The basic premise is that Lila Black, a special agent with a body that is mostly machine, has been tasked to protect the lead singer of The No Shows - an elf named Zal. Zal is unusual amongst his kind and has made a strange choice to be "slumming" down on Earth. Someone from Alfheim, who disapproves of Zal's lifestyle is sending him death threats. Half of the book takes place on Earth and the other on Alfheim, but I don't think I can even begin to start describing it. It was so much fun to read! How do I explain why!? First of all - this was not done in a fluffy silly way - when I tried to explain it to someone: "There were elves, and one of them is a rock star-", I got a face. It's not like that at all. The characters are compelling. Lila is a woman who has guns popping out of her body and rides a black motorbike, but she's very confused about how she feels about elves - they almost killed her and that's what made her this way. She has difficulties with accepting what she looks like now. And Zal is a bit of a mystery at first, an elf who has chosen to defy his people and "go native" in another world, exiled because of his choices. His character is rather complex and undefinable. There were a couple of other very interesting characters I wish I could get into but I can't without giving away big chunks of plot. Speaking of the the plot, it unlike anything else I've read, unpredicable, full of action and thrills. There are a lot of pop culture references and jokes (other reviews say many funny LoTR references, which totally went past me, I haven't read those books since I was 14), but you don't need to get them to enjoy the story. The only thing I'd complain about is that there were times in the story where, especially dealing with elves, I felt like they understood something about what was going on that I did not (why did they do that now?). Maybe this lends itself to the whole clash of cultures between human and elf, or maybe I just need to reread those parts. I felt like Robson was an intellectual writing something fun instead of something with a serious agenda. And I'm glad, because I loved it. This was a keeper!
Sci-Fi/Futuristic adventure epic by Justina Robson. Complex, energetic, imaginative, exciting: all descriptive of this book. The very fabric of Earth was altered, with an explosion at the Supercollider in Texas. We now know of alternate dimensions, where demons, faeries, and elves live. In the midst of these facts, there is Lila Black, who, in order to save her life, was made into a Cyborg half human, half machine after being brutally tortured by an Elf. Lila isn't at peace with her new life, and takes on the undercover assignment of Bodygaurd for - an Elf Rock Star. Zal is a traitor to all Elves hold dear, and factions of Elves want his silenced, want to use him of thier own purposes. The world-building in the story is complicated, confusing and sometimes tedious. Everything else is fantastic. The author is able to weave a story that blends elements of magic, and technology in an interesting way. This book has it all: a great plot, action/adventure, intrigue, betrayals, psychos, suspence, and, while not technically a romance, a few hot sex scenes. Then there's the small matter of the dead elf Necromancer trapped in Lila's body. The author has a gift for description, and making the reader feel as if you are in the moment. Enjoyed it alot. I'm on the WL for #2. Definately worth a credit.