Reviews for Bzrk


Booklist Reviews 2012 March #2
*Starred Review* Grant, who showed a flair for grandiose conceptual gambits in his Gone series, here goes big by going small. With science as soft as pudding (though, really, who cares--pudding is delicious), he envisions nanotechnology so advanced that brains can be rewired, memories manipulated, and senses hacked by robots and gene-spliced creatures the size of dust mites. A war between two ultra-secretive, competing ideologies--one championing free will, the other promising enforced happiness--is being fought "down in the meat," and Grant gleefully exposes the biological ickiness of the body going about its everyday business in paranoia-inducing scenes of nanobots scuttling across spongy brain matter or plunging probes into optic nerves. At the same time, he doles out eviscerating loads of violence on the macro level as two teens are enlisted to help stop a maniacal baddie and his team of "twitchers," who are planning to infiltrate the heads of the world's most powerful nations. With simmering pots of sexual tension, near-nonstop action, and the threat of howling madness or brain-melting doom around every corpuscular corner, Grant's new series is off to a breathless, bombastic start. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Grant's Gone novels have catapulted him into best-sellerdom, but he's also one of the savvier explorers of multiplatform attention grabs. An elaborate assault of mobile gaming apps, tangential online stories and comics, and an array of other interactive content all extend his reach. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Booklist Reviews 2013 July #1
In the not-too-distant future, war can be waged at the cellular level, and the BZRK biots (genetically engineered extensions of humans) battle Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corporation (AFGC) nanotechnology for control of the country and the fate of humanity. AFGC's number-one (human) operative, the Bug Man, is intent on wiping out mankind and controls the American president, while BZRK is attempting to rebound from the death and insanity resulting from its last encounter with AFGC. BZRK's only hope is to destroy or subvert Bug Man, and it is a slim hope at best. Readers will need seat belts and a road map to keep up with the frequently gruesome nonstop action in this middle title of a trilogy that explores the intersection of morality and technology. Caution: read this after BZRK (2012) because Grant doesn't pause for definitions or recaps, although Plath, Keats, the Twins, and other familiar characters reappear and are further developed as the plot careens through a second AFGC-BZRK close encounter. A shocking, violent, yet engrossing thrill ride of a story. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With Grant's Gone series finished, this looks to be the best-selling author's flagship project. Expect it to be treated as such. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
Teens Sadie and Noah are recruited into the battle of nature versus technology, as the deranged Armstrong twins seek world dominion by manipulating people's brains with nanotechnological robots. The guerrilla organization BZRK fights back with biots that get "down in the meat"--but at the risk of the host s sanity. The book is all plot-driven action with terse, gory prose, including imaginative descriptions of the human body up-close.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
With their leader out of commission after their last battle, the BZRK crew struggles to continue their fight to preserve humanity's minds from evil nanotechnology. Meanwhile, the maniacal Armstrong twins retreat to their nightmarish Doll Ship and biots have taken control of the president. With abundant graphic nanoscale anatomy descriptions, the fast-paced sequel to BZRK will keep readers intrigued, engaged, and disturbed.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 September #2
Freedom fighters BZRK may have lost the first battle, but the war is far from over. New York's BZRK cell took heavy losses in series opener BZRK (2012), including one of team leader Vincent's biots, genetically engineered, microscopic organisms controlled via psychic link. It was killed in battle with Bug Man's nanos, the technological counterpart to the biological biots. Experiencing death over the psychic link plays havoc with Vincent's sanity, which forces reluctant Nijinsky to step into leadership. But BZRK has no recovery time: Bug Man's nanos are in the U.S. president, allowing him to rewire her brain and control her behavior on behalf of the Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corp. in their bid for world domination via enforced happiness. Meanwhile, on the AFGC side, holding the dominant position is harder than expected—Bug Man struggles to control the president, Burnofsky has his own agenda, the Anonymous hacker group sniffs for leaks, and some of the conjoined Armstrong Twins' past scientific indiscretions start attracting notice. Through all of this, Plath comes into her inheritance and toys with running from BZRK and its morally dubious tactics, even though if the Armstrongs win, free will loses. With the worldbuilding's heavy lifting taken care of in BZRK, plots upon plots race forward, almost every character is sympathetic to some degree, and microscopic world descriptions from the biots' views are oddly beautiful. High-octane; high stakes; high cool-quotient. (Science fiction. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 March #3

In Grant's (the Gone novels) launch of a SF spy series, when Sadie McClure's father and brother are killed in a gruesome plane crash, she is pulled into the titular secret organization her father ran, fighting a war on the nanotechnological level to save humanity. All members of the organization take names of people who famously went insane, so the newly-minted Plath gets teamed with (and romantically linked to) fellow recruit Keats. As they finesse their skills of observation and precision, and learn the art of emotional detachment, they are also trained to operate their "biots," biomechanical extensions of themselves. The organization uses the biots to fight the Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corporation. Silly name aside, the latter organization has no scruples (their top recruit, Bug Man, is a rapist and murderer). Grant doesn't shy from moral compromises and brutal violence--heroes and villains alike suffer death and dismemberment--but he also draws into sharp focus the psychological toll that these events take on the characters. An entertaining, smart thriller with a conclusion that points to the next installment. Ages 14-up. (Feb.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

In Grant's (the Gone novels) launch of a SF spy series, when Sadie McClure's father and brother are killed in a gruesome plane crash, she is pulled into the titular secret organization her father ran, fighting a war on the nanotechnological level to save humanity. All members of the organization take names of people who famously went insane, so the newly-minted Plath gets teamed with (and romantically linked to) fellow recruit Keats. As they finesse their skills of observation and precision, and learn the art of emotional detachment, they are also trained to operate their "biots," biomechanical extensions of themselves. The organization uses the biots to fight the Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corporation. Silly name aside, the latter organization has no scruples (their top recruit, Bug Man, is a rapist and murderer). Grant doesn't shy from moral compromises and brutal violence--heroes and villains alike suffer death and dismemberment--but he also draws into sharp focus the psychological toll that these events take on the characters. An entertaining, smart thriller with a conclusion that points to the next installment. Ages 14-up. (Feb.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 July

Gr 10 Up--In the 21st century, war is covertly being waged and the fate of humanity is at stake. The conjoined, middle-aged Armstrong Twins, who head the Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corporation, want all of humanity to be as connected as they are. Rebelling against this vision is a shadowy organization, BZRK, which is somehow linked to McLure Industries. When Sadie McLure's brother and father die in a mysterious plane crash, leaving her the heir to the company, the 16-year-old finds herself pulled into the conspiracy. She and another gifted recruit, Noah, are trained by BZRK to fight with biots-minuscule genetically engineered extensions of themselves-against mechanical nanobots controlled by the teen hackers of AFGC. Their success will determine society's future. Grant cleverly blends the science of Michael Crichton with the international espionage of Anthony Horowitz's "Alex Rider" series (Philomel) in a sci-fi thriller that will hook teens. There's plenty of gore here, and frequent high-tension battles within and between human hosts of nanobots and biots. No one in this war is a hero, which keeps readers wondering if there really are "good guys." This moral nuance doesn't extend to the Twins, described as "Satan playing with DNA" and "fused together in a way that made the mind rebel." This ableism mars an otherwise engaging novel, which is the first in a series.--Gretchen Kolderup, New Canaan Library, CT

[Page 80]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2014 February

Gr 10 Up--Fast paced and action packed, Reloaded picks up where BZRK (Egmont USA, 2012) left off. The New York BZRK cell is reeling from a massacre at the United Nations building, and many members are either injured (physically or psychologically) or dead. The evil, wealthy, conjoined Armstrong brothers continue to usher in an age of "sustainable happiness" for all humanity by having world leaders infected by nanobots in order to manipulate them. Battles between the members of BZRK and AFGC (Armstrong Fancy Gift Corporation) occur in both the visible world and at the microscopic level. Fighting has moved to a new level, as one group is ready to pilot self-replicating bots and another has twitchers, people who are especially skilled at controlling others through nanotechnology. Grant's descriptions of cells, bacteria, and other miniscule bits are viscerally disturbing, as is the Armstrongs' creepy Doll Ship. Sexual episodes and violent scenes are included. Backstory is sprinkled throughout, but it's best to read this novel in conjunction with the first. The ending will leave fans anxiously awaiting the conclusion to this exciting trilogy.--Sherry J. Mills, Hazelwood East High School, St. Louis, MO

[Page 104]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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VOYA Reviews 2013 August
Recent battles, fought from the nano-level all the way up to automatic weapons, left both BZRK and the Armstrong Twins damaged but unbroken. With each side infecting targeted individuals with their own nanobots, the next round of fighting is about to take place inside the altered brain matter of a few unwilling victims. There can be no real winner in this scenario and so the real question might be: how horribly will the human race be changed at the end of it all? Would anyone be the wiser? It is creepy enough knowing there are actually microscopic creatures all over the human body but it is even creepier to think artificially created bots could be sharing or even controlling that space without a person's permission. The graphic descriptions of what the real and artificial creatures look like, and how or why they are moving around the body starts the level of "gross and icky" off at pretty high, and it only goes up from there. Add in some discussable ideas on the ethics of human experimentation and a smart, simple explanation of the potential in nanotechnology to increase those lingering shivers. Round out the experience with realistically unpredictable characters and blockbuster action sequences to complete this thoroughly enjoyable, incredibly disturbing story. As the second book in the trilogy, the only complaint is waiting to find out how all those sneaky, complicated loose-ends will be wrapped up.--Stacy Hayman 5P 5Q J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.

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