I was drawn to this book because the description compared it to Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, which is one of my all-time favorite books. There are definitely some similarities between the two multiverse novels, but Branches is different enough that it still felt fresh and interesting.
With the re-election campaign of an unnamed male authoritarian president shaping the events in Branches, this novel has a more political undercurrent than Dark Matter. However, its primary focus is on a family of three, and how different decisions could change their fates.
The science doesn’t get too technical and, with its contemporary setting, there isn’t a lot of world-building in this novel. This well-written story focuses on the decisions of one man – a husband, father, and son – and his slow realization of the impact his choices have on the people he loves.
Fate isn’t fate at all. It’s just people, and people are stubborn. The systems they build even more so.Adam Peter Johnson, Branches
Branches was intriguing, observant, confusing, repetitive, and even funny (the paint colors!) at different points. One thing it never was: boring. It held my attention and made me think and feel.
I recommend this for science fiction, semi-dystopian, and political thriller connoisseurs. Fans of Blake Crouch and of a story told across multiple timelines will enjoy this one.
However, if you don’t want reminders of the 2016/2020 presidential elections embedded in your fiction, you may want to hold off on this one for now. As for me, I will definitely be picking up the second installment of this series.
Branches is available for purchase on https://www.adampeterjohnson.net/