Sheri's Reviews > BZRK

BZRK by Michael  Grant
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Dec 30, 12

bookshelves: fantasy, coming-of-age, kid-young-adult
Read from May 08 to 09, 2012

I feel kind of bad giving this book a 2 star rating. For what it is, it does a pretty good job (and probably deserves a 3-4 star rating). Trouble is, I don't judge on an inflated scale and overall this is not really a book worth reading. It is just a few hours worth of entertainment.

I really enjoyed the first 20% or so; the premise is great...nanobots vs. biots, action sequences "down in the meat" and cool idea about how vulnerable we (humans) are to the tiny things that we can't see (bacteria, virus, lice...). But there are just too many problems with the structure. Most annoyingly:
1. Both nanobot and biot technology are illegal and (so) both are not willing to go to the authorities; but each side has literally hundreds of people (including mostly 16 year old kids) who manage to keep what they do secret (despite how cool it might sound to friends/others) AND several top leaders know about it (i.e. Tatania "Fanshaw")...so it's not really secret...why aren't the governments involved? I think it would have worked better on a macro level if Lear was a subset of FBI/CIA or something. Could even pull in other countries' intelligence and they could be working together to fight Armstrong...this would especially be plausible because Alex was an ex-military.
2. How come people go crazy when their biots die? The biots are described as "limbs" they are an extra eye, legs, etc. I imagine the "phantom limb" would be even more severe than with a loss of a leg, but maybe not (especially if you had only had the biot for a short period of time). They don't eat (so they aren't separate babies even though they are described that way).

I know he was being "tricky" with the ambiguity in the beginning of the book on who were good guys and who were bad guys, but rather than making me think of these as more complex people (no one is really all good..yeah..yeah), it just came across as intentionally distracting the reader. Drawing all the parallels between Bug Man and Vincent (we see each commit murder in the first scene we meet them, they both "wire" their girlfriends, and to top it off, Vincent is the one who has anhedonia). If Vincent doesn't feel pleasure, WHY does he want to keep Anya alive so badly? Why do any of these people (besides Sadie and Noah whose reasons are explained) want to risk their lives for this? Compensation is what drives Bug Man, but the "good guys" don't really get much. Certainly they are told they can't leave, but why did they get involved in the beginning?

Overall it was entertaining and a quick distraction read, but I think it could have been better thought through and more internally consistent.

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