I was excited to read this new book from the author of Dark Matter and Recursion. Sadly it did not live up to my expectations and was more like a ‘downgrade’ in terms of how enjoyable I found it and how gripped I was. The first few chapters were intriguing, but by the halfway point the story had slowed and I wasn’t very interested in where it was going.
The narrator is Logan, who works for the Gene Protection Agency. In a world where anyone’s genes can be edited by synthetic viruses, the technology is outlawed and it’s Logan’s job to raid the rogue labs. However, after he stumbles into a trap and his whole being becomes superhuman, he has to question the ethics of gene editing and whether it can save everyone.
I found the writing style to be a weird mixture of action scenes – often violent – and scientific lectures about how genes work. It didn’t appeal to me. There was a lot of preaching about how we’re trashing the planet. Important messages of course but I prefer a little subtlety when these are in fiction. I was expecting more of a mind-bending experience like the other two of Crouch’s thrillers I’ve read. The protagonist wasn’t interesting or likeable and so there was nothing compelling me to keep on reading.
In summary, good concept but everything else was a let-down for me.
Thank you to the publisher Pan Macmillan for the advance copy via NetGalley. The book will be published on 7th July.
2 thoughts on “Review of ‘Upgrade’ by Blake Crouch”
This one is on my schedule to read/review. I’m with you about the preaching. The most effective stories let you know their message about the real world in subtle, story generated ways. No one likes to have it pushed down their throat but if you can present a situation that makes people think – then you will be listened to. Excellent review!
Thanks for reading 🙂 I hope you enjoy the book more than I did, it has had some rave reviews! It’s still a thought-provoking read but the messages just became tiresome.