Rating: 2/disliked (1-5/hated-loved)
It pains me to give a book by Michael Grant the same rating that I gave Sheepsquatch.
The plot of BZRK (and boy do I hate that title) was about a war. Two sides, one good and one bad, though it wasn't until the end that I even knew which was which (due to the writing, not because it was grey). Hell, I didn't even know the name of the other side until the halfway point of the book.
American Fancy Gift Corporation: The bad guys. Probably the best thing about this book was this dialogue exchange about the name:
"That doesn't sound like an evil organization setting out to dominate the world," Plath said.
"That's the idea," Ophelia said. "If you try telling someone the Armstrong Fancy Gift Corporation is taking over the world, they'll think you're crazy."
BRZK: The good guys. A bunch of teenagers who work for no one, get no pay, no living expenses, no living quarters, yet have access to the highest tech in the world (and for some reason use it to do good).
I'd describe the characters, but not a single one was memorable. I couldn't give a one-sentence description of more than a couple, even after reading the whole book.
The whole war took place through nanobots/on a microscopic level within human bodies. The good guys used biological nanobots while the bad guys used mechanical ones. For some reason when a biological nanobot was killed, it tended to drive its user insane. Don't ask me why the good guys used them over mechanical ones (angst?).
The book's first chapter was great. It started with a Bill Gates-type guy and his son. They were on a plane, when suddenly the pilot crashed them into a packed sports stadium (she had been infected with the bad guys' nanobots). The father and son were killed. The guy's daughter, who had been in the stadium and saw it all happening, survived. She now owned the whole company (think bigger than Microsoft with no shareholders -- she owned 100% of it). Yet somehow, even though she was now so important, she vanished to join BZRK. Oh, not really vanished, she still walked the streets of New York City, she just... walked away from the company? I just couldn't wrap my head around it. There was no mention of anyone on the streets recognizing her, no mention of the stock market crashing, nothing. Her whole background was mostly ignored from the second chapter on.
To call the characters one-note would be generous. Most of them had a one or two word description and that's about it. "Gay, liked to party". "Mother figure." "Enforcer." "Had pimples." One of the bad guys was the only one who had somewhat more characterization, and so unsurprisingly, he was the only one I liked.
The plot was slow, confusing, and had some pretty big holes. The characters were paper cutouts. The only positive thing about this book was the writing. If nothing else, Gone is a really good writer in a technical sense. I mentioned that paragraph a couple posts ago (about how men stare at women, but women only need a glance). There were others like that:
Plath's room looked like a miserable, run-down hotel where a drunk might spend his last days. Keats's room looked not unlike his room at home, except that it could do with an England poster. The rooms were identical.
And: [Her smile] was made of respect and fear and submission.
And: [She was] from one of those other islands where they do cool things to the English language.
Unfortunately, since I (usually) like Gone's books so much, I bought the first three in this series before reading this first one. I'll be deleting them unread. Bzrk was a joyless slog to get through, there's no way I want to continue with the series.
Bonus picture! I commissioned a new icon from hamburger. Is this not the cutest thing ever?