Monday 26 October 2009


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 elven, 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 now more than half restless carbon and metal alloy machinery. A machine shes 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 elven rockstar she's been assigned to protect, she's not even sure she can trust that anymore either.

When I read the blurb for this book I couldn't decide if it was a futuristic, an urban fantasy, a Sci-Fi, or just a straight out fantasy. I just knew that I wanted to read it. After I started it, I found out that it's pretty much a mix of all of the above. Just like Lila is a mesh between human and machine.

After the Quantum Bomb, the world changed forever. Even the name changed, Earth is now known as Otopia. But more importantly, the fabric between the dimensions was torn, opening up the way to five other realities. Humans can live alongside creatures from other realms. Demons, elves, elementals, and all types of faery live amongst us in a world now deep in magic and technology.

Lila Black is a woman, but she's also a machine with an AI. After a mission that almost killed her a few years back, her body was fused with carbon and metal alloy to become an efficient machine with enough weapons to have something handy for any situation.

When she takes the job of guarding an elf who happens to be the lead singer of a very popular band, the story seems very grounded in a recognisable world. But when someone attempts to kill and in fact take Zal from this realm and into Alfheim, she has no choice but to put her trust in the elf responsible for her 'upgraded' physical condition. The one who almost destroyed her.

Wrapped in a futuristic package is a fantastical tale with places and concepts that will stretch the boundaries of your imagination. I enjoyed the seemingly simplicity of Lila, and how the further you get into the story, the more complicated and real she becomes. Things are certainly not what they seem with any of the elves she is forced to depend on, or work with along the way to saving Zal.

Keeping It Real is an action-packed book that'll keep you guessing at every turn. Just when you're sure you understand the elves and their peculiar ways, something else is thrown into the mix to totally confuse you. Double-crossing, possession, lust, and the very interesting concept of Games, are just a few things to expect in this fascinating new world/s.

Keeping it Real: Quantum Gravity Book 1, 2009, ISBN 978-057-507907-6, Gollancz Paperback

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