Indigo Books’ Best of 2016 – Dark Matter

When I reviewed an ARC of Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter earlier this year, I ended the review by telling you to “[g]ive it a shot, but don’t set your standards too high.”

Now we’re nearing the end of the year and Indigo Books has listed its picks for the year, including Dark Matter at number ten. The nominator reviews the book as follows:

“Descend into the madness that is Dark Matter and experience a story that mixes all the craziness of Inception, and twists of Gone Girl, with the thought-provoking horror of Stephen King, into something truly unique, and terrifying.”

While normally I don’t comment on other people’s reviews, I have to admit I’m disappointed in whatever selection criteria is used. Mind, I used to be a CER just like the person who nominated Dark Matter, and I want to congratulate the picker for getting her voice heard–you’re not heard much as a CER, despite the wonderful work environment and outstanding co-workers. But I have to say, the review falls short.

Personally, I found it predictable more than full-of-twists, not particularly “crazy” (except, at times, in a bad way) and it most certainly was not a horror novel. The first chapter is downright spooky, I will give it that, but after that Crouch leaves horror by the wayside for oddities that aren’t particularly striking. As a Stephen King fan, I find the comparison especially lacklustre.

It was hardly a bad book, but I somehow doubt it was meant to have a place on the top ten of the year. It’s not a problem that the book was enjoyed–I never said I disliked it, exactly, just that it was a bit disappointing because I went into it with such high expectations. It means, expecting a lot, it made it very difficult to properly enjoy the book. But now we’re telling people to have very high expectations; I think this will only cause problems for future readers.

Anyway, just a few thoughts on the book to follow up and earlier review, I suppose.