Dark Matter is not my usual type of read. It’s Sci-Fi, which I don’t normally go for. BUT, last year I read so many good reviews that, when I saw it at the library, I decided it was worth a try.
It starts in the present, the here and now, with Jason Dessen helping his wife, Daniela, and son, Charlie, make dinner. It’s their Thursday night tradition and he is happy. Life is good, not what he might have thought it would have been when he was younger, but right where he wants to be.
Then, breaking with tradition, Daniela persuades him to go and meet a friend for a drink. That’s when it all starts going a bit – more than a bit – wrong as he is followed home in the dark and forced to drive to a remote location, where he is given a pill that will change his life. When he wakes up, he is still Jason, but not the Jason he knows. He is in a different world, a world where he isn’t married, where he isn’t a dad. Instead, he is a brilliant scientist who has been missing for two years after attempting time travel. Now, it looks like the brilliant scientist version of Jason, succeeded. The question is, how does Jason get back to his real life?
Which is where we enter the realm of Sci-Fi. Thankfully, for me, it is a “gentle” type of sci-fi. Yes, there are other worlds, yes there is language that I don’t understand and did find a bit confusing. But, at it’s core, this is a story about a man who loves his family and is determined to do anything to get them back, risking life and limb in the process. And it’s a good story, one that carried me along without me thinking too much about the technical side of it.
Crouch is a great writer. I completely believed in Jason and understood just why he loved Daniela (who I kind of fell in love with myself). He writing is tight and tense, moving the story along at a great pace with not a word spared. I found it hard to put down and hard to stop thinking about it when I did. I had had a world created in my mind that I wanted to get back to.
Saying that, it was a world I found a little confusing at the end. I won’t say why as it’s spoilers but I did find my head spinning a little bit by the endless possibilities Crouch laid out. That, though, was a small complaint in a book that, overall, I really, really, enjoyed and hope you do too.
About the book…
“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.
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication date: 26th July, 2016
Number of pages: 401
Rating: 4 out of 5
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