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.
This is the story of a boy whose girl is worth more than money.
Lloyd has created a world where gangs, virtual reality and money troubles have been warped beyond the norm, making the story futuristic yet believable. It was edgy, cool and dramatic yet I struggled with it, mostly I believe because of the target audience and lack of empathy with the protagonist.
Stuck in the Debt-belt, these characters were battling against the world to make ends meet and I fell easily into the story where they are forced to make sometimes illegal money in the Drop, a virtual and parallel world. As I said, I did sympathise with Anthony but never really connected with him. This might be because he gave a fake name, or I couldn't figure out when he was writing from, whichever but I just couldn't get the emotional link that I want with a first person perspective. However, I did really like little sister Stella, who's autistic and loves crows. She was really sweet and her autistic, straight-forward way of thinking was very refreshing. Even though Anthony was often distracted, I really liked the little snippets of rants, how much Anthony hated the way mankind had developed and screwed up the world, as well as the different narrative techniques, from huge fonts and symbols to excerpts from Stella's blog.
Set over a couple of days, everything happened way too fast; there was no real sense of time passing and considering how tired Lola and Anthony were after messing around in the Drop, I'm surprised they could keep going back so quickly. This time-passing also didn't allow any downtime to allow the reader to digest what had happened, but it managed to work as the story didn't lag. I just wish I had at least a breather between big revelations! It was also sometimes difficult to follow; it wasn't exactly complicated but the technological and money details sort of went over my head and mad me lose my place in the story.
Overall, an enjoyable if complex read; I just think I wasn't the target audience and did not have to brain power to keep all the details in my head!
Published 7th February 2013 by Hodder Children's Books. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.