Drop by Drop by Morgan Llywelyn


In the small town of Sycamore Falls, strange things are happening. ATM cards, pens, and various other plastic items have begun to dissolve. Before long, the word is out that “the Change” is affecting plastics worldwide. Initially regarded as a curiosity that would sort itself out, alarm spreads as vital items—phones, computers, tires, engine parts, and even asphalt roads—becomes puddles of ooze. Technology has become useless, and crime is on the rise as unemployment soars. As people speculate on the cause of the Change and governments scramble to find ways to fix the problem, the threat of war is on the horizon.

What I Liked

I loved the concept of this story! Think about it for a moment: how many things do you depend on for normal, everyday life? Did you know plastics are petroleum products? It’s a little shocking, how many things are made from petroleum that you may not know about. That’s what makes the premise of this book so intriguing—it would have a major impact on everything you can think of, and a whole lot more.

I liked seeing how different characters responded to the catastrophe. Some people responded well, looking to the past for ideas on how to survive this new normal—for example, horse-drawn carts and carriages. Others didn’t adjust very well to the Change, and it brought out the worst in them. A group of friends gathered regularly to consider things that might have caused it, as well as ways they could adjust now-obsolete technologies with new, non-plastic materials.

The story ended on one heck of a cliffhanger, and the cause of the Change was never disclosed, but I was fine with that. This is the first book of the series, after all, so I knew better than to expect the mystery of the dissolving plastics to be wrapped up in a neat, little bow, with all questions answered.

About that cliffhanger: I already knew I wanted to read book two in this series whenever it comes out. But with such a fantastic cliffhanger, it’s going to feel like an eternal wait for the next book!

What I (Sort of) Didn’t Like

I don’t have any strong dislikes, but there is one thing I wished for, that I’ll share in this space.

There were times I wished there were fewer characters involved, so that I could see more from the perspectives of the select few I was most interested in. This story is loaded with characters who each have alternating chapters dedicated to their perceptions. While I liked each character and was interested in their point-of-view, the down side is that there was far less time, overall, to be spent in each of their heads.

Final Thoughts

I found Drop by Drop to be a fascinating story, with a unique concept that was very enjoyable to read. It perfectly illustrates how heavily dependent we are on plastics and technologies in every area of our lives, and how lost society would be without all those creature comforts we’re so accustomed to having. Llywelyn has created a cast of character that are easy to relate and believable in their reactions to the world being turned upside down—or melting away, as it were.

Fans of speculative fiction will not only be intrigued by the premise of this novel, but will likely find it hard to stop reading once they start.

As for me, I can’t wait to read the next book in this series… may it be released soon!

I received an advance reading copy of this book courtesy of Tor Books via Netgalley.

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Author: Morgan Llywelyn
Title: Drop by Drop
Series: Step by Step #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Publication Date: June 26, 2018 by Tor Books
Rating: 4 stars

About the Book

From Morgan Llywelyn, the bestselling author of Lion of Ireland and the Irish Century series, comes Drop By Drop her first near-future science fiction thriller where technology fails and a small town struggles to survive global catastrophe.

In this first book in the Step By Step trilogy, global catastrophe occurs as all plastic mysteriously liquefies. All the small components making many technologies possible—navigation systems, communications, medical equipment—fail.

In Sycamore River, citizens find their lives disrupted as everything they’ve depended on melts around them, with sometimes fatal results. All they can rely upon is themselves.

And this is only the beginning . . .

About the Author

MORGAN LLYWELYN (born 1937) is an American-born Irish author best known for her historical fantasy, historical fiction, and historical non-fiction. Her fiction has received several awards and has sold more than 40 million copies, and she herself is recipient of the 1999 Exceptional Celtic Woman of the Year Award from Celtic Women International.

2 thoughts on “Drop by Drop by Morgan Llywelyn

    • Thank you, Carla! 🙂 You really don’t have to be a Sci-Fi fan to enjoy a book like this. It reads like regular fiction, with an unusual element (dissolving plastics) added into the mix.

      Liked by 1 person

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