Control by Kim Curran

Rating 9.0/10
Control improves on every aspect of Shift, just like a good sequel is supposed to do.

Control is the second book in the Shift series by Kim Curran, a series about being able to control the current state of the present by changing decisions made in the past. Control surpasses its predecessor in many ways - the writing is better, the characters feel more real and fleshed out, the world has expanded way beyond the tiny little box it was originally contained in, and the magic system has been adapted by nefarious people for selfish purposes. But most importantly, Control is fun to read and hard to put down.

The story follows on some time after the events of Shift, with new ARES super-star Scott Tyler and his colleague / girlfriend Aubrey well into tracking down the remaining members of Project Ganymede. They are making steady progress but there is one member who continues to be elusive - Frank Anderson. The question is, who is Frank Anderson, and how does Frank fit in to the bigger picture?

One of the great things about a sequel is that it gives an author the freedom to take what has already been established and use it to explore more complex concepts. Curran takes full advantage of this freedom, taking what we already know about shifting and showing us a bunch of new innovative ways that it can be applied. The new abilities we see come across as natural extensions of an established magic system, but they are not handled with as much precision as standard shifting was in the first book. Things do get unwieldy, and a couple of times I was taken out of the story wondering why don't these characters just do "this". But, if the characters did act the way I thought they could have the awesome ending wouldn't have happened, so I happily accept the unwieldy additions to the magic system.

Control improves on every aspect of Shift, just like a good sequel is supposed to do. It was a little slow in the middle but Curran seriously knocked the ending out of the ball park. The biggest problem for me will be the wait for the third book, Delete (yeah,  the book titles are Shift, Control and Delete - how cool is that!).

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