Oh, Dark Matter. Where to even begin. Honestly though, this book was wild. At one point I was actually saying out loud ‘dude…what!’ while death gripping my hair at the scalp. It was going to be one of those books.
Created in the dark and beautifully dramatic mind of Blake Crouch, Dark Matter is a thrilling and brilliant science fiction novel that explores the duality of multi-verses. It is a fast paced roller coaster through worlds that manifest from your thoughts and emotions, your ‘what if’s’ and unknown paths. And in turn, unknowingly, creating nightmarish worlds that pull you away from your reality. You are taken on a wild ride, whipped through many Chicago-esque landscapes while you follow Jason’s desperate attempts to reconnect with his universe.
But, let’s take it back for a second before things get to that ‘Oh Damn’ moment (and let me tell you, they start right away).
Jason. Average middle aged dude. Beautiful family. Living a ‘normal’ life. I use normal loosely because Jason ‘1’ does live a normal life, until the 32 other Jason’s show up. Never the less! Jason is a college physics professor living in the ‘burbs of Chicago. In his mind, a very average life. In his wife, Daniella’s eyes, a very average life. This story plays on the idea of the what if’s and the forks in the road. Well, what if I decided to not have a kid. What if I decided to turn left rather than right. Jason learns how dangerous it is to think that way.
Hold up. You see how this book is literally an ‘at the edge of your seat’ book? Not yet? Just wait…
A broken and scared Jason is forced, by gun point by a guy in a Geisha mask, to take a drive to the out skirts of the city. He is injected with some serum, and wakes up in a world that is not his own. He wakes up in a mirrored world of a lustful reality. A world where he chose science over family and love. Where he chose success and scientific exploration over a son and loving wife. Daniella is an artist , the artist she had always wanted to be, that she gave up to have Charlie. This universe lets Jason and Daniella be what they always wanted to be, a success in their field of science and art. Jason soon realized that this world is distorted and nothing he wants to be a part of. His kidnapper, whom we find out is Jason (?) swapped lives with him. This relevant scientific prodigy is now sitting in bed, stroking Daniella and celebrating his son’s 15th birthday. Fight or flight is injected into Jason’s veins (kind of literally) and he becomes a man on a mission.
Easier said than done, my friend. In a nail bitting 300 something pages, you are submerged into insane universe of poverty, death, illness, sickness, desires. In each universe something is different, something poses a threat, but each reflect what is in Jason’s mind. In each world Jason is walking a very fine line as he plays with his emotions and feelings he has for Daniella. In each world where she is in existence, he seeks desperate attention, showing how delicate the mind truly is when it comes to love. It shows how his emotions take over, and you see that through the progression of the worlds. His desperation tosses him into universes that reflect his instability.
Once he finally makes it back to his universe, there is no longer just him and Jason 2; there are about 30 other Jason’s all dislodged from different multi-verses, and they all want the same thing – Daniella and Charlie and to take over the ‘real’ Jason’s life.
It was a crazy read. It was so interesting to discover something new in each universe. To understand the emotion and frustration of each universe. To watch Jason race against the clock in attempts to find his world, to see his drive turn into frustration and desperation. The psychological state of Jason develops through out the novel, you see him at his weakest. Through wild theories in to the wind, watching his hope default like an old balloon.
At some points, I was semi lost myself, wondering if my narrator was really who he said he was. Was I listening to the ramblings of the real Jason? Or had he some how got swapped when he was rummaging through the streets fighting to stay alive. Who knows, maybe the Jason at the end of this was not Jason, and is was another form of ‘Jason.’ But that’s what makes this so chilling. The concept of you, standing in a room with double mirrors and seeing the infinite you’s.
Blake Crouch did a fantastic job creating a disoriented universe, and multiple at that, where even the reader feels uneasy. An outstanding, edge of your seat read. Strap in, guys.
What are you currently reading?! I would love to fill my TBR shelf with more books!