So, after Recursion I went ahead and picked up another Blake Crouch book, not even knowing what it was about. I was a little wary while reading chapter one because there were very similar themes that were in Recursion. He starts talking about his wife and daughter being lost to him, and then there was a close call with a car hitting him as a pedestrian while he was crossing the street. Both of those things happen in Recursion, but thankfully it quickly diverges from Recursion’s themes and becomes a book of its own.
The protagonist is a genius. He could have been a Nobel Prize winning scientist, but he decided to be a family man; setting aside his academic pursuits since he couldn’t do both well at the same time. Instead, he teaches at a local college and overall life is pretty good. No, he doesn’t have the acclaim he probably would have, and it does bother him a little to watch his colleagues make discoveries and participate in ground-breaking research he’s not a part of… but he knows in his heart he made the choice that was right for him. However, one day he gets kidnapped, drugged, and when he wakes up his reality is wrong.
His house is different, his career is different, his wife isn’t his wife anymore… but he’s not dreaming. It’s like he’s woken up in an alternate reality where it’s very similar, Earth is still Earth and he’s still Jason… but everything is off. In this reality he’s a world famous scientist, not a professor, and has been missing for a year. It turns out in this reality he told his wife, then girlfriend, to get an abortion, and she did. He’s a single, successful, world-renown scientist. He’s hailed as a hero when he wakes up, but doesn’t know why. All he knows is he wants to get back home. However, he gets the feeling that letting everyone know he’s not the same Jason that they know would be a bad idea, and so he tries to pretend to fit in as best he can.
Eventually, he figures out that he’s made a species-altering discovery… he’s made a ‘box’ that can send people through the multiverse and into alternate realities/universes. All things that can happen, do happen, and this box of his provides a doorway to all of the possibilities. Think Rick and Morty portal gun, or Futurama’s multi-universe box.
This takes a deep look into the examination of personality, what makes you, you when you take away all of the surface level things, career, location. This was a single POV book so it allowed time to get to know Jason on multiple levels… in multiple universes. If given the opportunity and the motives, what was he capable of? There are versions of Jason that are sinister and fucked up, and it makes you wonder if you were subjected to unspeakable tragedies and horrors, how would you come out the other side? I really liked this book, and although it ends loosely (like many of his do), I still felt it was more tied up than most of his endings. It’s the one drawback to Crouch’s books because personally I prefer concrete endings if there’s not going to be a second in a series. I listened to the audiobook and it was great, so I’d highly recommend it if you also enjoy audios.
- Plot: 12.5/15
- Character: 13/15
- World Building: 13/15
- Writing: 13/15
- Pacing: 12/15
- Originality: 11/15
- Enjoyment: 8/10
Final Score: 82.5/100