Double Book Review: Dark Matter and Recursion by Blake Crouch
This time I decided to do a double book review for a new favorite author of mine: Blake Crouch. I had heard amazing things about both of his recent releases, but was wary since I am not a huge sci-fi fan. I checked Dark Matter out from our public library and decided to give it a try. Within 100 pages, I was requesting Recursion so I could have it waiting when I finished Dark Matter.
Dark Matter tells the story of Jason, a professor of physics and husband and father living in Chicago. He could have had an amazing career as a scientist, but instead chose to raise his family and live a more mundane life. One night, he goes out to see a friend at the local bar; on his way home, he is kidnapped and drugged by a masked assailant. When he awakens, he is no longer in his reality. Rather, he has been transported to an alternate reality, one where he has no wife or son and is a world renowned scientist and inventor. Jason is highly confused and distressed, wishing only to get back to his reality. As it turns out, he can go back, if he can find his way through the infinite number of realities that exist. Along the way, he learns that there are other versions of himself, also trying to get back to his reality, the one they deem the best and most rewarding. I won't spoil the ending, but needless to say I was on pins and needles waiting to see the outcome.
Recursion is Crouch's newest novel, released this summer. Like Dark Matter, it is a sci-fi thriller, this time dealing with a disease called False Memory Syndrome. All over the world people are beginning to experience false memories in tandem with what they believe are their true memories. Police officer Barry Sutton is called one night to help a woman who is about to commit suicide because her false and real memories are colliding, and the reality she thought was real is now in question. Barry tries, but fails, to help her, and goes on the hunt for the origin of the disease. Meanwhile, (told in flashbacks) Helena Smith, a neuroscientist, is working on a treatment for dementia when a wealthy businessman offers her the chance to research dementia and memories with unlimited resources. She creates a chair that when a person is hooked up to it, they can relive past memories and change their outcome. This chair becomes a dangerous weapon, and as Helena and Barry's storylines finally intertwine, they must work together to keep her invention from destroying reality as we all know it.
Both of these books were quick, fast-paced reads. Crouch has a writing style that is succinct, engaging and easy to read. He makes the scientific aspects of his novels easy for non-science people to understand, yet also creates very complex and intricate storylines. There were a few times, in both novels, where I got a bit lost and the plot began to meander a bit. But I quickly got through those parts and found both books thrilling. His mixture of science fiction and thriller makes these books a must read for lovers of both genres. I think I liked Dark Matter just a bit more than Recursion, but both books were equally fun and exciting to experience.
I would definitely recommend both of these books to anyone who enjoys a fast-paced thriller with an awesome premise and storyline to accompany it. I will definitely be picking up more Blake Crouch novels in the future, and I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next.
Dark Matter: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recursion: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2