Author: Kim Curran
Series: Shift, #2
Published: August 6th 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
Scott Tyler is not like other teenagers. With a single thought he can alter reality around him. And he can stop anyone else from doing the same.That's why he's so important to ARES, the secret government agency that regulates other kids like him: Shifters.They've sent him on a mission. To track down the enigmatic Frank Anderson. An ex-Shifter who runs a project for unusual kids - as if the ability to change your every decision wasn't unusual enough. But Anderson and the kids have a dark secret. One that Scott is determined to discover.As his obsession with discovering the truth takes him further away from anyone he cares about, his grip on reality starts to weaken. Scott realises if he can't control his choices, they'll control him.
After Kim Curran’s original and highly entertaining debut, Shift, my expectations for the sequel were pretty high. Luckily, even though I read both books back to back, a significant improvement from one book to the next was easily noticeable. Curran has matured as a writer and although Control had its problems, it’s a read I’d never hesitate to recommend.
In Shift, Scott discovered that he has the power to change any decision he’s ever made. In other words, he’s a shifter. But the power is far more dangerous than it seems because even the smallest change can have catastrophic consequences. What’s more, his power won’t last forever – the ability to shift is limited to teens. Once Scott reaches a certain age, entropy will set in and he’ll be just a regular person once more. Through it all, he has the help of a shifter girl, Aubrey. She was the one who helped him adjust to his new life as an agent of the ARES, and – to Scott’s never-ending astonishment – she seems to like him just as much as he likes her.
At only 15, Aubrey is intelligent, talkative and energetic, true force of nature. Both books are told from Scott’s point of view, but although we only see her though his eyes, Aubrey is no less of a protagonist. For Scott, she is the only constant in his otherwise turbulent life, something to hold on to in the ever-changing realities.
Male voices are so difficult to get right in YA (a teen boy’s mind is a mysterious thing indeed), but Scott’s struck me as very authentic. Both Scott and Aubrey were extremely mature for their age, but it never really seemed odd considering the amount of power they wielded and the type of job they did. Each of them was burdened with so much responsibility that it’s no wonder they talked and acted like 30-year-olds.
The plot in both books is downright excellent and Curran leaves her readers no time to breathe or relax. Scott and Aubrey face true horrors on every turn. The only letdown was their final encounter with the villain in Control. This person had been terrorizing and manipulating shifters for decades, and yet Scott handled the situation so easily, it was almost ridiculous. Aside from that, Shift and Control are amazing and compulsively readable.
Another thing I feel the need to mention: I. Do. Not. Appreciate. Cliffhangers! Ending your book with a cliffhanger is a sure way to ruin the whole thing for me. While Shift has a nice, clean-cut ending, Control ends with a huge pile of mess at Scott’s door. It’s a good thing a third book was recently announced, or I’d be tempted to pull my hair out. Or well, someone’s hair at the very least.
Cliffhanger or not, these books are a much needed breath of fresh air in YA. If originality is what you’re after, pick up a Strange Chemistry title and give it a try. It’s quickly becoming my favorite and most reliable imprint. These days, it’s enough to see their logo to know that I’ll thoroughly enjoy a book. Kim Curran’s series is no exception.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, onetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.