"Control" Book Review (Control Series #1)

Cynthia Ayala ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Cover art for Control. Photo Courtesy of lydiakang.com.
Cover art for Control. Photo Courtesy of lydiakang.com.
By: Lydia Kang
Published: December 26, 2013
Publisher: Dial Books
Series: Control
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Set in 2150, science has evolved but the altering of human genetics remains forbidden.  Nevertheless, when it happens, they are not accidents…
When a crash kills their father, leaving sisters Zel and Dyl orphaned, Zel knows that she must protect her sister.  But before she can form a plan, her sister is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, leaving Zel alone in a safe house with teens who aren’t like others and who by law shouldn’t even exist.  However, Zel won’t give up.  Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts and her own strength, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the dangerous people who stole her, believing that a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.
This was a powerful book: a little predictable the more one would read, but a book with its hooks you in tightly, making it a page-turner.  The novel was amazing from the moment it started to the very last page.
Control revolves around Zel as she tries to figure out the mystery behind her sisters kidnapping and the idea that her sister has a secret encoded in her DNA, one brought on by the genetic mutation of her genes.  So Zel is thrown into this secret dark world she knows nothing about, and tries, with just strands of her sisters hair, to figure out what secret gift her sister has to save her and get her back.  This plotline is a rush; it’s fast paced, gripping, and shows how bright and insecure the main protagonist is, making her one of the most truly honest characters readers will have read in a long time.  Zel truly jumps off the pages and becomes a real person, as do the other characters in her new family.
The beginning of the story is admittedly slow, but that is to set the stage, introducing you to the main character Zel and her psyche, her personality brought on by her family dynamic.  What this also does is introduce the family and what they mean to her, while also making the revelations more impactful as small glimpses into the plot line come to light the more you read on…that is, right before thrusting the story into full speed.
Whenever the story slows down Kang allows us to see the other characters introduced into the plot.  Each character is vastly different from the other and each adds something incredible to the thickening plot. Together they weave together the most captivating, perfectly imperfect family.  Even though the story is fictional, the writing is genuine and the character development, the dynamic between each character continues to grow from page to page.  Dyl however is not a likable character.  She is annoying, self-centered, and stereotypically childish-stupid-boy-crazy thirteen year old. Thankfully, she’s written in sparingly and at the end has some depth to her character once her eyes are opened to the truth of this dark futuristic world.
This is also a very easy book to read and easy to get lost in.  The scene specifics are spot on.  Kang puts enough detail into the scenes to build the setting and thrust the reader into the world, latching the reader to the scene and giving the reader something to see rather than read.  This makes the reading both smooth and captivating, and the biggest reason as to why it’s so easy to get lost in the novel.  This book is magnificent.  ★★★★★ (A+)

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