[Review] BZRK by Michael Grant


Title: BZRK

Author: Michael Grant

Series: BZRK #1

Publisher: Egmont USA

Source: Library
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 Gifts 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 guerrilla 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 battleground 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?

I was intrigued by the synopsis of this book. And then as I started reading it, it was much darker and grittier than I expected.

It was confusing in the beginning, with all the science terms and the heavy emphasis on biology, but essentially in this world, there are things called biots and nanobots. Biots are small biological versions of nanobots and nanobots are larger and made with machinery. People can control these "bugs" with their minds and they constantly see the views from the biots or nanobots in their head, because they are a part of them.

I really enjoyed this book. I love dark, morally ambiguous stories and this one is one of the darkest YA books I've ever read. Though there are clearly two sides in the conflict in this book, the BZRK and the Nexus Humanus, I found myself doubting the actions of the perceived "good guys."

The writing switches POVs quite often and it switches sometimes several times within the same chapter. It got a little confusing because there would be times in which I had no idea whose point of view I was reading from.

There are some descriptions in this book that are a little disturbing and graphic, so for those who are unable to handle guts and extreme detail on body parts, then I don't think you should read it. It is really detailed about the body parts on the nano level sometimes.

Also, because it kept switching POVs, I didn't feel quite as invested in the characters presented, though that doesn't mean they weren't interesting whatsoever.

One of the more interesting characters is Bug Man. Though they know that there are wars happening in people's bodies and it actually happens to them in real life, he treats it as a game and even when things are presented to him to prove that his actions affect reality, he denies it and returns to looking at it as a game.
"Because his life was school and a shabby room barely bigger than a closet and a mad hero of a brother and a sad, gray wraith of a mother and a nearly invisible, beaten-down father, and a beaten-down life with nothing really on the horizon but a job he would hate and more of the same, thus and forevermore."

"No, that was wrong, wasn't it? It wouldn't die. It would be taken over by the government, weaponized even more than it already was. And what government could resist the opportunity to engage in a bit of nanowar with whatever enemies arose? Even if those enemies were their own people?" 
BZRK reminds me a lot of Unwind both in its darkness, though BZRK is much darker, and because of the morality and societal issues brought up in this book. As the book ended, there are a lot of questions that are still left unanswered, and I can imagine this book turning into a thriller television series. I look forward to learning more about this world in the next book and the outcome of their battle.

I daresay that this series has piqued my interest quite a bit more than the Gone series. I read the first book and DNFed the second book only because I got bored. I may return to that series someday.

Happy Reading!
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