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Ever since first picking up the Wayward Pines trilogy, Blake Crouch has been on my radar as one of my favorite mind-bending sci-fi thriller authors. The two new books he has written, Dark Matter in 2018 and Recursion in 2019, prove that he is just getting better and better at creating fantastic, yet utterly believable sci-fi plots that keep you on the edge of your seat.
The book’s main protagonist is New York City cop Barry Sutton who literally stumbles into the whole thing by accident when he goes to the scene of a suicide-to be and can’t save the woman who jumps off the building. Just before jumping, she mentions something that Barry, due to his inquisitive nature of a cop, simply has to check out, and his discovery will change the world as he knows it.
The woman apparently suffered from something called False Memory Syndrome (FMS), which is an affiction the world around him is plagued of as well. Is it contagious? And if yes, how is it transmitted? Nobody, including the CDC knows what is really going on.
The second main protagonist is neuroscientist Helena Smith, and the third one is our major enemy, the one who is hell-bent on destroying the world, whether he wants it or not. All Helena wants in her life is help her mother with Alzheimer’s by finding a cure for this debilitating illness, but her search for knowledge leads her to create something that the world is simply not ready for.
Blake Crouch created a strange world that is frightening at its core when you really think about it. But then again, all the worlds he’s created so far in books are equally crazy and mindbending, and that’s one thing I love about this author.
Also, the characters are quite complex in nature. Each of the main characters goes through a major arc, a major transformation that is a joy to follow (even though there is a lot of pain involvd in their growth). At its core, the book is really a deep love story, just like Dark Matter. Two people trying to find each other again, against all odds, and no matter what.
As for the story itself, whenever you think “wow, that’s crazy,” that’s exactly when something even more crazy happens. When reading Black Crouch’s novels, I have the feeling I have no imagination at all. I simply am not able to cook up all those strange thing he mixes from various, seemingly random parts of existence, into something bigger than life itself.
Up to about the first half of the book, things went in a relatively linear direction, and I could somehow see where the book was heading toward. It was awesome, strange, but for once, I could feel I’m clever enough that I can follow the plot. Once I’ve reached the half, things changed, and it was no longer as easy to follow the timelines and action as it was before. Suddenly things became that much more exciting and I remembered just why I enjoy reading the Blake Crouch books again. He luls you into a false sense of ‘Ok I know where this one is going,” only to hit you over the head with a hammer you never saw coming.
The book is a sci-fi thriller, but it’s not set in the future. Parts of it are set in 2007, and there rest in 2018, so it all happens in our time. Blake Crouch has already touched on quantum physics/mechanics with its alternate timeline theories in his Dark Matter, and here he continues with various other concepts related to this theory in the current book.
Recursion is a book that will stay with you long after reading, just like Dark Matter. I am honestly not sure which of the two books I enjoyed more. Both have crazy premises, fantastic stories, engaging characters, and lots of twists and turns. I can’t wait for the next book, which hopefully will be out in 2020.