September 23, 2016

Dark Matter - Blake Crouch

Crown Publishing, July 26, 2016.

Five Stars

Jason has a wonderful yet mediocre life with his wife and son. He gave up a promising career as an experimental physicist to teach at a local college, and his wife abandoned her painting to stay at home and raise their son. Although he has occasional regrets, Jason’s happiest moments are spent with his family, cooking dinner and talking about their day in their cozy kitchen.

One night, Jason goes out for a drink with a work colleague who has just won a prestigious physics award. He feels pangs of jealousy, but ultimately just wants to get home to his family. On his way home, Jason is abducted by someone who seems to know everything about him, including his thoughts and moves before he even makes them. His kidnapper leaves him unconscious in a dark, abandoned building – but when Jason wakes up, he is far from alone. Instead, the building is filled with scientists who claim to be his coworkers, joyously welcoming him home from a multi-dimensional physics experiment.

As Jason struggles to come to terms with his new reality, he learns that his wife is no longer his wife, and his son does not exist. Instead of his comfortable, domestic life, Jason is a world-renowned physicist who has created a way to explore parallel universes. Although he now has success, money and power, it is not his life. He cannot at first come to grips with which world is the real one – or if both are real, where does he belong? All that matters to Jason is getting back to the family he left behind, and he is willing to sacrifice everything to get there.

Dark Matter explores the many worlds theory of physics, in which all possible worlds exist at any given time. It is an old concept in science fiction, but Crouch manages to explore it in a new and entertaining way. It is a sci-fi thriller with increasingly complex twists, although it is always clear and easy to follow. There is no unnecessary scientific jargon to take away from the pure fun of this story. It is a complicated concept made very simple, and anyone can enjoy this book, regardless of scientific knowledge.

With its multi-genre appeal, this novel will interest a wide audience. Just when you think Jason has everything figured out, there are more shocking twists to thwart his path back to the life he left behind. He must take a surprising journey to get back, which includes confronting the darkness inside himself, as he may be his own worst enemy. The biggest lesson that Jason leaves us with is the importance of appreciating the life we have, because it could disappear without warning. This was such fun to read, while really making you think at the same time – for me, a perfect summer read.

I received this novel from Crown Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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