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.
Fun read, but unimpressive. Lots of not-very-convincing angst from the woman warrior/cyborg protagonist and lots of elf sex appeal leading to the predictable forbidden romance. Lust, betrayal, cool new magic powers, plot twists, blah, blah. Good enough for some determined escapism.
If you're interested in a more complex female cyborg/warrior, I would strongly recommend Elizabeth Bear's "Hammered" series, with a genuinely conflicted and fearfully strong protagonist.
An intense, action packed, futuristic blend of science fiction and fantasy. Justina Robson does a superb job of blending genres and delivering an awesome book.
This is the first book in the Quantum Gravity series by Justina Robson. So far there are four books in the series with a 5th being planned for future release. I wasn't able to find the number of books actually contracted for this series. Anyway, I really liked it. It is a great first book in the series and I want to learn a lot more about both the world and the characters.
A quantum bomb exploded in 2015 ripping a hole in reality and revealing five other realities; an elven realm, an elemental realm, a demon realm, the realm of death, and Otopia (Used to be known as Earth). Zal is an elf that has abandoned his homeland and become half demon; he then entered Otopia and started performing as a rock star. The elven community wants him dead and Lila Black is the one assigned to guard him. Lila is not quite human. She got into a horrible accident and the only way to save her life was for her to agree to be part of an experiment. Now she is part AI, part cyborg, and part human. Initially she thinks that she is guarding a rock star...then she finds the plot goes much deeper and wonders how deep into Elven territory it will take her.
This was a very creative book. I loved the five realms (with a possible sixth somewhere) they were awesome. We really only get to visit Otopia and the Elven realm, Alfheim, in a lot of depth and I am eager to visit the other realms. The characters are very engaging. All of them have their heroic points and their flaws. Lila and Zal both struggle with being different in a world where things are more bizarre than ever before. The dialogue was witty and funny most of the time; Lila in general is a kick butt character always ready with a quick jibe and tease.
The plot is complex and densely packed. There is a ton of action and Robson does a very good job writing the action scenes. Robson's writing style is pretty straight-forward, there is not a lot of flowery language here or over-description, the writing style fits the story well so it all works out.
There were some small problems with the book. The whole world (actually five worlds) are a lot to throw at a reader all at once; it can get a little bit confusing. I thought this was handled okay. Also most of the book is written from Lila's viewpoint, then suddenly in the second half some chapters are from Zal's point of view. This was a bit odd; although it worked okay, it took me a few moments to figure out what was going on. The last problem was that a lot hinges on The Game that Lila and Zan are bound up in. I never really understood what a Game was or how it got initiated; I understand it happens through Wild Magic but I though that aspect of the plot could have been clarified better.
Other than the above, I thought the complicated world and plot was handled pretty well. The characterization, world-building, and action scenes were fantastic. I am really, really looking forward to reading more books in this series. I stumbled upon this series in a special display at a bookstore and I am wondering why this series isn't getting better coverage. It is a good series. People who have described it as Dragonlance meets Star Trek are right on. I can't wait to see what the next book holds.
Well, I did get through it, that's something. It was very slow reading, and has too many undefined and/or underemphasized cultural references (specific to the various races). The first book in a series of 5 that seemed to need much clearer and earlier backstory references. Later books might be easier to comprehend without quite so much working at it, but to be honest, neither the characters nor the worldbuilding encouraged me to read later books.