Monday, December 16, 2013

Control by Lydia Kang

Control b y Lydia Kang
Release Date – December 26, 2013
Publisher Website – Penguin
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 400 pages
My Rating- 2.5/5
**received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
Control seemed to be something a little different. Something a little unique. A book that would stand out from the crowd. Control, however, ended up being a decently written novel that, for me, came across as more of the same.

Control read quite similar to almost every other Young Adult book out there. It didn't stand out, or make an impacted in an already crowded market. I had high hopes that this would not only be unique, but a refreshing change from what is already out there. It could have been a solid 3 stars but a few unsettling things made me rate it a shade lower.

The sisterly bond between Zel and Dyl is certainly sweet. Zel especially feels the need to protect and take of her younger sister. The constant need to compare yourself to your sibling is something I think those with siblings could relate to. It added a nice, authentic touch to the relationship. It's the strongest, and most fleshed out relationship in the novel, and easily my favourite part of the novel.

The world building is solid, and is one of the highlights of the novel. It felt immersive, and really pulled me into the story. This aspect of the story was well plotted, and defined. The science aspect of the plot certainly shines, and pays off during the plot. It's frustrating when a novel fails to deliver when promising a science riddled plot. Control not only delivers, but has it be the main element. If anything, the character development suffers a little as a result.

Lydia Kang's writing is quite engaging and I see the potential for it to continue to improve as the series continues. She creates her world effortlessly and knows where she wants the story to go. It's the in between moments that didn't work as well for me, and with some polish the writing would take care of the rest. The pacing was the only thing that really didn't work as well. I felt there was too much happening in the beginning and end, with little development in the middle. It created a bit of a lull in the storyline.

There are a few unsettling elements that are touched upon and it's part of the reason I downgraded the rating. They are touched upon all too briefly. It's too big a spoiler to discuss fully in this spoiler free review, but it's sexually based and I felt it should have been addressed more. It would be devastating for the character(s) involved, and it was brushed away. I hope it comes up again the next book(s) as I feel it needs further fleshing out. The entire part of the plot that involves this should be the focuses of second book in order to fully realize the impact it should have.

The romance in the novel never quite resonated with me. I spent most of the novel wondering what the love interest's problem was. He was abrasive, and unnecessarily mean to Zel. We do learn some of his backstory, and it explains some of his issues. However, the speed in which they go from him being rude, to in love is rather abrupt with nothing really feeling earned. I feel that I need to understand motivations if I am going root for them to be together, and I would have appreciated a little more development from the romance. Cy himself is fascinating though, and his story does somewhat parallel Zel's own.

Ultimately, Control is a book that is filled with ups and downs. There were some things I really loved, and there were some that I wished had been tackled a different way. It ended up not quite hitting the mark for me, but I would read something else from this author as I feel there is talent there.

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