Anna's Reviews > Shift

Shift by Kim Curran
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's review
Apr 16, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: sci-fi, ya

The book starts with an obvious fake-out, designed to launch readers in with an action scene before revealing "it was all just a dream" (or in this case, a video game). Fortunately, things do get better from there, and our look at Scott's life before he meets Aubrey quickly grounds things and gives us a protagonist worth relating to. His relationship with his sister is particularly well done, a complex balance of mutual protection and harrassment.

There's a lot of exposition going on, most of which is presented in talking heads format. There are always going to be necessary explanations when setting up the world-building in a new universe, but the conversations and training section stretched out long enough I started to wonder when we'd finally get into the meat of the story. I did, however, really like the use of alternate timelines and the way they branched out. It could quickly have gotten confusing, but Curran kept it easy to follow, even with the minor changes rippling out.

The mystery solving part of the book was a lot of fun and the strongest part of the book. The investigation built up naturally, and none of the characters involved had obvious blind spots in an effort to draw things out longer than necessary. The final reveal of the person behind everything was appropriately dramatic, but once we hit that point the novel is in such a hurry to wrap itself up the last few chapters blaze by and the book itself ends with an abrupt jolt. There is a sequel slated to be released next year, and perhaps that will be able to pick things up, but on its own, Shift yanks the breaks rather than rolling to a natural stop.

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