Upgrade by Blake Crouch
Reviewed by Parker!
**We received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. We’d like to thank Blake and Ballantine Books for the opportunity. This book comes out on July 12th!**
I was so thrilled to read upgrade based on the experience I had with recursion. I saw crouch talk at book con 2019 and on his panel he committed: no more small books. And with upgrade, like recursion, crouch swings for the fences. Upgrade imagines economic, political, and environmental futures, focusing clearly on how we in the first continue to fuck it up. literally, Crouch wrote a book about human nature. it’s a full and rich world, if dark. Fans of crouch’s stakes and pacing won’t be disappointed. Upgrade is detailed, and so well researched.
“Mysterious, fascinating, and deeply moving—exploring the very nature of what it means to be human.”—ALEX MICHAELIDES, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Patient and The Maidens
“You don’t so much sympathize with the main character as live inside his skin.”—DIANA GABALDON, #1 New York Timesbestselling author of the Outlander series
“Walks the fine line between page-turning thriller and smart sci-fi. Another killer read from Blake.”—ANDY WEIR, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Martian and Project Hail Mary
The mind-blowing new thriller from the New York Timesbestselling author of Dark Matter and Recursion
“You are the next step in human evolution.”
At first, Logan Ramsay isn’t sure if anything’s different. He just feels a little . . . sharper. Better able to concentrate. Better at multitasking. Reading a bit faster, memorizing better, needing less sleep.
But before long, he can’t deny it: Something’s happening to his brain. To his body. He’s starting to see the world, and those around him—even those he loves most—in whole new ways.
The truth is, Logan’s genome has been hacked. And there’s a reason he’s been targeted for this upgrade. A reason that goes back decades to the darkest part of his past, and a horrific family legacy.
Worse still, what’s happening to him is just the first step in a much larger plan, one that will inflict the same changes on humanity at large—at a terrifying cost.
Because of his new abilities, Logan’s the one person in the world capable of stopping what’s been set in motion. But to have a chance at winning this war, he’ll have to become something other than himself. Maybe even something other than human.
And even as he’s fighting, he can’t help wondering: what if humanity’s only hope for a future really does lie in engineering our own evolution?
Intimate in scale yet epic in scope, Upgrade is an intricately plotted, lightning-fast tale that charts one man’s thrilling transformation, even as it asks us to ponder the limits of our humanity—and our boundless potential.
After exposure to a boutique dna delivery drone while on assignment, genetic crime cop Logan has to chase demons, the ghost of his mother– a global pariah and sociopath of a– and the trail of a mysterious illness in order to stop all of humanity from having it’s dna forcibly altered. As he eschews the old confines of humanity, becoming something greater in pursuit of something far worse, Logan contemplates questions about just what the fuck is wrong with humanity that we’re so willing to wager the end of the world as we know it for a few comforts.
As the book develops, we see through the protagonist’s eyes and genome, and descend into madness. There are moments where crouch tries to capture the enormity of a dataset or the absurdity of a statistical possibility. as Logan’s brain changes, Crouch manages to express a lot of that through the presentation of infomration to the reader. There are times where it’s a true infodump, but it’s always intentional when it happens in upgrade. I personally enjoyed them.
Upgrade wants to ask really important questions about what it means to be human, while it makes commentary about our responsibility to protect the planet. Its ambitious as fuck; it feels like oryx and crake meets Jack Reacher.
I think tho that the book felt a little ableist; there was so muchtalk about how hard it is to get genetics right, to have viable functional humanity, but it never took up the existence of people whose genetics society has never made room for. The pursuit of perfection is a project with an ugly history after all. I think Upgrade could have done well to examine the history of, say, phrenology– even if on the way do debunking it. After all, there are humans that we continue to decide are not quite human enough for our sympathy, humans that already bear the brunt of the environmental disasters that upgrade suggests are looming for humanity.
Rating: 4 shots/5
Paring: del maguey vida mezcal. Pretty good, very complex. but I’ve had so much like this recently, and some of what I had before was much, much better.