Book Review



  • Author: Blake Crouch
  • Genre: Sci-Fi
  • Publication Date: July 12, 2022
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books

Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

CONTENT WARNING: bioterrorism, suicide, forced confinement, blood, mention of torture, violence, gun violence, bombs

“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.

I’m not typically one for sci-fi, but there’s something about Blake Crouch’s writing that makes them somehow easy to understand, even when he talks about the most difficult concepts. After starting with Dark Matter, this was a walk in the park. I mean, if people with guns were chasing me, you know?

This story takes place at an unspecified point in the near future. A scary and changed version of the future. Climate change, technology, and medical advances have changed the landscape of the US, leading to increased surveillance and the creation of a new government agency in accordance with the Gene Protection Act. And Logan Ramsey is a man who works for the government, ensuring the enforcement of this new act. Things are going well, mostly, until something goes terribly wrong. He’s subjected to an upgrade at a genetic level, and it creates major changes at all levels of his life.

When he realizes that he was specifically targeted for a reason, his increased cognitive processing skills start to put the pieces into place and he realizes that this has the ability to affect everyone on Earth, not just him and the people around him. However, it’s really easy to get sucked into Logan’s character and his internal struggle—with his own changes, with his past, with what he has to do, and how he feels about the situation that he’s been forced into.

The book is extremely fast-paced. I read it in a single sitting, mainly because I just couldn’t put it down. There is a lot of action, and the plot twists caught me completely by surprise. And don’t be scared off by the technical information and scientific aspects of the story—Crouch phrases even the most difficult concepts into bite-size tidbits that make it easy to understand even for a layperson. I never found myself getting overwhelmed or caught up in jargon, instead focusing on the bigger picture the entire time.

“We were a monstrous, thoughtful, selfish, fearful, ambitious, loving, hateful, hopeful species. We contained within us the potential for great evil, but also for great good. And we were capable of so much more than this.”

What started out as the story of a single man ultimately turns into a struggle to save all of humanity, even as Logan races against time. I fell in love with this story, and now that I see what Crouch is capable of, I’m definitely going to have to rush to the library and check out more of his backlist!

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 9

4 replies »

  1. I don’t have an ARC of this book and I want to read it, but I’m going to wait a while before getting a copy to read it. I know I won’t get to it anytime soon, but I’m intrigued enough to want to read it before the end of this year.

    Liked by 1 person

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