Monday, October 14, 2019

REVIEW: Recursion by Blake Crouch

Title: Recursion
Author: Blake Crouch
Genre: Science Fiction - Time Travel
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Acquired: Borrowed ecopy from library
Goodreads: ADD

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?

I shudder to think that I didn't even realize Blake Crouch had another book out until I recently watched a Booktuber mention it. I read this book FOUR months after it's release date, FOUR! Anyway, shame aside, Blake Crouch has a new book out, and it's this one, and it's SPECTACULAR. Recursion (aptly named, by the way) was another deep-dive into the world of quantum theory and it's ability to disrupt the linear lives we've accepted.

Told from the multiple perspectives and timelines of detective Barry Sutton, and neuroscientist Helena Smith respectively, Recursion opens with Barry being radioed to a perplexing scene of delusion and faulty memory. 'False Memory Syndrome' (FMS) is the ailment being attributed to individuals in the city who seem to remember whole memories from a life they never lived, and the torrential onslaught of emotions that come with it. But with the introduction Helena's timeline, a few years in the past, we (and Barry) quickly discover that FMS is the consequence of a much more complicated, and tangible, invention. An invention that threatens not only this reality but all of the realities we thought we wanted.

I'm trying to wrap my head around the immense amount of research that surely went into writing this book, as Blake Crouch is no quantum physicist himself, but is quite obviously a frickin MASTER at his craft. Crouch has the ability to perfectly marry a meaningful plot and complex technical descriptions. He shoves you so far into your head with his theories that you start to refuse it's fictional components—he makes you believe what you're reading. That skill as a writer is so incredibly important if the subject you're choosing to write about is time-travel, or reality shifts, or literally anything that we have yet to accomplish as a species. There was not one moment of "yeah right as IF that could happen", there were no doubts even when the chaos intensified. 

The last 20 pages were my favourite, but unfortunately, it was also where this book fell ½ a star shy of 5 stars for me. There were a few too many occurrences of a necessary plot point, and I felt like the book would have still wrapped up quite satisfyingly without them. Needless to say though, Blake Crouch needs to keep writing books, he needs to keep writing them forever.

Read if you like:  
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
The Last Policeman Series by Ben H. Winters
The Curiosity by Stephen P. Kiernan

Key themes: 
quantum-physics, reality shifts, loss, time-travel, love



Blake Crouch is a bestselling novelist and screenwriter. He is the author of the novel, Dark Matter, for which he is writing the screenplay for Sony Pictures. His international-bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy was adapted into a television series for FOX, executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan, that was Summer 2015's #1 show. With Chad Hodge, Crouch also created Good Behavior, the TNT television show starring Michelle Dockery based on his Letty Dobesh novellas. He has written more than a dozen novels that have been translated into over thirty languages and his short fiction has appeared in numerous publications including Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Crouch lives in Colorado.

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