Written by Blake Crouch
Published by Crown Publishing Group, June 11, 2019
My star rating – 4 stars
Memory makes reality. That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.
That’s what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.
As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it. But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them? Find it on Goodreads
Just imagine that you have the chance to go back to your past and change something. Anything. Something you regret maybe. The chance you never took. Or the death of a loved one. You’re gifted with the chance to go back and make your life into something you have only wanted and wished for. Would you be willing to pay the price? Would you be willing to accept that in changing the past, you would be changing the future? This book explores this in every realm possible and just what the consequences of rewriting the past can be.
Before I go into full detail, there is a strong trigger warning for suicide. It starts almost from page one and continues all the way through to the end. Some are in great detail. If this is a trigger for you, stay far away from this one.
Now – what this book is really about. Brilliant scientist Helena has a passion for the science of memory. Her mother is suffering from dementia and she’s hoping that she can build a chair that will map memories, store them, and replay them when her memories are lost. Tragedy strikes when the true capabilities of the chair are revealed, and sets a chain of destruction into motion.
Helena is brilliant for sure, but as soon as the man funding the project reveals his intentions with the machine, she tries to stop him. He’s gone too far and taking it to a place where playing god becomes real. She turns into the creator that hates her own creation which I was here for!! She had a very specific vision for this chair and she was suddenly removed from control and unable to stop the slide into a massive grey area.
While we are following Helena and the development of the chair, we’re also following Barry, New York City police detective, many years in the future. We’re informed of this strange memory “disease” that’s creating false memories. People are suddenly remembering entire lives that never happened but felt SO REAL. They’re convinced these lives actually happened and aren’t able to compute what’s real and what’s not. Suicides are on the rise and this memory problem can’t be explained. Memories? Helena was working on memories. Connection??
Barry was such an amazing character! He’s a good guy at heart who’s trying to overcome his tragic past on a daily basis. He’s just so broken. All of the events of his life were a product of a tragedy and all he wants is to make things as good as he can. He’s the sweet guy who’s rough around the edges that you can’t help but root for!
Blake Crouch is the master of science fiction that will have you screaming “What the fuck?!” His science is detailed as hell. I’ll admit – I was quite confused and overwhelmed sometimes. But the way he explains the scientific elements was perfect! I’m not a science person – my teacher in high school passed me with a 51% just to get me the hell out of his class. But the way he writes the complexities of this machine, how it works, and how it changes the entire world, was done in such a way that I understood. I would call his books a thriller because, once the enormity of his science is explained, you can place the practice in the real world and then poop your pants when you think of what would happen if this was all real……..
He also seems to be the king of polarizing endings. If you’re looking for a book that wraps things up in a nice neat package and hands you all the answers on a silver platter…… you’re not getting it here. In both Dark Matter and Recursion, the endings are wide open. You’re left to your thoughts to imagine the possibilities of what happens next. You wonder if it all ended on a good note or did something else go wrong? Did the characters end up happy? Who knows! I kind of wish that the pacing was a little different. I took a star off the rating because I felt that there was unnecessary repetition of these alternate timelines when I wish that more time was put into the ending. It was too sudden for me.
All of this considered, Blake Crouch has officially made his way onto my auto buy authors list! I don’t need to know what it’s about – just give it to me!
Until next time, happy reading!