Review: Control

Control (Control, #1) by Lydia Kang
Published December 26th 2013 by Dial Books for Young Readers
Pages: 393

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.

"Trust no one, I scold myself. Even if they smell good."
- Lydia Kang, Control

Control is definitely one of the most difficult books for me to review. I had thought a long while about the rating, and then I came to the conclusion that I still had to write a review. Before you start panicking about why I didn't like this book, it's not that I didn't like it. I'd like to call it somwhere between a dissapointment and an interesting novel.

To start with the interesting aspect of the novel, Control is set in a dystopian world where there's a lot of focus on science and technology. As soon as I started reading, I got bombed with all sort of new inventions. Very cool, unless they're suddenly everywhere in the context without having an idea what they are. It was only after a couple of chapters I got to figure out what each thing was. Because of this I was kind of confused thoughout the beginning and it made me less caring for everything else. Further into the book, it were the two houses that grabbed my attention. The rivalry bewteen the two is special and a nice bonus to the overall world. The other elements of Lydia Kang's world however, didn't manage to grab me. It was hard to get into mainly because of the few explanations I got. I would like to see more details in the sequel, especially since it felt like the author rushed over these and went straight into the action and the actual plot.

The world usually says a lot about how the plot is going to be. As I mentioned that I liked the tentions between the two houses, I also really enjoyed the refreshing take on science. It's something not many YA books do. Thinking about it, it's actually not impossible for our society to head that way. The writing was at its best with the action scenes. I just flew throuh those. Despite all this, I also have to mention the little things that made it hard for me to finish. A big part of this book felt like a not so original novel with a rather predictable plot. From the moment we start getting hints on a specific topic, it's really not that hard to figure out the rest of the story. The only surprising twist was the romance. I didn't think there was going to be any until I actually got it 60 % in. Furthermore, I hope I'm not the only one who was annoyed by the slow pacing, despite the entertaining scenes and suspense. At times it was way too easy for me to put down, when I actually shouldn't have.

I can see a trilogy with potential with the characters introduced in Control. Reading about teens with a dark environment, you're sometimes in the need for a lighter scene and they're there to make you smile. They're entertaining and there conversations always kept me interested. When looking at every character, I can be honest and say that I didn't really care for a lot of them in the beginning of the book. I was still processing everything else (the world), and my love for them has come a tad later. This had a lot to do with the obvious lack of character development. Having finished the book, I still have this feeling that I don't know them very well. My love for Zelia wasn't really there in the beginning, and hasn't come when I read the last page. She, like every other character, came across as superficial. I did like her surprising relationship with a certain guy. Don't mind me, I was okay with the sweet moments and romantic talk. They're that couple I'll possibly add to my shipping list in the future.

The ending was expected, and yet the author managed to throw in multiple plot twists I could have never seen coming. In a way, they made sense when looking at everything as a whole. I do think the ending was good because we get what we want to happen throughout Control. With a certain plot twist there's a whole new storyline to continue in the sequels of the book. If only I hadn't lost interest when getting to the last page. For some reason I was relieved to having almost finished it that I  may rushed over the ending. However, I can't say the ending wasn't good because it leaves me wanting more.

Control is a book which felt like a let-down a lot of times while reading. I was expecting more, and I'm sad that I'm not statisfied. It turned out to be a story with surprising twists in both a positive and a negative way. The characters were the thing I enjoyed most, and I'm curious to see how they'll develop in the sequel. Talking about it, I have no idea if I'll eventually pick it up. I probably will because of the ending and most of all: peer pressure. Damn you, peer pressure.

Aurélie Cremers is an eighteen-year-old living in Belgium. As an active member on Goodreads, Edelweiss and Amazon, she's always spreading her reviews to express her opinion and influences her followers to read the books she fairly enjoyed. When she's not writing, you can find her at her local bookstore or in a classroom. With her blog, "Exploring Pages", Aurélie hopes to gain a larger public in the near future and to continue that what she'll always love doing: writing.

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