Author: Michael Grant
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Dystopian
Series: BZRK (Book 1)
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages
ISBN-10: 1606843125 (EgmontUSA)
ISBN-13: 978-1606843123 (EgmontUSA)
Reviewed by: Macie
Set in the near future, BZRK is the story of a war for control of the human mind. Charles and Benjamin Armstrong, conjoined twins and owners of The Armstrong Fancy Gift Corporation, have a goal: to turn the world into their vision of utopia. No wars, no conflict, no hunger. And no free will. Opposing them is a guerilla group of teens, code name BZRK, who are fighting to protect the right to be messed up, to be human. This is no ordinary war though. Weapons are deployed on the nano-level. The battle ground is the human brain. And there are no stalemates here: It’s victory…..or madness.
BZRK unfolds with hurricane force around core themes of conspiracy and mystery, insanity and changing realities, engagement and empowerment, and the larger impact of personal choice. Which side would you choose? How far would you go to win?
Quick & Dirty: Battles are fought at the nano level inside humans for control of the world in this fascinating novel about the very near future.
Opening Sentence: A girl sat just three chairs from Noah talking to her hand.
This book was unlike anything I had ever read before. First I have to say if you cannot read anything gory, this is not the book for you. The gore is more of an assessment from a third party’s point of view with the same detail given to the scene no matter what the scene may be. That being said, I really enjoyed this novel.
The premise is that there are two types of nano-size fabricated entities that are used to go inside people and control parts of the brain. Nanobots are all mechanical, and infest certain targets to gain power and information. Biots are grown using specific people’s DNA, and are controlled by those people to combat the nanobots inside people’s body. A lot of the action takes place inside people at the micro level, which is an intense and eye opening experience as a reader. At some points, the extreme close up view from the nanos can be a bit disconcerting, but still fascinating in a grossly human way.
The book focuses on many different people on either side of the micro level war to give the reader multiple perspectives on what is going on in the book. The Armstrong twins, who own Armstrong Fancy Gift Corporation, control the nanobots doing their dirty work of taking over the world through controlling the world leaders. Biots were created by the McLure company, and funded the BZRK group who combat the nanobots. The beginning of the book shows how the Armstrong twins set up the death of the McLure family, with only the teenage daughter, Sadie, escaping alive. There is all sorts of espionage, planning, and action that takes place throughout the course of the novel that feels very real and intense for the reader.
This novel is also interactive through this website: http://gobzrk.com/ and has a phone app. I haven’t checked out much of the transmedia yet, but I plan on getting the app. I can only imagine what sort of extras the transmedia will offer.
There is not a lot that I can say about the novel without giving anything away besides just go read it. It was a trip I was glad to be a part of even if it made me uncomfortable at times thinking about how my body looks at the cellular level.
The novel ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, but I have not found any information on whether or not the series will be continued. I do encourage anyone who enjoys science fiction that may soon become reality to read this novel as it gives a whole new meaning to what it is to be human. I have to admit, I was a bit paranoid after I read the novel, which can only attest to how well it is written if it draws that response.
The blast wave so overwhelming, so irresistible, that she wouldn’t even realize for several minutes that she had been thrown thirty feet, tossed like a leaf before a leaf blower, to land on her back against a seat, the impact softened by the body of a little girl. Thrown away like a doll God was tired of playing with.
She felt the heat, like someone had opened a pizza oven inches from her face. And set off a hand grenade amid the cheese and pepperoni. The first inch of hair caught fire but was quickly extinguished as air rushed back to the vacuum of the explosion.
The next minutes passed in a sort of loud silence. She heard none of the cries. Could no longer hear the sounds of falling debris all around her. Could hear only the world’s loudest car alarm screaming in her brain, a siren that came not from outside her head but from inside.
Sadie rolled off the crushed form of the girl. On hands and knees between rows of seats. Something sticky squishing up through her fingers. Something red and white: bloody fat. Just a chunk of it, the size of a ham.
Should do something, should so something, her brain kept saying. But what? Run away? Scream?
Now she noticed that her left arm was turned in a direction arms didn’t turn. There was no pain, just the sight of bones–her bones–sticking through the skin of her forearm. Thin white sticks jutting from a gash filled with raw hamburger.
She screamed. Probably. She couldn’t hear, but she felt her mouth stretch wide.
She stood up.
The fire was uphill from her in the stands, maybe thirty rows up. A tail fin was intact but being swiftly consumed by the oily fire. A pillar of thick, greasy smoke swirled and filled her nostrils with the stench of gas stations and barbecued meat before finding its upward path.
The main fire burned without much color to the flame.
Bodies burned yellow and orange.
Unless he had been blown clear, Tony’s would be one of them.
A fat man crawled away, pulling himself along his elbows as fire crawled up his legs.
A boy, maybe ten, squatted beside his mother’s head.
Sadie realized a different scene of madness was going on behind her. She turned and saw a panicked crowd shoving and pushing like a herd of buffalo on the run from a lion.
But others weren’t running away but walking warily toward the carnage.
A man reached her and mouthed words at her. She touched her ear, and he seemed to get it. He looked at her broken arm an did an odd thing. He kissed his fingertips and touched them to her shoulder and moved along. later it would seem strange. At that moment, no.
The BZRK Series:
FTC Advisory: EgmontUSA provided me with a copy of BZRK. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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