Crouch's books are fun the way a summer blockbuster is fun. And on the page, he exudes the smooth, slick confidence of someone who knows exactly where he's going and just how to get there. Even his surprises seem like clockwork. They all go off precisely when he wants them to ... Crouch could've just gone on from this point and told a dull, standard-issue technological superman story. Dude gets magical sci-fi powers, saves/destroys the world, the end. But what's interesting about Upgrade is that Crouch doesn't do that ... Crouch doesn't linger. He knows how to do a chase, when to blow stuff up and when to bring the house lights down ... what makes Upgrade special is that his path is unique. He takes turns that are unexpected, explores some stunning vistas along the way, and even if the endpoint is a little bit obvious, watching him get there can be a lot of fun ... Bloody, grim and occasionally pedantic, but still fun.
Sleek and propulsive, a page-turner with unexpectedly beautiful passages that give you pause amid the thrills ... Logan, whose thoughtful, anguished perspective provides the book with much of its depth ... But while the novel raises several ethical and philosophical questions, it isn’t always interested in exploring them. This would be fine if Crouch weren’t foregrounding the emergent brilliance of his protagonist; it’s a little frustrating to see so-called geniuses dramatically siloed off to work against each other, blind to the difference between a conversation and an irreconcilable ideological split.
Crouch’s latest mind-bending thriller is well-paced, and his characters are realistic and interesting. While there is a bit of science jargon, it fits in perfectly with the action and won’t bog down readers unfamiliar with DNA technology. This is an excellent follow-up to Crouch’s other dark-science novels and will appeal to readers interested in climate fiction or superhero origin stories, as well as those who enjoy smart thrillers.