by Grant, Michael

When powerful conjoined twins Charles and Benjamin develop mind-control nanoprobes as part of a nefarious plot to enforce their own version of utopian order, the fate of humanity falls into the hands of a shadowy guerilla group whose defense technology causes victims to die when it fails. By the co-author of the Animorphs and Everworld series.

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 Applegate, their two children, and far too many pets. You can visit him online at

*Starred Review* 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. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

In the not-too-distant future, war can be waged at the cellular level, and the BZRK biots (genetically engineered extensions of humans) battle Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corporation (AFGC) nanotechnology for control of the country and the fate of humanity. AFGC's number-one (human) operative, the Bug Man, is intent on wiping out mankind and controls the American president, while BZRK is attempting to rebound from the death and insanity resulting from its last encounter with AFGC. BZRK's only hope is to destroy or subvert Bug Man, and it is a slim hope at best. Readers will need seat belts and a road map to keep up with the frequently gruesome nonstop action in this middle title of a trilogy that explores the intersection of morality and technology. Caution: read this after BZRK (2012) because Grant doesn't pause for definitions or recaps, although Plath, Keats, the Twins, and other familiar characters reappear and are further developed as the plot careens through a second AFGC-BZRK close encounter. A shocking, violent, yet engrossing thrill ride of a story. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With Grant's Gone series finished, this looks to be the best-selling author's flagship project. Expect it to be treated as such. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Freedom fighters BZRK may have lost the first battle, but the war is far from over. New York's BZRK cell took heavy losses in series opener BZRK (2012), including one of team leader Vincent's biots, genetically engineered, microscopic organisms controlled via psychic link. It was killed in battle with Bug Man's nanos, the technological counterpart to the biological biots. Experiencing death over the psychic link plays havoc with Vincent's sanity, which forces reluctant Nijinsky to step into leadership. But BZRK has no recovery time: Bug Man's nanos are in the U.S. president, allowing him to rewire her brain and control her behavior on behalf of the Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corp. in their bid for world domination via enforced happiness. Meanwhile, on the AFGC side, holding the dominant position is harder than expected—Bug Man struggles to control the president, Burnofsky has his own agenda, the Anonymous hacker group sniffs for leaks, and some of the conjoined Armstrong Twins' past scientific indiscretions start attracting notice. Through all of this, Plath comes into her inheritance and toys with running from BZRK and its morally dubious tactics, even though if the Armstrongs win, free will loses. With the worldbuilding's heavy lifting taken care of in BZRK, plots upon plots race forward, almost every character is sympathetic to some degree, and microscopic world descriptions from the biots' views are oddly beautiful. High-octane; high stakes; high cool-quotient. (Science fiction. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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