Written by Blake Crouch
Published by Crown, July 26 2016
My star rating: 5 stars
Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.
It starts with a man in a mask kidnapping him at gunpoint, for reasons Jason can’t begin to fathom—what would anyone want with an ordinary physics professor?—and grows even more terrifying from there, as Jason’s abductor injects him with some unknown drug and watches while he loses consciousness. When Jason awakes, he’s in a lab, strapped to a gurney—and a man he’s never seen before is cheerily telling him “welcome back!”
Jason soon learns that in this world he’s woken up to, his house is not his house. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And someone is hunting him. Find it on Goodreads
“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. (Goodreads)
This book was absolutely OUTSTANDING!! Just think Stranger Things without the magic and monsters. I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked up this book. I saw it in a book store, read the synopsis, and decided I had to have it. I bought it the week it was released and didn’t see any reviews anywhere, so I went into it blind hoping that I would like it. Best decision ever! This is one of those books that grabs you right from the first chapter and pulls you into the plot. The downfall is that the chapters are really long (in some cases over 50 pages) so if you’re a reader like me who says “just one more chapter then I’ll go to bed” you may be apprehensive. But it’s amazing how fast the time flies and how quickly you read when you’re so fully immersed in a book. Each event pushes you to read more and more. Sleep becomes not as important because you just HAVE to know what happens next!
I would classify this book as a science fiction/fantasy/thriller. As the story was unfolding I was afraid that the science of it all would be confusing or overwhelming. Luckily the author explains the science in a way that is easily understood and, to be honest, the reality of it is positively TERRIFYING! I read this one many months ago and I still think about it. If this were possible the outcomes are infinite. I don’t think I picked up another book for many months afterward because this affected me so deeply. But I loved every minute of it!
The character development was fantastic. I would imagine that developing a character so completely that you feel as though you know everything there is to know about someone is difficult, but the author succeeded in spades. I wish that I could explain more but I wouldn’t want to spoil a single thing. The characters emotions, regrets, fears, obsessions, and desires are brought forth from the pages and push directly into your heart. It was the emotions of the main character Jason Dessen that makes the enormity of this situation all the more terrifying.
Also, this book was able to keep me guessing until literally the last chapter. I remember getting to the last chapter, flipping through and realizing that there were only a few pages left, wondering how in the world the book was going to end! It didn’t end even close to how I anticipated.
If you’re new to science fiction, or apprehensive about the genre, I think this is a good place to start. Also if you love thrillers or mystery you’ll love this. I would suggest this book to anyone and actually bought multiple copies to give as gifts for Christmas!!
Have you read this one? What were your thoughts??
Until next time, happy reading!