Author: Lydia Kang
Publisher: Dial (Penguin)
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
Release Date: December 26, 2013
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.
I recently marked a big fat "DNF" on a book that was similar to this one, but Control by Lydia Kang was a sci-fi YA debut that I surprised myself by enjoying. It wasn't a perfect book, but I still had a good time reading it.
Zelia and Dylia are two recently orphaned sisters who have no real ties to anyone except themselves. Their overprotective father kept them constantly on the move and controlled every aspect of their lives. "Zel" was just as protective of "Dyl" as her father, lamenting her little sister letting go of childish things and becoming a beauty-obsessed, boy-crazy teenager. When their father dies, leaving them in foster care, their lives are thrown for a loop. Zel and Dyl do not have much time to adjust because All The Things happen.
I never got much of a feel for Dyl in the novel except that she was a silly girl that got caught up in the circumstances. Okay, silly may be too harsh. Naive? I liked Zel well enough, and she felt very real. She had a lot of body image issues, as do most teen girls and was very determined. The other teens in the safe house with Zel were interesting enough, but I never really connected with them. I liked them well enough, but I was a bit "meh". Even the villains failed to work me up, one way or another. Yes, one of the bad guys (to say who would be a spoiler) was pretty freakin' awful, but he didn't really illicit much of an emotional reaction reaction in me.
I think what made me enjoy Control as much as I did was Kang's writing and world-building. Even when I was feeling detached from the characters and events in the novel, the story still flowed across the page. I was interested in the technology and what the futuristic world was like. The idea of modified genetics and how it all worked was smart and well-researched. I'm not a scientist, so it may have been just fancy talk going over my head, but I don't think so. There is little I love more than science that is believable, and Kang has that down pat.
Despite my lack of attachment with the characters, I liked Control. The science was good, and if you like smart YA novels, I recommend you give this one a try.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.
This book counts toward my completion of the Debut Author Challenge.