“‘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.
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.”
My Thoughts: There have been lots of books that explore the idea of alternative realities. In some aspects, Dark Matter is just like those. After all, Jason wakes up and finds himself in a world that is not his own. Yet, it is not the same; it is so much more.
For one, Mr. Crouch takes great care to explain the science behind these alternate realities and how one travels to them. The discussion involves advanced physics but Mr. Crouch makes it understandable. While these scenes might not be as enjoyable as those written by Mr. Weir in his Mars novel, it is still interesting for those who like these theoretical discussions.
For those whose eyes glaze over at the mere thought of physics, the explanations are not necessary to one’s enjoyment of the story. In fact, you can easily skip over those scenes and still enjoy the drama because the crux of the story is not the science but the human element. Jason makes for a great hero. His love for his family and determination to find them again will strike the heart of any reader. Moreover, the emotional toil he incurs during each step in his journey is palpable, as is his growing desperation. It makes for an intimate and intense read.
Dark Matter explores the fascinating idea of alternative worlds and does so in a way that is understandable and relatable. The science (pseudoscience?) behind traveling these worlds may be a bit too advanced for readers, but the story itself of Jason struggling to get back to his family is one not to be missed. The danger, the psychological trauma, and the sheer loneliness of his journey makes for a thrilling story with a highly sympathetic narrator. Do yourself a favor and just read it. You won’t regret it.