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Currently reading: Vulture by Bex Hogan.

Saturday 21 April 2012

BZRK by Michael Grant

Written by: Michael Grant.
Published by: Electric Monkey (Egmont).
Format: Hardback.
Released: 28th February 2012.
Rating: 4.5/5.

Official synopsis: "The most breathtaking and exhilarating ride you will take this year, this is the first in an incredible new action thriller series from Michael Grant, author of "Gone". These are no ordinary soldiers. This is no ordinary war. Welcome to the nano, where the only battle is for sanity. Losing is not an option when a world of madness is at stake. Time is running out for the good guys. But what happens when you don't know who the good guys really are? Noah and Sadie: newly initiated to an underground cell so covert that they don't even know each other's names. Here they will learn what it means to fight on a nano level. Soon they will become the deadliest warriors the world has ever seen. Vincent: feels nothing, cares for no one; fighting his own personal battle with Bug Man, the greatest nano warrior alive. The Armstrong Twins: wealthy, privileged, and fanatical. Are they the saviours of mankind or authors of the darkest conspiracy the world has ever seen? The nano is uncharted territory. A terrifying world of discovery. And everything is to play for..."

I actually finished reading BZRK a few weeks ago, but I wanted to take some time out to just think about it before I actually wrote my review. It's going to be tough to review, but I'll try!

BZRK is probably the craziest, weirdest, frustrating, sickening, chilling and mind-boggling book I have ever read. And upon reflection - I love it. At first, when I started it, I wasn't sure at all - the openning scene had me wondering if it was really my kind of book. However, I persevered. Once you get past the fact that some words are tongue-testers and take a couple of goes to actually pronounce them correctly, or hopefully correctly..., then what you have here is exactly what the synopsis promises. A breathtaking and exhilarating ride. Right from the start (which I want to talk about so much, but don't want to spoil, sets the tone brilliantly!...) we get the sense that the forces we're seeing here aren't all that together in the head. They're twisted and will do pretty much anything they can to achieve their goals - and they think there's nothing wrong with it. Classic baddie, right there!

Two rival groups are at war. Both have nanotechnology and use it to varying degrees. One group are trying to take down the worlds leaders, so that they can bring about their vision of peace and unity - a vision that I'm not sure many others would actually share, and then of course the other group. BZRK. They are trying to stop them.

The writing is so rich, and so fluid. I had read some of Grant's work before. The first few Gone books, and whilst I thought they were great reads, BZRK takes the reader to a whole new level. With nanotechnology - nanobots, biots - mind control, murder, sanity, insanity, drugs, it's a hard hitting read and one that I just cannot stop thinking about, even now a few weeks on. Grant has a way of just hooking the reader in. It's well paces, some parts go a little slower than others, but when the action picks up, it more than makes up for it and smooths the whole thing out.

We meet an array of characters too. Bugman. Sadie. And of course our baddie! Benjamin and Charles Armstrong. Conjoined twins. Their thoughts are as creepy as their appearance - I for one wouldn't like to meet them in person!

I'm not really sure what more I can say. I hate spoiling books for people, and when books are as tautly-woven as this one, it's hard to say pretty much anything. All I will say is that it's a stunning book, that at first glimpse might look like your ordinary Sci-Fi thriller, but ordinary it definitely is not. Just got to pass the very long wait now for the second book in the series, due early next year!

Cover for Anthony Horowitz' OBLIVION revealed!!

One book really stands out for me this year in terms of sheer anticipation. And that one book is Oblivion. It's the fifth and final book in what has been a stunning series, The Power of Five by the very clever and obviously incredible, Anthony Horowitz. 

I've spoken about the book several times already over the last few months. The exclusive chapter he posted online for Christmas - and has since said on Twitter no longer appears in the book (so it's going to be a rarity now, I guess..) and the release date and so on. 

Well now, after months of waiting, well years really (the last book, Necropolis came out in 2008!!!) the cover for Oblivion has finally been released!

I for one think it looks great. I'm guessing they're going for a literal term of oblivion, as it's pretty empty. I love the whole kind of cloud effect, the title font is awesome. Lightning. It looks well designed and no doubt it's going to look stunning on the finished hardback. And running in at around 200,000 words, that's going to be one heck of a hardback!

 Seems weird to think that it's nearly at an end. The first book, Raven's Gate was published way, way, WAY, back in 2005! So far away! And it's such a good story. If you haven't already read them, I cannot recommend them enough. Dark, scary at times, and quite disturbing in places too, yes. But they are beautifully written, and have a great story running through them. Should not be missed!

We also have a synopsis for Oblivion too, and it goes as follows...

The epic fifth and final instalment in the bestselling fantasy series The Power of Five by Anthony Horowitz.
Having escaped from Hong Kong, the five gatekeepers - Matt, Pedro, Scott, Jamie and Scarlett - are scattered in a hostile and dangerous world. As they struggle to re-group and plan their next move, the malevolent King of the Old Ones gathers his forces in Oblivion: a desolate landscape where the last survivors of humanity must fight the ultimate battle.
Argh! Can't wait! It's out on 4th October here in the UK, and 1st November in the US!

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Darren Shan's ZOM-B Cover Reveal!

The fourth and final book in The Saga of Larten Crepsley, Brothers to the Death, comes out next week here in the UK, and not one to take a break, Mr. Shan is about ready to kick start a new series! Oh yes! Titled ZOM-B, this is the first book in the ZOM-B series which is set to span 12 books, and take us right up to 2015! Sweet! Lots of Shan action to keep us all occupied and entertained! Well here's the cover, and it's out 27th September! Can't wait!

Thursday 5 April 2012

The Hunger Games Movie...

On Wednesday (3rd April), I finally went to see The Hunger Games movie! I was so excited that I was getting to see it but then a bit nervous too. Oh god! Will they murder the book?! Will they change this? Change that?! PLEASE NO!!!! I hope Jennifer is good, all of the cast too. ARGH NO!

We were also very nearly late, but then there were loads of people came in after us and they didn't start the film till nearly 20 minutes after the time on the tickets. Got a bit frustrated but it was so good. Everyone nearly stayed quiet. Some people laughed at some not very funny bits and I'm not sure why. Insert confused face here! And some people rustled, but overall I could hear the film so I was happy.

And boy I could not of been happier walking out of that cinema. Talk about incredible! The scope of it all was handled perfectly, I love the bits that cut back and forth, the whole look of District 12. The way they treat the games on the tv's in the Capitol is how I imagined it. Wow. Just wow.

The effects were good. The CGI for the outfits that were on fire could of been a little better, but then it was still cool! Overall I freaking loved it. There's not much I can really say because having read the books several times and reviewing the book here in 2010, it's all been said. Some nitpicky bits where they changed stuff but I was surpirsed how minor stuff was. They hardly changed anything. Perhaps the most true to a book film I have ever seen. 

And Jennifer! Wow! She was incredible! Just incredible. She needs... many many awards for her performance. I was always dubious about how they would portray Katniss, and how someone would play her, but I just cannot imagine anyone else being Katniss. The same for Peeta. And Effie. She was awesome. I liked Donald Sutherland as President Snow. Just the right sort of mannerism's I expected. Overall, everyone was good, apart from Gale. Liam Hemsworth just... No. I'm sorry. He doesn't suit Gale, to me at all.

The way the games was done too was also great. I liked seeing the Gamemakers at work. Kind of creepy how much joy they take out of it, but so cool. And the commentating in the games too. So cool.

Argh! So happy. I just need it on DVD right now so that it can be on constant play!

Roll on next November for Catching Fire!!

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Michelle Paver talks Gods and Warriors...

Michelle Paver took to The Clan (her official website) last week to talk about her latest book, Gods and Warriors. The message was exclusive to the site for a week but now it's out for all to see! You'll of seen the cover posted here a week or so ago, and I for one love it. I've already read the book and it's a brilliant start to a new series. It's not out till August (review will come nearer release...) so let me hand you over to Michelle to tell you a little more about it...

Department 19: The Rising by Will Hill [Review]

Written by: Will Hill.
Published by: HarperCollins UK.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 29th March 2012.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "91 DAYS TILL ZERO HOUR. THAT'S 91 DAYS TO RUN. 91 DAYS TO HIDE. OR 91 DAYS TO PRAY FOR DEPARTMENT 19 TO SAVE YOU… After the terrifying attack on Lindisfarne at the end of the first book, Jamie, Larissa and Kate are recovering at Department 19 headquarters, waiting for news of Dracula’s stolen ashes. They won’t be waiting for long. Vampire forces are gathering. Old enemies are getting too close. And Dracula… is rising."


A really good author, who writes a series of books, can draw you back into that world within a page. For Will Hill, and The Rising, the second book in the stunning Department 19 series, I was back into the world of shadows, vampires and secret, government organisations with a sentence.

Back into the world where not all is as it seems, and where nightmares become reality.

I want to say fairly early in this review that I physically cannot say much about the book at all. Not because I don't want to, because I freaking do!  Oh I could talk about this book all day and all night, non stop. Trust me, ask my parents who I think I am driving nuts right now... Not because nothing happens - trust me, this book is jam-packed with action, it's unreal! But because if I say pretty much anything, it'll spoil the book! It's so tightly woven and so well paced, that everything fits together It's kind of like a line of domino's. Knock one and they all go.

What I can say though, is that Will's writing is on top form. Top class. It's fantastic. So engaging. I want to liken Will's writing to super glue, because once you start reading, you physically have to tear your eyes away from the page and the events unfolding within them.

There's just this voice to the book, to both books actually that is so vivid and so rich, you can't help but love them.

I'll be honest, I had worried about reading The Rising. I loved Department 19 so much, that I just didn't know how Will could top it, but as I sat down to read it, those worries melted away. For a starter, the first chapter is set about thirty minutes to three-quarters of an hour away from me, and somewhere that I have been many many times over the years! I read the start and kind of did a double take... Erm... Really... That's... near me, in this incredible book. It's set there? Wow! 

But yes, it blew me away. The gore in this book - well don't even get me started - is on a completely new and, well... gory level. Will outdone himself this time, although I have to wonder what runs through his mind sometimes - can I say, twisted dude?! But in a good way! Haha.

So, to wrap this up because it's all just getting a bit gushy now, Will Hill is a genius. He's created something incredible in Department 19, something that is so well thought out and intricate. And he's continued it perfectly in The Rising. All I can say is that the next 12 months waiting for Book Three is going to be pure torture!

My thanks to HarperCollins for sending me the proof, and to Will for signing it! And for being so awesome! You didn't have to wait nearly a year for the review this time, buddy! Haha!


Department 19: The Rising is available to buy now from all good bookshops and also from: