Author: Lydia Kang
Release: December 26th 2013
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, YA
#1 in the Control duology
Sequel: Catalyst (#2)
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.
EDIT: I've read a lot of reviews of how this book was mysogynistic and slut-shaming and I have to disagree. Yes, Zel is condescending towards Vera and even Dyl a bit in the beginning for being beautiful and knowing it, but personally I think the novel instead shows with Zel's development because later on, Zel doesn't think that anymore, and in fact has a relationship close to Sisterhood with Vera and is obviously sisterly of Dyl - how silly it all is. As for the mysogyny ... Cy stops being the jerk soon after, and he and Zel really connect and have a bond, so I still think they have a healthy relationship, even if the road was a little rocky.
Everyone who knows me or has been following me for a little while knows how much I lusted after this book. Alongside These Broken Stars it is a book that I discovered earlier in the summer, wanted to buy right away but then noticed that it wasn't even out yet. This was the one of the two that I wanted the most, the one that I checked weekly (maybe it was released earlier or something, a girl can hope!) and really anticipated the release of like it was one of my favorite series and this was the next book.
And it. did not. disappoint me. At all. Sure, it had its flaws and clichés that you see often in YA literature, but honestly? For a debut novel, this was absolutely excellent. I'm subtracting a half star because of those little flaws, but all in all, I could hardly have enjoyed this more. I read all throughout yesterday, I didn't even go to the computer and only stopped once to eat and do my homework (simultaneously, to save time, of course).
The plot really drew me in right away. I'll admit, it all seemed to be squeezed in a little at the beginning, because it all happened so fast and it was a bit overwhelming, but things get so much better and more organized afterwards, so don't you worry if the beginning might be a little slippery. There were a handful of plot twists along the way that I really did not see coming at all, and blew me right off my feet, and the overall story was very compelling as well. Zel always made a conscious effort to work towards her goal, yes, she took her breaks where she did things for herself, which is totally okay. But she always thought of her sister and how to get her back, so I'm commending her on being consistent and ambitious.
Yeah, Zel was really a great character, despite some of her contradictions here and there. She had super great character development (I'm impressed!) and she was extremely smart and sciency, which I loved. Remember when I was fawning over the biology in Mila 2.0 so much in my review? Well, I was gushing over it in this book, because it's even better this time around! Geez, I can't even begin to explain how happy all the sciency puns and phrases made me and how much I adored the double helixes at the beginning on each chapter. Plus, it all made so much sense. Like, of course, of course, this is totally legit. This is the formula to longevity, why don't we just do it, it makes so much sense?! I know it's probably not that easy, but reading this book, I couldn't help but believe because Kang manages to explain it all on a molecular level in a very pleasing way. I AM JUST SO FANGIRLING OVER THE BIO AND CHEMISTRY IN THIS BOOK. (Just so you know: Here in Germany, we basically have 3 LKs ("Leistungskurse") that are like Advanced Placement classes, just that you have only three of them, and two of mine are bio and chem, so... that's why. (FYI, my third's English))
The other characters really grew on me as well. Some clichés, as I said, like the other girl that dislikes our heroine at first, but later warms up to her like a sister, or the jerk love interest, although I have to say that this case isn't as bad as in some other books I've read. His jerk phase doesn't last very long and he soon starts to be nice, and not only just to Zel, but to everyone else as well. Everyone had their own distinctive personalities and voices, I loved everyone the same (well obviously I liked Zel and Cy a little more than the rest, but hey they are the main MCs (main Main Characters, right)). And (almost) every character has some kind of personal growth; Cy, Zel, Dyl, Marka, Vera, Wilbert, they're all different in the end than they were in the beginning. Again: For a debut novel? Impressive.
As I already mentioned, the plot was consistent and engaging, albeit also kind of a cliché (saving the sibling from the enemy), but I don't really mind. As long as it gives me a good ride, I'm on board. And Control definitely delivered.
All in all, honestly, my expectations were met, if not even exceeded. I would totally give it five stars and I have played with the thought, since I gave These Broken Stars that as well, but I'm taking a half star off of both now, because they both have some few flaws, although they don't really affect the whole experience in a negative way I don't think. If you love biology, especially genetics, READ THIS BOOK. If you love sci-fi, read this book. If you love books, read this book.
PS: I really want that sequel now, because the book ends on a mean cliffhanger.
-shelves it on my favorite shelf and treasures it forever more-