Primary Genre(s): Science Fiction, Thriller, Fiction
Published: 11 June 2019 by Crown Publishing Group
Page count: 336
My Format: Audiobook via Overdrive
Ending: Good, but that last sentence…ugh!
Would I recommend it: Likely
Commission Link: Buy Recursion
My rating: ★★★★☆
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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. That’s what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. 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?
My goodness! You seriously need some healthy neurons and firing synapses to keep track of what the heck is going on in this novel! This book is super hard to discuss without unintentionally giving away too much information. Consider yourself warned in case there are potential spoilers below. Here are my pros and cons for Recursion:
- First, there was a quote by a character at the beginning of the book talking about work-life balance – “I think balance is for people that don’t know why they’re here.” That line stopped me in my tracks and made me think. Do people seek work-life balance because they aren’t dedicated to their professions? Or not dedicated enough? Or is this just a statement from a person that has no other life, thus thinks anything outside of their work is a waste of time? It was a thought-provoking statement. For me, if I didn’t have experiences outside of my profession (which I love), I don’t think life would be very rewarding. [By the way, this quote really doesn’t have any strong tie to what the book is about, but it stood out to me, made me think, and impacted me enough to at least mention it here.]
- This book isn’t about the environment or the atmosphere or even the characters really… it is all about dates and times and memories. The writing focused on the timelines, and there were many of them, and I thought it did a pretty good job of keeping things reasonably clear and understandable. Don’t get me wrong – you MUST pay attention in this book and you might even be tempted to take some notes to keep everything straight in your mind! But considering the time travel, dead memories, multiple timelines, and an insane amount of other technical information, I thought it was written in a way that makes it possible to follow the narrative. It is presented in a way that makes the complicated concepts understandable. But you still have to pay close attention to keep everything sorted properly!
- I liked Helena and I loved that she ultimately did not support her invention.
- I loved how the book handled the dilemma of whether or not changing past events was the right thing to do. I loved that the book went into detail about consequences of altering past events and the story even includes timelines to prove that changing the past doesn’t always mean improving the future.
- I thought the story moved very quickly – it is a surprisingly fast read considering how carefully I had to read it.
- I know I am sounding repetitive, but this book is complex, mind-bending, challenging, and perhaps even a little overwhelming. It also has an unexpected element of romance. In a lot of ways, this is an incredibly emotional book… I don’t often think of science fiction as emotional, so it was a nice change for me.
- The Department of Undoing Particularly Awful Sh*t … HILARIOUS!
- That last sentence… I hated it. I also kind of loved it. But I think I hated it more… maybe. It was incomplete, but oddly appropriate. I know I am waffling here, but I really did hate it and love it equally. Since my first reaction to it was anger, I put it in the Con list.
- While I complimented the writing above and said that this story is presented in such a way that you can follow it if you pay attention, I do think it might have gotten a little overly complicated and tortuous at times. This isn’t an easy book, full stop. You have to be dedicated and ready to take on a book like this.
Can you imagine losing your memories? Or having them replaced by false ones? To me that is absolutely horrifying. What is meaning of life if we no longer have our memories? There are some seriously thought-provoking themes in this book and it is wrapped up nicely in an exciting and frightening science fiction package! You will think about your life, your memories, and what time even means. Any book that can make you think this much, is a good book in my opinion.
If you like science fiction and you are willing to take on a challenging book, then you have found it in Recursion.
If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy Recursion. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
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(image from Goodreads)