Change Agent by Daniel Suarez

Change Agent by Daniel SuarezChange Agent by Daniel Suarez
Published by Dutton Books on April 18th 2017
Genres: Sci-Fi, Technology
Pages: 416
Format: Ebook
Source: NetGalley

On a crowded train platform, Interpol agent Kenneth Durand feels the sting of a needle— and his transformation begins. . . . In 2045 Kenneth Durand leads Interpol’s most effective team against genetic crime, hunting down black market labs that perform "vanity edits" on human embryos for a price.

Change Agent takes place in the near future, where embryos are able to be genetically altered to suit their parents’ wishes, correct defects, and all sorts of other things besides. The main character Kenneth Durand is an Interpol agent charged with tracking down criminals who exploit these new technologies.

We are barely introduced to the main characters when Durand is attacked by a criminal gang, and his identity is stolen, and he is transformed into the likeness, in appearance, and at a genetic level of the leader of that gang, marking him as a wanted man.

In an effort to recover his identity, clear his name and reunite with his loving family, he must go on a weird and wonderful quest across South-east Asia to track down the real culprits, and find a way to undo the unthinkable.

I suppose the origin of this story is the question of whether scientists should do something just because they can do it. There are also questions of ethics, and morality raised in the book, and the author throws in a hefty dose of philosophy. These are some of the debates that are going on in society – around the testing of embryos for things like Down Syndrome. I am not entirely sold on the so-called science involved, particularly in such a near future setting – only 30 years from now – and the level of dystopia was a little distracting at times.

I’ll be honest, I thought a lot of the world tour, and drama was manufactured largely for the purposes of having a philosophical discussion, rather than actually advancing the plot, and there were times when I felt like “Here we go again…” but the author never felt preachy.

My other beef with the novel was that – for the most part, I never really got a good sense of the ultimate bad guy in the story. There were a few encounters with the underlings, but most of the tension was from the nameless and shapeless government forces that were either chasing Durand, or were just in the area being dangerous.

I enjoyed the main character’s dilemma, and the weird and wonderful people he meets along the way, but only a couple of them seemed to have their own motivations.

Change Agent was competently written thriller that is trying very hard to be edgy and interesting, but I think it is ultimately forgettable.

I received a review copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating Report
Overall: three-stars

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