By Saci Lloyd
Published by Hodder Children's Books
ISBN 978 1 444 90081 1
Momentum is an all-action futuristic thriller that starts off in top gear and stays there until the end.
A teenager called Hunter is running across a city's rooftops, leaping from building to building. We don't know what he is doing or why he is here. He sees three uniformed men targeting another boy dashing across the roofs. Hunter watches. Just when it looks as if the boy is going to get away, the men fire their weapons, and the boy falls down to the streets below. Hunter continues his own race over the rooftops.
The opening few pages of Saci Lloyd's gripping novel are very cinematic and draw the reader straight into the action without a moment being wasted. Lloyd is obviously in the business of delivering high-octane thrills, and the explosive opener sets high expectations for what she will deliver next.
Adrenaline junkies will not be disappointed as this is just the beginning of a thrilling, white-knuckle ride as the action continues.
Welcome to London, 2030. Lloyd sets the action in the British capital, but she could have set it in New York, Paris, Hong Kong or any metropolis that has been guzzling energy for the past century.
All over the planet, energy wars are destroying cities and turning their citizens into outlaws. In London, the poor are forced to live in slums while the rich enjoy what is left of civilisation. Civil unrest stalks the world's streets.
Hunter is a Citizen, one of the privileged rich of London who enjoy a virtual fantasy life through technology. He watches as Kossak soldiers march through the streets keeping the Outsiders, the city's poor, within the law.
But Hunter is a young man who asks questions, and he finds his virtual life offers him no pleasure. He loves to escape from his pampered life and take to the city's rooftops to get a dose of reality. He watches the Outsiders down below and gradually becomes fascinated by the dangers they have to face to survive.
When Hunter meets Uma, an Outsider girl, his fate is sealed. Uma is in danger, and she gives him a very important package that holds what may be the solution to the survival of the human race.
But the Kossaks are out to eliminate any Outsider who causes trouble. Uma is part of a secret underground freedom movement and she lives on the edge. The Kossaks will stop at nothing to protect their fragile rule from anything and anybody that poses a threat to its stability.
Momentum is a fantastic chase novel, but it will also make you think about the politics that got the human race into such a mess. Lloyd addresses many current and controversial issues, but not at the expense of the tense and urgent story she tells.
This is an edgy and stylish thriller with a message. Are we already careering into the chaos Lloyd presents? It's a sobering thought.
John Millen can be contacted on MillenBookshelf@aol.com