"BZRK," by Michael Grant, EgmontUSA, $17.99, 400 pages (f)
In the not-so-distant future, a war rages on a battleground not seen by the human eye. A war between Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corporation, headed by the conjoined Armstrong twins, and BZRK, a guerrilla group of young hackers.
The Armstrong twins believe that nano-technology is the key to creating a utopia where freedom ends, but peace begins. BZRK’s mission is to take down its opponent, including the super-gamer Bugman and his own personal vendetta against one of their own, Vincent.
Each side has its own weapons; nanobots for the Armstrong twins, and biots for BZRK. This novel is full of the intricacies of the human body and non-stop action on all fronts.
Michael Grant’s novels are action-packed and filled with a large number of characters. "BZRK" follows that same pattern with an opening scene that depicts a rather gruesome plane crash, and following several characters from both sides of the conflict.
Those who control the nanobots and biots, or “twitchers” as they are known, see their role as playing with an extremely complex video game. A lot of the language and terminology that they use will be familiar to avid video game players, and consequently will appeal to that audience.
One of the most impressive aspects of "BZRK" is the great detail in which the human body, particularly the brain, is described. On the nano level, fingerprints look like furrowed fields, beads of sweat look like enormous water balloons, and hair resembles vast forests.
It is certain that readers will not look at the human body the same way after finishing "BZRK." The attention to detail and research of this novel is impressive and refreshing.
What "BZRK" had in world-building and plot development was sorely lacking in character development. The cast of characters was extensive, and while some made an impression (particularly Bugman and the Armstrong Twins), the characters that were supposed to matter the most, didn’t. Sadie McLure and Noah were particularly disappointing, especially since they were the primary characters.
"BZRK" contains extremely heavy language. In addition to swearing, descriptions of violence and death were graphic. Many of the characters engage in, and discuss, casual sexual encounters. "BZRK" may not be suitable for some younger readers.
IF YOU GO:
What: Michael Grant book signing
When: Thursday, March 29, 7:12 p.m.
Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City
When: Friday, March 30, 7 p.m.
Where: Barnes and Noble, Jordan Landing, 7157 Plaza Center Drive, West Jordan
Emily Ellsworth is a blogger at Emily's Reading Room, a blog dedicated to promoting a love of young adult fiction. For book reviews, author interviews, and more about the latest in young adult fiction, visit her blog at emilysreadingroom.com