This review is going to be short. This isn't because I didn't like BZRK but more because I can't quite find the words to do it justice yet.
Firstly can I say that Michael Grant is probably one of the most creepy YA writers out there. The man delights in terrifying teenagers with his creepy and twisted imagination. I find myself having to read his books in the day time with extra lights on, someone else in the house, a space in the freezer to stash it if it gets too much and a pillow to hide behind. There are several times when I have to stop reading and pull myself together and am torn between not wanting to know what happens next but also needing to know what happens next. Therefore I would certainly recommend his books if you have a pretends-to-be-hard-as-nails-teenager in the family as it'll be a good test of how hard and scary they actually are.
The world in BZRK is a scary place just most people don't know it. There are two rival groups who both use nano technology to fight one another as one tries to bring down world leaders and cause chaos while the other tries to stop them. The ideas behind this story are ingenious main because they could so easily be true if not now, in a few years down the line. The whole world of biots and nanos was incredibly creepy main because the ordinary person wouldn't know they were there and doing the things they did. The descriptions of them entering human bodies was downright chilling, gruesome and all too creepy for my liking throughout the entire book ut quite probably something teenagers would love as it's really gory.
I must say the villian of the piece in this story is really one to be scared of not just because of what they are able to do but also because of their physical form. the conjuoined twins in this are downright sinister and scary throughout.
The pace of the story was fast paced and thrilling (would you expect anything else from a Michael Grant??) keeping you reading page after page. The story itself is set to be huge as the series progresses especially considering how the book finally ended. I am looking forward to seeing where it goes even if I do need to hide behind a pillow to finish it.
on 30 August 2012
I've never read anything by Michael Grant before but I've read so many stellar reviews of his books that I thought it was about time I tried one for myself. BZRK is published by Egmont's new YA imprint Electric Monkey and is unique because prior to the book's publication, a six-month long interactive transmedia prequel was launched online, incorporating social media, web sites, blogs, video games and many other mobile devices to develop people's interest in the characters and the story before actually reading the book. The beauty of this is that people can become as involved as they want to be but the more they interact with the content, the more they're likely to engage with the story. I think this is a great idea and it would be interesting to know how successful this project has been. It may be something that other authors consider adopting in the future.
`BZRK' had a stellar opening which really grabbed my attention and left me wondering what was coming next. A private jet crashes into a stadium full of people and Grant pulls no punches in showing us what happens in gory detail. Although a book for young adults, Grant's writing, along with the complexity and sophistication of the plot and many of the concepts and ideas incorporated into the novel are not dumbed down at all. This is a book that you need to pay attention to. I have to say that at some points I wasn't completely sure I understood what was happening and some passages I had to go back to and read again which slightly spoilt my enjoyment of the overall story.
Grant has invented a world where two factions are battling for the future of civilisation as we know it. They're battling not with conventional weapons but with nano technology. One side controls biots while the other side uses nanobots - designed to be implanted into people's heads, allowing someone else to control their thoughts, actions and feelings, without them even knowing it. This is a scary idea as it seems impossible at the moment but plausible in the future. There are some explicit descriptions of them entering people's eyes and brain which definitely had me wincing more than once.
The main fault for me with `BZRK' was that I didn't feel any real connection with the characters. Many of the people in the book go by code names to protect their identity, but this, combined with the fact that there wasn't much back story for the two main protagonists, left me with a sense that I never really got to know who they were or their true personalities. There were some interesting and unique secondary characters in the book including the creepy conjoined Armstrong Twins who want to take away peoples' free will and a mysterious figure called Caligula but no one that I found myself really caring about.
I've actually got mixed feelings about the book. I wanted to love it and I was blown away by how clever it was but for me, my favourite books are ones where what happens to the characters actually matters to me and I just didn't experience that with `BZRK'. I am intrigued enough to want to find out what happens next though as there were a lot of plot threads left hanging and I'm curious to see where Michael Grant will take the story next.
on 2 April 2012
Michael Grant really knows how to deliver a fast paced, exciting thriller. His short, simplistic prose is action rather than description based and while there may be people who might be turned off from his `telling' rather than 'showing' style, his descriptions are slick and witty and complements this YA Sci-Fi thriller.
I think for Sci-Fi to be well done world building is integral and this idea of the `nano' is very intriguing and is distinctively fleshed out. The idea of being able to use nanotechnology/DNA-based biots to manipulate people, to control their actions and to redefine their memories is quite chillingly plausible.
Like Grant's GONE novels, BZRK has loads of interesting characters. We get into their heads through chapters told in alternating perspectives, occasionally with multiple character perspectives in one chapter. While I had to occasionally flick through the book to remember who was who due to how they were not that well developed (action more than description-based, remember?) they have peaked my interest somewhat and I look forward to getting to know them better in book 2.
Of course, the actual story is very clever too. The Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corporation is a front used by conjoined twins Benjamin and Charles Armstrong who plan to use nanotechnology to their advantage--to create the ultimate utopia, one where they connect the human race, for the better of mankind. BZRK want people to have free will, to choose what they want to do, and they fight against the Armstrong twins in insane action scenes featuring both `macro'--real world--action and `nano' action. As per Grants usual, both are very exciting. And this book is quite gory, but is told in a tasteful, blasé way (which is all the more creepier).
It took me a while to get settled into BZRK but once I did, I couldn't stop until I reached the end. I would recommended this book, and I cannot wait for book two.
BZRK is a complex, tautly-woven, fast-paced Sci-Fi thriller. It features original world-building and some incredible action scenes that I think any reader would find delight in. While BZRK is not as compulsively addictive from the first page on as the GONE series (comparisons between the two are inevitable), if you stick with it you'll find an incredibly clever story that leaves you really wanting more.
World War 3 has just begun, but only a handful of people know anything about it. The battlefield is not swathes of land or the open seas this time, the war is raging within the minds and bodies of human beings. The objective is to control the worlds leaders - making them into mindless puppets and two major international forces are lined up against each other. The first wants to usher in an era of worldwide peace prosperity and happiness - even if this achieved through barbarous methods, while the second group is fighting and very willing to die for the concept of free will.
BZRK has a very action driven plot - with a fair amount of violence. In both pacing and storyline, this is very much like a video game, and for the main characters, the battle they are about to enter, played out through biots and nanobots on sub atomic level is very much like a video game - but while battling "down in the flesh" as they refer to it they may also be called on to fight in the macro - or the world the rest of inhabit as well. And if they die in one world, apparently they either die in both or become completely insane.
The main protagonists are all quite young, which suits this story, I feel youth would adapt to this type of technology far easier than adults. They are part of very secretive organisations with BZRK being run along the same lines as most terrorist cells - but with even more privacy. This may account for the lack of character development, but as I prefer character driven plots, this did have some drawbacks for me. Still it was a good fast paced story which I feel would particularly appeal to young boys and avid gamers. Sadly though, I found the ending so artificial and unrealistic, that I do not feel that I would buy another book in this series. I realise that the author needed to keep this open for the next series - but the way ended came as completely against both human nature and common sense in my opinion ( and the two are not that often in complete agreement).
If you enjoy a book that reads like a video game, plenty of action, fight scenes and suspense and just a few very frightening ideas this may be just right for you. This book taps into a very rapidly advancing but also secretive science, as well as the most basic of human fears. Despite the fact that I prefer a book with very well developed characters - I did very much enjoy and most likely would have bought the next book if not for the ending. If you are will to overlook one massive mistake - this might still be worth reading.
on 24 May 2012
Having enjoyed Michael Grant's 'Gone' series up to now (I've read the first three books at this point), I was intrigued at the prospect of a new book from him. And it certainly is a fresh story and approach. Unlike some authors, who reuse basic ideas and plots, Grant really has gone for something entirely different with this book.
The premise is relatively simple. In the background of everyday life, two organisations fight a vicious unseen battle using advanced technology to control and influence people. The AFGC use nanobots, minuscule robots that are controlled much like a computer game. BZRK use biots, actual tiny living creatures that are controlled by a person's consciousness. Nanobots and biots are capable of infiltrating a person's body and altering their mind, as indeed they are capable of fighting each other, and the book follows the two organisations as they battle each other in an unseen war.
It's unusual to label the premise of a book as truly original, but whilst nanotechnology has been the subject of many books and plots in the past, I have never seen it done quite like this. The fact that the book follows both the individuals from these organisations and the movements of their nanobots/biots makes for an original and interesting narrative. The book maintains a decent pace throughout, and Grant also manages to maintain a good mix of action and plot development.
The ending of Bzrk, which makes it quite clear that the story is not finished and the book is the first in a series (something that I wasn't aware of beforehand), does seem somewhat abrupt, even in the contest of the first book in the series. There are a lot of questions to be answered, which is no bad thing, but I did feel that the ending of Bzrk was a bit too sudden. That said, Grant has shown with his previous series that he is more than capable of spinning a decent tale over the course of a series, so I now look forward to the second book with some anticipation. Overall this was thoroughly enjoyable, and whilst it is a bit more 'techie' than the Gone series, which may not be to absolutely everyone's tastes, it is certainly worth checking out for fans of his previous books and sci-fi fans generally.
on 13 January 2016
I love this series. Bzrk was so fascinating, if a bit barbaric. I didn't expect the twist in the last book and sometimes find the introduction of new characters confusing but this seems to be a thing that Grant does - after reading the Gone series. I would definitely recommend this book and I ended up thinking about the whole nano-world and what's going on down there 'in the meat'!
on 28 March 2012
I stayed up late to finish this and I really wish I hadn't bothered. In fact, I'm very surprised I managed it.
This book was a huge disappointment. This is because I had high expectations of Michael Grant after reading his imaginative Gone series, full of exciting characters with mutant powers that draws interesting comparisons between the struggling society created by the kids and our own world. Grant's books have never been perfect to me, I have often complained about the lack of a decent female character who could be strong, realistic and not annoy the hell out of me. That's what was so bad about Bzrk, because it did have this.
When I was first introduced to Sadie McLure, I was thinking "YEEESSSS!!!" inside my mind because the author had finally delivered a female lead that was intelligent, kickass and not simply the sidekick or girlfriend of the male self-sacrificing hero. She was all these things... but Sadie was also as flat and boring as any character I've read after a few chapters. The book does start well, not just with the introduction of the characters, but with the dramatic plane crash that opens up a bizarre science-fiction mystery which involves secret corporations that are trying to take over the world. Exciting stuff. Well, for a while, that is.
Boredom is my biggest complaint about this book. The sci-fi aspect is well thought-out and conceivable, perhaps this novel just really is too much of a boy book (whatever that really means), I like my sci-fi with something a bit more human to balance it out: easily relatable characters, humour, even romance... Bzrk failed to successfully deliver any of these. Unfortunately, I'll just stick to finishing the Gone series, though I'm not sure how that's going to cope with two more books on the way - sometimes authors just don't know when to quit (I'm looking at you, Richelle Mead).
on 15 September 2013
I absolutely loved the Gone series so downloaded this book just because I liked them so much. I was not disappointed at all. Great story, amazingly descriptive and a great perspective to view the characters from, 'down in the meat.' Would highly recommend this book and have already download BZRK Reloaded.
on 9 June 2013
I finished read this book over 2 days, I could not put it down! I would recommend it to anyone from about 13 and up considering the expletives used in the novel. A truly exhilarating read, I loved it. Thank you Michael Grant for such an incredible book.
on 30 March 2012
I enjoyed this book so much. I just had to keep reading it! Page turning scary, freaky and just plain right weird but as it was it was amazing! Would recommend it to any gone series lovers and finished it just in time for the fear!