By Michael Grant
Published by Electric Monkey/Egmont
Michael Grant, author of the best-selling Gone series, ups his game to a higher level of thrills with BZRK, a mind-blowing dystopian sci-fi adventure for older teens. It is a roller-coaster ride that will appeal to gamers as well as thrill-seeking readers.
Grant's storytelling style and plot are just what teen readers, who seek up-to-the-minute, thrilling fiction, want. And with BZRK, Grant lets his imagination rip.
At the centre of BZRK, we have a world where nanotechnology is conquering areas where humans have not been before. Nanobots can enter the human body through the eyes, mouth, nose and ears to do work or investigation. In fact, much of the plot of BZRK takes place inside the human body.
In 1966, Hollywood made a movie called Fantastic Voyage in which a group of scientists are miniaturised and injected into a human body. Grant has taken this idea and run out of the field with it. The next time you feel a speck of dust in your eye it could well be a nanobot entering your body. Scary!
There are well-defined good guys and bad guys here. In the villains' corner, there is the Armstrong Corporation, headed by Charles and Benjamin Armstrong, conjoined twins who have money, power and technology on their side. What the Armstrongs want is world domination. They plan to infiltrate and rewire prime ministers, presidents and chief executives. Once that goal has been achieved, power can soon be transferred to the Armstrong Corporation.
When teenager Sadie McClure loses both her father and brother in a plane accident, she is thrust into a dangerous world she knows nothing about. Sadie is recruited by BZRK, a secret organisation dedicated to fighting the evil face of nanotechnology. The battleground between BZRK and nanobots manipulated by the Armstrongs is the human brain. At the start of BZRK, there is an edge-of-the-seat sequence in which a nanobot enters a powerful nanotechnologist through her eye. This is one of the most suspenseful few pages to be found anywhere in current young adult fiction.
BZRK is a relentless thriller with an original plot that grips like a vice. It is all supposed to be fiction, but nanotechnology is already here on our doorstep, and scientists would have us believe that what they are working on is all for the good of mankind. No more wars, no more disease and no more hunger. BZRK takes things one frightening step further forward: no free will.
With a tight and plausible plot, and almost non-stop action, BZRK is a breathless read. It takes a skilled writer like Grant to keep suspense and thrills going for 400 pages. And BZRK goes far beyond the pages of a book. When you've finished it, go to www.gobzrk.com for more interactive thrills. BZRK doesn't stop on the final page. That "end" is really only the beginning.
John Millen can be contacted on MillenBookshelf@aol.com