.

I would most definitely recommend this book, for a big ole cross-section of people. I think it will appeal to fans of science fiction, suspense, mysteries, thrillers and psychological/philosophical dramas. It was a very quick read for me, but at 354 pages it's not teeny-tiny. And it's just compelling and dark enough that you won't want to put it down.

I'd love to know if I'm the only one who doesn't analyze the science in a science fiction...who could care less if Dan Brown is telling the truth or not...who normally reads for entertainment, without delving too much into the analysis (beyond good discussion). Let me know in the comments!!


  1. I loved this book , and thought it was a great crossover between science fiction and a thriller. I kinda felt the same way about the Wayward Pines books, which is how I came to read Blake Crouch anyway. And yeah- I think the ideas are cool but I didn't obsess over the science- I just enjoyed the story! :)

    1. This was my first Blake Crouch book, but someone else just recommended the Wayward Pines books to me this past week! I'm putting them on my To Read List now. :) I'm so happy to hear that someone else felt the same way I did.