CONTROL by Kim Curran,Â Strange Chemistry, p/b Â£7.99, ebook Â£5.40, WebsiteÂ
Reviewed by Glen Mehn
Control, the follow-up to Shift, is about Scott Tyler, a young man with the power to change past decisions â€“ essentially, to shape reality, except they are only his decisions. In Shift, Scott learned about his power, and about ARES, the secretive agency of the UK government which manages Shifters, and the fact that he has, at most, a few years with the power: people outgrow it as they grow up.
While it’s difficult to talk too much about Control without spoilers for Shift, Control opens up with Scott and his girlfriend Aubrey hunting down some adults who can Shift, at the expense of the lives and sanity of kids. Some of these adults come quietly, others not at all, and then there’s the enigmatic Frank Anderson, who everyone seems to like, except Aubrey.
Scott is faced with a world that keeps changing underneath him: someone is Shifting significant world events, and only Scott remembers them â€“ the existence of the Shard, for instance, and who the Prime Minister is. This makes a topsy-turvey flip-flopping timey-wimey plot that Curran manages to wrangle into shape, never leaving the reader confused, only Scott. Scott is, as our protagonist, an especially gifted Shifter, and he ends up in a situation that… well, we can’t fault Curran for wanting us to buy the follow-up to Control.
Curran’s prose crackles with energy, and this book stays attention-grabbing and eminently readable, age-appropriate for all audiences â€“ so probably readable up to fifteen and then again after twenty-five.