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 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.
Shift by Kim Curran is yet another sci-fi YA coming out this year and I have to say I really quite liked it. I wasn’t expecting to, I am not sure why but I had low expectations for this book so I was pleasantly surprised with it.
Shift does two things right. The first is the idea. I liked the theory of being able to Shift reality, it made things really interesting. I thought the jumping around would have left the plot and pace feeling disjointed but it was handled really well. I never once felt jolted out of the story. This book in parts was really gunny and it was full of action but beyond all of that lurks a very smart book. This is not just entertainment it is education, it is like taking part in a science lesson without ever realising you were participating. I liked that the story and the science behind the idea of shifting was not dumbed down, instead it was explained and was easy to understand. Also there are lessons to be learned from this book, it teaches us that there are consequences for all of our actions. Despite this it never once comes across as preachy.
The second thing this book gets right is the main character Scott. The book is told solely from his point of view which is fine by me because Scott is all kinds of awesome. Instead of being a cool, strong brave and dashing male protagonist Scott is a nerd…a big one. He embarrasses himself all the time, he is terrible around girls, and he knows it. All of this just adds to his charms and he turns out to be pretty impossible to dislike. He is also really funny and sarcastic which was great it made his voice easy to read and made him easy to like. He is one of the best male points of views I have come across in a while.
This book was pretty well written, it was not the best I have read but certainly not the worse. It was easy to get into and extremely easy to like. I liked the pace. There was enough action to ensure I wasn’t bored but also not so much that I got confused. It was surprisingly brutal and gory in parts (I have two words: Cat and brain) but it was handled well.
I also loved that this book was set in London. The slang, the language the style was just brilliantly British. I feel like a read a lot of American voices in literature, especially in YA, which is fine. But it was just nice to hear home for once.
I did have my problems with this book though. I felt like Scott was the only character that was fleshed out. The others were ok but I wanted to know more about them, about who they were. I didn’t even feel like I knew Aubrey, which I should because she is the female lead in this.
Also, I think that the characters were a little young. They were running around talking and acting like adults. In my mind there is just no way that Aubrey can be 15, it just didn’t feel way it felt at all.
It its own way Shift reminded me of Heroes (back when it was good) it had a lot that I enjoyed about it and it managed to bring something a little new to the genre. If you are looking for a fast, sci-fi book then Shift just might be for you.
Published September 4th 2012 by Strange Chemistry. A free copy was provided for review. Image courtesy of Goodreads
Review by Kate Phillips