Release Date: February 28th 2012
Publisher: Egmont / Hardie Grant
Add it: Goodreads
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository
Noah and Sadie: newly initiated into an underground cell so covert they don’t even know each other’s real names. Trained for combat on the nano level, they are thrust into a war they can barely grasp.BZRK begins by introducing two of our main characters, Noah and Sadie. They both live in separate parts of the world, but due to a series of life-changing events that occur in the beginning, they're thrust into an epic war that is raging inside the very minds of humanity and they don't even know it. Both sides are using nano technology, which are basically microscopic biots controlled by a human that are so small they can crawl in your eyes, scurrying along a path directly to your brain without you feeling a thing. Noah and Sadie are quickly trained in nano combat and sent out into battle, initiated into a cause they were unaware of just weeks prior, but are now apart of it for life. However short that may be.
Vincent: feels nothing and cares for no one. He’s fighting a personal battle with Bug Man, the greatest nano warrior alive.
The Armstrong Twins: wealthy, privileged, fanatical. Are they the saviors of humanity or authors of the darkest conspiracy in history?
On one side: Charles and Benjamin Armstrong’s Nexus Humanus. on the other: a group of teen hackers who call themselves BZRK. This is twenty-first-century warfare that takes place on the macro and nano level for the highest stakes: humanity’s free will. It’s time to choose sides.
The technology explored here is astounding. The things they can do inside the human body - 'down in the meat', as they say, is simultaneously fascinating and repulsive. And quick frankly, makes me a little bit paranoid! In the 'nano', we see things on the same level as the minuscule biots. The nano is like a whole new world. Forests of hair follicles, rivers of blood, choppy terrain of dead skin cells, but the real work begins on the inside. Where they can use their nanobots to manipulate your memories, your emotions, your thoughts and freewill. Connect a safe, happy emotion to the enemy and with time you could trust the very person who is trying to kill you. It's the ultimate weapon in world domination, because how can you fight something that can control your mind? That you don't even know exists?
At the root of it all are the conjoined twins, Charles and Benjamin, who are striving for a better world. A nexus-humanus, where we are united as one. Like an insect society, a hive mind where we think together, feel together, share in one another's joys. This is their utopia for humanity and they're determined to achieve it at all costs, regardless of laws, morals and lives. The villains are striving for world peace and happiness. The good guys are trying to tear them down so we have the right to wallow in depression and unhappiness. Sounds twisted, right?
There is a huge cast of characters here and while some I would have liked to grow more of an emotional attachment too, each were just as compelling as one another. BZRK is told from multiple different perspectives, something that really worked for this style of novel because you can't gain an appreciation for the intricate and crazy world Michael has crafted without insight into all sides. To catch glimpse of everything that's going down, because while there may be 'two sides' of this war secretly fighting, there are far more individual stories to tell, secrets and betrayals and sinister plans at play. It's interesting to see each persons motivations and personality. We may see them in a certain light from one character's perspective, but when we get inside their own head, the more layers we can dig through.
The title of the novel sums up exactly how I felt when trying to write this review, because it's not an easy book to describe in a few paragraphs. I want to write in depth thoughts about every character, but I feel I'd be here forever exploring each of them and likely commit spoiler crime. There is SO much going on within these pages, set in an extensively explored world that is quite awe-inspiring. It's gritty and raw, with splattering brains and bones jutting out of arms. But for all the gore and intense action, Michael still manages to explore the subtleties of love, friendship and loyalty. BZRK is clever and downright mad, it will suck you into a terrifying new reality where the only escape is madness or death. Is it inspiring to hope for victory or just plain foolish?
4/5 Golden Apples!