Review: BZRK

BZRK
BZRK by Michael Grant
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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?

The thing about BZRK I liked the most is the world-building. Yes, it is not exactly a fantasy nor a dystopic novel and is it set in our present world. But there is another world in additional to ours, the world at the nano level. The macro and nano worlds were rendered so well that I couldn’t help but sacrifice sleep in order to finish this. The war is between two factions – one is for a human hive mind, the AFGC and one is for freedom, the BZRK. Both sides control these nanoscale devices called bots, only AFGC has the mechanical ones and BZRK has the biological ones. Both have their own share of advantages and disadvantages and both sides are not exactly moral in what they are doing and how they are doing it. It’s basically a game being played at both ends, but much more exciting than a video game and the stakes are real as the BZRK ones face a life of madness if their biots are destroyed.

The story is in a third person perspective, and you get into the minds of almost every character, which gives an interesting insight into how Grant has imagined the whole nano world. He has so thoroughly described how things might look at a different scale. Most interesting was how these two newbies into BZRK cope with an alteration in their world – they know what regular daily things look like, but when their biots are created, it’s like a third eye has literally been opened for them. The things about nanobots – those I could fully imagine. But the biots – they are beyond my imagination. It was spectacular that Grant created the nano world and his descriptions of an in-detail view of the anatomy is amazing. For a science-fiction novel, it is one of the best I have come across.

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