Title: Impulse Control [Talent Chronicles 0.5]
Author: Susan Bischoff
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult, Short Story
Rating: 3 Stars
In the world of the Talent Chronicles, kids born with supernatural powers are taken from their families and forced into government research facilities called State Schools. At one such school, a dangerous experiment has killed two young inmates and threatens others. Ethan, a shape-shifter, is reluctantly recruited by his best friend Karen, a telepath, and Elle, the unique Talent he has a crush on, to thwart the faculty’s plans. If they’re caught they face Detention, and Detention at a State School has a whole different meaning.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I was extremely hesitant jumping into this novella. For those of you who regularly read my reviews, you’ll know that I greatly dislike short fiction. I like to sink myself into a story for several hours at a time and not come up for air, so shorter novellas often leave me frustrated. I find them to be rushed most of the time. This was no exception.
Being a YA fiction short story, Impulse Control was written in a very straight-forward, plain narrative that made it easy to sink into. Unfortunately, it also read a little below my usual grade level. To be honest, it felt like I was reading a middle-grade story that just happened to have YA characters. The elements of the story were a little too dramatic to be believable and the characters seemed to skim through outrageously dangerous situations with little consequence. It was hard to believe that the constant danger I was being forewarned about was as dangerous as the author kept telling me when no one seemed to get hurt or even came close to being caught.
The story was riddled with what I like to consider storytelling potholes. The children in the story were being held in a facility where their every daily tasks were monitored and the penalty for acting out was a quick ticket to a lab where the kids knew they would be experimented on and possibly even killed. However, when the children decided to sneak around the facility it was conspicuously void of guards, CCTV’s, or any sort of alarm system. The few obstacles they had to get through (like keypads) were easy to circumnavigate (despite the fact that the security in this place should have been prepared for supernatural teens)… it just wasn’t believable.
At one point, the kids are even attacked, and then joined by another teen who had shown previously that he was at least somewhat evil, but as soon as he joined the team in trying to shut the facility down, he became friendly and no one seemed to have a problem with him. It was frustrating to see the author present information (like the kid being evil, or the facility being dangerous) only to have the narrative then tell us that it wasn’t true.
The one big thumbs up for this story was the plot itself. It was intriguing. Here are these supernatural power-wielding kids stuck in a secret government facility being trained to become operatives (against their will), paired up with a darker, more sinister side where the kids lives are very much in danger. It should have been a very compelling read, and it would have been had the author stuck to their guns and made the narrative consistent.
Overall it was an okay read. It wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t awful either. I’d really like to see this written out into a full length story, or at the very least cleaned up and made consistent, but it was interesting, and I’m glad I read it. If you like middle-grade or YA fiction, you might like this. Adults may have a hard time getting through it because of the narrative potholes, but it’d make a cute afternoon read.