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Bzrk (Bzrk (Quality))
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About the Author

Michael Grant has spent much of his life on the move. Raised in a military family in the USA, he attended ten schools in five states, as well as three schools in France. Even as an adult he kept moving, and in fact he became a writer in part because it was one of the few jobs that wouldn't tie him down. His dream is to spend a whole year circumnavigating the globe and visiting every continent. He lives in Marin County, California, with his wife, Katherine Apple-gate, their two children, and far too many pets. You can visit him online at www.themichaelgrant.com.

Reviews

Gr 9 Up-In a near future world, the megalomaniac, conjoined twin Armstrong brothers are working to develop a Nexus Humanus, a peaceful world society with only one problem: an absence of free will. Pitted against them is a group of teen hackers who call themselves BZRK. There are actually two battlefields: the macro leve, where traditional methods of warfare are used, and "in the meat," inside the brains of both battlers and world leaders. Those battles take place between nanobots and biots, mechanical and biological bits of nanotechnology controlled by "twitchers" that can rewire peoples' brains. And, if a biot dies, his controller goes mad. From the moment the high intensity music begins each disc, narrator Nico Evers-Swindell brings to light the tension of the high-stakes drama in Michael Grant's thriller (EgmontUSA, 2012). He provides realistic voices for the large multinational cast of characters, from Noah's low key British accent to Sadie's high class tough girl voice, from Ophelia's soft Indian lilt to Dietrich's precise German, with each character becoming instantly recognizable. This smart and complex story requires complete attention, and Evers-Swindell makes that easier by maintaining a high level of energy throughout.- Ann Brownson, Ballenger Teachers Center, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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." --School Library Journal

--Journal

"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." --Publishers Weekly

--Journal

"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." --starred, Booklist

--Journal

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