Author: Michael Grant
Series: Bzrk #1
Genre: YA, Sci-fi, Thriller, Adventure, Romance
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? -Goodreads
This is a book that I've had on my TBR pile for a really long time, once I saw it I bought it immediately. After reading Grant's Gone series, he quickly became one of my favourite YA novelists, and I was excited to read anything else by him. With these high expectations, I began reading this novel.
Unfortunately almost from the beginning I knew this wasn't going to be as good as Gone, apart from being a completely different premise (and genre to a degree) it was completely different in terms of the speed of the plot, and the development of the characters. I know I shouldn't compare these two series, as they are completely different, but I couldn't help but feel disappointed by this offering by Grant.
The novel got off to a slow start, despite it being quite an action-packed beginning, I struggled to feel drawn in by the action I was reading, or feel anything for the characters involved. The whole novel continued on in this vein, it didn't have any page-turning aspect to it, and at times I really struggled to make it to the end!
Also this novel is chock full of technical jargon, both in a technological sense, and in a science/biological sense. Some of the anatomical information about the brain I already knew from my degree, but a lot of the technical jargon to do with the bugs the characters were controlling was so dense I had to skim over paragraphs of it to get to the story again.
However, one aspect of the novel I did like was the wide range of characters Grant had included in the novel. On both teams, there was a nice mix of diverse individuals, in terms or nationality, gender and sexuality. It made the novel feel a little more like real life, with the characters seeming more like people one might meet in real life.
Another aspect that redeemed the novel for me was the changing P.O.V within the novel. This was a very strong feature of the Gone novels, and Grant put it to good use in this novel too. The reader got the P.O.V of both groups, fighting against each other. This allowed for an interesting insight into the opinions and mindset of both groups, both thinking that they were the "goodies" and the other side the "baddies".
This blurring of the ideas of "good" and "bad" in the novel was an interesting part of this novel, I was never sure of either teams reasons for justifying their actions, or who was doing what in terms of good or bad.
If you're at all squeamish, I don't recommend this novel, it goes into extreme details about all the germs and other bacteria that live on the human body, and the other gross stuff!! This made me feel quite dirty and squeamish myself, and it's an aspect of the novel I could've done without reading.
Overall I gave this novel 3.5/5, because although I was disappointed by the delivery of this novel, it was a fascinating idea, with a nicely diverse group of characters.
Thanks for reading :)