Recursionby Published 11 Jun 2019
|Publisher||Crown Publishing Group (NY)|
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?
Advance praise for Recursion
“Blake Crouch has invented his own brand of page-turner—fearlessly genre-bending, consistently surprising, and determined to explode the boundaries of what a thriller can be.”—Karin Slaughter, #1 internationally bestselling author of Pieces of Her
“Brilliant. Crouch’s innovative novels never fail to grip!”—Sarah Pekkanen, #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of The Wife Between Us and An Anonymous Girl
“A masterful mind-bender of a novel. Crouch brilliantly infuses his story with dire repercussions and unexpected moral upheaval, and leaves you wondering what you would do if you had the chance to turn back the clock.”—Mark Sullivan, #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of the Private series and author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky
5, WAT WAT WAT WAT WAT. Amazeballs stars!!!
Full review along with a recipe for huevos rancheros featured on my blog Recipe & a Read!
So, I feel like I need to start this out with a little caveat. I would put Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter in my top 5 favorite books ever read. I absolutely adored it. Was I confused at times? Yes. Was I also completely and utterly thrilled the whole time I read it? Also, yes. I was both excited and incredibly nervous to read his upcoming novel Recursion because despite being a big advocate for not comparing things, I have a hard time not doing it. The ARC book gods #blessed me with an advanced copy of the novel and I put it off because I was nervous. However, once I dove in it gripped me with the same intensity I’ve come to be familiar with Crouch’s works. I’m going to do my damn best to not compare the novels too much but I hope you’ll forgive me if I fail a little.
Barry Sutton is a New York police officer who is called to the roof of a building to talk a woman down from jumping off the ledge. As he speaks to her, he learns that she’s suffering from “False Memory Syndrome” a syndrome that leaves it’s sufferers with vivid memories of a life that never happened. It’s not just that they have a memory, it’s that they are visceral and real. These people can remember smells, touches, the look on someones face, they remember the most minute details that create a rich picture of a life they’ve never had. Some remember a life worse than the one they’re living now, but others, like the woman Barry is speaking to, no longer has her husband or her son and her entire life feels meaningless and empty.
Everyone thinks FMS is just false memories of the big moments of our life, but what hurts so much more are the small ones. I don’t just remember my husband. I remember the smell of his breath in the morning when he rolled over and faced me in bed.
Helena Smith is a neuroscientist with endless potential but a very limited budget for the dreams she holds in her minds eye. Helena’s mother is suffering from Alzheimer’s and she has a dream to create a memory chair – to store memories for people who can’t hold onto them and give them back as they start to fade. When a wealthy and anonymous benefactor offers her unlimited resources she jumps at the opportunity. As Helena works on the chair she quickly realizes that not all is as it seems with her new partner and as her memory chair takes shape, so does the real reason Helena has been brought in.
As Barry investigates FMS (more like FML, amiright) and Helena works on her chair we’re given alternate POVs between the two. Barry finds himself in the middle of an incredibly convoluted mystery that even the most seasoned reader will have a hard time pinning down. It isn’t until Helena and Barry’s stories collapse upon one another that the real mind-fuckery beings to take place. Let me just tell you, one reader to another, this is a twisted mess of time travel, parallel universes, and the question of what it means to simply be alive and what makes us who we are.
There are so few things in our existence we can count on to give us the sense of permanence, of the ground beneath our feet. People fail us. Our bodies fail us. We fail ourselves… But what do you cling to, moment to moment, if memories can simply change. What, then, is real? And if the answer is nothing, where does that leave us?
Similar to Dark Matter I don’t want to give too much away because one of the greatest things Crouch brings to literature is the utter shock and surprise that comes with his stories. They are so truly unique and original that I consistently find myself questioning how someone’s brain even functions the way his does. Asking myself how someone can even begin to think this up. I think that if I tried to spoil this entire story right now, I may not even be able to because it’s such a complicated and intricate web that Crouch has woven here. What leaves me even more impressed though, is that despite how complicated the story is, I was able to follow along *for the most part* because Crouch is able to make ideas that would normally fly right on over my head, accessible and tangible.
Recursion is truly a whirlwind and it has everything any reader could ask for. It’s exciting, thrilling, heart warming and gritty all at the same time. It asks questions I haven’t ever thought of and created scenarios that made my brain ache to contemplate. It challenged me as a reader and it challenged my ideas of what creates “reality” and “the present”. I should’ve read this with someone else because I wish I could have talked to someone who was reading it at the same time as me. However, I’m super excited to add this to my list of book recommendations for the future and to discuss it then!
I don’t want to look back anymore. I’m ready to accept that my existence will sometimes contain pain. No more trying to escape, either through nostalgia or a memory chair. They’re both the same fucking thing. Life with a cheat code isn’t life. our existence isn’t something to be engineered or optimized for the avoidance of pain. That’s what it is to be human – the beauty and the pain, each meaningless without the other.
In the end this is another total slam dunk for me and I can’t wait to see what Crouch comes up with next. This is a twisty novel that you’re never going to be able to pin down where it’s about to head next. It left me truly breathless at points because it felt like I was reading and the story was moving at break-neck speed. There were points I almost needed to take a break because so much is being thrown at you at once. If this review has confused you at all, I totally understand because this book is insane to try to explain. However, I still can’t suggest picking it up enough!
Five OMG I’m suffering from brain cells bleeding and explosion of my last standing grey cells, what the hell I just read and who am I ? stars!
I know the drill but let me rephrase one more time! This is not an easy, soft, sunshine and rainbows reading!
In my opinion people who are brave enough to dive into this journey should put themselves an IQ test and discover their cognitive skills. ( luckily I read the quantum physics for dummies before the beginning but I feel like I can be great cast for future dumb and dumber movie if they will ever produce the third installment)
So this book is amazing combination of time traveling, alternated lifetimes, Minority Reports meet Groundhog Day versus Black Mirror and Back to the Future kinda fascinating science fiction crashes into thriller and romance starting with an effective and memorable suicide attempt scene.
A woman suffers from FMS ( false memory syndrome) who thinks her child was being erased, her husband denied her existence so there was nothing better than jump and end her life. But she had small hope in her heart, her husband could come to rescue her but when he didn’t show up, she didn’t want to fight anymore and.... Yes, this book starts with jaw dropping scene and you’re hooked!
It’s addictive, unputdownable, nerve damaging, exhausting ride! You wanna know what’s going to happen and think about yourself if I had a chance to save my loved ones by turning back and making my wrongs turn into rights, what would happen!
Saving her daughter from the traffic accident, curing your mother’s Alzheimer disease, prevention of school shooting , saving soldiers from the terrorist attacks are just the samples writer show as in alternative realities that have possible to be changed!
The difference of Recursion from Dark Matter might be romance parts because I really enjoyed Barry and Helena’s love story. Not only they fought to bring universe into the right pattern but also they fought to get back together to be each other’s final word, everlasting love, end game!
This was thrilling, mind bending, provoking book!
Dark Matters is going to be Netflix series and I’m already sure that as a brain numbing project, this book finds its place at big screen on near future!
Highly recommended, smart, different, unique and exquisite book but not for everyone!
Well THAT kept me glued to my seat!
4+ stars, maybe 4.5. I couldn’t entirely suspend disbelief in the pseudoscience, and some of it was a little too convenient to the plot. But still! this was such a great ride!
Full review to come, after I figure out how to talk about this book without spoiling it. This is one where you may just want to go into it cold and figure it out along with the characters.
If you loved Dark Matter, you'll love Recursion too! It's another SF techno-thriller from Blake Crouch, a quick read that kept me up WAY too late last night (I couldn't quite finish it, but I gave it my best shot). Apparently memory is way more powerful than anyone realized [spoilers removed]. There are some definite style and theme similarities to Dark Matter, but the plot is different enough that it doesn’t feel like a retread.
Thanks to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for the review copy!
FIVE MIND-BENDING STARS
Book readers tend to throw around words like “addictive” and “unputdownable”. But, I'm dead serious about those words. And guys, I’m here to tell you, I read RECURSION straight through dinner last night until I finished at three am this morning. What an intelligent and freakin’ addictive thriller!
The first half sets up the rest of the book and it is crucial to read carefully and try to understand the very simple quantum physics necessary to travel around in time. LOL.😂
I finally thought I had the timelines straight in my mind (without the use of a giant white board)--I wanted to keep it straight, so I read. And read. And cried. And marveled. And cried again. And closed the Kindle. And kept thinking and marveling and sighing.
Who doesn’t want a do-over in life? Personally, I don’t trust anyone that says they live with no regrets. Even if you consider yourself a perfect specimen, I guarantee you have deeply hurt someone’s feelings or perhaps grieved the loss of a loved one. If those aren’t regrets, then you may be a sociopath.
What if you could go back through your memories and “fix” them? Change events in order to protect children, countries, civilizations.
This is the question RECURSION poses to the reader. As wonderful an idea as this is, there are, of course, consequences to changing history. Blake Crouch turns his incredible imagination loose in his latest thriller and your mind will be racing trying to keep up him.
RECURSION is set in 2007 and 2018, this isn’t futuristic. Helene, our genius scientist, works to discover a cure for Alzheimer’s and you will find yourself constantly wondering if this memory recapture business is actually a real thing now. (IT IS. READ THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS IN THE BACK!).
I love sci-fi that reads like it could be factual. I love sci-fi with colorful, endearing characters. I love sci-fi with the entire world’s future at stake and these two characters must save us. I love sci-fi when those two characters carry on an epic love story to end all love stories. ❤️
I love RECURSION. I think I love it more than Dark Matter. And I never thought I would say that!
Hey, all you influential readers: this is still available on NetGalley! Grab it before it is too late! NETFLIX already bought the movie rights and it is gonna be HUGE!!. Many thanks to the publisher and the author for allowing me to read and review the advanced copy of RECURSION. All opinions are mine.
Blake Crouch is simultaneously my hero and my nemesis because his books make me love the world and the English language while also making me want to rip my heart out and stomp on it soooo being approved for this arc made my entire life 100000% better.
WOW. Like. Wow. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch is one of my favorite books of all time, and I hoped I'd love this one even a fraction of that amount. Miraculously, I love it even more. I read Recursion in one sitting. This is one of those books for which I wish I could travel back in time to the Vani who didn't know it existed and experience it all over again.
The premise is that people everywhere are being infected with False Memory Syndrome, a disease in which the impaired person has two distinct memories of the way their life has gone, and many cannot cope.
The narration and timeline both alternate quite a bit, going forward and backward in the narrative as well as switching from Barry, an NY cop, to Helena, a research scientist (both in third person). This isn't typically my favorite. When times/narrators alternate, I tend to like one better than the other, and it's easy for me to put the book down when the part I don't love as much comes up. In this, I love them both more than words could adequately describe. The protagonists are beautiful people who are easy to love and the antagonists are crazy antagonistic, which is my favorite. I hate when I don't hate a villain quite enough. And I really hate these ones.
Pacing is one of my most oft-used criticisms, and this is spot on. I flew through. I was immersed immediately and legit could not read it quickly enough. Even by halfway, I had already cried several times. By the end I had sobbed.
For sci-fi, the science is fairly light. It doesn't beat you over the head if that's not really your thing. It kind of takes a backseat to the story, which I appreciate here. And goddamn, Blake Crouch can write a fucking love story.
*Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for advance access to this book in exchange for an honest review.*