Dark Matter / Blake Crouch
Jason Dessen has a good life. Not the life he once foresaw for himself, that of a brilliant research physicist. But he's married to the love of his life, well employed, and has a wonderful son. Then a masked man assaults Jason, takes him outside of town, drugs him, and when Jason wakes everything has changed. He's still Jason Dessen, but his work in quantum physics was never set aside for a family, the his son never born, the woman he loves is dating his best friend and is a celebrated artist, and the man everyone believes him to be has done the impossible. But some mysteries should never be broken open, and everything is now at risk.
Ok, here's the thing. I wanted to like this book. Alternate-universe, hard science fiction thriller? Sounds amazing. It's not a bad book, though I find it works better as audio rather than print due to a narrative style favoring short, abrupt phrases. But I ended up bored (and to be honest, at times annoyed). It doesn't differentiate itself from any other alternate/parallel/nested universe SF that I've encountered (admittedly, the ones I'm familiar with tend to be films). Seven Monkeys did it well, so did Existenz, or The Thirteenth Floor. Layers within layers, confusing the true reality, and different versions of the protagonist. Maybe this book is so lauded because this sort of narrative is more popular in screenplays than novels? I wanted to be thrilled and surprised, what I got was well written but honestly pretty standard.
Advance Reader Copy courtesy of Crown Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galley and the final edition.