Series: BZRK #1
Author: Michael Grant
Available: Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: Love The Hunger Games? Action-adventure thrillers with a dystopian twist? BZRK (Berserk) by Michael Grant, New York Times best-selling author of the GONE series, ramps up the action and suspense to a whole new level of excitement.
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?
As a huge fan of the Gone series, I was certain I’d love anything that came from the depths of Michael Grant’s imagination – and I was not disappointed.
There was a bit of a learning curve at the beginning of the novel, and I just had to hope that things would be explained later on but they were, of course. Things like the differences between nanobots and biots. Or which side was the good guys – I wasn’t sure about that for a good while there. Of course, I think that’s the sign of a good novel (though, if you’ve read the summary up there you know which side is which – I hadn’t read that previously. I’d only read the book flap, which is quite different).
The character development wasn’t as strong as I’d have liked it to be – which is why it doesn’t get the full five stars. I’m hoping that we get to dig a little deeper in the next one. This one was more about the nano technology than it was about the characters, which detracts a little from what they’re fighting for in the first place – humanity.
The other hang up I had in reading it was whether or not I agree with the idea that morality can be suspended if the end result is a win for the good guys. Both the good guys and the bad guys (who somehow believe they are the good guys) made several questionable choices that indicate that the end may justify the means. It makes you question what you know and believe and what you would do to fight for what you believe in. Would I make the same choices Vincent did with Anya? Would I be willing to use biot technology to rewire someone else’s brain – to take away his free will – even if I knew in my heart he was the bad guy? I don’t know. I honestly don’t.
It’s a fascinating question that Grant asks the reader. It’s been several weeks since I finished the book, and these are all things that I’m still thinking about. This book hasn’t left me yet. Grant has definitely left his mark with this one.