Review: Control by Lydia Kang

Series: Control #1

control -lydia kangAn 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.

5 Drink Me Potions

Warning: This review contains awestruck praise for authentic science in a YA novel

Upon a second time reading through Control, I will have to say the story hasn’t gotten any duller than the first. Sci-fi has never been something I truly loved, especially because the world building can get confusing depending on how the author goes about describing it. Too many technological advances and strange government systems can become explosively hard to follow and understand.

BUT, this book does not sway into that category. The world building is not the centre of the story, but rather the scientific (or rather, genetic) and occasional technological advances in the year 2150. As a lover of science, I CANNOT express how awestruck I am to see real science put into a novel. It sucks when science fiction takes the liberty of submerging into science fantasy. Lydia Kang keeps the science real but still maintains a level of imaginative fiction in her storytelling.

And at the end….it is MINDBLOWING to see how the science ties in perfectly to help fight off adversaries. Who says science can’t be used for the odd fight or two?

Zelia and her gang of misfit mutant friends are also very well-depicted. Thrust into a new world where people with naturally born mutations are left to live in isolation for fear of elimination by the government, each character has their own quirky personality. Sure, they may not be original personalities, but after reading so many stories, you can compare many secondary characters to someone else in another book.

As for the plot pacing, it wasn’t very action-packed or anything because at the heart of the story, there is a scientific mystery to be solved. Zelia is trying to identify what “trait” that her sister Dylia may have that the rival mutant house (Aureus House) wanted so badly. So yes, labwork makes up a chunk of the story as well as chilling within Carus House (aka the “good house”).

Wait a second. Let’s pause here. You say this sounds like X-men? Now let’s just hold it right there. That is NOT an excuse to not read the book. All stories have central themes and archetypes that they follow. It just so happens that this kind of theme is representative of stories that contain kick-ass mutants who are fighting for their survival. So please, just give it a shot, will you?

Overall Recommendations:
Control is a scientific phenomenon in YA literature, with hardly any other in comparison to its keen scientific nature. Packed with a sizzling romance and funky characters (and the occasional plot-twister), readers don’t need to come from a heavy science background to appreciate its cleverness.
Although…if you did, then that would make the book so much more of a pleasurable read.

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