NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “If Michael Crichton had written a superhero novel, it would look a lot like Upgrade.”—The New York Times Book Review
“You don’t so much sympathize with the main character as live inside his skin.”—DIANA GABALDON, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Outlander series
“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 Maiden
The mind-blowing new thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Dark Matter and Recursion—currently in development as a motion picture at Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners
“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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Nobody does imaginative and chilling techno-thrillers like Blake Crouch—and this is his best since his breakthrough, Dark Matter. Set in a disturbingly realistic near future, Upgrade draws us into a world where private companies are experimenting with illegal genetic engineering to combat a looming environmental disaster. Things get very strange when Logan Ramsay, a low-level government scientist investigating these rogue scientists, gets showered with altered DNA in what seems like a lab accident. A fast and furious blend of hard science fiction, thrilling action adventure, and a splash of smart comedy, Crouch’s novel is an absolute blast.
In this nail-biting near-future science thriller from bestseller Crouch (Recursion), the world is still recovering from the Great Starvation, which killed hundreds of millions of people, the unintended consequence of the hubris of Miriam Ramsay, the discoverer of a "revolutionary, biological DNA modifier system." Seeking to eliminate a leaf blight decimating a rice strain in China, Ramsay inserted a virus into locusts intended to infect the rice to create increased resistance to the disease. Unexpectedly, the modified insects ended up targeting other crops, depleting the world's food supply. That catastrophe led to draconian measures, including harsh restrictions on biological research. Now, Ramsay's son, Logan, who assisted her before the Great Starvation, has found a new purpose working for America's Gene Protection Agency, tracking genetic scientists deemed risks. During a raid on an illegal lab, Logan becomes infected by something that hacks his genome, transforming him in frightening ways that seem to match his mother's vision of an upgraded version of homo sapiens, whose enhanced intelligence supposedly will preserve the species. Crouch fully develops his alarming concept and its implications along with delivering masterful characterizations. This is the best yet from a creative and gifted author. Agent: David Hale Smith, InkWell Management.
Intriguing and Scary to Think About
What's it about (in a nutshell):
Upgrade by Blake Crouch is an action-packed thriller about a secretly started Genetics War on humanity. Suppose people are made more intelligent, stronger, and faster. Does that mean they will make better decisions on a global scale, or do the forces behind the human upgrade have it all wrong?
Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):
The cover looks science-like, and the blurb on the back of the book confirms that the story is a sci-fi thriller. I love the premise. I find genetics endlessly fascinating, and it seems like the story will be about upgrading humans on a genetic level.
Actual Reading Experience:
I loved the premise mostly because I love studying genetics and believe that messing with nature always has unintended consequences ranging from mildly undesirable to catastrophic. So, you can see where a story like this would immediately draw me in. And it definitely did – even when the narration became so technical that it went in one ear and out the other (metaphorically speaking). That just added to the authenticity, which in turn added to the scariness of the story.
The pacing was a bit discombobulating for me. It alternated from fast-paced, violent action scenes to almost overwritten in-between periods to a highly technical discussion on genetics. So, sometimes the pages just flew, and other times I got bored with the inaction. Then, I would hit the technical parts. My reading dramatically slowed as I tried to use my most basic genetic knowledge (gleaned from a college class on genetics many moons ago) to grasp what I was being told.
However, I found that the family dynamics/story grabbed my attention even more than the gene manipulation story. The family story is more reflective of the human condition. However, the Gene War tale provided an excellent foil that better shined the spotlight on the missing part of the Upgrade plan.
To Read or Not to Read:
Overall, I found this book endlessly fascinating to read and contemplate. I don't know that I agreed with the main character's conclusion, but it gave me a lot of food for thought about my actual opinions.
Wild Ride and Very Intelligent
Perfect balance between a clever plot from start to finish, and nonstop motion propelling you forward. Impossible to put it down.
Crouch at his best
Very well done. Couldn’t put it down