Thursday, 13 November 2014

Book Review: BZRK by Michael Grant

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.

My Review:
The word 'nano' in a book description leaves me very wary about the story, after a bad book experience from Michael Crichton in the past. His nano related book nearly made my head explode! I had already bought the Gone books which were sitting unread on my shelf, so I thought I'd give this one a try anyway. To be honest I wish I'd went with my gut feeling and avoided this book.

As soon as the book started, I knew that this was a mistake. The opening with Sadie watching the accident etc was ok as a start to a novel, but as soon as the Bug Man was introduced, everything went downhill rapidly. After a few pages of nanos, macro, twitcher, spinners, bugs, laying wire and nanobots, I was left wondering what the hell the author was talking about. There was so much technical jargon that it made my head spin like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. The plot of these twisted people controlling nanos in people to make them do things might well be good in theory but the author then felt compelled to drown the reader in confusing technobabble for good measure, which totally switched me off from the plot. For those who know little about science, this book was confusing and far too complicated to get into.

My relief at the story switching back to Noah and his brother who became mentally damaged after serving in Afghanistan was short lived as we went into a section with characters using wall to wall f bombs, which I hate in a book. If an author has to rely on swearing for no obvious reason, which adds nothing to the plot, it means to me that they are not clever enough to use good dialogue to tell the story. I don't mind swearing when it is is needed in the plot and serves a purpose but this was just thrown in there for the sake of it.

The characters were dull and as exciting as planks of wood. I never felt any connection to Noah or Sadie or really cared what happened to them, which is a big issue for me. If I don't like the characters I rarely like the book. The plot itself also went into a boring mode and my mind started wandering. It was obvious that this was not going to be a book that I would like so there was little point continuing. I'm now very concerned about reading the Gone series.

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