I devoured this thriller! My Book Review – Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

by Maryse on September 11, 2016 · 9 comments

in My Book Reviews

Dark Matter: A Novel
Whoa! Now that was a crazy, intense, convoluted, yet strangely understandable read! LOL! It’s not normally what I’d gravitate to, but I’m truly enjoying these disturbing looks into “survival mode” (The Martian is what set me off) and this book came highly recommended!

Perry: Maryse, you have to read Dark Matter. Trust me on this one. It’s a Sci Fi Thriller. You are going to love it. I’m 99.99% sure. DARK MATTER by Blake Crouch. Favorite book of the year so far for me… you have to read it.

Fabi: Perry, I have Dark Matter burning up my tbr. :-)

Perry: Dark Matter. I’ll just keep bugging you

Maryse: I’m READING DARK MATTER!!! :D Right now, in fact, Perry. I NEEDED THIS! (actually, more like devouring it) and I’m hooked. HOLY MOLY it’s crazy intense, and it’s eye opening, and perhaps there is a love story in here. Not sure yet.  ;)  I’m loving the journey (even though it scares me).

Trisha: I loved it! So freaking good. Brilliant really.

Don’t let the Sci Fi Thriller description scare you! These books are a sort of relatable reality, but still with that electrifying look into something so beyond my understanding (kind of like a quantum physics type thing) but that totally COULD be true. Hey! who am I to say it couldn’t happen? Yet at the same time, the story remains level with the human experience of everyday life. This is not “up in space”. This is not time travel by way of going back in time. There are no dragons to slay. And it doesn’t really have a futuristic feel, ’cause everyone in this story is human, living present day life, in Chicago.

And don’t let the whole “Quantum Physics” turn you away, either. It’s VERY down to earth, in the grand scheme of things (AND!!! It’s a love story. In fact, ALL of it, everything that happens, crazy or otherwise, is for love). Anyone that believes in the power of thought, and our own personal energy and our connection to the Universe (and the space between) along the lines of each of us having the ability to choose our destiny, and to affect all connected to us, will totally appreciate this one!

So what’s it about?

A science professor who’s content in his life, with his artist wife, and his teenage son, just living life. He could have been a famous scientist and was on the verge of a HUGE scientific discovery, but instead, he chose the quiet life. He chose the love of his life.

“Why did you abandon your research?”

“When Charlie was born, he had major medical issues for the first year of his life. I needed a thousand hours in a cleanroom, but I couldn’t get there fast enough. Daniela needed me. My son needed me. I lost my funding. Lost my momentum. I was the young new genius for a minute, but when I faltered, someone else took my place.”

“Do you regret your decision to stay with Daniela and make a life with her?”


So with all the crazy that happens, this is indeed, an incredible love story.

Standing happy and slightly drunk in my kitchen, I’m unaware that tonight is the end of all of this. The end of everything I know, everything I love.

No one tells you it’s all about to change, to be taken away. There’s no proximity alert, no indication that you’re standing on the precipice. And maybe that’s what makes tragedy so tragic. Not just what happens, but how it happens.

Okay so… one night, on the way home from celebrating with his old roommate (another scientist), he’s kidnapped at gunpoint,

“I know almost everything about you, Jason. You could say I’ve made your life my specialty.”

“Who are you?”

…beaten and drugged.

I whisper, “Now what?”

And he says, “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

And he wakes up in a laboratory.

Fifteen or twenty people are on their feet, most smiling, a few even wiping their eyes as if I’ve retuned from some heroic mission.

Everyone around him appears to celebrate his arrival. All of them, scientists involved in a HUGE project. And he (according to them), being their head.

Is this a trick?

Am I being messed with?

No, do not ask her that. Do not say those words. Be the man they think you are. These people are cool, calm, and two of them are armed. Whatever they need to hear you say, say it. Because if they realize you aren’t the person they think you are, then what?

Then maybe you never leave this place.

But he has no idea who they are, and can’t remember anything about how he got there. Or what project he’s supposed to be heading. But the more he learns, the more he realizes… it IS what he was working on, once upon a time. It’s WHAT was going to make him one of the most prominent scientists and discoverers of all time. He understands it all (it was exactly what he had once been working on). He just can’t remember it getting this far.

Which of his realities are real?

I feel my native world and the reality that supports it, pulling away.

I wonder: if I don’t fight hard enough against it, will this reality slowly click in and carry me off?


And it’s the whole first half, maybe even the whole first 75% of the book that kept me riveted even though it was occasionally, scientifically elaborate. The story telling, and the backtracking to make it all relate, tying it all together, is just genius! And yet it made sense. Even for me (for the most part). How cool… and yet how freaking scary!

Okay now for those of you that haven’t read this yet and want to go in not knowing anymore, stop reading here while I analyze certain aspects of my experience.

I don’t spoil anything per se, but I do reflect on a few things…

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This is the kind of book that makes you think. Makes you reflect on life, your decisions, circumstances that have shaped your journey. It’s about choices, and sometimes, the lack thereof. It’s got a bit of “The Butterfly Effect” feel to it (with the whole “parallel universe” thing and the ability to manipulate your level of brain power, being able to change it all. The ability to make a different choice, and the outcome of each one of those choices).

It’s a troubling paradox – I have total control, but only to the extent I have control over myself.

My emotions.

My inner storm.

The fact that maybe all of those outcomes exist… at the same time.

My only hiccup? The last third of the book wasn’t as (to me) clever as I expected it to play out. I was a bit disappointed with the final big reveal (even though it too, is explained well). It just didn’t seem to fit as well, considering the whole trajectory. Mind you, thinking about it now, it’s still pretty mind-blowing and almost heartbreaking, and I did NOT see any of that coming.

That said, as crazy as that ending was (what a conundrum!), I was expecting something… deeper. Or maybe that last reveal was just right, but to have been played out longer (without so much superficial action), so that it could affect me as much as the whole rest of the book did.

But, for most of the book, it is NON-stop terrifying fun, and you’ll think to yourself, how will he possibly get himself out of this?!! Over… and over… and over again. And each time, the dilemma is different, but no less exciting.

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It’s not horror (even if the cover gives you that impression) but it definitely starts out as a pysch thriller, and becomes such a thrilling, emotionally scary ride that, if you allow yourself to try something different from our usual strictly-romance reads, you won’t be able to put this one down.

Absolutely thought-provoking and riveting! I’d say a must read, especially if you’re looking for an adrenaline jolt, and a genre-changeup that will get you out of a reading funk.

4 to 4.5 stars <— I’m still mulling it over. I devoured it and hung on its every word, and I could imagine it all (see it all), as it flooded me all the rushes I love when reading, but the ending wasn’t as effective, for me.

P.S. Thank you to the publisher for sending me this review copy!!! It was right up my new reading-love alley!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Fabi September 11, 2016 at 11:33 PM

Great review Maryse. It sounds like I need to go ahead and read it asap.

Cheryl September 12, 2016 at 5:46 AM

Not sure this is one I would like. I forwarded your review to my hubby, who loves sci-fi and is a professor too, and he said he had just listened to a discussion about it on NPR with the “science guy” and he wanted to read the book.

MichelleS September 12, 2016 at 10:13 AM

Crazy survival? GANN!!!! :-)

Maryse September 12, 2016 at 11:40 AM

LOL!!!!!!! :P

Lori L Clark September 13, 2016 at 11:50 AM

Ahhhhh I can’t remember why I downloaded this book, but I think it was because I read a sample online and couldn’t put it down. As I got further into the book, it took a completely unexpected turn. I’m not typically a sci-fi person, but I was too invested in the storyline to put it down.

I liked the book a lot!

Maryse September 13, 2016 at 2:30 PM

Exactly how I felt, Lori. It was so exciting!

Perry September 15, 2016 at 12:42 PM

Aaah you finally read it!! After you saying you loved The Martian, this was a natural follow up in my mind. I loved it more than you did, but that’s ok! At least it kept you thrilled and on the edge of your seat. It’s a pretty unique and mind blowing love story. The science behind it is sound- these are actual modern day scientific theories regarding our reality and the way we perceive it and I personally find quantum mechanics fascinating! It’s nice to step outside our usual love stories every now and then. For me this is still my fave book of the year :D . I seriously could not put this down!!

Maryse September 15, 2016 at 4:06 PM

Agreed Perry. I’m so into those theories and I feel like I actually understand the concept… Thank you SO much for recommending it!! :D

Carla January 18, 2017 at 11:31 AM

Hey Maryse! Great review! Does it has anything to do with parallel universe?

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