Without doubt, a highlight of my reading year so far has been Kim Curran’s Shift. A Young Adult science fiction adventure with a distinctive voice, its tale of youngsters who could shift time, undoing choices, altering events and bringing all sorts of calamities down on themselves and the world, was a pageturner from start to finish. You can read my review of Shift here and, if you’ve not read Shift, I’d advise you to read no further here because spoilers are inevitable as we continue with the trilogy. Control picks up exactly where Shift dropped us off.
Scott Tyler, our narrator and hero here as in Shift, is a shifter with a difference – he can remember past shifts; he knows how time has been changed – and using this gift he and his girl, the feisty Aubrey Jones, were able in the opening adventure to tackle the perpetrators of the Ganymede Project which preyed (quite literally) on young shifters. In Control, the mission of Scott, Aubrey and their team of fellow agents is to seek out the last of the Ganymede subjects, adults who have been given the teenage power to shift, to close down the project once and for all. One target is particularly elusive – Frankie Anderson – and to track down and disable this powerful force, Scott is going to have to exploit the most unlikely of allies from the previous novel. It’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to be pretty.
As with Shift, the main appeal of Control is the characters, whether young or older, goodie or baddie. Scott, Aubrey, Frankie and others are well-rounded, vivid figures and this is strengthened by their voices. The dialogue is so natural and real, with a dark humour about it, and it brings the story alive. And what a story it is. Full of twists and turns but also packed full of truly horrifying, disgusting or dreadfully sad moments. On top of having to put history right, Scott and Aubrey also have to deal with their rather turbulent if loving relationship just like any other teenager couple that doesn’t have the powers to change the world. There is another very memorable figure here but I’m not mentioning him because he’s too disgusting to think about. Some of the children, though, that Scott encounters have lived lives of trauma, abuse and heartbreak. It’s not easy to read some of this with a dry eye.
I love Kim Curran’s style of writing. It’s so easy and fun to read while also having a disturbing, dark edge. I did find that Control existed a little under the shadow of the phenomenal Shift – it is an extremely hard act to follow after all – but nevertheless I enjoyed Control a great deal and having been utterly shocked by its ending I cannot wait for the trilogy’s finale, Delete.