Dark Matter blends an age-old question with a captivating plot to produce a thriller

Dark Matter, written by Blake Crouch, is a science fiction thriller that explores the tantalizing concept of the path not taken.

The plot of Dark Matter revolves around physicist Jason Dessen and takes place in Chicago. Years ago, Jason gave up a promising research career in his field to focus on his wife Daniella and son Charlie. Though he is satisfied with his life and his choice to pursue family over work, he sometimes wonders if he should be more than an average college professor. His discontent reaches its peak when his former college roommate wins a prestigious science prize for his research, which had been Jason’s dream. While walking home from a party celebrating his friend’s achievement, he is abducted by a mysterious man, taken to an abandoned power plant and knocked out. 

When he wakes up, he no longer has the life he knows. Instead, he is an accomplished and celebrated scientific genius whose world-changing research won him the prize he had always dreamed of earning. But he soon realizes that his dream is actually a nightmare and yearns to get back to his family even as he struggles to understand what is real and what is not and if it is even possible to return to the life he loves. 

Dark Matter takes an idea that is inviting and gives it a horrific twist. It is common for people to wonder how their lives might have turned out if they had made different choices, so the book’s philosophical questions are extremely thought provoking. 

It inspires questions about whether or not it is worthwhile to consider the ramifications of past decisions and about what kind of life it is best to live. It is also the kind of theme that each reader will interpret differently, which is part of why the book is unique. 

Another reason Dark Matter is unique is that Crouch manages to make the complex scientific principles that the plot is based on understandable to any reader, no matter their initial familiarity with the topics. By doing so, he avoids a common pitfall that plagues the genre. It may take some thinking to fully grasp, especially at first, but it is understandable and the intrigue of the science fiction aspects of the book enriches the plot.

The plot itself is highly absorbing and the pace is strong, leaving readers racing through the book to find out what happens. The ending is very strong and includes a shocking twist that both makes the plot irresistible and presents the most challenging moral dilemma of the book. But, the very end is still satisfying and provides a good close to the novel. 

Crouch mixes the heavy philosophical ideas and concepts with a thrilling story that leaves readers rooting for Jason to make it home in the end because the characters are so strong and realistic. The result is a book that is top-notch in both the science fiction and thriller genres and exceptional overall. 

Overall, it is highly worth reading. It is rare for a book to be able to leave a lasting impression on a reader, but Dark Matter manages to do it.