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Quantum Drop Paperback – 7 Feb 2013
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Top customer reviews
It runs for just under two hundred and eighty pages. It's not labelled as being the start of a series, and it is one of those books that does stand alone and wrap it all up at the end but leave the door open for further adventures.
It fits into the genre called 'cyberpunk', which are basically thrillers set in the near future which take place both in dystopian cities and cyberspace locations also.
The main character is Anthony. Who lives in an urban area called the debtbelt. He's smart enough to hopefully be able to make something of himself in due course. His best friend has joined a gang who run the underworld. He has a younger sister who is possibly autistic. And his girlfriend has just been killed in a gang attack.
He takes it on himself to investigate what happened. Only to find himself in danger as a result.
This is written in the first person present tense and in dialogue that fits the character. That and the fact that the setting is a new one to the reader means this is initially a rather difficult book to get into. Particularly so in the long scenes of narrative that come at the start.
It does settle down somewhat when we get more dialogue based scenes, but it doesn't really click till around page seventy or so.
The narrative, as mentioned, will jump from real to virtual world. It does once the book has settled down start to feel quite vivid and well realised, although the prose does demand your full attention. As the story goes on, something does grab you about the characters. Anthony is quite a sympathetic lead, and the supporting characters, particularly the two main ones plus his sister, are quite interesting as well.
There are some narrative tricks at points to describe what he is thinking, and some pages that are meant to come from websites. These are quite an interesting touch, although the former may be offputting to some.
The fact that he's a smart person means it does impart some interesting information along the way.
All the characters have developed by the end and are in very different places by then, and their journeys are quite interesting.
Not the easiest of reads, and it may be offputting to some, but a capable bit of cyberpunk and worth a look.
What didn't I like? Some of the scenes seemed perfunctory - imaginatively created, but then not as completely realised as they could have been. I am also unconvinced about the boundaries between the virtual and the real world. However, if you're prepared to suspend your disbelief, and just accept the plot on its own terms, then it's a pacy and exciting read.
Young adult writing pulls few punches these days, particularly in terms of language and violence. Lloyd's book fits comfortably into the genre - the sort of book that might hopefully engage the interest of boys in their mid-teens, despite the abundance of alternative forms of electronic entertainment.
Told in the first person present tense by Anthony who firstly tells you this is not his real name which adds the first layer of uncertainty; he is at one suffering under the strain of his harsh life, grieving for the loss of his girlfriend Tais, slain by the Betta and struggling to make his own way.
His yearning to find out the true reason for the death of Tais leads him on a journey between Physical and Cyber with a group of associates whose own intentions and allegiances are not always clear. Violence both physical and emotional lurks within the bleak urban and the fearfully effective Virtual Reality of the Drop.
Anthony's narration is filled the anger and uncertainty, Lloyd uses all manner of devices to convey this bleak world. Fonts change, statements appear out of context of the narrative, pages from his friend Lois' website pop up catching you off balance as you turn the page.
This is a very effective book. I can't say I found it an easy read, not just for the world it portrayed but also because of its strength, it is geared to a mid-teen and internet/ virtual reality knowledgeable audience and being 60+ I was a bit out of my depth at times. No criticism, that was my problem, I wanted to go there by choosing to read the book I had to deal with that alien landscape!
This should resonate with its intended audience, terms, concepts and the urban jungle will be sadly all too familiar (yeh, I'm still old fashioned, it's an age-thing). One thing which is clear though is the age-old struggle between the ordinary person and the corrupt monolith; in this there is an air of some sort of optimism.
Recommended for its target audience and as a DVD cover might say `some moderate harsh language, and several scenes of violence'
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