Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch

Rating: ★★★★★+

Synopsis

From the New York Times bestselling author of Dark Matter and the Wayward Pines trilogy comes a relentless thriller about time, identity, and memory—his most ambitious, mind-boggling, irresistible work to date.

“An action-packed, brilliantly unique ride that had me up late and shirking responsibilities until I had devoured the last page . . . a fantastic read.”—Andy Weir, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Martian

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.

Neuroscientist Helena Smith already understands the power of memory. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. 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? 

Review

Thanks to the publisher and author for an advanced reading copy of Recursion in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

Every now and then, there is a book you come across that unreservedly blows your mind to smithereens. You think that, with so many books being published today and having been published over the years, you have read every book conceivable that has to deal with time travel, reality shifts, paradoxes, etc.

Well, you thought wrong. Forget everything you knew about time travel and pick up this book. Just when I thought Crouch couldn’t get any better after reading his fantastic novel (and my #1 read of 2016) Dark Matter, he goes and does this.

Recursion is Crouch’s Mona Lisa. It will be the best known, most talked about, and most envied novel of his career in my honest opinion. It is simply brilliant beyond all standards and kept me entranced the entire way through. Though I have said a few, there are literally no words I can come up with or Google better synonyms for that will properly portray how much I loved this freaking book. I apologize to any authors and their works that have come before and will come after my reading of Recursion this year: it is officially my #1 read of 2019. You can take it to the bank (but don’t, like, travel back in time and take a detour to your local delicatessen and then forget to go to the bank because you were going to miss your favorite show or whatever).

This book is non-stop in every conceivable way. It is emotionally devastating, intensely gripping, and immensely innovative. Crouch has a way of attracting his characters to readers that I just don’t see enough of in today’s thrillers. These characters are just normal people (albeit, a couple of them are geniuses) with the same flaws we ourselves deal with in our own lives. They aren’t superheroes with invincibility or catlike reflexes. They can’t have 5 double bourbons and then drive a car into a building, killing all the baddies and saving the hostages. They are believable characters that just want things to go differently for them and their loved ones. To nix grief and anguish and to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, college graduations and the like. To love someone with such conviction to risk it all, over and over again, knowing the consequences and repercussions. This book tore me up emotionally and that is a rare thing. Kudos.

If you enjoyed Crouch’s last novel, Dark Matter, or anything Michael Crichton produced, this will be the easiest purchase you make all year summer. The perfect beach read that will have you reapplying suntan lotion at a consistent rate. Or if you’re like me, you’ll sit under the canopy all day and read while listening to the waves crash against the shore.

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