Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
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.
Huge thank you to Dial Books for Young Readers and Netgalley for this advance read copy!
Sam’s Review (4.5 Stars)
Control was an unexpected surprise for me. I didn’t know anything about it upon requesting it, but from page one I found myself instantly hooked. I wasn’t sure at first what to expect or where Kang was going to go with this story about displaced twins and medical do-the-whacky, but I found myself completely drawn to the world (even if the building was a bit slow at first) and the characters. I can’t say I’ve ever read a science-fiction medical thriller than was, in fact, written by an actual doctor.
What I loved about Kang’s writing style is that it’s snappy. It’s easy to know what’s going on, who’s speaking and the overall conflict within the world. Even more so, I love the incorporation of medical terminology and sciterrificness (science + terrific + ness = sciterrificness) that she presents within the story — she makes all these aspects extremely accessible and easy to understand. The jargon is there, but it never feels out of place. In a lot of ways, Kang tackles so many kinds of medical issues, making them front and centre. Funny enough the book is called Conrtrol yet its anything but. That’s part of the fun though, considering what a page turner this book is.
I LOVED Zel and Dyl’s relationship and I felt it was very strong and well realized. Their need for each other goes beyond just being sisters — they are best friends. I enjoyed the secondary cast of characters, particularly Vera who gave me the willies at times. I loved that the nearly every character in this story is mutated or transformed in some way — physically or mentally, yet it doesn’t stop them from trying to be the best they can be. I wasn’t originally sold on Micah or Cy, but I actually ended up liking them both quite a bit. Heck, I even thought the romance was surprisingly fun — how many girls can get away with half the stuff Zel did and still land a good guy? Cy and Zel relationship is surprisingly violent, yet playful (odd, I know), but they just worked so well for me!
It’s hard for me to explain all the reasons why I liked Control, but I think I can sum it up in two words: it’s fun. It’s fun, fast, engaging, and everything just works so well without feeling out of place. Yes there is some lack of believably, but in this story it works to its advantage, and many of the diseases within the book are real and are scary. I cannot wait to read the sequel and see where Zel, Dyl and Cy’s adventures take them. Also this book totally needs more mutants. And not in the X-Men way (which I totally appreciated even though I love X-Men).