Review: BZRK: Reloaded by Michael Grant

BZRK Reloaded Michael Grant
BZRK Reloaded Michael Grant cover

Title: BZRK: Reloaded
Author: Michael Grant 
Series: BZRK #2
Genre: Science Fiction, YA 
Publication date: October 8, 2013 
Rating: ★★★★½ 

Synopsis: The entire BZRK cell--including Noah and Sadie--has been left in pieces after the last round of battle with the Armstrong Twins, conjoined brother who plot to rob mankind of its free will. Vincent's mind is shattered, and his memories hold dangerous secrets--secrets that Lear, BZRK's mysterious leader, will stop at nothing to protect. Meanwhile, Bug Man has taken control of the President's brain, but playing with sanity is a dangerous game. The consequences can spiral way out of control, and the Armstrong Twins are not people Bug Man can afford to disappoint. The nano is as terrifying, exhilarating, and unpredictable as ever. But the wall of secrets that surrounds it is cracking. What will it reveal? And once the dust has settled, who will be sane enough to find out?

This one was even better than the first! I did say the series had potential to become really good and it didn’t disappoint. I started reading this one as soon as I’d finished the first, which is usually a good thing for a sequel. I didn’t need to get back into the story and the characters, everything was still crystal. The book sucked me in from page one.

My first thought on this book is that it’s dark. Way darker than the previous one. People get killed, kidnapped, killed by their own and there’s complete insanity before we even make it to chapter ten. The worse it gets, the better the book? No, that’s not true. But here it definitely created a certain atmosphere that I could appreciate. Things were tense and very intriguing. My mind raced at top speed to find out why things were happening like this and how they could possibly get resolved. Be warned, this is not a happy book, but man it’s good. Well, in my humble opinion at least.

Character development? I promise, there was a lot of it. None of those we knew were the same at the end of this second book - some didn’t even make it that far. Others we got to know a whole lot better and there were some new introductions as well.

Vincent. Groan. My baby, hurting. After the loss of one of his biots in the first book, he completely loses it. Pure insanity takes over his mind and body. It hurt picturing him like that. Feeling his pain, losing him. I came really close to flipping over to the end to see if he would make it. I didn’t, but the temptation was terrible. Vincent being incapable of leadership also meant BZRK NY needed someone new to take over and that responsibility was given to Nijinsky (still my second favourite). Saying he wasn’t exactly up for the job would be quite an understatement. He tried, he really did. It wasn’t enough and so my heart ached a lot for him as well. (I told you this wasn’t happy, right?)

Sadie remained badass. Keats became… okay. He’ll never make the list of my favourite characters, but he was more mature. Don’t think he didn’t still annoy me - he did - just slightly less. (I hated how he kept thinking he could take decisions in Sadie’s place). The romance was still a bit too cheesy for my taste, but… I guess it fits Keats.

And then there’s also Lear. I feel like I should start thinking about him as a character instead of just a ‘presence’. God, he intrigues me. And yes, I deliberately say ‘he’. There’s still no way to make sure who or what he is, but I keep picturing him as this crazily intelligent young man, ruling BZRK from behind the scenes. I’m not sexist in any way, but I will be disappointed if Lear turns out to be a woman. Or a computer. Just imagine.

The overall feeling is still that everything and everyone is situated in a grey zone. I’d say different shades of grey, but that expression has unfortunately lost a lot of its meaning lately. It’s still true though. Some people tend to be closer to black than others, but no character is purely good or even purely bad in this series. I like this in a story, because it means you can sympathise with both sides. (To a certain level at least, the Armstrongs were still pretty messed up)

This book has no real ‘ending’. It’s very open, more so than the first one. Which means I’ll be devouring the third one real soon. I just have to know how it will all unfold. Should you read this? Yes. Don’t even hesitate. If you liked the first one, you’ll love the second.

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