Sunday, September 23, 2012

Rosy's scrawled book recommendation: Keeping It Real by Justina Robson

Keeping It Real
Justina Robson


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.



Rosy's scrawlings on Keeping it Real
You'll have to forgive me if I start slipping into speaking of the series and not just this book. I love the story too much and get a bit carried away at times.
I picked up this book, not having read anything of Justina Robson's before, purely because of the cover and the blurb which highlighted that science fiction and fantasy genre trends were going to be combined. I had high hopes and oh were they met. I was a happy girl within  moments as I read about Lila Black's upgrades and physical problems. What better way to  start a story is there than to delve straight into a cyborg's experiences? What impressed me though, was just how well the science fiction and fantasy elements were combined. And this continued into the next books without a hitch.
Life in Lila Black's world/s is not simple. Relationships aren't straight forward by any means, upgrades aren't without their price, the landscape keeps shifting under Lila's feet and there's always a challenge from unexpected quarters to be met. On top of that, death seems to be just around every corner but Lila seems to have a new knack for survival, one she lacked before her upgrades. But best of all, is the number of weapons Lila has packed into her body. Anyone a fan of cyborgs and robots is likely to read her story with glee. Oh, and I have to let this slip - in the subsequent books she doesn't stay as she is. I'll leave the rest for you to find out but she does become something quite new in the way of cyborgs and robots.
To be perfectly honest, it has come down to this. If you say you're a sci-fi or fantasy nut and I walk into your house and you don't have this series on your shelf then I find it hard to take you seriously. Being a person who likes Star Wars and Star Trek and WOW and all that is one thing. There are plenty of people who fit into that category. But to be a real sci-fi or fantasy nut is, to me, to seek out all the stories that delve into the genres, break new ground and tear up all your expectations as soon as you start reading or watching. Just like if you see Asimov on someone's shelf, this series is a good indicator of sci-fi and fantasy fandom. Don't believe me? Read it and see. It is a flavour all its own so I dare you to say it doesn't have a place on your sci-fi/fantasy shelf.

I'd recommend this book to: anyone who loves fantasy and science fiction, especially when they're combined well. Anyone who loves cyborgs and robots. Those who love trippy scene descriptions and unexpected events that really demand of the imagination.

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