Quantum Drop by Saci Lloyd
|Quantum Drop by Saci Lloyd|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Fast-paced, near-future, techno-thriller peppered with lots and lots of up-to-date science zeitgeist. I really love Saci Lloyd, who is not afraid to be controversial, is always exciting, and knows her audience right down its last atom. Great stuff.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: February 2013|
|External links: Author's website|
We're in London. The London that's left after the next financial crash devastates life for most people right across the world. Money is hard to come by, and most people survive on black market credits, supplied by the Betta. Everyone either works for the Betta or borrows from them. And when Anthony's girlfriend gets on the wrong side of the Betta and is taken out in a gang hit, he must venture into the virtual world of the Drop if he is to find out who is responsible and how to get justice. But the Drop is a dangerous, dangerous place...
Ooh! I thought Quantum Drop was a tremendously satisfying thriller. It has a page-turning, twist plot, plenty of poltics, and is set in a world that I believed in. I felt quite involved by the central character, Anthony. A bright boy from a poor home, he has high hopes of escaping the Debtbelt by earning a scholarship to university. He wants to do good in the world, too. But when his girlfriend is left in a coma by the Betta, the main criminal gang in the area, his grip on his life and his sanity takes a huge knock. He'll never get back on track unless he does something to get justice for Tais. The supporting cast is also credible, from Lola, the tough hacker with a soft side, through Ali, Anthony's childhood friend, who - lacking Anthony's academic abilities - has chosen a life with the Betta, through to Stella, the little girl on the autistic scale, who has an obsession with crows. Stella rocks!
I liked the world-building, too. Lloyd's Debtbelt looks very much like the poor areas of today's inner cities, but it's just on a much larger scale. It's a scene of deprivation. Low level crime still exists on the streets, but the real money is to be made in the Drop, a virtual environment in which people are spending more and more time. Quantum Drop's environment isn't so very different from our own and you can see it won't take much techno-evolution to get there. Particularly if the next financial crash is an even bigger one.
But my favourite aspect of Quantum Drop isn't its characters. It isn't its racing plot. Or even its credible worldbuilding. It's its science. Anthony is a clever kid, if a messed up one. And biology is his subject. His thoughts are peppered with it. From the structure of our brains to verbal overshadowing, Anthony thinks about things that are desperately significant to us, his readers of today, but are too little talked about. It's funny, because I finished Quantum Drop, sat down to watch some TV and listened to Brian Cox telling me about all the ways in which the laws of physics underpin our biology, and it was a seamless transition from book to screen. I love Saci Lloyd for this fierce intelligence in her writing - a fierce intelligence which assumes an equally fierce intelligence in its readers. You don't get many YA techno-thrillers doing that - if it's not in the FX or the chase, it's not there at all.
Anyway. I liked Quantum Drop. Really liked it. As if you couldn't tell.
You could also look at Brainjack by Brian Falkner.
You can read more book reviews or buy Quantum Drop by Saci Lloyd at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Quantum Drop by Saci Lloyd at Amazon.com.
Quantum Drop by Saci Lloyd is in the Top Ten Teen Books of 2013.
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