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Drop by Drop

(Step by Step #1)

2.68  ·  Rating details ·  211 ratings  ·  64 reviews
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 th
Hardcover, 319 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by Tor Books
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2.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  211 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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Mel (Epic Reading)
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-netgalley
A wonderful read that really surprised me. It's set-up with a science fiction premise, all plastics in the world are melting or breaking down (at random); but in actual fact the book is about the characters in a small town and how they cope with daily life as things around them stop working.

Easily the best part of this book is the characters. I loved or loved to hate them all. All the classic archetypes are here: the rich snob, the smart entrepreneur, the poor family with too many chi
Cathy (cathepsut)
“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.“

A great premise with potential for lots of catastrophic scenes and society as we know it breaking down spectacularly. Alas, the apocalypse unfolds very slowly, over a longer period of time and slowly dissolving bits and pieces. Not necessarily a bad thing, albeit l
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary
Drop by Drop was a buddy read with Jess from Storytime in the Stacks. I started off liking it, she started off disliking it. Unfortunately, by the time the book ended, I had come around to her way of thinking instead of vice versa.

I try my best to only review the book and not the author, but I think in some cases you have to take who the author is into consideration. Morgan Llywelyn is well-known for her historical works (both fiction and non-) and for her non-fiction. The lady can obviously wri
Faith (BookSelf ~ You Are What You Read)
May 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of contemporary mystery and small town drama
I received this eARC from Macmillan-Tor/Forge on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

I dnf'd this book very early on, unfortunately. It was very promising, but ultimately read like a high concept sci-fi soap opera. When I expected science fiction mystery, I got small town drama. I really couldn't care less about any character or their stupid first world problems. Ultimately, this book was boring, but if you're more into contemporary
Nov 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 1-star, unfinished

Interesting concept. Poor execution.
The Captain
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .

Well mateys. I have to admit that this was just an okay read. This book takes place in a small town in the U.S. with a varied cast of quirky if somewhat two-dimensional characters. Their problem is that plastics all over the world begin to melt and humanity has to deal with the consequences. No one knows what started "The Change" but the townsfolk love to speculate
Loved this! Hugely original and not at all what I was expecting. There is a resilience and hope here that is so refreshing. Above all else, this is character driven, and with characters that I was deeply interested in. A favourite book of the year for me. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Small town folks are appalled when plastic begins to disintegrate and their routines are disturbed.

So every now and then I'm at the library and I decide to take a chance on a book. Apocalypse - love it! That cover is gorgeous! And Morgan Llywelyn - she's been writing a long time so yep, I'll give this a try. I go to GoodReads to list it and - 2.64! Ugh! How can a book be that bad?! But by golly, I've got it so onward.

This is how a book can be that bad. This is the author's first attempt at scien
Jodie "Bookish"  Cook
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Book Review
Title: Drop by Drop (Step by Step #1)
Author: Morgan Llywelyn
Genre: Sci-Fi/Dystopian/Thriller
Rating: ****
Review: The premise of Drop by Drop was very interesting, so I requested it on NetGalley. I used to read a lot of dystopian novels but have been on a real fantasy kick lately. The opening to Drop by Drop was quite interesting, we are introduced to a variety of characters including Nell, Bea and Dwayne as the incident begins. The incident itself is that all plastics mysteriously beg
Mark Gardner
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Drop by Drop is an interesting concept: plastics all over the world start to liquefy, and anything depending on plastics stop working. The idea is very much like the TV show, Jericho, and a non-zombie post apocalyptic story is a fresh read, the problem with Drop by Drop is that there is no plot. The story just meanders through a few years without a solid understanding of the flow of time. I think that the entire story spans a few years, maybe as many as four? The time shifts are abrupt, sometime ...more
May 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
Awful. Potentially interesting premise: all the world's plastics start to melt back into a crude oily scunge. But the book itself is the same old end-of-the-world cliche fest, whereby a bunch of thinly drawn cardboard characters you don't give a damn about plague you with their tedious backstories and bickering, as well as their plot-convenient obliviousness to the obvious, in a small town as everything falls apart. Plus it has clunky neologisms galore, like AllComs which everyone in the real wo ...more
Steve DuBois
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Drop by Drop shows the effects on a small town of a global event in which complex hydrocarbons break down into their component molecules, a phenomenon known to the book's characters as "the Change" (capital C, of course, in the tradition of recent dystopian fiction). This is an excellent story concept, variations on which have been executed by SM Stirling, Pat Frank, and others. You could even put certain sections of Stephen King's "The Stand" in the same category.

My main problem with this book
S.J. Higbee
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the fact that we followed the same small band of folks as this disaster unfolds – and the fact that they lived in a small community. I have a fondness for books depicting small-town America… Initially, we quickly jump across a number of folks as plastic starts to dribble, which had me groaning somewhat. I get awfully tired of the apocalyptic convention of jumping into someone’s head, only for them to die in unpleasant circumstances due to whatever badness is coming to swallow the world ...more
Jessica Hinton
Jun 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley-review
This just goes to show how I can be influenced by a short snazzy blurb and a beautiful cover design. This had all the hallmarks of being a book I would love - dystopian, slightly sci-fi, focussing on the impact on a small town.

And this is a great idea. We rely on man made substances in nearly everything we do, so if something like this truly happened we would be up the proverbial creek without a paddle (especially if it were made of plastic...)

But...and there's no fancy way to say this... this b
Linda Smith
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Drop by Drop is set in the near future in the small town of Sycamore River. One day, plastic begins to liquefy. The news media covers the early stages of this plague as an amusing oddity. Plastic pens are melting. Potato chips are flying all over the park after their bags dissolve. But whatever is causing this disruption is spreading to include all types of plastic. And the world is beginning to realize just how dependent it has become on this artificial product. TVs no longer operate. Neither d ...more
Amanda Rose
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
i finished this 3 minutes ago and it’s already fading from memory. I don’t care too much about any of the characters. Knowing now that it’s a trilogy, perhaps I would’ve cared more had it been released all at once. The exposition is disproportionate to a single novel but perhaps not to the trilogy. As a finite single book it leaves a LOT to be desired and there’s no mention of it being a trilogy on the physical copy.

hopefully the next 2 books make the first worthwhile, and provide a reason behi
Amie's Book Reviews
"Drop by drop, the change came to Sycamore River. Slowly and quietly in the beginning, not enough to cause a ripple on the placid surface of the town. Few people noticed at first. Change can be like that."

This Speculative Fiction novel is a completely unique idea of how change can begin without most people noticing.

This is the first book in the "Step By Step" series which promises to be not only one of a kind, but also one that will challenge the idea that we need  technology to survive.

The s
Brian's Book Blog
I Just Couldn’t Get Into It

I just could not get into this book. I ended up reading 75% of the book and I just couldn’t get into it. I gave it the best try I could. The premise sounds amazing. All of a sudden, things that were made out of plastic started melting and not working anymore. It didn’t hit everything at once like I thought it was going to.

It seemed like it was going to be more about the event with people around it – but it was about the people. And the issue that I have with that was t
Dec 24, 2018 rated it liked it
An unusual read.

The Change (yes capitalized - Change) has come to the town of Sycamore River. No, not THAT change - the woman one, but the Change which results in plastic reverting to liquid. Imagine everything plastic dissolving before your very eyes. Think of all the electronics with plastic components, from phones to computers, suddenly refusing to work. The Change takes months, items slowly melting away, and for those who live in Sycamore River, life will never be the same.

Drop by Drop is a
Feb 10, 2019 rated it did not like it

So I read this book not realizing that it is the first book in a series. Premise seemed interesting, what if one day all plastic melted. How would that effect society? Luckily, there is a man in the rural area of our story that has a hobby making horse-drawn carriages, so taxi service is still available. For a dystopian novel, the fabric of society is hardly effected. People are generally kind, chaos doesn't break out (locally, although there are rumors that the situation is differe
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This story begins at the start of an apocalypse, not after, which is interesting. So while plastic is liquifying, all sorts of other changes occur within the small town setting, as well as globally. Necessity is the mother of invention, so people have to reach back into the past AND try new methods to replace plastic. With technology pretty much gone, people have to relate to each other in more personal ways, which creates another profound change. And bad things happen, too, so it's not a novel ...more
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: post-apocalypse
Somewhere around page 200 I realized that I didn't know if this was going to:
1. Turn into a 20 book series
2. Get magically all better in the next 100 pages, and everyone lives happily ever after
3. Get magically worse, and everyone dies in pain and misery.

I think the author chickened out in the end - both in who gets killed and in the *surprise twist* (which wasn't) ending. I thought you were supposed to kill your darlings?

Also, why are all the children portrayed as little shits? Once you're no l
Tina Hsu
I'm classifying this as an end-of-the world book, although really the world just gets a little irritating, uncomfortable, and inconvenient. In one small town, a group of regular folks experience "the Change," where plastics start dissolving. You'd think this would have a huge impact, but... meh. The story unfolds at a glacial pace, with little, if any suspense. Life just goes on. None of the characters are that interesting, and the story just skips around between them with little point to the tr ...more
Aug 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Small town America, current day. Several townfolk are introduced and you get a sense of the relationships.

The first oddity discussed happens at the bank. A patron tries to use the ATM and it doesn't work, nor will it eject her card, just a sludgy mess comes out the slot. When she goes in to the bank to get her card returned another patron tried to pull the pen out of the holder at the window and it's stuck. The teller opens her drawer to give the patron a pen, and they melt in her hand in a goo
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
It’s an investment, this one, a 300+ page prologue. Interesting concept—everything plastic is melting but there are NO (zero, zip, zilch) reasons why in this book. Maybe we find out in the second novel? The third? How long do I need to commit?
And the misogyny was striking. Every married man (with a single exception) is verbally & psychologically abusive to his wife. Two talk about killing theirs or wishing aloud they were dead, another actually plans it. Also includes the random shotgun bla
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Depicting a world where people are obsessed with/suffocated by technology and numb to the world around them as an increasing amount of communication is done through screens and the line between virtual and physical space starts to deteriorate, the crucial synthetic--plastic--that underpins the infrastructure of this world gradually and randomly starts to morph. This depolymerization phenomenon called "The Change" begins without most people noticing--or perhaps, more accurately, willfully denying ...more
Jan 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Actually surprisingly good. I just couldn't get into caring too much about the characters. The premise, that plastic is all slowly dissolving, is fascinating. I was disappointed that we didn't find out why, but I suppose if there's a sequel we'll find out then. The number of things that contain plastic was actually really intimidating-- even things we don't think are plastic or contain plastic evidently have plastic parts. She must have done a fair bit of research there. And of course the theme ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: apocalyptic, sci-fi
I really did not enjoy this book. I found myself hating it the whole way throughout yet continued reading it out of a determination to get it over with. It's not very long but I still felt like I was pulling teeth to get through it. It did keep my attention so I can't say it was boring at all, even though my attention was mostly fueled by pure annoyance. I didn't want to say that this wasn't a great book without reading the whole thing. I did and now I can honestly say it's one of the worst book ...more
Megan W. (pnwbookworm)
I had really high hopes for this one. The premise of the series is fascinating. A world in which all plastic melts? That sounds intense and crazy and also a little like a social commentary on our over reliance and over usage of plastic. Unfortunately, the story just didn’t come together. It was told in multiple viewpoints, which unless done just right can be annoying and cumbersome, as was the case here. Also, I didn’t like any of the characters and found myself getting bored and putting the boo ...more
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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.

Other books in the series

Step by Step (2 books)
  • Inch by Inch (Step by Step, #2)