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  • ★★★-3

Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch (Spoiler-Free)

This feels like the Tenet of the Blake Crouch literary universe. Almost cool, but over-engineered.


I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm a sucker for sci-fi thrillers by mediocre white men. That goes for books, movies, and TV. Convoluted? Generally, not a problem. But even I reach a breaking point in that department.


When it comes to Christopher Nolan, the majority of his films ride the balance of complicated yet elegant. And then there's Tenet. When it comes to Blake Crouch, the majority of his books ride that same line. And then there's Recursion.


I read Upgrade, my first Crouch, in the summer of 2022 and was instantly obsessed. It had the best action sequences I'd ever read and blended a high-level sci-fi concept with a positive outlook on humanity (my perfect sci-fi recipe!). Earlier this year, I finally got around to Dark Matter and had a good time with it, but found a lot bogged down by how much it centered romance in the story instead of escapades through the multiverse (though Act 3 used the multiverse trope in the most creative way I've ever seen it). I had that same issue again in this novel, though to a lesser degree, and also found the sci-fi part less cool.


Recursion revolves around memory. In this version of the world, a chair was created that can transport someone to their past, fracturing space-time to begin again, but only up until that moment is reached and all the "dead" memories and timelines come flooding back. It's hard to explain and at first I thought it was completely ridiculous instead of interestingly plausible, but by the second half of the book I did actually begin to understand it. As Crouch is so good at, he bends the concept to its extremes in Act 3 in a way that becomes fascinating, even when I wasn't very interested up until that point. The ending really does some heavy lifting.


While the heavy hand of romance in his novels is not my cup of tea, it is refreshing to see in the genre! I can definitely see other readers appreciating it.


I'm a little nervous my success with this author is waning, but I still want to read Pines one day as a further test. Or maybe check out the TV show if that ends up being a failure. But who am I kidding, if he puts out a new book with another concept that piques my interest we all know I won't be able to resist.



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