This is a blog with spoiler free reviews. Most will be Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror, but there will be some books in other genres, including the occasional Non-Fiction review. There is an ongoing series of Cover Reveal Round-Ups, and sometimes I'll write an article on something that interests me.

24 August, 2012

REVIEW: SHIFT

Cover by Larry Rostant

SHIFT
BY
KIM CURRAN

ISBN: 978-1-90884-403-3
Pages: 416
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Published: US/CAN/e-book 4 September 2012, UK 6 September 2012

On the cover:

When your average, 16-year old loser, Scott Tyler, meets the beautiful and mysterious Aubrey Jones, he learns he’s not so average after all. He’s a ‘Shifter’. And that means he has the power to undo any decision he’s ever made.At first, he thinks the power to shift is pretty cool. But as his world quickly starts to unravel around him he realises that each time he uses his power, it has consequences; terrible unforeseen consequences. Shifting is going to get him killed.In a world where everything can change with a thought, Scott has to decide where he stands.

   It doesn't take long before this novel goes from its opening of normal teenage life into a completely different direction. There's nothing new with a teenager discovering they have a special power. But from that initial premise Shift moves unto something that is not your normal story, and it moves in directions that are surprising and impossible to predict.

   I like novels that have good central ideas, and shifting is definitely that. Curran manages to use it not only to drive the storyline forward, but also to shape the way the story moves. At times it takes a bit of concentration to wrap your head around what is happening, not because it is unclear but because it is a complex story that frequently moves in unexpected directions.
   Once you get your mind used to how things work in this story Curran ramps up the suspense. Unexpected turns and cliffhanger chapter endings makes this a fast paced and suspense filled read. Curran is very good at hiding what is coming next, and very accomplished at misdirecting the readers thoughts as to what comes next. At times I suspected she was shifting and changing the story as I read it, so that my expectations of what came next turned out to be wrong.

   It takes a bit of worldbuilding in a novel like this to establish how everything works, both as related to our normal world and to the hidden part of the world we are introduced to in the novel. Curran manages to do this in a very good way, by giving us a main character that is clueless at the start of the story and letting us learn with him. 
   It is very refreshing that this is done without resorting to the main character being an idiot. In fact, I felt as confused as Scott Tyler is when the novel begins, and was very glad that we got an explanation as to what was going on. Later revelations also flow seamlessly into the narrative, and Curran gets out all the information  across to the reader without dumping it on them.

   Character wise this is also a very well written book. We get a good idea of the life of Scott Tyler and who he is as early as the first chapter, and from there we follow him as he learns and develops - something he does in a natural way.
   Other characters are also well developed and bring their own stories to the table. And they never feel like cardboard cutouts brought in to advance the story, but rather as people who happen to be involved in the vents depicted.

   Curran's debut is a novel that is hard to put down once you start reading it. It flows at a very fast pace, and Curran's writing sweeps you along. She also manages to create a world, and characters, that you really want to know more about.
   This is a Science Fiction Thriller that doesn't work just for readers in the Young Adult demographic. Both the Science Fiction and the Action Thriller elements work very well, and together they make for a great novel. You really should get your hands on this novel if you like your fiction to take you on a thrill-ride. 

NOTE: An ARC of this book was provided to me by the publisher.

LINKS: Kim Curran  Strange Chemistry

4 comments:

  1. Sounds like a very interesting novel, I'll have to check it out. Great review!

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  2. Thanks for sharing this with me. It might well be one to try with the kid this year. I might have to just pick it up and have it at home for him to pick from. Thank you!

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    1. You're welcome. I'm happy to help :-)

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