Monday, December 5, 2016
"Dark Matter" by Blake Crouch
"Until everything topples, we have no idea what we actually have, how precariously and perfectly it all hangs together."
"It's all, in the end, just life. We see it macro, like one big story, but when you're in it, it's all just day-to-day . . . and isn't that what you have to make your peace with?"
"You live with your choices and learn. You don't cheat the system."
I was predisposed to like this book, because the author sneakily worked in an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote within the first five pages. (He also throws in a Mark Twain quote on page 85.) I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy this read, because it was categorized as a "thriller," and I'm not into any fiction related to horror or murders. Actually, the sticker on my library book copy says "suspense," so it's probably more accurately a sci-fi suspense novel, and thriller only in the I-can't-put-this-book-down sense.
It's the kind of book that makes you think and ask questions, like "who are you at the core when all else is stripped away?" and "how far will you go to restore what you've lost?" And "what could have happened if you had made a different choice?" The best kind of questions, not the "Is he really a vampire?" questions. (No offense, Twilight fans!)
The first half, I didn't feel completely drawn in, but by the second half, enough ground had been covered and the stakes raised enough that I was riveted. I felt Jason's struggle and loss, his heartache and sorrow, and I questioned alongside of him what he should do next. And ultimately, I resonate with what he discovers, after his long journey: love is sacrifice and worth the fight, and family is an anchor when all else fails.
This book reminds me of many sci-fi/thriller movies I've seen before, but recombined in a new package. Think Inception meets Ryan Reynold's Selfless. These are my favorite types of movies, though, so I suppose after watching enough of them you can kind of predict where a plot is going. So not 5/5 stars on originality for this read.
Three other things that bugged me:
At first I liked his writing style. It felt short and to the point, and zipped right along. But then it started feeling too choppy, with too many line breaks after sentences that were not dialogue. I wish he had developed these into more descriptive paragraphs, but I guess that's just not what this genre of fiction does.
The second thing that bugged me were the sex scenes...all three. The first one might have been excusable, and none of them were too terribly graphic, but I could have done without them and I wasn't sure how they contributed to the overall plot or character development (2 areas in which it could be permissible in my opinion).
Lastly, the author leaves the reader in the lurch with 2 characters introduced early in the book. I realize they're not "essential," but I wanted to know what happened to them.
These are all personal preferences, so overall, if you like a mind-stimulating and fast-paced ride, this book's for you.