Published by Crown on July 26th 2016
Genres: Romance, Sci Fi, Thriller
“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.
I struggle to find the words to encompass my love for this book. Just when I was about to give up on finding a book in 2016 that deserved to be on my all time favorites shelf, this absolutely, ridiculously good story came along. Dark Matter – a read so perfect I’m still mindblown. Do you know that feeling when you can’t wait to pick a book back up? You can’t even sleep because you have to know what happens. You don’t care about the location bar on your kindle because you’re enjoying yourself too much and page count is the least of your concerns. That’s exactly what happened to me with Dark Matter. I just couldn’t put it down. It grabbed me from the first page and literally never let go. It’s been almost two days since I finished and I still can’t stop thinking about it.
Something I never advertise is how much fascination I feel for some of the themes this book deals with – specifically Quantum Physics. Mix that in with a love story, and I’m 1000% sold. This book is a fast-paced, ultra readable sci-fi thriller that is also tremendously romantic. Having said that, it’s not about space, it’s not about aliens or time travel. It’s also not futuristic. It’s set in current day Chicago. I hesitate to say much of anything else because I feel like people, especially romance readers, will hesitate to give this book a chance if it doesn’t quite fit the more common cookie cutter molds of the romance genre. But that’s the beauty of this book. It’s not generic romance. It really is a different genre but it explores the idea of love so powerfully. You are missing out by not reading this if you’re into a well done story with romantic elements.
I don’t think I’ve ever read a hero that loved his significant other more. A hero that would go through so much just to find himself back in her arms. I get chills just thinking about it. And the most wonderful part is that even if this is technically sci-fi, all the seemingly fantastical stuff in here has a solid foundation in science. As unbelievable as it seems, this is the realm of the quantum world. The best part is that it’s written in such an approachable, relatively easy to understand way. Even if you’re not particularly into science or have zero experience with quantum theory, you’ll get a kick out of it. It’s so fast paced, I just zipped through this book in no time, and I made sure to savor each word because I didn’t want it to end.
The fact that this particular aspect of science is something I can never get enough of is probably one of the reasons this worked for me on such a deep, fundamental level. I was already familiar with virtually every single concept presented in this book. Down right to the scientists mentioned in the author’s note. This is also the reason why when I realized this book existed, I knew I had to read it right away. I took a look at the title and I knew it was right up my alley. A novel that explores the concept of Dark Matter, possibly Dark Energy? And that is also a love story? I was desperate to have this book in my hands. It’s almost as if this book was made just for me, which is obviously a ridiculous and down right wrong notion, but that’s exactly what it feels like.
I felt like a kid in a candy story when theories and ideas such as the Copenhagen Interpretation, the Multiverse, Schrodinger’s cat and even the single cameo-appearance of Entanglement popped up. But you don’t have to be initiated in any of this to love this book . It really is just a terrifically good book, and one hell of a thriller – period. And I now have an author crush because I don’t think I’ve read something this tightly plotted in a long time. I loved our hero, Jason Dessen, with a passion and Blake Crouch is an author I’d definitely read again.
By the way, I can’t wait for the movie, which is already in the process of either pre-production or close, as Sony bought the rights based on a partial manuscript years ago. There’s something so cinematic about the way this book is written I can see it unfolding beautifully on the big screen. The fact Blake himself will be penning the script is also exciting.
Thank you for the ARC kindly provided by the publisher, Penguin-Random House.