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[Book Review] - BZRK by Michael Grant

Title: BZRK
   Author: Michael Grant
   Series: #1 - BZRK
   Format: Hardcover
   Release Date: February 28th, 2012
   My Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

      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?

My Review:

   When I reread the synopsis to the book I realize just how let down I feel about this book. It sounds so good and even the cover leaves the whole mystery of madness and monster. However, when I dove into the story and literally flew through the book, I realized quickly this book wasn't what I thought it would be. I was looking for the great transitions between a Nano or microscopic level and a human level, but it was so disjointed and frankly just messy. The characters were mediocre, and when the level transitions failed, the characters didn't pick up where one flaw started. The whole book just left me uneasy at the end and frankly questioning what even happened in the novel.

     First the book jumps between characters nearly every chapter. This technique just isn't for every book, and in this case it didn't work at all. I didn't get attached to any character, because there was so much movement and disjointedness with the whole novel. I found that I wanted to see more of the main characters and frankly what little of those that was there, it just was never enough. The characters themselves were so one-dimensional and bland, I want to ask for depth and in a book all about depth, you would think that the characters would be a bit more robust. Just not there at all.

     So now I am going to get to my least favorite part of the book. Noah and Sadie (the two main characters) are part of this whole underground movement BZRK that opposes the Armstrongs. They are given nanobots to fight and help wage war on the nano-level. Now when the fight starts, the bouncing between levels (macro and nano) is just so hard to follow and at sometimes is so messy. The nano-level I never bought into. It seemed more of a random color by number My Little Pony style area. I was expecting something rough, gritty, dangerous, dark and just straight up fantasy. The world you get at the nano-level is just not there, and you question it every time a description comes out. It's hard to follow and get into, I just never bought it at all.

     Now with the other characters and the battle between Vincent and Bug Man, they were the two that I found more interesting than the main to. As for supporting characters, they more or less supported the whole story. They show just how dangerous and deadly the whole war is. The nano-bots are tightly tied to your brain and how you operate them, so you lose a bot entirely you will lose your brain as consolation. You are fighting a battle for sanity and that brings about the stakes in the war. I love the battle between the two and I find it sad that the rest of the story couldn't keep up to how great these two were.

     So while I seem like I am jumping back and forth, I love how Vincent and Bug Man worked, but the nano-level was a complete failure. A book that is clearly focusing around the idea that there is a war of Happiness vs. Free Will, and just how it's being fought, I couldn't give this book a higher rating. The characters needed more, there wasn't that attachment, even for the two I enjoyed the most in the book. I felt nothing for their loses and what they are going through in the war. It's just too bad. However, what makes the story even worse is the nano-level; it's not satisfactory and I hope the rest of the series can pick it up and expand on it, because it direly needs it.
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