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December 22, 2013

Review: Control by Lydia Kang - Favorite Penguin Book of 2013

Control (Control, #1)

Title: Control (Control, #1)
Author: Lydia Kang
 Penguin Canada
Publication date: December 26, 2013

Genre(s): Young Adult (Futuristic/Sci-Fi)
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Pages: 400
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.
Control by Lydia Kang was my book of the month for November. I went into it being a bit wary of the campaigning on the back of the book that promised a "ROMANTIC READ" and that usually brings up red flags in that the book will mostly center around the romance, but Control exceeded my expectations by a mile. After its slow beginning, I couldn't put the book down. The plot line, the characters, and all the mystery behind everything going on was so engaging and interesting, something I don't say often in regards to the current science fiction YA books. 
Zel, the older sister who ended up with a dead father and a younger sister that got kidnapped, was an action kind of girl. She didn't dwell on her misery and what has happened to her or blame anyone for her situation, she got down to business. I love female protagonists like that; Ones that take matters into their own hands and don't need anyone to depend on. Zel's volunteer lab hours were of use to her when she finds herself in a safe house full of strange looking people… genetically enhanced people, and she's told that Dyl is one of them. She gets down to business trying to figure out what Dyl's trait is and this is where all the science terminology are incorporated. I loved reading about all DNA extraction and analysis, it is such fascinating stuff! The author being a practicing physician gave this part of the plot authenticity that is hard to replicate in other books.
Character wise, the people at Zel's safe house were all amazing. I loved every single one of them and thought they were such a neat group of people.. with super human abilities of course. One in particular, yes the love interest, fascinated me the most. I loved how Kang put some flesh onto his character.. he wasn't just a designated love interest but had actual history and issues that we get a glimpse of. I loved how distant he was in the beginning (bad boys… I can't help but love you), and I loved how realistic their relationship progressed. Cy is definitely a worthy love interest to be remembered. 
Control is a book full of all types of action that there was never a dull moment. I tried reading the book any chance I got and would get totally immersed into the world Zel was in. It pains me that I need to wait more than a year to pick up the sequel. This is a great (superb!) start to a sci-fi series and I can't wait to get back into Zel's world. Also, since this is the end of the year, I wanted to mention that Control is my favorite Penguin book I've read this year, and I've read a ton. What more can I say to make you pick this book up?

Fast forward to 7:26 for my mini review of Control


  1. Eeep, this is your fave penguin book of 2013?! I'm even more excited about reading it then! I've been eagerly anticipating the release, because I adore sci-fi. The mc and Cy sound like awesome characters.

    Great review!

  2. YAY for loving this book! I've been excited to read it ever since the publishing deal was first announced, so I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! It looks like the characters- all of them- are really well developed. I love how Zel isn't one to wallow in her misery, and that she immediately launches into action despite the fact that she's lost so much. It's awesome that all the secondary characters are well developed as well, even the main love interest! =) Also, I'm LOVING the talk of the DNA stuff. I think Kang being a doctor would definitely help breathe some authenticity in to that aspect of the novel.

    Lovely review, Juhina! Now I'm even more excited to read this one! <3

  3. I have seen this one around and that cover is hard to forget I must add. I'm so happy that this book offered more than just romance. I love the sound of characters and the plot line. I can live with slow beginning if later the book becomes so thrilling. Great review :)

  4. Awesome review :D I think this book sounds pretty good. I do like the cover. I'm glad you mostly loved it. <3 I'll have to check it out :)

  5. Great review! I'm reading this now! I'm almost finished, and to be honest, I'm not loving it like I thought I would! I mean its good...but it feels so slow paced, and feels like its missing the big bang that I was expecting.

    But I have to admit, I'm about 70% in and it's starting to pick up now, and I'm starting to enjoy it a lot more then I was in the beginning!

    But I loved your review and I see why you would feel the way you did about this book and the characters. Its different then anything I've ever read, and the characters are very special to me. I don't know if its because of their deformities or what, but I've come to care a lot about them and hold them dear to my heart!

    Thank you for stopping by and commenting on my Top 10 Best Covers of 2013 @ Addicted Readers! :D Happy Holidays! :D

    1. i get what you mean about it being slow but i actually reveled in it.. i liked the slow pace.. i dunno it felt that it went with what was happening and getting to know all the characters. I hope it gets better towards the end! and yes! I agree.. i've never read a book like this.. i just love the characters :)

  6. I LOVED this book! It's easily one of my favorite science fiction novels of 2013. Lydia Kang is a genius. I kind of dislike that this book is marketed more for its romance than the science fiction, but neither aspect disappointed. And UGH, YES, the wait. Lydia said Catalyst might not be out until early 2015. GAH D:

    Great review, Juhina! :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  7. This book has been on wishlist for a while. I really want to get it but I can't. I have 20+ series I have not finished yet and w/ my limited way of getting books. I'll wait awhile to get it. Maybe in a year or 2

    Thnx for the review juhina