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Sci-Fi Review: Keeping It Real by Justina Robson

Keeping It Real by Justina Robson (Quantum Gravity #1)

borrowed from the library

Synopsis from Goodreads
"There's a treat in store for you all, as the new Justina Robson is out. Lila Black is a spy, and a bodyguard, and every so often she breaks into the sheer joy of the toys she carries within her. It's good to see that almost naïve geek love you see among born techies translated into a character so beautifully. The only truly bad thing about this book is that it isn't stand-alone and now I've got to wait until she's finished writing the next one, wanting much, much more." --Starburst (Five Star review) 

The Quantum Bomb of 2015 changed everything. The fabric that kept the universe's different dimensions apart was torn and now, six years later, the people of earth exist in uneasy company with the inhabitants of, amongst others, the elfin, elemental, and demonic realms. Magic is real and can be even more dangerous than technology. Elves are exotic, erotic, dangerous, and really bored with the constant Lord of the Rings references. Elementals are a law unto themselves and demons are best left well to themselves.

Special agent Lila Black used to be pretty, but now she's not so sure. Her body is more than half restless carbon and metal alloy machinery, a machine she's barely in control of. It goes into combat mode, enough weapons for a small army springing from within itself, at the merest provocation. As for her heart, well, ever since being drawn into a game by the elfin rockstar Zal (lead singer of the No Shows), who she's been assigned to protect, she's not even sure she can trust that any more either.

 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond


* * *
 First of all, the writing style reminded me strongly of Lilith Saintcrow because it pushed the heroine constantly to the limits of her endurance. More than once I wondered how Lila will come out of the impossible situations she was getting into... and she did come out swinging, although not without heavy repercussions.

Lila was a fascinating woman, broken, empty, cold, feeling worthless because after being tortured and damaged beyond repair as a human being she was turned into a cyborg, a perfect multi billion machine which is constantly poked and probed and experimented with. No wonder the woman felt sub-human and unworthy of reconnection with her old life.

Her first real life task is to guard a famous rock-star elf Zal who keeps receiving death threats from other elves.  The human intelligence service suspects that Zal who always was a rebel is supposed to fulfil some sort of elven prophecy, and elven community which wants to separate itself from the rest of the worlds tries to stop it from happening by eliminating Zal.

Zal and Lila accidentally start a Game when they first see each other. Game is something that can happen with all the otherworlders, it's like a magical power that catches us making promises or refusing to do something or making a deal and forces us to adhere to the stakes until the Game is played out. It's complicated ad intricate like everything else in this book :)

Actually, expect to be constantly puzzled and awed by the depth of world-building and meticulous details in the series. Sometimes I was thinking "no way it could get more complicated", and sure as hell I would turn the page and find out something else that would change my perception of the world.

This is the only drawback of the series, sometimes it feels too much and you start developing a headache trying to cope with the onslaught of the information, otherwise it's action driven and rich multi faceted story, a rare mix of sci-fi and fantasy, which strongly reminded me of popular animated series Final Fantasy.

Recommended with reservations.

* * *
Скажу честно, что читать эту книгу было нелегко, однако она всё-равно мне очень понравилась. Почему нелегко? Потому что по сложности мира и количеству информации, нагромождённой практически на каждой странице её можно сравнить с творчеством Головачёва.

Так что иногда глаза стекленели и страницы переворачивались без запоминания прочитанного :) Однако, главные герои оказались безумно интересными - и Лила и Зал, и множество второстепенных характеров, а также сам очень бурный и полный экшн сюжет.

Держась За Реальность - это какая-то дичайшая смесь научной фанастики и классического фэнтэзи и проще всего всё, что в этой книге происходит сравнить с Final Fantasy.

Лила - киборг, в которого превратили агента секретных служб, после захвата и пыток в эльфийском измерении. После того как над ней поработали учёные и медики её первым заданием становиться охрана Зала, солиста группы эльфийского металла, к которому послупают смертельные угрозы.

Агенты Отопии (Земли) считают, что судьба Зала замешана в пророчестве об объединённых измерениях, чего как раз-таки пытаются избежать эльфийские сепаратисты, которым не понравилось, что квантовый взрыв открыл ворота между разными мирами. Поэтому задача Лилы провести расследование и пресечь попытку убийства музыканта.

Зал - самая настоящая энигма, эльф изменённый годами, проведёнными в демоническом мире. О нём практически ничего неизвестно, но как только он встречает Лилу, между ними возникает невольная магическая Игра, которую им придётся доиграть до конца.

А дальше, полнейший хаос, борьба за выживание и трюки почище Крепкого Орешка с Пятым Элементом. :) Прочитав уже вторую книгу, с уверенностью скажу, что она ещё похлеще.



Aurian said...

Great review, thank you. I am not a fan of cyborgs and such, but you have made me really curious about this world. I am looking forward to reading this some day.

Anachronist said...

I liked this one as well!

Blodeuedd said...

It does sound good, it also makes me wanna read the Saintcrow series ;)

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

Aurian, I can't say I read many books about cyborgs, but I don't thik they are really different from normal sci-fi. They are people just like us, but with enhanced gadgetry, so if you try it, I don't think it will be an issue ;)

Anachronist, I only read first two. Have to find time to read the res of the series!

Blodeuedd, *gasp* you haven't yet?! :)

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

Too much action? You had me at Saintcrow..i love her books, this sounds intense.

Mel@Thedailyprophecy said...

Hmm, I really start to like Cyborgs after falling in love with Cinder. I like complicated storylines, so I might like this. Thanks for sharing!


kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

It will be awesome to see what you'd think of the story, Mel! ;)

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

Kimba, INTENSE is definitely how I'd describe this series! :)))

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said...

Whoa. Okay then. This sounds exactly like my cup of tea. I was never really fond of Lilith Saintcrow, mostly because her characters kept being whiny and ridiculous, but her writing never bothered me and the characters seem to be just great here.
I am excited about this one and I'm immediately adding it to my tbr.
Fabulous review!

Lexi said...

Sounds....interesting. :)

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Really! Huh. This is a completely new book to me and I really like the sounds of it. Definitely adding to the want list tonight. :) Thank you.

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

Maja, I'll be curious to see what you'd think! There is a little bit too much information that has to be absorbed but it's quite a unique series :)

Lexi H, it's unusual, I definitely say that :))

Melissa, this is a great mix of SF and fantasy. It will be interesting to see what you'd think!

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