Liam Reviews “Shift”

Posted: July 3, 2013 in Angry Robot Books
Tags: , , , , , ,

So, after reading the summary on the back of the book, Shift, by Kim Curran, I’m thinking about the movies Jumper and The Butterfly Effect. In all three, the protagonist has the super-power ability to undo, transport, or somehow change reality for themselves and sometimes others. As I began to read Shift, I fell into a nice, comfortable beginning – like a soft, worn-in pair of shoes. However, as I got further and further into the story, now here is where the comparisons end and the depth and excitement begin.

We follow Scott Tyler, a 16 year old who recently has been informed of his ability to “Shift,” that is he can go back for a redo on any decision he has made in the past. He only has to discover that pivotal, “aha” moment where he made a significant choice in his life. However, Scott quickly discovers that for every change he makes, there are always consequences. His change in choices, as in The Butterfly Effect, sometimes has nasty ripple effects for family, friends, and society in general.

What I found about this book that sets it so nicely apart from its peers, was the depth of the world into which Scott is thrust. Through his meeting with fellow Shifter, Aubrey Jones, Scott is introduced to ARES, an entire organization devoted to corralling these young Shifters, training, mapping, and ultimately controlling them. Of course, things aren’t all they seem to be on the surface. There are splinter factions that rasp against the goals of ARES and Scott and Aubrey must discover which group to Shift to (pun intended). Curran does a nice job of rounding out this organization so that we aren’t given some unknown baddie who is just out to screw teens and take over the world. ARES doesn’t have quite the depth as say Hogwarts and the Wizarding World, but it’s enough to satisfy.

Scott is easily likeable as well. Kind of your average teen. Okay maybe even a little sub-par, with, in his own words, a bit of a “…small pale, pot belly…” to begin with. He struggles with self-confidence, girl shyness and a feeling of being ignored by his family. Love interest and mentor Aubrey is the same. She is the rebel girl who doesn’t fit in with the norm and looks like she’d kick your ass if you crossed her. We like her, too. Both teens face the dilemmas of how far would you go if you could change things, if you had a second chance or a third chance, a fourth, a fifth? Even knowing that consequences might not be to your liking or personal benefit.

Well paced and exciting, I enjoyed reading Shift. Teens will love this book – as long as they are prepared for some gruesome violence. Ok, honest – what teen doesn’t love a little gruesomeness? Make sure to check out the upcoming sequel, Control, releasing in August!

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