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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Recursion by Blake Crouch (reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)


Official Blake Crouch Website
Order “RecursionHERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "Pines" by Blake Crouch
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of “Eerie” by Blake and Jordan Crouch
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of “Run” by Blake Crouch
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of “Serial Killers Uncut” by Jack Kilborn and Blake Crouch
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "Wayward" by Blake Crouch

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Blake Crouch was born in Statesville, North Carolina and graduated in 2000 with degrees in English and Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina. He has written four previous novels and a host of short stories. Two of his stories have been optioned for film adaptation. Blake currently lives in Durango, Colorado with his wife.

OFFICIAL BLURB: 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?

FORMAT/INFO: Recursion is 336 pages long divided over five book sections with an epilogue. Narration is in the third-person via Barry Sutton and Helena Smith.

June 11, 2019 marked the Hardcover and e-book publication of Recursion via Crown Publishing.

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Blake Crouch is an author whose career has exploded after he explored self-publishing. With Run, he re-established himself as a writer that wasn’t afraid of labels. Since he went from strength to strength and has also been picked up by publishers once again. Dark Matter was the dark hit of 2016 and it has paved the way for Recursion. Almost everyone has heard of the amazing Netflix deal that occurred even before the release of this book. After reading it, I can see why Netflix is keen on it. With such a book, I’ve to discuss the main plot and so there will be mild spoilers.

The main plot deals with something titled False Memory Syndrome, this is a mental disorder wherein people develop strong memories of lives they have never lived. Often driving people crazy, no one know what is causing it or even how to stop it. We have our two main characters Barry Sutton, a NYPD cop and neuroscientist Helena Smith whose lives get entwined with this phenomena. They both have to try to figure out why things are happening the way they are and what is truly causing it.

Blake Crouch has done something spectacular, I don’t mean just writing a great story. Yes he’s done that but what he’s truly done is write a love story within sci-fi trappings. Yes that’s the truth, that’s how Blake Crouch intends to conquer another genre. He’s already made it clear with Dark Matter that he’s the logical successor to Michael Crichton’s SF-thriller throne. He’s also writes better characters than the great Michael Crichton but now it seems he’s set his sights on Nicholas Sparks’ lofty heights.

It’s safe to say that this is the beginning of the end for Nicholas Sparks’ reign if this story is any indication. We don’t realize it until the very last third of the story but this, I repeat is a love story. Blake Crouch has always had a way with his characters and its not different in this book. We learn all about Barry and Helena. Both of them are defined by the tragedies in their lives but they strive on and we truly learn what drives them. I loved to read what Blake Crouch had planned for both of them and it’s truly unpredictable. In this regards, it’s hard to match his characters amidst any of his contemporaries in the SF thriller field. Be it agent Ethan Burke from the Wayward Pines trilogy, or Jack Colclough from RUN. His characters always have complex reasons for doing the things they do. With Recursion, Blake Crouch continues this trend with both Helena and Barry but also Marcus Slade and many others whom give the plot a very strong flavor.

 The author really strives to showcase the mental strain that can befall a person who cannot trust their own memory. The False Memory Syndrome really does a number on individuals and I enjoyed reading about the way that the human mind tries to comprehend memories (both false and true). The plot certainly takes a lot of mental gymnastics and the author strings it along wonderfully.

The plot of this book is a strong crossover between Inception and Edge Of Tomorrow, why do I say so, you can RAFO. But the main plot deals the survival of the whole of humanity and it is one hell of a ride. The story picks up from the opening pages as we are swept along in a turbulent ride as the readers find more and more about False Memory Syndrome and how it began.

The last few chapters are so breakneck that it will be hard for the readers to put down the book. Wanting to know how it all ends and the ending confirms what I said all along. This is a love story pure and simple.

CONCLUSION: Recursion is one of those rare Sci-Fi thrillers that begins as something and then takes a wild turn to metamorphosize into something grander. This book is definitely one that will have you zooming through the pages but remember it is a story to be savored. Blake Crouch is on an incredible roll, already overtaking Michael Crichton and Nicholas Sparks, I can only wonder whom he’ll dethrone next.

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