Genre: Science Fiction Thriller Published: Crown publishing, july 2016 Rating: 4.5 stars
Uploaded as part of my extreme-backlog of reviews ;)
If I had to describe my relationship to sci-fi, it would probably come down to that awful, overused Facebook-cliché: it’s complicated.
About 75% of sci-fi falls into the “meh-category” for me, and those chances increase even further if the book is a space-opera. Dark Matter is definitely in the other 25%. This may have something to do with the fact that it reads more like a thriller than a sci-fi, but nonetheless: this was a great read.
Before I go any further: I recommend you go into this book blind. DO NOT look op story spoilers, because those will ruin it for you. As a matter of fact, many Goodreads reviews are full of them, so it would be best to just close this tab now and go read the book. That being said: this review will not contain spoilers, just my honest opinion and experience whilst reading.
I first heard about this book on Books with Emily Fox’ channel, and she made it sound very mysterious, but very interesting. So I picked it up, not reading the synopsis or any reviews online and started reading one night, around 10 PM. That was a mistake… Before I knew it, I was burning midnight oil; I could not put this book down. I finished the book in 2 sittings: both of which ended in very-very late nights. Blake Crouch is a master of creating tension and mystery in his stories, not just in the situations he offers, but also in his writing style. Whenever the action gets intense, you can almost feel the protagonists adrenalin in the short, quick sentences. It’s the writers equivalent of the jump-cut in movies, and it tricky but done very well in this scenario.
Another thing that is tricky but done well here is the use of cliffhangers. Dear authors, take note: THIS is how you do them. Cliffhangers should be at the end of chapters to keep the reader engaged and to motivate them to keep reading, not at the end of the book to make the reader feel cheated and obligated to buy the sequel... Almost every chapter from Dark Matter ends in an extremely tense or puzzling moment, which made it so hard for me to put the book down and go to sleep already.
At the very start, I did feel like the characters were a little lost in the action, as happens often with a fast paced book like this. We got a very short introductory chapter about protagonist Jason and his family, before immediately diving into the madness that follows. For some reason, and I can’t put my finger on why, I wás invested in Jasons story, even though that was not fully deserved by the build up from the start. Later on in the story, the characters do get more space to show themselves and to develop, as they face some situations and dilemma’s that would make anyone’s head spin.
Really, the “reveal” and concept behind this are very clever and put your mind to work. I am not going into this at all, because again; spoilers will ruin this. Suffice to say that this is one of those books that had me thinking about its concepts for days after I had finished it.
Definitely one of the best books of 2017 for me, and still one of the best sci-fi thrillers I have ever read. Highly recommend it!
Find this book on Goodreads