book review

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Goodreads: “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’m glad I got burned out on YA fantasy and decided to leave my comfort zone! Dark Matter was AWESOME and left me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Jason is abducted and unwillingly switches places with himself from another reality. The other Jason/Jason #2 gave up the love of his life for his job, while our Jason gave up his job for the love of his life.

Jason travels through a box that Jason #2 created. It’s a superposition of endless doorways with different realities. At first Jason doesn’t know how to control what’s behind the doorway he opens. He sees some pretty gnarly and traumatic stuff. When he finally gets to his reality, things get super insane and intense!

Some of the doorways Jason walks through made me feel super anxious, a few of them really freaked me out! Dark Matter was so good! I can’t wait to read more by Blake Crouch, and explore more adult mystery thrillers.

My favourite part from the book:
  “Look around. Has your life’s work caused anything but pain?”
       He says, “Every moment, every breath, contains a choice. But life is imperfect. We make the wrong choices. So we end up living in a state of perpetual regret, and is there anything worse? I built something that could actually eradicate regret. Let you find worlds where you made the right choice.”
       Daniela says, “Life doesn’t work that way. You live with your choices and learn. You don’t cheat the system.”

Here’s a long summary if you’re not interested in reading the book, or like spoilers:

After being abducted by a man in a geisha mask, Jason is told to drive to a warehouse, he’s then told to strip and change his clothes before he is injected with something that makes him pass out. Jason wakes up strapped to a gurney surrounded by unfamiliar people who all think he’s someone he isn’t. Jason escapes the facility and goes to his house… But it’s not the house he remembers and his wife and son are gone. He calls his wife’s number, but it’s not her number, then some men from the facility break into his house and Jason escapes again.

Jason starts to question his insanity. Where is his wife? Where is his son? Where did his wedding ring go? Was he ever really married? Was the life he remembers even real? He starts to think he has a brain tumor and goes to the hospital, where the doctors tell him he’s been missing for fourteen months and they want him in 72 hour mental hold, he doesn’t want to do that so he sneaks away.

Jason ends up finding his wife (Dani) and friend (Ryan, they are somewhat dating) at an art gallery. He runs up to her and asks where Charlie (their son) is, she doesn’t know who he’s talking about. She invites him back to her apartment for a get together.

At the apartment, they smoke some pot and Jason tells them everything. At first they thought Jason was just rambling like a stoner, then Ryan gets upset and leaves, and Jason tells Dani about their son Charlie. Dani starts to believe Jason a bit, then a man comes to her apartment to get Jason… and once again Jason wakes up restrained in the facility.

One of the men working there, Leighton, shows Jason (who is now playing along pretending he has memory loss and isn’t someone else) around the facility called Velocity Laboratories. The facility works in quantum mechanics and multiverse theories. Leighton shows him the box that Jason #2 made. Leighton also gives Jason a laptop with all his research hoping to trigger Jason’s memory.

Jason is brought to another room where Leighton tells him he’s not who he says he is and that Ryan turned him in… Then a lady named Amanda helps Jason escape through the box.

Ryan’s role in this reality: He helped Jason make a compound to alter the brain’s chemicals in the prefrontal cortex that helps with the decohering with the box/cube thingy.

Inside the box, there is superposition of endless doorways with different realities. Every doorway opens to a life that could have happened. They spend weeks going through doors. In all these realities, Jason sees Dani married to other men, different versions of himself, and he watches her die twice. Ugh. 😦

While Jason is going through all of this, his wife Dani back in his reality is with another version of Jason/Jason #2. She starts to notices the differences.

Amanda ends up leaving Jason, we never hear about what happened to her, which is kind of disappointing and probably my biggest issue with the book. Jason walks the streets one night and is attacked by a group of teens, he only has three ampoules (the compound Ryan made) left. When he has one left, he finally gets the right reality. When Jason goes to the sporting store to buy a gun and take care of Jason #2 he’s told he’s been in there multiple times, and to leave before the cops are called.

This is when things get crazy…! Our Jason finds a chatroom full of other Jasons in this reality, then one Jason comes to his hotel and tries to kill him and when he escapes that one another one comes at him with a knife. He tries to think of a way to get to his wife and son without the other Jasons knowing about it, so he does the last thing he would ever thing about doing… Get arrested and have Dani bail him out.

When Dani comes to bail Jason out, he has her call Jason #2, who is pretending to be him at work. After the phone call, Jason and Dani pick up Charlie from school then leave, taking random turns until they stumble across a vacant vacation home.

Had Charlie not turned on his phone to text his girlfriend, Jason #2 wouldn’t have tracked them down accidentally bringing other Jasons after them. At this point there are 70+ running around. Yikes!

Jason #2 is killed, and Jason takes his family back to the box, where they go through a door Charlie opens to start a new life together.

If you’ve read Dark Matter, tell me your thoughts and reccomend some books you think I’d like! 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

  1. I am FASCINATED by quantum mechanics in general and the idea of the multiverse specifically. I’m actually reading a nonfiction book about it at the moment. But this sounds crazy trippy! And that’s part of why I love all this multiverse stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

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