Title: Dark Matter
Author: Blake Crouch
Format: Hardcover, 342 pages
Release Date: July 26th, 2016
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Disclaimer: I checked Dark Matter by Blake Crouch out from my local library because it was a regional title the bookstore I work at was promoting. This review reflects my unbiased opinion and as a result I am not able to promise a wholly positive review. My apologies in advance.
I decided to do something different with this review. Because I have so many thoughts about Dark Matter running around in my head. I decided to rein them in by answering a few of the Reader’s Guide questions. You can find all of them HERE.
Question 1: Dark Matter has a somewhat unusual combination of qualities—it’s part thriller, part science-fiction novel, part love story.
Can you think of other books or movies that combine these genres in similar ways?What do you think of this combination? Does it work for you? (Note: I added the last two questions)
Answer 1: Let’s just pull the the band aid off right now.
I don’t like romance novels. I don’t like love stories in the novels I read.
It makes me want to gag. 🤢 Now that said, I knew going into this that there was a huge love story element but I thought I’d give it a whirl anyway. I will tell you that there were parts of this novel that worked my everlasting last nerve because of the love story element and Jason 1 frustrated the hell out of me and even pissed me off at times. I could have done with a
little lot less of Jason turning into a whinny biatch every time he got to another universe. Every time that’s my home, that’s Daniella, and making contact even though he knew it wasn’t his Daniella and it was wrong. At one point he not only introduced himself to a version of his Daniella but asked her out for coffee in the same breath. A little creepy, eh.
I would like to have seen more of the science and the thriller. I would have liked to have seen more interaction with the other Jason’s, even if they were chance interactions – at a coffee shop, on the El train, crossing the street, something. It would have been nice to see conflicts build up between the Jason’s.
There was a scene in which Jason 1 is standing in the bedroom over another Jason while he and Daniella are sleeping and I was hoping, I mean really hoping, that the sleeping Jason would wake up and find Jason 1. A fight would ensue and Daniella and Charlie would wake up and everyone would be freaked out. But alas that didn’t happen. Rats!
I loved how Crouch kept you on your toes. There were moments when I was overwhelmed because of the amount of tension, suspense.
Question 2: What writing tricks and techniques does the author use to keep readers turning pages and make the book read quickly? Did you find them effective?
Answer 2: Dark Matter moved super fast. Right from Chapter 1 Crouch hooked me. There was so much packed in that first chapter; that set up the novel with of bunch of questions. I really enjoyed Crouch’s writing style. His use of short staccato sentences made it read really fast for me and it kept my attention, which says a lot because I have the attention span of a gnat. So, sitting down reading long Dickensian-like sentences doesn’t work for me.
Who couldn’t stay focused with sentences/paragraphs like these:
My mouth runs dry.
I shouldn’t be here.
This isn’t even my home.
The chandelier is wrong.
So is the Van Gogh print above the heath.
I hear three locks click back.
~~Dark Matter, pg. 198
I’m going to hypothesize the reason that Crouch uses this technique is because this is how we think in everyday life. We make observations and after our observations we string together more complex thoughts together.
Question 3: For you, what was the biggest surprise as you followed Jason through the many twists laid out in Dark Matter?
Answer 3: There were several surprises. I understand that Jason Dessen is Jason Dessen, but at the same time he’s not. So, I was perplexed that Daniella didn’t figure out that Jason2 was not her Jason.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was when the real Jason got back to his world and there were at least 50 Jason’s in the same universe; which made me say out loud, ‘WTF?’ Then I started to question if there are multiple Jason’s could there be multiple Daniella’s and Charlie’s in the same universe living separate lives and they don’t know the other sets exist.
I was thrown for another loop, when the real Jason, Daniella, and Charlie made it back to the box and all the Jason’s were there, as expected. I truly thought that all the other Jason’s were going to get in the box and disappear, but that didn’t happen.
I’m not sure how I feel about that. It kind of makes sense that the original Jason, Daniella, and Charlie can’t stay in this universe, but what about the next universe? Are they entering a universe in which they don’t exist? Is it possible that they end up some place other than Chicago? Some other time?
As I was writing this post Believer by Imagine Dragons came on the radio and I had to stop for a moment a just jam out. It’s kind of àpropos.