Quantum Drop by Saci Lloyd
Published by Hodder Children's Books
Genres: Science Fiction YA, Young Adult
Source: Received for review from publishers
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Anthony Griffin is an ordinary kid caught up in a dangerous world. The boundaries between real and virtual are more and more blurred, and when Anthony’s girlfriend is taken out in a gang hit, he has to venture into the underground world of the Drop to flush out her killer and bring him to justice.
Thoughts: Let me just start off that Quantum Drop was exactly what I want in a YA novel. Saci Lloyd doesn’t shy away from real-life issues, she doesn’t consider the status quo sacred, and she sure as hell isn’t afraid of calling out our species for, well, sucking. I love that, because she’s so right, but no one ever seems to want to say it. The fact that she not only does, but puts it into a kick-ass book? Brilliant.
But, I have to admit that Quantum Drop is probably not the book for everyone. If you aren’t in the mood for a book that needs your brain to be “on” the whole time (which I totally get, by the way), then wait for a while before you pick up Quantum Drop. Otherwise you just won’t enjoy it as much.
Now, apart from Saci Lloyd’s oh-so-accurate insights into humanity, I also really enjoyed the setting of Quantum Drop. Anyone who has been round the East End will recognize the familiar-yet-futuristic “Debtbelt”. Saci Lloyd has kept the verse just post-modern enough to be recognizable – so much so, I barely felt the sci-element of the book. That said, the characters spend a huge part of the novel in a virtual world known as “the drop” (which, if I had to describe it, I’d liken to The Matrix). Super futuristic stuff that, for some reason, felt totally normal.
The characters in Quantum Drop were complete stand-outs. They aren’t the middle-class, worried-about-prom lot that we typically see in YA – instead, they have grown up with the odds stacked against them, and they know it. They are swimming against the tide, trying to do what is right while staying afloat. The main character, Anthony, wants justice for his girlfriend, but he also has a legitimate fear for his life and the life of his family. It’s easy to just give up – so when many of the characters do, it’s also easy to forgive them. This made Anthony’s struggles all the more impressive.
Bottom line? Quantum Drop is one of those books that makes you think (about life, the universe and everything) while telling a hell of a tale along the way. Pick it up if you are looking for something different in your YA.
Today, I’m thrilled to be introducing Saci Lloyd, author of the Carbon Diaries series, Momentum and, her newest release, Quantum Drop. I am a big fan of this self-described “activist”, and think her ability to address serious, global issues in her novels should not only be lauded, but emulated.
First off, what inspired you to write Quantum Drop? Where you lead to the book by a character or by a concept?
Oh, this book came from a lot of different angles. At the heart of it, for me is an exploration of the way human beings live on the planet. I’m fascinated by our strange minds, how we make up insane systems and then live by the weird rules we made up. No other animal does this. I also wanted to write it from the point of view of a bunch of very extraordinary ‘ordinary’ young people. Anthony is named after the Belle and Sebastian song – Lord Anthony – and the lines ‘Anthony bullied at school, get your own back now you are cool’ are an essential part of how I perceive this character.
Your YA novels incorporate serious, real-life issues into them (climate change, the financial crash) – do you consciously set out to tackle these themes, or are you just inspired by current events?
I’m drawn to write about the big issues of the day. What could be bigger than climate change and the financial crash that bankrupted us all? I’m also enraged on behalf of the younger generation, that they’ve had their future world messed up by shortsighted politicians and corrupt financiers. Sometimes I wish I was drawn to writing about goblins, but I just can’t do it somehow.
Quantum Drop was one of the first books I’ve read in a while to be narrated from a boy’s point of view. What made you opt for a male POV and how was it different to writing the Carbon Diaries?
Anthony felt very natural to me. He’s a pretty sensitive soul in his own messed up way, so it wasn’t like I had to create some super macho figure. Having said that, I did interview a lot of boys before starting to write – as I wanted to make sure I was getting the tone right. Anyway, I really enjoyed it, Anthony is very real and alive to me in exactly the same way that Laura Brown is in the Carbon Diaries. That’s when you can tell if a character is working – when they start to act up and invade your mind off the page. Anthony and Laura were both a total pain in the ass.
I feel like the teenagers of 2012 are more “plugged in” than any other generation – technology is just so natural to them. Do you think these teens will have a different appreciation for Quantum Drop than the rest of us?
The pace of technology is speeding up all the time. When I first wrote Momentum and Quantum Drop I used to have to wave my arms a lot while I explained how a visor or a laser beamed onto a retina might work. Now I just point to Google glass and it’s easy. The next stage will surely be some kind of hook up to the optic nerve. Terrifying really, when you think how dumb we are with our little screens. No, but seriously, I don’t think there’s anything to be worried about with technology as long as it’s us using the tech and not the other way around.
Final question: what’s next on your agenda? Do you have any other books in the works and, if so, what will they be about?
Yeah I do. I’m working on a novel called 50% Banana, set in a parallel earth run by Californians. It’s a comedy. I’m really enjoying writing it.
OK – that sounds awesome. Thank you for answering my questions, Saci! Check out my review of Quantum Drop here.
This month’s bounty is being held by pirate!Winnie the Pooh!
Last year, I wrote a rather long post about how blogging can overwhelm me out sometimes. I get review books and, instead of being excited about them, I feel horrifically guilty because I know I probably won’t get to read most of them. So this month, I am going to only tackle that guilt head on and only read books I received for review!
Loads of these books have already come out (one on the pile came out in 2011), but they are all ones I’ve really, really wanted to read:
When between books, I continue to work on A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin – which I will finish one day, dammit!