My overall impression: "What's the big deal? Why is this all over every must-read list?".
It's a book about a man who gets kidnapped and thrust into a world that looks and feels like his own, but that is not his own. A parallel universe, multiple parallel universes - the "Multiverse" is a concept that's been done before. Jet Li's movie: The One is probably the closest main-stream movie version to this book that I can think of and the show Sliders , but DC has literally been writing about the "multiverse" and the implications of traveling between them for years.
Was this version of the Multiverse concept worth the read? Yeah, I think so (at least it was worth listening to the audiobook at 1.5 speed). The Crouch doesn't get into too much of the science behind the theory - which is good. He focuses on the emotional connections the characters have with each other and that is what I think makes the book work.
There was one point that I think was suppose to be a HUGE realization for the main character, but as the reader/observer, I had figured it out - like at the beginning. In that one scene I felt that the author hadn't given his main character enough credit to have figured it out earlier. That being said, I did find the climax of the book tense and intriguing (I believe my literal verbal exclamation was "oh cool!"), even if the very end of the book was a bit of a fizz-out.
On the whole, the story was done well, with lots of thought given to the ramifications of the choices we make and the directions they lead us. Do our choices lead us to the person we become, or do we make our choices because of the person we are? This would be a great book for a book club. I felt like the intention of the book was to really make me think long and hard about the choices I've made in my life, but since this wasn't a huge mind-blowing experience for me, I was left more with "meh, whatever".
I give it a 2/5 stars based on Goodreads' rating system (2 = "It was ok")
Here is the Goodreads plot book description:
From the author of the bestselling WAYWARD PINES trilogy, a brilliantly mind-bending science-fiction thriller in which an ordinary man is kidnapped, knocked unconscious—and awakens in a world inexplicably different from the reality he thought he knew.
Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.
It starts with a man in a mask kidnapping him at gunpoint, for reasons Jason can’t begin to fathom—what would anyone want with an ordinary physics professor?—and grows even more terrifying from there, as Jason’s abductor injects him with some unknown drug and watches while he loses consciousness.
When Jason awakes, he’s in a lab, strapped to a gurney—and a man he’s never seen before is cheerily telling him “welcome back!”
Jason soon learns that in this world he’s woken up to, his house is not his house. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born.
And someone is hunting him.
Is the life Jason remembers just some crazed dream? And can he survive long enough to discover the answers he needs?