Upgrade, by Blake Crouch, a quick review

Even though they’re not an official trilogy in any way, I still felt like I had finished a series when I was done with Upgrade after also reading Dark Matter and Recursion. I enjoyed the absence of travel in space and time but was bored to tears by the lists of genes a person has.

There will be spoilers

Our first meeting with Logan Ramsey we learn a lot about him. We learn that he gets scared during a raid he does with his job, that he does his job as a penance for something he’s ashamed of and that he has a wife and daughter that he loves very much.
During the raid he gets sprayed with a substance and gets hospitalized. Soon after he realizes that he’s changing. He’s becoming smarted, stronger and faster. We learn that he was his mothers helper in a project that were supposed to stop crop failure but that instead issued in a world wide change in climate among other things. The world is dying and it’s partly Logans fault.

Characters

Logan is basically like every Crouch hero I’ve encountered so far. Utterly boring.

It is a superior cruel thing to have your mind conjure a desire which its functional unable to realize.

Logan, Upgrade

The above quote is basically the only time I felt something for Logan. He talks about realizing as a young man that no matter how hard he tried, he would never have his mothers intellect. I do not understand what it is with Crouch that makes him able to write thrillers that sweep you up and take you for such a ride, but so unable to write characters you care about.

Themes

Power is a big and obvious theme here. Who gets to deiced what’s right or wrong for humanity? Compassion, and how it makes us human, is another one. The combination of these themes made me think this would end better. I must say I was disappointed when Logan decided to upgrade humanity, even though it was on the genes for compassion and not just a general upgrade. How can he know what effect this will have? His mothers experiment with the locust was with pure intention and that almost ended humanity. Are we just supposed to accept that humanity now lived happily ever after? What truly makes his choice different from Caras?

Conclusions

Even though I was swept up by the fast pace I felt it grind to a halt when we had to read a long list of genes that means nothing to the average reader. I was also put off by the constant regurgitations on how perfect Logan was becoming. We get it Logan, you can multitask.
I liked Upgrade more than Recursion, since Upgrade felt more hopeful. Will I go back and read more of Crouchs books? Probably. But not for a while. There’s only so much sweat running into peoples eyes I can take.

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