April 28, 2014

Review: Control by Lydia Kang

Title: Control (Control #1)
Author: Lydia Kang
Release Date: December 26th, 2013
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 400
Source: Purchased
First Reaction: Sci-fi heavy on the science that scared me into loving it.
An un-putdownable thriller for fans of Uglies

When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn't even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.

A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]


Zel is the protective big sister trying to make sense of her always-on-the move life. But when her father dies in a car accident, Dyl (Zel's little sister) is kidnapped by strangers, and Zel is moved to this secret, hidden house for teens with... mutations, Zel has to find a way to get her sister back and wrap her head around this strange new set of situations she finds herself in. Oh, and, it's 2150. And Zel also has a strange mutation she never knew about. It's all pretty crazy and stressful, so obviously, it's bound to make for a fantastic, twisty, sci-fi read.

Let's break this down:

This book has the mutations of X-Men with the scientific specifics of the Uglies series.

Are you hooked yet? If not, I'm not sure what you're doing listening to me about anything because all of that is enough for me.

Okay, need more?

Here's it is:

The very best part of this book is the Lydia Kang is a doctor and she really applies her knowledge of science and genetics to Control. All of the science in the book makes so much sense and I more than buy it. But even more than buying it, I love it and I'm honestly interested in some of this stuff - especially the ethical questions she brings to light through the issues within the book (which I would talk more about, but that might accidentally lead to spoilers, so I won't).

Science aside, this book is also filled with thrills and chills. I gasped and shuddered on more than one occasion during this fast-paced, plausible future of a book. I mean, it's one thing when you consider all the death and kidnapping and safe-houses but then when you find more about the reasons for the death and kidnapping and the safe-houses, you just can't keep the surprise to yourself. I couldn't really guess what came next because I had no idea what could come next and that's pretty much why I love sci-fi and other things that bend, twist, and extend modern realities. Oh, and that big twist at the end? My jaw is still open from that time it dropped in shock.

My other favorite bit of this book is the romance. Zel is a fantastic, strong lead who's used to taking care of her family and doesn't stop even when things start going even more south than usual. Cy is this kind of rude tough guy with underlying insecurities and issues that you can't help but love. Normally they wouldn't give each other the time of day but they need each other for practical reasons - and maybe also other reasons. But their relationship doesn't take over the book. The science, ethics, family issues, and so on are the base of this novel and the slow burn, tension filled romance is just something that's there to up the stakes at the end. (Because whoa with those stakes at the end.)

The long and short of it?

Plot: Technically terrifying.
World Building: Utterly sound and entirely fascinating.
Character Development: Strong characters with strong motives and a lot of other awesomeness. I love it.
Prose: Maybe a little unrefined at times but that didn't bother me at all.
Would I Recommend This Book?: I'd recommend this one to fans of Sci-Fi, X-Men, Uglies, science, genetics, jaw-dropping twists and other excellent things related to all of that.

What did you think of all the science in this book? Did it work for you like it did for me? Have you put off reading this book because of the science (*don't*). Let me know in the comments below!