Dark Matter

Dark Matter is a twisted look into the ways our choices open new paths for our lives. A dark, mesmerizing, and complex story, but not as heart-pounding as Recursion.

We’re more than the sum total of our choices, that all the paths we might have taken factor somehow into the math of our identity.

— Blake Crouch


Jason Desson, a college professor, is attacked one night on his way home. When he wakes up in a reality that’s decidedly not his own, he must figure out what’s real, and how he can possibly get home.


Dark Matter is mind-bending and reality-altering, and a strong introduction to mind-travel. Blake Crouch’s mind has definitely grown more complex since he wrote Dark Matter in 2016, however. While I enjoyed many aspects of the book, it just didn’t measure up to the complexity of Recursion (published in 2019).

I found myself correctly guessing who Jason’s abductor was, right away, while he struggled with it for multiple chapters. Also, I was constantly frustrated with his slow mental processing of the box’s abilities (especially for being described as a scientific genius). While in the mind-travel box, I could already surmise why he was opening doors to bleak and dangerous worlds. I’m not at all bragging – I’m no mind ninja myself – I just feel like the plot points were more obvious to the reader in Dark Matter than in Recursion. And without spoiling the end, I’ll just say that I rolled my eyes and said to myself, “Did he learn nothing from this process? No one gets it right on their first try!”

Perhaps if I had read them in publishing order, I would have a different opinion. Alas, Crouch set the bar high for himself with Recursion! With both of Crouch’s books mentioned here, I appreciate the complexity of the worlds he builds and the creativity of the stories. My mind is nowhere near his brilliance to imagine and coherently write such entertaining and crazy novels!

All in all, I’d recommend reading this book, but only before reading Recursion! Prepare to expand your imagination!


Book Details

Dark Matter
by Blake Crouch
Hardcover, 342 pages
Published July 26th 2016 by Crown
Audiobook, Published July 26th 2016 by Random House Audio
Jon Lindstrom (Narrator)


I appreciate the complexity of the world Blake Crouch builds in Dark Matter and the creativity of the story. I'd recommend reading this book, but if you only have time for one mind-travel book, choose Crouch's newer novel, Recursion!

— Cassie
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