Justina Robson,
Quantum Gravity #1: Keeping It Real
(Pyr, 2007)

The Quantum Bomb of 2015 rocked the world and altered life forever. It opened dimensions within the universe, linking the Earth to worlds only imagined. The Earth is now inhabited with others from parallel dimensions; elves, fairies, demons, necromancers and other magical beings of lore are now living side by side with humans. It's now six years after the bomb and, while most of the beings live in harmony, there are some prejudices and issues with sharing their space with other unlike themselves.

Special agent Lila Black was a pretty and fairly typical woman before she faced off with an elf who left her broken and dying. When she was rescued, it was by her government agency, and they pieced bits of the human flesh and body she had left with metal and machinery. The result is a hodgepodge of flesh and fantasy, a woman trapped within a high-tech machine body that is capable of almost anything.

Her current assignment is to protect a popular public figure and elf, Zal; he has been receiving threatening letters. Lila may be ready for any physical danger that comes her way, but she's not quite prepared for Zal and his elfish games.

Lila is quite simply an awesome heroine. Beneath her complex body of weapons and computer-controlled functions lies a very human and tender heart. She hasn't quite come to terms with the new her and, while she marvels at her abilities, she still has a hard time facing herself in the mirror. I found her combination of vulnerability and ass-kicking capabilities to be honest, amazing and an admirable contrast.

The battles are magical and intense and the sex is, well, magical and intense. There are so many little details in this story that make it stand out and make it unique and special in my mind; from the complexity of Lila's machine to the spirit body of the elves called an andulane, I was mesmerized. Mixed in with all the fantasy and adventure is a little bit of humor and a whole lotta heat -- my definition of a perfect read. This is a series I will happily continue to follow -- Lila lead the way!

review by
Cherise Everhard

3 May 2008

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