27833670“It all points to the fact that my identity isn’t binary; it’s multi-faceted. And maybe I can let go of the sting and resentment of the path not taken because the path not taken isn’t just the inverse of who I am. It’s an infinitely branching system that represents all the permutations of my life between the extremes of me and Jason 2.”

Author: Blake Crouch
Category: Science Fiction, Thriller
Pages: 342
Publication Date: July 26th, 2016

This was a kind of surprisingly good book.

Well, not that surprising since it did make the Goodreads Choice Awards list. Obviously lots of other people were impressed with it.

The story starts with Jason getting abducted by a masked man and then waking up in a science facility that he does not recognize with people that he has never met. He escapes the facility only to find out that his wife is not his wife and his son was never born. The life he thought he had seems to never have existed.

What starts out as more thriller than anything else with just a hint of sci fi turns into solid science fiction around the halfway mark. This story ended up being a wonderful examination of timelines and alternate realities. It also explores as a theme the concept of “the road not taken” (see above quote). It was a theme that was unexpected from a book that had so many action thriller elements but that actually blended well with the story and added a good deal of depth to the story.

The feeling of regret for how things could have been in one’s life is a very human emotion that we all experience from time to time. What would my life be like if I hadn’t done that one thing, if I had chosen differently that one time? This book points out that we tend to think of our own potential timelines as one or the other; if we weren’t here then we would definitely be at this other theoretically more preferable point. But there are so many different decisions, some of which we have no control over, to bring us to where we are right now.

As far as the story goes, the way that all of this pulled together in the ending scenes turned out really well and was just mind-bendy enough to get the reader excited about what was going on while not getting confusing. This author has a good concept of balancing themes and ideas without making the book itself too dense.

The only negative thing this book really experienced was the dropping of plotlines and characters. Jason’s brother is brought up at one point in a way that strongly suggests that he will be coming into play soon and then he just….never does. Another character, Amanda, is with Jason in his early travels then just decides to go do her own thing and she is never seen or heard from again. It’s not that her character’s exit doesn’t make sense,  because it did. It’s just that it was an anti-climatic end for her character. We don’t know if she lived, if she died, where her last chance at alternate reality travel may have taken her.  Nothing.

Dani’s 2¢

The part that kind of blew me away though was the thought that a world in which all those different decisions and scenarios did play out exist. Somewhere in the infinity of space and time all of those what-ifs exist and are being played out at the same time that we are here and are playing this timeline out.

I love that this author was able to combine such heavy philosophical ideas with a cool sci-fi premise and it have it hit really close to home.

I was not really into this book at the beginning because I felt that it was predictable and leaned a little too hard on the “thriller” side of things to really appeal to me. But the mind-bendy-ness of the alternate realities really pulled me once things got going and Jason started to figure out exactly what was going on.

Rating:

8-really liked it

Greg’s Thoughts

This was a fun sci-fi adventure that was slow to start but got exciting mid way through.

I really enjoyed this one. The begging was slow at points just because there wasn’t very much sci-fi going on. That’s understandable because you have to start the mystery of the story, but the plot hits pretty quick and can get confusing at times.

Once the story gets going, for most of the story gets predictable right up till the last quarter of the book. That ending chapters throw a curve that made the whole book for me. I loved the twist a fully recommend this book mostly for the twist.

A really good time that I enjoyed and I am excited to see more from this author.

Rating:

8-really liked it

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