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Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter

Each year thousands of members vote for our Book of the Year award—congrats to Dark Matter!

by Blake Crouch

Quick take

The author doesn't just build a world: he builds a whole multiverse, with a very singular love story at its core.

Why I love it

Maris Kreizman
Author, Slaughterhouse 90210

In science fiction, world building is key—the best books are the ones in which the author creates a convincing setting, where there are exact rules and ways of behaving that make sense unto itself, no matter how far-fetched the overall concept. In Dark Matter, Blake Crouch doesn't just build a world: he builds a whole multiverse in which various versions of the world exist simultaneously, with a very singular love story at its core. Crouch makes you feel as smart as a scientist, even though you may remember almost nothing from high school physics. With his clear, crisp prose, you might even grasp enough quantum mechanics theory that you won't ever have to open up Google to fully understand. And, with your science knowledge up to speed, he takes you on an incredibly action-packed and winding journey that doesn't let up for a second.

Dark Matter is the story of Jason Dessen, an intensely devoted family man with a lackluster career. One day he's abducted by a mysterious stranger, and every assumption he'd had about his life is yanked away. He finds himself in a disorienting world both similar and different from his "real" life. But the power of love is so strong that Dessen is willing to endure a long, strange quest to find his way home and rejoin his family.

Paced like a thriller, Dark Matter is also surprisingly philosophical; at its core is this question: "If you strip away all the trappings of personality and lifestyle, what are the core components that make me me?" The scope of the novel can seem infinitely huge, but Crouch's protagonist remains relatable and reachable even as the story twists and turns to mind-bending extremes. The action barely stops, but the conclusion remains immensely satisfying even after you've caught your breath and returned back to our own universe.

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"Are you happy with your life?"

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, "Welcome back, my friend.'"

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

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Member thoughts

All (14117)
All (14117)
Love (9921)
Like (3732)
Dislike (464)
14279 ratings
  • 69% Love
  • 26% Like
  • 3% Dislike
  • Albuquerque, NM

    Oh my goodness this book!!! If you’ve ever thought the grass might be greener, do yourself a favor a pick this book up. It’s filled with fascinating twists and turns, with a heart-warming baseline. ❤️

  • Lexington, KY

    I absolutely can’t say enough good things about this incredible book. I’ve never read anything like it and really couldn’t put it down. I found myself thinking about it for weeks after. READ THIS!

  • Manvel, TX

    This book was not what I was expecting and unlike anything I’ve read. Thriller. Sci-Fi. Romance. It’s twisted, nerdy, and amazing. I finished it in one day because I was completely entranced. READ IT

  • Billings, MT

    Wow! Dark Matter is a mix of sci-fi, thriller, suspense, and a love story, but it’s ultimately about the choices we make, how they shape our lives, and what matters most. I couldn’t put it down! 10/10

  • Brookhaven, PA

    This book is amazing!!!!! With every lage i turned i had questions and could not wait to find out more and more. I read the book in 2 days, i could not put it down. Stuck with me for a long time ????????

  • Cary, NC

    Wow. What did I just read? This was mind-bending, heartbreaking, throught-provoking, & ultimately hopeful. I think it should be classified as horror—that was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever read.

  • Columbus, OH

    I couldn’t put this down. It took me a white to figure out what the heck was even happening but WOW what an incredible concept. Very science driven book but I ate it up! Probably my new favorite book!

  • Wyandotte, MI

    I tore through this book in two exhilarating days. Very difficult to put down and even more so to explain the plot to someone who hasnt read it. It makes you think, and made me grateful for my life.

  • Sacramento, CA

    OMG! I couldn't stop thinking about this book! It sticks with you when you're not reading. It's been a week since I finished it and I'm still thinking about the alternate universes. This book gets deep

  • La mesa, CA

    To be fair I am quarantined in San Diego due to Coronavirus but I read this in literally one day and I loved every single moment. It had turns I couldn’t see coming and an ending that gives you chills

  • West Chester, PA

    I don’t usually go for science fiction novels but I heard good things about this one so I chose it as an add on one month. SUCH a good book. I genuinely did not know what was going go happen next. 5/5

  • Denver, CO

    I can’t recommend this book enough! Seriously - friends and family often hear about how truly spectacular this book is. The vivid worlds, the science, the emotion... its one of my all-time favorites.

  • Springdale, UT

    What to even say. This is one of the greatest books I have EVER read. The writing, the story, all of it was spectacular. It keeps you on your toes till the absolute end. You won't be able to put it down

  • Princeton, TX

    Suspenseful. Crouch makes writes the multiverse theory so well, one does not have to suspend reality to believe what happens could happen to anyone in real life— given the right technology of course.

  • Hanover, PA

    LOVED THIS! My favorite book from this subscription so far! Read it in 2 days, couldn’t stop. Had to know what would happen. Definitely want more by this author!!!! Such an amazing read! ????????????

  • Pinellas Park, FL

    My favorite read this year! The science in this was understandable but I did not feel like they were toning it down for the reader. It was fast paced and had a thought-provoking plot. Need more of this

  • Killen, AL

    This book is the absolute definition of a page turner. I felt as though I couldn’t read fast enough, couldn’t take the information fast enough for the hunger of the next words. Absolutely amazing.

  • Washington , DC

    Riveting concept and thrilling page turner. It was one of those books I had to stay up in order to discover the final fate of the main character and his family. I’m definitely a new Blake Crouch fan!

  • Santa Monica , CA

    Such a great book with such an interesting and complex plot. Had me thinking a lot about life and the choices we make but was also so exciting I couldn’t put the book down! A must read for everyone!

  • Omaha, NE

    Captivating, unsettling, moving, intelligent, thought-provoking... A unique scifi thriller that helps you appreciate what matters, consider the futility of regret/envy, & not take anything for granted

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