Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
“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.
Dark Matter was a really disappointing read for me. I found it on a list of what to read after reading Ready Player One and the synopsis sounded wonderful so I was really excited to start reading. Only...it was not very good. The writing was just okay, the story was meh at best, it was unfortunate. I was telling a friend about it and the plot and she was all oh, that sounds like it will be good! I was all I know, but it isn't. The plot sounds amazing, when I think about what happened and how great it could have been it is really unfortunate that the story itself didn't live up to it.
I think my biggest issue with Dark Matter was how simplistic it was. The science also seemed to be more hey here are some fancy words that mean things. I will be honest - I am not the best with physics, but this didn't seem believable even to me. Like the science wasn't sciencey enough for this story. Plus it was all just too simple. It could have been a great idea, a great story, but it felt like the characters were one dimensional and not fleshed out as well as they could have been. Same with the plot. I kept reading to see how it would all end and that was...not very good. So I guess some spoilers ahead!
Jason is a super-smart guy, could have done some wonderful things as a scientist, but his artist girlfriend got pregnant and he ended up with her and a son that he loves instead. He is happy with his life even if he didn't do all the things he could have done. Made all the advancements in science he could have done, etc. He loves his wife and son and everything is great. Until he wakes up in an alternate timeline where he didn't stay with his wife when she was pregnant and continued his research. People there know him and expect answers since he just came back from some epic trip that no one else has come back from, only he has no idea what they are talking about. Now he immediately thinks these people are the enemy and tries to escape and I am not sure why. They were perfectly nice to him to start, but whatever. It would be odd waking up and people knowing you, but the life you knew was not the one you lived in this life. And then how do you figure out how to get back to your own timeline and all of that? It is an interesting idea, but again everything was too simplistic and bleh that it didn't work.
So yeah, Jason has to get back to his wife and kid that he loves oh so much so he has some adventures trying to find his own timeline. And I didn't care about any of it. In some of the timelines he visited there were horrible things that happened, he stays way too long to watch his wife in some of the timelines die in horrible ways that could kill him as well, and I didn't care about any of it. It should have been super interesting seeing him and a lady who is helping him travel through many timelines trying to get "home", but instead I just wanted him to find his already so it would be over.
Now I said I kept reading to see how it ended, and while I do like the ideas towards the end, I didn't like how it all played out. Because there are multiple hims that come back to his "home" timeline and so which one gets to be with his wife and son? Because they are all the same guy who lived with them up until he was abducted so they all love them just as much as the others. So how do you resolve that at all? Well with the Jason who is telling the story having some lame idea that shouldn't have worked work and he gets to his wife and son and tells them what is going on and then wife is all you are the you we want! Not any of the other ones who are still the you I know and love because that would be too complicated and we don't have a way to really figure this all out so I will just pick you randomly because you were the first one to talk to us and yey! Oh, and the Jason telling the story had this idea to have a drawing and see who would end up with the family and who knows what will happen to the other ones. Now some of the Jason's did go to the time travel box to wait for the drawing, but some of them went after this Jason to kill him and be the only Jason left, including the original doppelganger who kidnapped him and sent him back to his timeline. Well it is really convenient that when the original guy who abducted our Jason is dying he tells our Jason that there are some vials for him and his family to travel to a different timeline together (you need this drug to jump timelines). So when they show up at the time travel box the other Jason's just are all, well this is the Jason our wife wants so let them go. And they do. And it was weird and lame and so not good. Such a disappointing way to end an already disappointing book. There if you have read this whole review now you don't need to read the book. Because that is everything that happens basically. Now I know some of you might read this and think this still sounds interesting, and I wouldn't blame you. Because it does sound like an interesting idea, but it is not executed well. As I said above it is way too simplistic and the science isn't sciencey enough and it was just not that good. Oh well. I gave it a try.
Rating: ★ ★