Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review: Control (Shift, #2)

Control (Shift, #2)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.


  1. I remember book 1, it sounds pretty cool :)

  2. I need to get my hands on this series! Glad to hear the male voice is done well in this book. They truly are so difficult to pull off convincingly. And I have to be impressed that this came out four stars in spite of your hatred of the cliffhanger. I think you hate them as much as me, maybe more, and yet the rest of your review has me itching to read these books. Strange Chemistry really is publishing some amazingly creative books. Beautiful review, Maja!

  3. I'll have to wait for this entire series to release before picking it up because cliffhangers grate on me too, but I'm thrilled this contains an authentic male perspective. I'm quite excited by that, so thanks for putting this series on my radar, Maja!

  4. Oh, god. That sounds horrifying. Teens with the power to shift reality?!? Does this author know how irresponsible and moody teenagers are?!? Heh. I will not be starting this series yet...not with a cliffie dangling out there for everyone to see.

  5. I do not appreciate cliffhangers either Maja. Like love triangles, I'm so very tired of them. I'm not saying they don't work in making me desperate for the next book, but I'm starting to resent them just a touch. Despite that, it seems like you still really enjoyed this book, and I love it when a sequel improves upon the first. That always gives me hope that book 3 will continue in the same vein. Hope the wait for 3 isn't too long!

  6. So happy to hear the second was better than the first and didn't suffer from that horrible middle book syndrome!
    Wonderful review Maja like always!! :D

  7. I never thought this series would be for me, but you're making me want to change my decision about trying it. It seems so well-written and the characters sound realistic and wonderful. It's a shame about the cliffhanger though, so maybe I'll wait for the third book to come out first.
    Lovely review, Maja! :)

  8. Yeah, not a fan of cliffhangers either! Sounds like a series that I need to wait for the next book to be out first before I start it. The concept of it all sounds fascinating though!

  9. Sounds like a very exciting series!! I would hate to finish a book with a huge cliffhanger to. I haven't had to deal with it too much because I'm bad at reading series these days. haha

  10. Glad you enjoyed this one! I am excited, just bought book 1 :D

  11. Oh it seems like a great series. I didn't know this one but now I'll try to see if I know book 1... Maybe I already saw it somewhere. thanks for the nice review!

  12. *brushes hair back away from Maja*

    I hate cliffies too! HATE!!!!! That is the one reason I may wait until the next to even pick up this book. Still, you make it sound so refreshing and I really can see me enjoying this book as well. Darn it. Darn cliffies!!

  13. Noooooo!!! No cliffhangers, I refuse to read another!!! I'm adding these books to my list but I won't read them until the next book comes out, I don't think I can handle more cliffhangers this year!

    Also, I completely agree with you! Strange Chemistry is publishing really unique books, and they are supporting authors that take risks and provide something new and fresh to the YA market!

  14. This sounds really good! I agree with you about it being really hard to read a boy's point of view, though. Sometimes you just can't get into it or you have no idea whether it's authentic, LOL. Awesome review, Maja! I think I'd like to read this series - I have yet to read a Strange Chemistry title! O.o

  15. Great review....sounds like a great series! Thanks for sharing

  16. It's nice to hear when an author gets better. Especially when it comes to the second book in a series. So often they are just filler.

    boo to cliffhangers though. Unless I'm REALLY in love with the series they make me give up instead of anxiously anticipating.


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