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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.

312 pages, Paperback

First published September 4, 2012

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About the author

Kim Curran

17 books100 followers
Kim was born in Dublin and moved to London when she was seven. She got her first typewriter when she was eight, had a poem she wrote about a snail published in a magazine when she was nine, and that was it – Kim was hooked on writing.

Because she never thought she’d actually be able to make a living as a writer, she decided she needed a trade to fall back on. So, naturally, she went to Sussex University to study philosophy.

While Kim’s plan of being paid big bucks to think deep thoughts never quite worked out, she did land a job as a junior copywriter with an ad agency a week after graduating. She’s worked in advertising ever since, specialising in writing for videogames.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 162 reviews
Profile Image for AH.
2,005 reviews370 followers
July 23, 2012
Really cool.
“Shifters have the power to change reality. And by doing that shape reality around them. We can change decisions we make, take paths we didn’t take, and change our present.”
Neat, huh?

Scott Tyler thought he led a dull existence. He’s in his last year of high school. He lives with his parents and younger sister Katie. Scott’s parents are disconnected with Scott: his mother pretends that the family likes each other and the father is completely detached from the family. In fact, Scott’s parents wouldn’t even be married if not for Scott, an “oops” baby. Scott’s father is rather condescending and not terribly nice to Scott.

Scott joins his quirky high-IQ pal Hugo for a night on the town. What follows changes Scott’s life. Scott is challenged to climb a large pylon and in a typical dumb teenage moment, he does, and falls to his death. Or did he? When he falls, he gets up and the kids are laughing at him for falling off a fence. Scott is confused and finds himself under arrest for Shifting in Public. Scott has no idea of what just happened.

This is a cool book. In many ways, it reminded me of several movies and TV series. Certain sequences reminded me of video games. The shifter’s reality is very different from us dull normal. They can change an outcome with just a thought. Shifting comes with great responsibility and some strict regulations:
1. A shifter cannot change the reality of a stronger shifter.
2. Shifters can only change their reality
3. Some events cut through all realities such as large disasters.
The last rule was a little convenient for my taste, but it worked for the book. Interestingly enough, a Shifter’s powers wane at the onset of adulthood.

There are a few different kinds of Shifters: Spotters, Mappers, Fixers, and Regulators. The girl who found Scott, Aubrey was a Spotter. Her job was to find Shifters and bring them to the regulators at the Agency for the Regulation and Evaluation of Shifters (ARES).

Scott enters ARES and is relieved to find out that he is not alone. The training sessions are grueling. Scott’s shifting exercises reminded me of a video game. The fighting sequences reminded me of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon but in fast motion.
“Finding out I was a Shifter had given me a sense of confidence. I thought I was unbeatable. Unstoppable. “
Of course, all is not on the up and up in this world and soon a conspiracy is unearthed. Some shifters appear on a list and they go missing. Then there’s the scary Fat Man who reminded me of Syler in Heroes, with the same m.o., too. There’s also opposition to ARES in the form of the Shifters Liberation Front, too.

Shift is a fun read, full of action and suspense. You’re never quite sure which reality is real. I enjoyed Shift and I can’t wait to read other books by this author.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.
Profile Image for lafon حمزة نوفل.
142 reviews43 followers
May 10, 2012
Humph! I decided before writing this review that I would read what other goodreads members thought of this book. After doing so, my reaction to this novel is much the same as it was when I just finished it. Basically: "What?! Was that it?! Huh?!"
So Ms. Curran does not mince words, cuts to the chase, doesn't beat around the bush, etc, etc. and gets straight to the story. All in all not a bad idea, but that mentality exists throughout the book leaving one at the end wondering if they just ran headfirst at top speed into a concrete wall. Plot idea was very good, but was completely wasted. The power to shift (which by the way reminded me of a movie with a similar name, although I've never watched said movie) was never fully explored leaving me to wonder what exactly shifting was. Scott, occasionally got random powers and then also lost said random powers with very little explanation as to why he got them (and subsequently lost them). Another problem: only kids can be shifters and yet whenever any of them speak the age that came to my mind was 22-27 years of age. Now some might think I'm speaking off the ear or however that particular idiom goes, but I'm the eldest of five children, constantly taking care of cousins (yes, who are all younger than me), and often the impromptu volunteer for babysitting kids. I think this gives me license to say that in this book, the kids don't talk like kids.

Also one final point: the book's description is misleading.
To sum up, this book could have been so much better than mediocre, but a too fast-plot coupled with weak characters, and a poorly explained power that was the centre of this story made for a poor read. However the writing wasn't so bad that I threw the book away and so it becomes two stars instead of one.
Profile Image for Kara Babcock.
1,922 reviews1,258 followers
February 18, 2014
Sometimes I wish I had the power to checkpoint my life, much like one can in many video games. I’d like to index certain times and be able to rewind to them and then make a different decision. For example, this morning I noticed that I was running low on brown sugar, and I hadn’t bought any more last time I bought groceries. It made me wish I could go back to the point where I was ordering groceries and have ordered brown sugar, just so I don’t have to buy any during the week. It’s time travel, but on a very mundane scale.

But those sorts of ideas—transforming the mundane into the extraordinary—often make for the best fiction. What I’m describing is very similar to Shifting, the central conceit of Shift. Shifters, however, don’t consciously relive the moments between the decision they change and the present. Reality itself just changes, and their memories of the old reality fade.

Despite my enthusiasm for the idea, I have to admit, this book didn’t excite me for the first little while. It’s probably Kim Curran’s writing style, or at the very least the voice of Scott Tyler, the protagonist. In the beginning he has very little to define him. He is, to put it mildly, the perfect candidate for a CW-sponsored television adaptation of the book: bland, white, slightly dumb white dude with a superpower being supported by a variety of more intelligent-yet-sidelined diverse minor characters.

Fortunately, the plot makes up for the protagonist’s shortcomings. See, Shift is also a murder mystery. A Shifter is killing former Shifters (for the power disappears as one ages into adulthood in a process known as entropy), and then Shifting reality to make the murders look like suicides. Scott, who has only recently discovered his powers and seems to be able to hold on to past realities more clearly than most, stumbles on to this mystery and the requisite conspiracy that any good secret government organization must have.

Curran delivers essentially another take on the “empower the adolescent through superpowers” theme. Scott feels like he has no voice, even in his own life. His younger sister’s achievements overshadows his own; his parents’ bickering blinds them to their son’s approach to adulthood and independence. Suddenly, he gets this power that literally lets him shape reality.

And then a government organization tells him he can’t use it unless he comes to work for them!

What sets Shift apart from many similar novels is how quickly Curran develops Scott’s story within the organization of ARES. He doesn’t spend much time in training. He doesn’t spend much time on the job before disasters strike and he finds himself in the thick of a fight for his life. Curran clearly has a story that she wants to tell and gets on with it, and the result is a lean, mean novel that doesn’t fail to entertain.

I’m not entirely convinced that adolescents would function in the bureaucratic cubicle farm that Curran portrays as Scott’s world when he’s stuck in the office. It seems a little far-fetched to me that even Shifter children could muster the maturity to work in such an environment (though, that’s overestimating the average maturity of a cubicle farmer). In general, it was difficult to remember that the majority of the characters in these novels are adolescents—Aubrey is only fourteen or fifteen. They’re hanging out in a night club, gambling and whatnot, and basically acting ten years older than they are.

In addition to these issues of characterization, the concept of Shifting itself could have been better-defined. Curran lays out the basic premise, cloaked in pseudo–quantum mechanics technobabble, well enough. The consequences, however, seem less certain. The actual mechanics are typically chalked up to “instinct”.

That being said, I have to praise the many and sundry inventive ways Curran works Shifting into Scott’s adventures. It’s more than just, “I regret action x, so let me fix it!” He figures out how to use Shifting to fight, to run, etc. The threat of entropy proves to be a major plot point and helps add to the sinister aura of ARES.

So Shift is far from perfect, but it hits enough of the targets to be worth a look if the main idea interests you. Neither the characters nor the plot are particularly special. As first novels go, though, it’s entertaining enough to show promise.

Creative Commons BY-NC License
Profile Image for Jeff James.
214 reviews33 followers
April 7, 2016
Shift is the story of Scott Tyler, a British teenager who accidentally discovers that he has the power to “shift” between possible realities by changing his past decisions. Along with this discovery comes his entry into a secret world of shifters and a dawning understanding of the terrible powers at play in a world where reality can be changed at will.

One on side there is a clandestine government organization called ARES that focuses on training young shifters to use their powers for good, and on the other there is a rebel faction of shifters called the SLF, who believe that shifters should be allowed to use their powers without regulation. Scott’s first contact with the world of shifters, Aubrey Jones, is also, conveniently enough, the girl of his dreams. Aubrey is a pixieish blonde with a chip on her shoulder and conflicted loyalties between ARES, who took her away from her family, and SLF, who seem bent on anarchy and destruction for the sake of it. At first it seems like the book might be about a clash between ARES and SLF, but then we meet the true villain, a morbidly fat man wants to eat Scott’s brains.

The villain, Benjo, is easily most original thing Shift has going for it. However, he is so vile and over-the-top that he seems slightly out of place in the story. I actually would have liked the author to delve more deeply into the darkness that might result from people with the power to reset their decisions controlling the world. As it was, the book felt like it flipped back and forth between a fairly by-the-numbers secret world adventure and a squick-inducing serial killer tale.

I did also appreciate that the book retained its inherent Britishness, using uniquely British phrasings and colloquialisms that seemed slightly exotic to this American reader. I suppose it’s possible that when the book is eventually published in America, that regional flavor will be stripped out, but I certainly hope not.

However, my main problem with Shift is that the underground world of the shifters never seems particularly exciting. The scenes in the school for shifters feel fairly dull and a bit cliché when compared to other similar entries in the genre. In fact, the author ends up quickly summarizing Scott’s time at school after a few scenes, and promotes him to junior agent status as if impatient to get past all that training. The end results is that we never really understand why Scott feels an allegiance to ARES, and it seems like he only really dislikes SLF because they’re the snotty popular rebels.

Also, after one of Scott’s early shifts goes terribly wrong, he never really experiences any further consequences from his new-found shifting ability. Although he uses his ability to save himself from death at one point, it never feels like we get to see him exploring his shifting powers. Additionally, the author establishes early on that shifters can only control conscious decisions, so whenever there is a passage where Scott agonizes over a decision, it openly telegraphs that he will need to shift a few pages later, which immediately lowers the stakes. The only real stakes that come into play are when the villain, Benjo, lumbers onto the scene, simply because he is so outrageous that it feels like anything could happen when he is around.

Overall, Shift is a bit of mixed bag. The storyline follows familiar contours, as a “normal” kid discovers that he is actually very special and then proceeds to save the day. The cast of supporting characters are all fairly two-dimensional, and several characters established early on barely get more than a few lines before being shuffled off-stage for the rest of the book.

Although the villain is a uniquely twisted touch in an otherwise familiar-feeling story, he never completely meshes with the rest of book around him, and the end result is a story that only hints at something darker and more compelling.
Profile Image for Kt.
798 reviews167 followers
September 7, 2012
Review originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..

Everything about Scott Tyler screams average, until the day he met Audrey Jones and everything changed. Turns up he has the ability to go back and fix any mistake he ever made. Those with this power are called Shifters, but shifting comes with consequences, and every changed choice can cause unforeseen ripples. Suddenly his old boring life is looking more and more attractive as he finds himself a target for those who would see to use and control him for their own horrible gains.

The concept of Shift was really intriguing, but unfortunately the actual execution left a whole lot to be desired. I just felt like a whole lot more could have been done with the shifting as it was never fully explained. Granted there was a brief explanation on quantum physics, but all that really did was make my eyes cross. There just wasn't enough explanation to be satisfactory and combine that with the overall progress only just meandered along for most of the book, and I was more than frustrated. Considering how insanely fast the pace was for the last third or so, I wish some of that had of been spread out a little to even the pace. Also, I had a large problem with the villain, as it seemed like he was only in there to add an element of horror and disgust. Considering the overall nefarious plot there was more than enough conflict that his inclusion was completely unnecessary, and really turned me off.

I could have overlooked the unrealized potential in the Shifting concept, and my pacing issues if the characters had of been more approachable. I honestly couldn't bring myself to care about them at all until more than halfway through, and even then it was only a faint fondness, the kind you may have for a distant cousin. Perhaps a lot of that had to with the fact that Scott himself didn't really care about much. He was just too sullen and honestly whiny for my tastes. So everything and everything else was tainted by his outlook since it was told by his perspective. It just made it really hard for me to care about what was happening to the characters, and when you don't care the enjoyment factor of a book is extremely lessened.

In all honesty, I'm surprised I finished Shift as I was never able to get attached to it. I just kept waiting for the moment where I would start to feel, well anything for the characters, but it never came. That being said, I do think Kim Curran is talented as the overall concept and writing style were impressive, enough so that I would be interested in checking out her future works as her imagination definitely isn't lacking. Perhaps this book will be more enjoyable to those who can form an emotional attachment to the narrator, but sullen teenage boys are a pass for me.
Profile Image for Nemo (The ☾Moonlight☾ Library).
626 reviews302 followers
July 12, 2019
See this review and more on The Moonlight Library!

Shift’s opening pages did not endear itself to me. I read the prologue, which was a huge hypothetical ‘have you ever wondered?’ and frankly said NO, I HAVE NOT. PISS OFF, BOOK. So I put it down for a few weeks. When I picked it up again, the opening chapter was a ‘dream sequence’ – that is, an ‘alternate reality’ presented as fact and designed to entice until it is revealed it is not in fact reality. Our protagonist, Scott, was playing a video game. Gah! It royally pissed me off. So I put the book down for a matter of weeks and resolved not to read it until I could shift the damn thing to an e-reader. (Shift. Get it?)

I am more than happy to yell from the rooftops that this book was way better than it opening pages. Our hero, Scott Tyler, is a Shifter – a person who has the ability to undo past decisions. It’s as if The Butterfly Effect and Jumper had a baby, and that’s the concept of the novel. When Scott discovers later than usual his unusual gift, he makes a terrible error, works hard to correct it, and then decides he needs to trust the strange girl, Aubrey, who Obi-Wan-style explains most things to him, and be trained by the secret government organisation designed to handle Shifters. As the Shifting power generally emerges in young children, Scott has a lot to catch up on.

Once I realised Scott was facing a YA rite of passage – training trials – I assumed this was going to be a boarding-school type novel. Luckily, I was wrong. Scott’s adventures develop both inside and outside of the academy. Once I thought I identified the climax, it just kept going, making the actual event exciting and interesting, if a little confusing and – even in this strange world – unrealistic. The climax was also extraordinarily brief – I wanted to see more of Scott’s struggle, his torment and pain. Instead he seemed to overcome this trial particularly easy and defeat the villain of the novel (which, by the way, I didn’t actually predict).

I loved the fact that this book was set in England (Jeremy Kyle, anyone?), and I loved reading a male point of view. I normally much prefer a female point of view, but Curran pulled off the arrangement convincingly. The romance was secondary to the main action of the plot, and although I’m not privy to the mind of a male I think Curran pulled off Scott’s attraction to Aubrey very well. Curran’s a talented writer with a great imagination and managed to give a common idea her own twist.

An advance reader copy was kindly provided by the publisher.
Profile Image for Syahira .
650 reviews72 followers
May 12, 2012
The book surprised me, I rarely read boy’s POV young adult books but this is really not that bad and its way better than a lot of contemporary YA novels that I’ve read these days.

Truthfully, when I saw the description, I was expecting a rip-off version of The Butterfly Effect and Jumper which I didn’t like at all despite one of them became a cult movie and another have Director Nick Fury in it. I was finishing this book before my usual Saturday afternoon’s Fringe and frankly I saw some subtle similarities, oh well.. science fiction all plagiarize from one another which we all happily obliged.

Shift started with a prologue by the main character, Scott, asking the reader about making the bad decisions in life and a chance to redo all of them. He then proceed to telling his story of how he come to have such powers and regretted it. Well, from the prologue, you’ll expect several things : archetypal character, superpowers, secret governmental agencies, brain eating psychopath and a girl. Which was the perfect recipes for a male-centric YA novels everywhere. I was very sceptical at this point but I’m pleasantly surprised that the storytelling was at a constant pace without redundancies of obvious fillers (my painful reading moment here) and after several chapters, I’m actually enjoying the book.

The book didn’t actually tell the audience where the setting was so, I was around a quarter of the book and realized that it was set in England which explained some of the words and the colloquialism that I don’t get at all.

So, after escaping his family for a night out with his friend, Hugo, Scott pulled a dare involving him climbing on a pylon (which I have to google to know what the heck that was) despite the urban legend of a boy getting one of his testicles ripped off (yes, I cringed too..) and when Scott did climb over, he slipped and fell………… until he opened his eyes and found himself lying on the ground unhurt but with his ‘friends’ disappointed that he failed his dare. Which of course, he was confused since he did climb on the tower but before he could say anything, he was ‘under-arrested’ by a female teenager who had saw what happened and claimed he shifted to show off to his friends. Scott remained in confusion when the girl, Aubrey, insisted that they need to get away before the Regulators come and catch him for shifting illegally.

Frankly some of the earlier chapters are simply info-dumping that even I had my eyes crossed (I hate physics) but I would know that Dr Walter Bishop will squeal in glee.

“Peter, he’s like our Olivia!”

and then the story goes along in full speed towards the climax and the ending.

Personally, I don’t expect much from the book except that I really thought the book is going to be like Percy Jackson-Darren Shan stories of doing the beginning of the book series in cliffhangers, just to make it worth to get the sequel.

But no…

… it started with a big scary man licking the face of Scott… the saliva.. the awful smell coming from the stranger’s mouth…

and then…. around 58%….

“The cat jumped off the body and proceeded to nibble at its owner’s brain.”

and then… a couple chapters later…

“…and I thought, ‘What if?’ There had always been tell of tribes possessing some of the strength of their enemies by consuming their bodies. So what if I could possess the power of a Shifter?”

“Fried it up with some sliced onion,” he said, “A bit chewy, if I’m honest.”

To be perfect honest, at that point, I was reading the book just because I had a bit horror-fascination whenever the cannibalistic psycho come to the pages again. I had the tendency to think of Benjo as a version of D.Gray.Man’s Millennium Earl.

Okay, I will leave you to make up your mind if you want to get this book… but overall…

The writing is linear with terrific descriptions, the action is good and does not drag the story. The dialogues was not lengthy and quite brief enough that allowed every chapter to connect through. Some of the minor character’s are memorable enough with some back-stories that you can feel empathy to them which made them believable. The conflicts are fascinating, fast pace. I wouldn’t be surprise if someone decided to make a movie out of this since frankly, its way better than a lot of YA-book-based movies in the the theatres. Although, the book can be marketed for children, but there are elements (see above) that I doubt kids would want to read about so I would say older teens till mid 20′s like me would be a better audience.

Beside’s Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood and Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Nick Gautier series. This is a good equivalent of a female author doing a great male-centric novels. I do read a lot of YA books by male authors but somehow I almost never see a male author doing a great female-centric novels.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sold. Be sure to get a copy of it since it does not disappoint the readers and I do hope the author made a sequel.

The review copy by the courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley. The book will be out on 4th September 2012 by Angry Robot Books.

Goodreads Rating : 4 stars

*gif are from tumblr and the net. I don’t own them nor the tv shows it depicts*
Profile Image for Vee_Bookish.
1,338 reviews298 followers
January 8, 2021
[ARC Provided by Strange Chemistry, my review is unbiased]
Wordpress Blog | Twitter

The start of Shift was pretty gripping, I sneaked a look when my ARC arrived and immediately regretted it - I wanted to devour the whole book there and then! When I did get to the book I wasn't disappointed - the story is thrilling, filled with twists and turns I would never have thought of.

There were a lot of fun elements in this. Exploding heads, a fat hungry guy, the shifting itself, pole jumping, things blowing up, all good gory fun! Scott did come across as quite naïve during the majority of the book which was a little frustrating at times but he did grow up a lot towards the end which made up for it.

I would consider this a Dystopian novel. It's set in modern day but there are definitely strong dystopian elements in there that I was not expecting. The ending did seem a little... silly but in a good way and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm hoping for a sequel, so that Scott and Aubrey's relationship might develop more and we could see more from the rebel guys.
Profile Image for Elevetha .
1,769 reviews168 followers
July 24, 2013
2.5 stars.

The girl's name is Aubrey. 'Tis a good name that is rarely seen in media. I'd like to see it more, please and thank you. Just don't mess up the character.
Profile Image for Anika Claire.
Author 3 books44 followers
September 10, 2012
Scott is busily going about his teenage life with his dysfunctional family, when he accidentally Shifts for the first time. The rather abrupt but very mysterious Aubrey Jones drags him away from a confrontation with the government organisation in charge of regulating Shifters, ARES. Scott soon finds himself deep in a strange new world, where every choice could have dramatic consequences.

Shift is one of two titles debuting not just for their authors, but for the Strange Chemistry imprint. Kim Curran has a engaging writing style, writing with a very British voice. Much of the character interaction seems quite cartoonish, written a little tongue-in-cheek and I found it quite entertaining.

The premise of this story is fascinating – Shifters can undo their past decisions, changing their own reality to a different path. The ability to Shift fades out at about twenty (a phenomenon called “entropy”), so almost all of the Shifters are teenagers going through training to control their abilities at the ARES headquarters in East London. ARES itself aims to encourage Shifters to only shift to improve reality, to make only decisions that will make reality better.

There’s also an underground movement working against ARES, the SLF. These teenagers are convinced that entropy is not certain and that ARES are manipulating Shifters for their own uses.

Unfortunately the whole Shifting phenomenon wasn’t explained all that well – we only get glimpses here and there of the theories as Scott discovers them and I was left with questions at the end. Is entropy real? Why is it so hard to Shift some decisions while the Shifts made while fighting are quick and easy? What was with that strange power the machine gave to Scott at the end? There were a lot of things that weren’t explained and it got a little baffling at times.

The character of Scott was the star of the show here, just keeping his sanity together as he discovered all the horrors of the Shifting world. The romance with Aubrey was gentle – any more would have been overpowering but I feel Kim Curran got it just right. There’s also plenty of action and some pretty horrific scenes in this story.

On the whole, Shift was quite an exciting read and I’ll look forward to the next instalment in this story, hopefully to find out some more about my unanswered questions.
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,251 reviews187 followers
March 29, 2015
It's no secret that I spend a lot of my time when I am not reading, listening to audiobooks, and I received Shift at the perfect time to give me something new to listen to. For some reason unknown to me I missed out on the publication of Shift, so having the chance to review an audiobook of it was perfect for me.
Like some of my previous reviews I am going to break down this review into different sections, and give my thoughts on each one.

The Plot
I love the whole idea behind the story, and having children have the ability to Shift. The plot has so many twists and turns it not only keeps you on your toes, but also has you guessing what will happen next. The different organisations involved in Shift had different roles, and even after finishing the book I have no idea who is good and who is bad. My decisions on who I liked and disliked were challenged and questioned, making me doubt myself. While this may not be a happy choice to be left with for others, for me it just makes me want the next book even more so I can get more information on these organisations and try to discover the real truth. I love how realistic the book is, and that when Scott is finally recruited by ARES he still isn't perfect, and acts like he has just been thrown into it all, which he has, no attempt was made to 'rush' him though the training or make him a super student and suddenly know everything, being not so perfect gives him an endearing quality and makes you root for him even more.

The Narrator
The narrator, Joe Jameson, does a great job at keeping you focused on what is going on. He does a fantastic job at the different accents for the characters and it made it easy to distinguish who was saying what. There are a few narrators that keep me focused on the story, and Joe is one of them, I strained to make sure I didn't miss a single word, I purposely kept myself awake till the iPod switched off to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Overall I really enjoy Shift, and I am disappointed I missed out on this the first time round knowing I missed out on a great 'read'. I am looking forward to finding out what happens next in Control, and that is possibly the only good thing about being late for this book.
Profile Image for Ellie.
1,398 reviews242 followers
August 18, 2012
Scott’s never been one to show off before so he’s not quite sure why he’s climbing a pylon to impress a girl. When he slips, he really thinks he’s a goner, but instead of breaking all the bones in his body, he comes round lying on the grass with a memory of falling over the fence. Did he climb the pylon or not? Next thing he knows, he’s being dragged off by the girl, Aubrey, and being told off for shifting in public. If he can just avoid being captured by ARES, his knew found gift to change his past decisions is cool, right? Instead, he learns that every shift has consequences…

Shift is like a British, young adult version of The Butterfly Effect with just as chilling effects and served with a side order of humour. Scott’s your average teenage boy, and despite his new found powers, he never really gets past his averageness which makes him a refreshing narrator. He is a little more unusual than the average shifter; he is late to discover his powers and he can remember past realities. He doesn’t come across as the brightest spark, being a little bit gullible and not thinking for himself. Of course the secret organisation has his best interests at heart! Bless him.

I wasn’t entirely convinced by the covert groups of children using their shifting powers to aid the government. Shifters reach entropy when they get into their twenties and their power fades away. So the shifters are all young adults or children, some as young as nine. Was it all a charade? After all, shifting only changes personal decisions and what decisions do children make that would change the world? Maybe I missed something here but it wasn’t clear.

There’s a pretty terrifying villain too and Kim Curran has done a great job in creating a character that gives you the chills. Later on, some of the unpleasant revelations are rushed over but I imagine this is done for the younger audience. Though I must say near the end, it does go a bit James Bond, where one of the bad guys stands around and tells them his dastardly plan in the belief they’ll be dead any minute now…
Profile Image for Anna (Enchanted by YA).
360 reviews351 followers
July 28, 2014

This book had me hooked from the get go with its intriguing synopsis and downright brilliant prologue. I love how you’re thrown straight into the action with Scott the main protagonist and you don’t have chapters upon chapters of filler before anything happens so you get a “feel” for the characters and the story. Straight away Scott, who’s always led a rather mundane life with his arguing parents and little sister who’s always outshone him, gets a taste for the supernatural when he makes a “shift” in time. A very important shift that saved his life.

He’s then thrown into a new reality where he meets other Shifters and learns to control his newfound power. The power itself is seriously cool because while it can’t always be used to have a massive global effect (it can only change your own decisions and Shift to a reality where you made a different choice and its consequences) when you first find out that you can change any of your previous decisions there’s a lot you’d do that’s in a way completely self-centred. Even normal things like watching tv when you should have been doing homework so you get a detention, you could go back and do the homework (or not if you Shift again and decide to read this book instead).

Everything to do with Shifting and how it fades in adults (entropy) is explained very clearly but even though Kim Curran was always rushing ahead to tell her story there was no imposing information drops just to get the facts all out there. She managed to keep a steady fast pace, never lingering too long on unnecessary details like training in ARES: the government organisation designed to train *cough*and use*cough* Shifters.

Overall it was well thought out and developed properly so when combined with a couple gory murders (and I mean seriously gory; that’s my warning to you), secret conspiracies and shady characters Kim Curran has written a thrilling novel that promises a lot more to come.

Posted on: http://enchantedbyya.blogspot.co.uk/
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,251 reviews187 followers
March 29, 2015
Shift is one I listened to on audiobook, and loved it. I ended up picking up the books, Shift and Control, to read them, and was disappointed to hear the news about Delete. That disappointment soon vanished once I heard the news that Delete would be published, so I decided to pick up these books again to refresh my mind about what has happened before I read Delete. Since this was a TBR read, and not really a review book I don't really take notes, so its going to be brief and basic, but a small way to share my thoughts about the book itself.

Shift is a fast paced book, that doesn't leave you time to breathe, and although I know what happens, reading the book made me realise I had forgotten a few aspects of the story itself so it was a nice refresher for me. Shifters have the ability to shift in time, to make a change to another possibility of what might happen if they went with another decision. Like coming to a cross road and deciding whether to turn left or right. Turning right will make them late for something, so that are able to shift back and take the left turn, arriving on time. Shifters are regulated by ARES (The Agency for the Regulation and Evaluation of Shifters) with SLF (Shifter Liberation Front) trying to put a stop to ARES

Shift was just as good as I remembered it to be, it has a mixture of everything to keep you entertained and also leave you wanting more. The protagonist, Scott, is relatable and real, who expects some out of luck boy to end up with this ability. Kim has done a great job of making this world believable, but also mysterious and I can't wait to dive into the next book.
Profile Image for Will M..
304 reviews615 followers
July 6, 2014

Another disappointing read. This one had huge potential, yet the execution was terrible.

A shifter can change the past, to keep the description short, but there are limits. There can be consequences, and the main character realized that in the novel. Honestly the main premise was not discussed as well as it should've been.

The characters were okay, but they weren't developed enough to be remembered. Aubrey constantly tried to be a "kick-ass female character" but she still ended up being dull and weak in the end. The main character, Scott, was also dull and flat. I liked him in the beginning, yet as the novel progressed he became weaker and weaker. The main antagonist was also really weak, no redeeming qualities. In short, the character development was awful.

The interesting parts were "chopped" and placed in different parts of the novel. Some parts were very interesting, but others were just unbearably boring. I don't think I'll be reading the sequel soon, but we'll never know in the far future, as I still have a lot of questions left unanswered. 3/5 stars from me. It was a mediocre novel, thus I'm not going to recommend this to my friends.
Profile Image for Gareth.
Author 4 books18 followers
November 16, 2015
Don't you wish you could undo a decision you've made in the past? Well, this book explores that idea and it may not be as wonderful as we always think it could be. This book has some action and suspense. I found myself wanting to solve the mysteries with the characters. It was like an action movie playing in my head. Good book to read - a blend between fantasy and sci-fi, I think.
Profile Image for Rachel.
67 reviews31 followers
May 19, 2012
Better than expected! Didn't start out too well, but definitely redeemed itself.
Profile Image for Ria Bridges.
589 reviews6 followers
April 16, 2020
I have to give Curran props here. Usually when book summaries involve the phrase “beautiful and mysterious [name],” I get turned away pretty quickly. That sort of thing rarely appeals to me. But the rest of the concept, playing with timelines and overwriting them to get your desired result, was interesting enough to make me overlook that and to give the book a try.

There are rules to shifting, too, and ones that I was happy to see. If two shifters are facing off, the final timeline is determined by the stronger shifter. One can only shift decisions that they themselves made, meaning that unless a shifter’s conscious decision is pivotal to huge world-shaking events, nothing can be done to change them. Previous shifted timelines do not exist simultaneously; they collapse as soon as a new timeline kicks in, meaning that shifting isn’t a case of dimension-jumping so much as actively tapping into how time itself works.

Shifting isn’t always an awesome easy way out of bad decisions, either, since it’s very hard to predict how the ripples of any given choice can spread. Scott finds this out early on when he changes his years-ago decision to stop kickboxing lessons, and learns that other decisions on that timeline led to his younger sister being killed in a car accident. There’s a very strong “be careful what you wish for” message throughout the novel, and Curran makes a good effort to show how far-reaching any one decision we make can actually be.

But in spite of some really strong concepts and foundations, I didn’t find Shift to be particularly well done. The first third of the book feels very rushed, as though the author was more interested in getting past that annoying set-up and discovery phase to reach different parts of the plot. And that feeling was cemented by the fact that as soon as Scott formally joins ARES, a government organization that regulates and supports shifters, things slow down and get more focused and detailed. Unfortunately, this left me feeling somewhat lost as to why I should care about Aubrey, who seems to exist mostly for plot conveniences and to be Scott’s crush, and I was trying harder to pin down Scott’s personality and tone because so much of who he is gets glossed over and shoved to one side.

Scott as a character alternates between interesting and eye-rolling. He has realistic reactions, thought processes, and speaks colloquially, which is perfect for expressing that he’s a confused teenager who’s just been thrown into the middle of a strange situation. On the other hand, well, he’s a super-powered teenager. Not just super-powered in the sense that he can shift, but because the later a person discovers that power, the stronger they are. And Scott came upon it very late in life, so he’s pretty much established right away as one of the strongest shifters alive. Hence the eye-rolling. When a character is super-powered even by the definition of the other super-powered, it feels very much like a one-up, like one of the only ways to make a character interesting was to make him be the absolute best at something.

Fortunately, Curran does combat that to an extent, with weaker shifters overcoming Scott by banking on his insecurity and him not knowing he’s strong enough to overcome them if he tried. Which was an interesting subversion, I admit. But it begged the question of why he had to be established as so strong in the first place. The only reason I can think of is that it allowed Scott to pass the ARES training program so quickly, which again makes even a well-written section of the book seem rushed.

Shift had a fascinating concept behind it but poor execution. Curran can write very believable teenagers but doesn’t seem to have the same strength when it comes to pacing, and that spoiled a lot of the book for me. And even the characters didn’t really solidify until a good chunk of the novel was already behind me. I think part of the problem was that there was too much here for such a short book. It may have done better to be lengthened, elaborated on. Even another 100 pages would have made quite a difference, if used well. And from the better parts of the novel, I think Curran indeed has the ability to use that space properly, since the sections that had good pacing and clear narration were shining examples of what a good YA novel can be. It’s just a shame that they were so few and far between, and most of them happened in the last half of the book.

I do have the sequel to this, and I hear that Control is an improvement on Shift. Curran’s creativity has caught my interest enough that I’ll probably give the next book a try, and see what I think of it. The series hasn’t been spoiled, but I will approach it with a degree of trepidation, and my expectations for it won’t be as high as they were for this one.

(Book received in exchange for an honest review.)
Profile Image for A.
276 reviews33 followers
August 1, 2013
This was supposed to be posted yesterday but due to connection problems I had to postponed it for today. I apologize for that. Anyway starting this off with the cover, I think it was very strong and tasteful. I like how it showed the protagonist appearing from the blue light which I think signifies change or the shift.

Shift. Whenever I saw or heard this word, it always remind me of shape-shifting. Sorry Supernatural fan over here and the fact that I didn't read the description beforehand. But still it means change and in this book, it involves one's decisions and its consequences that affect one's life. I know that most of us have read similar stories regarding the topic of going back through time to change an event to result to something better. In Harry Potter, we all know that Hermione used a Time-Turner to go back through time to save Buckbeak. In the Daughters of the Moon series, Catty has the ability to revisit the past and even the future for the same reason. With Kim Curran's Shift, Scott Tyler was a Shifter and has the ability to change a decision that he made before. Take note also that he can ONLY reverse his choices and events that he is involve in unlike those other stories that I mentioned that had a wider range of scope.

With this said, it made me fear that the story might get confusing and complicated as it goes on but I'm happy to say that Kim Curran proved otherwise. She was able to keep me on the ground and kept my head from blowing off. I love how she explained shifting in a scientific sense. She really did her research and made sure that there were no loopholes that might frustrate the readers. As mind-boggling as it may be, I like the idea of an alternate reality. It shows us that there is really such a thing that's why we regret and have "what-ifs" at times. Despite it being under the fantasy or sci-fi category, I really appreciate it for partially being realistic. I think the way the author makes us realize that we have different choices and it all have subsequent consequences. That's why it is really important to rationalize every single decision in order to not commit a mistake, and if it's inevitable, at least it's minimal. Moreover with the plot, I was able to easily embrace the story because the author, like I said, explained everything in detail making no room for questions, and if there was one, it will be about what will happen on the sequel. The pace and flow of the story was just perfect to get me hooked and to be able to finish it in a day. I seriously wasn't able to put it down. I brought it with me when I ate my breakfast, lunch and dinner, while going up and down the stairs, and just read through it the whole day. The only thing that made me somehow raised my eyebrows was the ending, specifically on how Scott beat the villains towards the end. I think it was too easy. But to see it in a different light, I didn't see it coming and there was another revelation that I look forward to encounter and to be elaborated on the next book. I think the events that had transpired were unpredictable and it's great because I love it when a story surprises me. I love how it made me think this way but ended with another. It tickles the brain and the reader's curiosity. Although, I just hope for more action sequence to be able to really show and explore the characters' ability to Shift. I'm also interested on why Scott has a stronger grip with his memories and/or alternate realities.

Now on to my favorite parts to discuss: settings and characters. It was obvious from the very start that the world was set in England because of the colloquial terms used by the characters. It was really refreshing for me since I've been reading books set in the USA, particularly New York. I needed a new environment and culture (as if I was really there, but I just have to use my imagination, right?) and this made the whole book more fun. I sometimes slip to reading it with a British accent. LOL. Well, you know what I mean. The introduction of Tyler's family made me think of Skins and the siblings reminded me a bit of Tony and Effy. ARES made it more interesting. It was proper to create an institution that will train and control such powerful ability so that it will be put to good use. This too also made me think of X-Men when they were all gathered by Professor Xavier. Also one of my favorite places that was described was Aubrey's place I think it was really special.

With the characters, I was attached five characters, namely Scott Tyler, Aubrey Jones, CP Finn, Jake Bailey and Sergeant Cain. Scott was not the typical macho male protagonist that usually includes abs. He was a grade A student who admits that he has no physical capabilities and muscle to use, and he was a nobody. Like I said on my other reviews, I like underdogs because I can really relate to them. I also felt like that at times and for these heroes to actually prove that they can be someone someday was an inspiration. I think it was also interesting that that he was so awkward, shy, emotional and a scaredy cat at times. I know it should be a turn-off and it is weird but I think it molds his character and these are attitudes that I think he should overcome. I like the mystery that envelopes his character because it leads to self-discovery and gives space for improvement. I'm excited to see if he will develop greater abilities. Aubrey depicts somewhat the manic pixie dream girl attitude. She is a tough cookie to crack and has a strong facade so others will not see her weaknesses. I love how feisty she is and how dominant her personality is that she overpowers Tyler most of the time. Yay for girl power! I like the budding romance of these two but I would like to keep it to the minimum and focus more on the whole world of Shifting. It's exciting but I don't want the whole story to revolve on it. CP and Tyler, the kids I am so fond of. I love how they're ironic personalities compliment each other. They have this fire that I would love to see on the next books. I told you I was so attached to them that there were some parts in the book that I cried because it involved them and there were also times when I felt like a proud reader because they were so brave. Last but not least, Sergeant Cain was an intimidating character that I eventually learned has a soft spot for kids. I wish I could say more to make you understand how his character touched my heart but I will reveal too much. All of them showed various emotions that I was able to feel as well while reading the book. I was crying then laughing the next and even blush at the most sweetest things. I hope that on the next book, they will encounter stronger and fiercer villains. Like I said, the ending looked too easy and didn't even give much of a challenge to the protagonist.

Therefore, Shift is a twenty-four hour read with so much promise and excitement. It is a story with fresh ideas and a world that young adults would definitely enjoy. It is also one of the books I will never put down while reading and will surely read again in the future.
Profile Image for Nasaphira.
144 reviews
July 6, 2019
The story was like The Tomorrow's People for me. I have mix feelings about it.

For the story, it was a fast-phase. I love it, but yeah, it was just okay for me.

The power to shift sounded so cool, but at the same time I was so confused on how it actually works (maybe it's just me).

The main character, Scott well I kinda guess he will be powerful shifter since the beginning, and the last chapters proved that. But one thing bugs me, is the updated? Power of him was only a one time thing? Hell please no, cuz it was awesome!

As for character, personally idk what to think about Scott, he is powerful but he's an avarege kind of protagonist for me. I don't really like Audrey (sorry). Zac's character was too short in appearence for me to comment on it, so yeah idc about him I guess. Mr. Cain was an amazing heroic guy.
That Benjo? Guy was described so Fat like huge makes me think how fat is he that makes all of them so suprised hmmmm
Also I actually like Morgan character lol, he's kinda interesting~

Overall it was okay, yup. The last chapters though, when all the twist and secret was revealed, that was amazing!

Gonna continue with the second book, hoping for it to live up my high expectation.
Profile Image for Leontiy [princeofbookandbone].
245 reviews24 followers
September 14, 2012
When I pre-ordered Shift, by Kim Curran, a mere handful of weeks before its release, I did so on a bit of a whim—it was another Strange Chemistry title and being so enamoured with the idea of the imprint and eagerly awaiting the eventual releases of Laura Lam’s Pantomime and Cassandra Rose Clarke’s The Assassin’s Curse, I hopped on the bandwagon and despite not being totally sold on Shift, ordered it anyway.

It’s not my usual thing: I like my sci-fi in some far-flung galaxy, or on the far reaches of space/civilization. When I watch films, I don’t mind storylines with similar set-ups to Shift—I was actually put in mind of the film (which may or may not be based on a book, if memory serves) Push—but I tend to turn right off if books like that are nudged my way.

I actually only read Shift as soon as I did because I’d just eaten two other books in close succession and I needed something fun and quick to read. Shift not only didn’t disappoint, but exceeded my expectations, thoroughly.

Scott Tyler is your average sixteen-year-old, the kind that thinks he’s less than he is; beaten down by the “cooler kids” at school, out-classed by his little sister, and generally either forgotten about or used as ammunition or backup by warring parents bent on weekly character assassinations of each other over dinner on a Friday. But Scott is also a Shifter—and a powerful one, too. Only, he’s never Shifted before, and he doesn’t even know what Shifting is. That is, until he accidentally shifts one night when he’s somewhere even he knows he shouldn’t be, and with people he has no good business being with. Instead of a deadly fall from a pylon he only climbed because it seemed like the “cool”—read as “stupidly daring”—thing to do, he falls flat on his proverbial after flopping slightly less heroically off a fence.

As if it’s not bad enough that Scott remembers climbing—and falling—from much further up, everyone laughs (including his “friend”, Hugo…nice) and he feels like his one chance at fitting in just got grounded. Then a pretty girl, who looks at her cigarette with a decided concentration before smoking it, as if she’s making a profound decision, looks at him, takes him to one side and… arrests him.

Apparently, he’s guilty of Shifting in public, without permission—and that’s bad. Scott might agree, if he knew what Shifting was and what it was he’d done wrong. Luckily, Scott seems pathetically clueless enough that Aubrey—fast becoming the new centre of Scott’s universe—believes him when he claims to know nothing. She takes him with her and explains everything clearly and in detail. Between learning about ARES and a chance meeting with the SLF and drinking a little too much of the booze that Aubrey seems to drink without a problem, Scott ends up at Aubrey’s place, on her sofa, with too much info and not enough processing power.

He’s pathetic, useless and gets to thinking about what Aubrey told him… about Shifting… and he wonders… if he just…

Before he knows it, his world is upside down, people are dead, and he’s in big trouble. What began as a stupid reaction, the desire to be cool and accepted, turns into a nightmare that reveals Scott as a powerful Shifter with the power to undo his decisions and recall the consequences of each different reality. On one side is ARES, offering training and guidance and a place to belong and on the other is Aubrey—who is part of ARES, but not by choice, pushing him away from the organisation and towards induced entropy—and the mysterious SLF who keep popping up and whose charismatic leader gets right under Scott’s skin and flashes big on his Do Not Trust radar.

When Scott sails through the ranks and is partnered with Aubrey things start to get worse when he narrowly Shifts and avoids being killed as part of a suspected SLF attack. Then a body he and Aubrey found, victim of a gruesome murder at the hand of a brain-nibbling loon, is marked down as suicide and only he seems able to remember the original reality before the sneaky Shift that changed it.

Something is up and things are getting deep, only Scott is a complete rookie and doesn’t have a clue what’s going on, or who to trust—all he knows is that he can Shift, remember what happened in the previous realities, and that people are dying. Knowing that only the SLF can be behind it, but thinking that something still seems a little off, Scott starts investigating as best he can, only to find himself knee-deep in the middle of a conspiracy bigger than he or Aubrey could imagine. But when it comes to protecting his friends and himself, Scott pushes inexperience and mediocrity aside and steps up to the game.

Shift is a story about belonging, about believing in yourself and about trusting yourself—things that are difficult for anyone. At some point in their life, everyone feels substandard, useless, worthless, trodden down and as though they simply don’t belong. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or has never thought about it. It’s part of being a living, breathing person and has little to do with growing up. That’s why Shift, along with most of the Strange Chemistry imprint appeals so easily to the teen market and to the general adult market: they recognise that everyone who wants to can identify as a young adult, as a teen. It’s refreshing.

Shift is also about fun, as well as being about consequences and choices. It’s a surprisingly pacy, engaging and exciting adventure that takes itself just seriously enough to succeed at what it sets out to do, whilst remembering that it’s okay for a story to be fun and funny and enjoyable to read.

It’s a story of friendship and acceptance and of being the best you can be, even if it takes a while to realise your potential. It’s a damn good story and hits the spot just right.
Profile Image for Janus the Erudite Artist.
702 reviews90 followers
November 3, 2017
This book has some resemblance to the movie, Jumper, in terms of the protagonist's ability. Which I found really interesting since it was a relatively new aspect for me in terms of stories. Sadly this is yet another book that offered a promising synopsis but somehow fell a little short of my expectations. Some scenes were rather boring and I feel like it didn't have as much of the entertainment factor that I was hoping for, so I decided to just put it down.
Profile Image for Saima Nisbet.
329 reviews3 followers
March 20, 2019
I wanted to read this as soon as I read the concept: shifting through time? You had me at "shift". 99.99% of the story was amazing but the last twenty pages were a tad rushed. I'm going to start the second in the trilogy next.
Profile Image for Karla Schneider.
743 reviews12 followers
October 15, 2019
This is a great sci-fi contemporary book to read in highschool. Stupid kids discovers abilities and be irresponsible with them etc. But the 2 main characters are just too immature for any other reader audience.
4 reviews
June 11, 2020

Such a good read!! Hope you enjoy this amazing! I know you will love it so much!!! Blah blah blah
Profile Image for Nate.
307 reviews1 follower
September 23, 2022
Nothing I hated but it didn't hook me. I enjoyed it but not so interested that I want to try the next book.
Profile Image for Mieneke.
782 reviews84 followers
August 24, 2012
Shift is one of the launch titles for the new YA imprint for Angry Robot, Strange Chemistry. So this is a double debut, not just for the author, Kim Curran, but for the imprint as well. So there's a lot of pressure for Shift, and its launch sister, Blackwood, to do well, both for their authors and the publisher. And as far as Shift is concerned – I haven't read Blackwood yet, look for a review of that one in a week or two – it bears up under that pressure beautifully.

The premise of Shift is very interesting. Who hasn't wished to be able to go back and take a different path, a different decision? Shifting is the answer to the eternal 'What if?'-question. Similar ideas have been explored in the past of course, mostly in films, such as Sliding Doors, Jumanji and Galaxy Quest. However, I've never seen it done the way Curran conceived it. Though I kind of glazed over at the quantum physics – hard science is definitely not my forte – to me the scientific explanation for the Shifting Scott is given by Aubrey seemed plausible enough. During the narrative Scott learns even more about the mechanics of Shifting and while we never learn exactly what the ability to Shift is, whether it is akin to magic or a superpower, it becomes very real. I loved the fact that it is finite, that once they hit their twenties, and presumably their brains have completely matured, the power fades. It actually makes me wonder whether it's to do with hormones or whether it's to do with growing up; certainly, the older we get, the more regrets we have and the more we ask ourselves what if or just wish we could undo that one decision because we are more prone at looking further down the line at the effects of our choices. At least children seem to shake such thoughts of far more easily. Perhaps we'll find out more about this in the sequel that will follow Shift in 2013.

Curran's protagonist, Scott, was wonderful. I liked his development through the novel, going from a, self-proclaimed, loser to someone with a purpose and quite self-confident. Perhaps it was also due to the fact that I rather identified with him, I was a super awkward and insecure teen from a breaking home as well, so I understood his initial delight and urgency at being able to get away from his situation by joining ARES, the organisation that regulates Shifters. However, the second time Scott shifts is horrifying and Curran manages to depict Scott's terror very well. She manages to convey emotion and human interaction very well in general; the connections Scott builds with his fellow Freshers are funny and touching at the same time. Similarly, I loved his feelings for Aubrey. It didn't feel like insta-love, though there is an immediate connection, but it's more lust than love on Scott's side, as is only proper for a sixteen-year-old boy, isn't it? It's only later, after they've gone through some really frightening things together that Scott really falls in love.

Shift is very tightly plotted. The twist with the ultimate bad guy totally surprised me, but in hindsight the signs were definitely there. I love when an author manages to do that to me. The only thing that felt a little rushed was Scott's training as a Shifter, though I can also see why this section would be abridged, since Shifting training isn't very visual and action-filled, beyond the physical training we're shown and endless repetitions of the latter aren't entertaining either. Still, I have a weakness for training montages and school scenes, so I would have enjoyed just a few more Fresher scenes.

Shift is a very strong first novel and I look forward to reading more from Curran. Her writing was great, very British in flavour and very pacey. Not only did she manage to make an interesting premise believable, she created a cool protagonist, who was surrounded by fabulous secondary characters – I mean, how hilarious and infuriating was Commandant Morgan? – who reacted in believable ways. It's a story that will appeal to teenage boys as well as girls, which is always a bonus in my point of view. Shift is an awesome debut for Curran and an awesome launch title. If this is an indication of what we can expect from Strange Chemistry in the future, there are a lot of fantastic books in our future.

This book was provided for review by the publisher.
292 reviews229 followers
March 23, 2013
This review was first posted on my blog, here

make a decision
When I first heard about Shift, I was instantly intrigued and knew that it would be a book that I would pick up and read. I am certain that every single person, despite what they may say, will wish that they could go back and change some of the decisions they made. But it would always be impossible to do that without consequences and that is what this book is all about. I was sure that I would like this one and so I was really happy when I did really enjoy it. I think that this is a book that so many people can to and will hopefully enjoy as much as I did but I also fear that there are people out there who wouldn’t find this book to be all that interesting at all. Instead of focussing on those people, this review is here to explain exactly why I devoured this book quickly and am now on the lookout for more work by Kim Curran.

change it
Kim Curran could have taken this concept in many different directions but I really think that how she brought this concept alive was brilliant and wholly entertaining; which is exactly what we want in the books we read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the journey that our main protagonist, Scott, goes on. There was always something going on which led to something else and so forth, leaving the plot to be detailed, action-packed, and incredibly easy to read quickly. As a reader you simply need to know not just what will happen next but how that will effect everything else. This story is really captivating and compelling.

but remember
There were so many characters in this book that I really liked reading about and just seemed like really rounded characters; it was clear to see that Kim knows how to avoid two dimensional characters. Scott was my favourite character in the story. He wasn’t some big shot guy who was always right and did everything brilliantly, he was just your average teenage boy who had his flaws, made his mistakes, and just wanted to make things right. I really liked how loyal and protective he was in the book as well. He is just a really likeable and enjoyable character that helped to make the book that much more interesting and

entertaining to read.
Aubrey was a so-so character for me. I wanted to like her the way Scott did but I just found that she just didn’t work for me but I can’t explain why. She was a very independent character, strong and tough, but I think she was also a bit too power-oriented for me. She always seemed to think herself better than Scott, it really took her a while to get on board with a lot of the things he was saying. But, essentially she is a likable character but I just didn’t personally like her all that much unfortunately. On the other hand, some of the more secondary characters managed to steal my heart, like little Katie and all the great kids in the government classes. Not to mention how well-thought out and brilliantly portrayed the villains were written in this novel.

you must face
If there was one thing that kept me going throughout this book, it was the writing style which was fast-paced and easy to follow. There was no confusion as you read, and with a concept such as this it is difficult to write without confusing the reader completely so that was a major plus in my book. With Scott as the protagonist, the reader is gently led into the world and all of its bumps and hurdles with him which allows it all to flow naturally. It’s a book that I just devoured and know that it is in high part because of Kim’s writing and cannot wait to read more of her work in the future.

the consequences
It was from the very first sentence, passing the compelling prologue, all the way to the very last sentence, that this book entertained me. It is a novel that questions so many things, that fills the reader in action, and slowly makes your brain unravel as you try to stay one step ahead of all the mystery and intrigue. It simply pulls you in and refuses to let you go until the very end and that is why I truly loved this book. It was unlike any other books I had been reading at the time, and it just worked for me. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a fast-paced, action-packed, mysterious, and deeply engaging novel that takes you on an emotional rollarcoaster. I am incredibly glad that I read this book and I hope that I manage to persuade you to read it too, as it really is worth it!
Profile Image for Paul.
708 reviews63 followers
August 31, 2012
When your average loser, Scott Tyler, meets the beautiful and mysterious Aubrey Jones, he learns he’s not sow average after all. He’s a “Shifter” – he has the power to undo any decision he’s ever made.

At first, he things 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 results in terrible, unforeseen consequences. In a world where anything can change with a single thought, Scott has to decide exactly where he stands.

Everyone has done it haven’t they? You’ve made a decision and then immediately regretted it. You’ve said or done the wrong thing, and been forced to live with an outcome that you didn’t need or want. Just imagine if you could undo your mistake. Make everything better without anyone realising your error. Wouldn’t that be the best thing in the world? I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

Scott is just a typical teen, not terribly good at anything and unsure what to do with his life. A moment of madness, a reckless dare involving an old electricity pylon, leads to a decision that changes his entire future. Suddenly Scott is exposed to a section of society that he never knew existed, and he has to begin an entirely new way of life. I liked the idea that Scott is on the back foot for almost the entire novel. Most of the time he has no idea what is going on. The reader gets to share each of his discoveries as he makes them.

Once the world of Shifting is revealed to Scott, he is given the chance to join the Agency for the Regulation and Evaluation of Shifters (ARES). He gets to learn how to harness his burgeoning powers and understand their limitations. Most Shifters learn to control their powers much earlier in life so Scott finds himself in the beginner’s class with children half his age. This leads to a few funny moments, and there are some great characters introduced at this point. The gruff class instructor Sargent Cain, and Scott’s diminutive classmate C.P. Finn are personal favourites.

Scott’s initial training contains some of the best scenes in the novel. Curran has a good eye for action and does a great job describing how two Shifters fight one another. By using their powers to warp potential realities, the final outcome is decided before the first punch has even been thrown. This is the sort of thing that would be breathtaking to watch, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a movie version.

Every good story deserves a thoroughly unpleasant villain, and Shift has the thoroughly unpleasant Benjo. I wouldn’t want to spoil anything but even his description is just plain nasty. I do love a novel that has a bad guy who is out and out nasty. Benjo’s methods for dealing with his enemies are extreme and unpredictable, for a young adult novel I was surprised just how dark he was. He has what can best be described as ‘unusual tastes’, and indulges these regularly. Always a good sign when an author can write something that makes you ‘Eeewwww’ out loud.

I do hope that there will be more books set in the Shifter-verse; it feels like we’ve just been offered the glimpse of something that has the potential to be much larger. The author teases with a few tantalising references to Shifters elsewhere in the world and I would love to see this idea explored in more depth. I would be great to learn more about ARES foreign counterparts, not to mention the members of the mysterious organisation, the Shifter Liberation Front.

I think we can all agree that a young person discovering that they have special abilities and then getting drawn into a secret world/society is hardly a new idea. That said, Shift is right up there with best examples of this type of story. It is an intelligent, well paced, science fiction story that is well executed with a compelling edge. It’s so well executed in fact, that I had to keep reminding myself that this is debut novel. I honestly can’t think of a better introduction to the new imprint Strange Chemistry. Curran has written a cracking story that plays around with the laws of reality like some sort of teen-friendly version of Inception. I would say it is well worth checking this novel out.

Shift is published by Strange Chemistry and is available from 6th September 2012.
Profile Image for Kah Cherub.
371 reviews47 followers
August 30, 2012
read complete review (with all the memes) here: http://notjustnonsense.blogspot.com/2...

First line: Take a second and think about all the decisions you've made in your life.

Last line: I leaned in to kiss her knowing this was one decision I was never going to change.

Favorite quote: "'Hello?' I heard a tired Katie from the other end.
"Katie, what are you doing up?"
"Well, there was this annoying ringing noise."'

What if you could undo every decision you've ever made? Unmake every mistake. Would you? Sixteen year-old Scott Tyler just found out he can. And that so do many other kids. But just because you can,, doesn't mean you should. There are people out there keeping track of every Shifter. After all, the government isn't very fond of people having many choices... or freedom.

Scott has found out about his powers completely by accident, and luckily Aubrey Jones was there to help him understand, otherwise the Regulators would have quickly caught him and judged him as a rogue. He's too old to be believed ignorant of his powers. Which is why Aubrey has given him the choice to ignore it, to pretend he never found out about his abilities. To let this all go and live his normal life, with his normal family. But that's the last thing he wants right now.

His parents are always fighting, blaming each other for their failures and general unhappiness in life. Scott was 'The Mistake' baby, and his little sister, Katie, was the 'Band-Aid baby', born to try to fix things. Well, she didn't fix much. In fact, she just makes Scott look more and more like a mistake. Everything she does, she does it better than he does. Games, sports, social life...

Shifting isn't all fun and games, though, as Scott quickly discovers. Sure, he can change stupid past mistakes and remake silly choices, but everything has a consequence. Ripples in reality. Things can go really wrong once they're changed.

Scott is about to find out that sometimes the good guys aren't really all that good... and the bad ones, well, they can surprise you. And even your family, who aparently could not care less about you, actually really does.

I wasn't sure if I should write this review because, let me tell you... I wasn't very impressed by Shift. I was really looking forward to reading a guy's POV (which are so rare!), but... I'm not sure why, I just couldn't get into it. Nor could I care about the characters... as a matter of fact, I felt like slapping idiotic Scott every couple of pages. Seriously, even if he was a teenager, that guy was a complete and utter moron. I couldn't bring myself to be sympathetic towards him. And, boy, did I try.

The story was interesting, but it wasn't able to suck me in, for some reason. Even the crazy scientific explanations and evil government theories, which usually excite me by themselves, didn't work this time. The writing felt... flat and bland. I STILL can't understand exactly how Shifting works, by the way. Or why Scott was so special. Or why this even got published.

Trying to get to the end of it was a bit like torture... but I did it. And I'd like to tell you that it was worth it, that the whole book finally made sense and finished in the greatest possible way... but I'm afraid it was still very bland. And so, so painfully predictable!!! There are dozens of mentions of government, power, control, control, control from the very beginning of the book... so when I got to the ending, I was like:

Really, a guy who has lived a boring, normal life for sixteen years as nothing special, suddenly turns ou to be super mega powerful? Pardon me if I can't swallow it.

But then again, that's just me. Most early reviewers (something like 70%, so far) seem to have loved this book, so there you have it. You might love it too. Give it a try and let me know if you agree or if you think I was smoking pot or something while writing. :P I can take it. Totally. I think.

If you like male POV, YA paranormal fantasy/science fiction and would love to read more about changing the past and present (also altering the future), go get your copy of Shift.

* I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
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