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Wednesday 24 August 2011

Upgrade by Stephen Hise

I do love books that leave you open-mouthed at the end – this was certainly one of them.  It is very well written and the author deftly manages to portray the main character, Brent, as a slightly pathetic figure: very rich and successful but lacking in the looks department, so much so he is prepared to undergo an irreversible process to make people or, more importantly, the female of the species, notice him.  He is not a likeable character at first because he wants to become attractive to women merely, it seems, for sex.  However, as the story continues you warm to him as he tries to focus on doing the right thing by the woman he loves and you almost start to feel your sympathy cords being tugged.  The nearer I got to end the more I realised I had really no idea how a satisfying (for a reader) conclusion was going to be reached.  I knew from some reviews that there was a surprise ending, and with only 10% to go, I smugly thought I had guessed it.  In fact, I only half guessed it.  What I hadn’t predicted left me speechless.
I liked Stephen’s style – I found it sophisticated, and easy-flowing and I had a laugh-out-loud moment when he used a very analogical adjective which was perfect for the situation being described – ‘Clintonian’.  It was brilliantly apt!
There was certainly a very serious moral to this excellent story – be very, very careful what you wish for.

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