Read of the Week: Control by Lydia Kang

Control (Control, #1)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.

As much as it pains me to say this, and it really does(seriously, give me a few minutes, you’ll see), Control started off terribly slow. There’s action and drama and science all going on and it sounds great, right? It just wasn’t. Tons of information was thrown in my face and science and genes and future and aghhhhhh, my brain.

Now, with that being said, said information overload is totally necessary. Once all that information’s been thrown in your face(I’d say about fifty pages in), Control starts to get all sorts of fun.

Being brutally honest, I am, so to speak, the anti-fan of science. I hate anything and everything about it, but that just may be because I had an unfortunate four-year rundown with all things nursing. Anyhow, here’s the thing, all that information jam aside? Kang made the science super groovy. Did I just say that? Oops, sorry, it fits. For real. Not only do you kind of get a crash course on DNA and all that other fun science-y stuff, but you get to play mind games of your own, thinking up different solutions and possible variables to multiple trials going on throughout the book. I am the first to admit that science fiction isn’t my thing , aside from a few select elites(Ahem, Partials), but Lydia  just knows her way around these things. Trust me. I’d normally spot someone on their tremendous amount of research and dedication, but Lydia Kang is actually *gasp* a physician, which just makes things even cooler. Don’t like science? You will. Already dig the do? You’ll go crazy.

Why is my lingo suddenly a seventies-eighties mash up? I’m sorry. It’s been a long week.

Speaking of time travel, Lydia has managed to conduct the most original world building I’ve seen to date. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the dystopian shelf is growing, and Control has boldly taken us where no reader has gone before. Did I mention I also watched a few episodes of The Next Generation this week? No? I think this is what they call a quarter-life crisis. Kang exposes readers to world of nightclubs and drugs, mirroring much of the sort of environment available to people now but amped to the tenth power. The sights, the sounds, everything Lydia writes is extreme and terrifyingly gorgeous. The various mutations and ecstasy drugs showcased in Control  are all marvelously portrayed and it was fun seeing teenagers actually being teenagers 137 years into the future(Yes, I’m being that  specific because I know just how anal you people can be) and not completely dropping the fact that yes, they’re still kids. A problem I seem to be having with dystopians now is that most of our protagonists don’t make time to be juvenile and engage in juvenile activity. It is YA, after all.

Zelia has earned herself a spot at the top of my dystopian YA female leads list. Zelia isn’t strong or unbreakable, she’s human, and that’s what makes her so amazing. We’re given a girl who, just like ourselves, is thrown into a world that she never knew existed and has no idea what to do with all the new information that’s suddenly being dumped on her. She’s torn between her loyalty to the family she’s always loved, to the people that she’ll learn have betrayed her in the past, and the new ones that’ll worm their way into her heart before she can stop it from happening. There was a lot of raw emotion radiating from Zelia and the determination to rescue her sister despite what people were pushing on her to believe. Zelia’s slowly blossoming romance with Cy, the house’s own scientist with a guarded heart, was sweet and exciting. Seeing the situation through someone else’s eyes(though not POV) put things into perspective and made it fun for me as a reader to try and decipher who I figured could be trusted amongst all the possible people that might be out to get Zelia. It added a bit of mystery to the book and the mix up got me thinking more, which is always good when reading a book.

Control leaves us all with a lovely, extra angsty ending(my fave, duh), that actually made me cry a bit, but don’t tell because I like to pretend I’m hardcore sometimes. The only bad thing about reading books early? You get to wait extra long for the sequel.

Anyone interested in experimentation, romance, and a never-before-imagined world will love this book.

You can officially pick up Control December 26, 2013. Talk about an awesomely late holiday gift, am I right?

Rating: 9/10

**Thanks to Lydia Kang and Dial for the ARC of Control**


Steph is 20 years old, born and raised in Miami, Florida. An avid reader and aspiring author, she oftentimes wishes she were a fictional character. The rest of her free time is divided between watching bad foreign films and partaking in Disney trivia. She can be contacted via Twitter (@Stephest21) or email :