In the year 2045, Kenneth Durand, an Interpol agent who leads a team against genetic crime, feels the sting of a needle and his transformation begins. Durand finds himself identified by a cartel in charge of some of the most exclusive black market genetic labs and wakes up in the hospital, completely transformed as Interpol’s most wanted suspect. Now a fugitive, Durand must go deep into the underground world and evade police capture to try and retain his own DNA.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I started Change Agent by Daniel Suarez.
I loved the general concept; black market labs that perform “vanity edits” on human embryos for millions of dollars? I was intrigued immediately. From the first pages, I was hooked. I was completely sucked into this futuristic world and was completely horrified when Durand found his DNA stolen. Human trafficking, human experimentation, cartels and high stakes business, made this one especially complex. In fact, initially, this sci-fi thriller reminded me a little bit of Dark Matter, which was one of my favourite releases of last year
Unfortunately, I struggled a bit with the execution. As mentioned, I loved the beginning of the novel. I would say this one had me until about the 60% point where I found things got jumbled, the pace slowed and then I felt confused. The language became more technical and I found myself not being able to connect fully with the story.
I feel like anyone who likes a military thriller will enjoy this one; it does feel like a military thriller with a twist. I also feel like anyone who enjoys a futuristic or sci-fi novel will love what Suarez presents.
Overall, I felt it was a solid read and gave this one a 3.5/5 stars.
Thanks to Dutton, the author and Netgalley for allowing a digital copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.
This one was also a #cjsreads pick so keep reading to see what Jessica and Chandra thought.
What Chandra Thought:
It’s 2045 and Interpol’s Kevin Durand is shutting down bioengineering hot beds that are changing the DNA of embryos in order to make “children to order”. While some are doing this for the pure sense of not having their child be born with an illness or deformity (as he’s guilty of with his own child), others are manufacturing kids in a more immoral way and he’s out to stop as many as possible. Because he’s good at his job, one of the most notorious international criminals, Marcus Wyckers, is out for his head. But why take his head when he can use Durand’s entire body? An unfortunate prick in a crowded area sends him into a coma for weeks and when Durand wakes up, he doesn’t understand why he’s handcuffed. Asking for a mirror, his reflection shows Wyckers, as does his DNA. How did this happen and how far will he go to get back to his family and try and change his DNA back to his own?
What the ever living hell. This was somewhat plausible and somewhat crazy! Personally, I had the best time reading about how gene manipulation could work… and how it could also be abused. I was utterly fascinated with Durand’s journey. And genetic tattooing… GIMME. Reminiscent of Face Off (the movie, not the reality show) with a Total Recall futuristic feeling, I found this novel entertaining. Some may get a little turned off with all the scientific jargon, which can make certain parts feel a little drawn out. I can see this absolutely being made into a movie adaptation. I think it should – I’d buy it.
Love your sci-fi with some gene splicing and dicing? Take a chance on this read and be careful in crowded areas.
What Jessica Thought:
The Change Agent by Daniel Suarez was an intriguing read. I love futuristic thrillers and seeing the advancements that the authors come up with! This one is set in the not-so-distant future in 2045, and genetic crime is a big problem. Performing “vanity edits” on human embryos on the black market so that they can rapidly accelerate human evolution? Then using victims of human-trafficking to experiment on? Holy crap, sounds interesting.
Kenneth Durand leads Interpol’s most effective team against genetic crime, and with the two worlds of genetic crime and human trafficking beginning to converge, he has is work cut out for him to try and shut it down. In their investigation, they discover the man in charge of it all, Marcus Demang Wyckes, who is also the head of a powerful and sophisticated cartel, the Huli jing. Little does Durand know, the cartel has also figured out who is he, and immediately has a target on his back. Waking up from a coma, weeks after he was forcibly given a radical new change agent, he discovers that he isn’t himself – he’s been changed into his most wanted suspect: Wyckes.
Things start to get crazy as he tries to outrun former colleagues in the genetic underworld. Durand is now on a new mission: to find the change agent so he can restore his original DNA. This book got very creative and interesting in the fact that you slowly realize, Wyckes and the Huli jing, have manipulated the genetic technology to be able to completely change identities. How is Durand supposed to hunt down his target when they could be literally anyone?
Overall, I loved this concept. It’s unique and original. Genetic modification was something we previously read about in a past #CJSReads selection, and that came off as weird and messy almost. This was gritty and these kinds of modifications weren’t legal.
This book can cross into an array of different kinds of thrillers. Sci-fi, technology thrillers, and futuristic (you could probably argue it’s a cat and mouse type thriller). I give it a solid 4/5 stars!