BooksOfTheMoon

Going Under: Quantum Gravity Bk. 3 (Gollancz)

By Justina Robson

Rating: 3 stars

The third in the Quantum Gravity series, this one starts nuclear-powered cyborg Lila Black married to an elf and a demon and enjoying a honeymoon in Daemonia. This starts to go sour as more and more demons try to duel Lila for her power and prestige in having married a scion of one of the most powerful families in the land. Although with her AI-assisted reflexes and battle-technology she is easily able to defeat these challengers, the senseless waste of it is getting to her, so it’s a relief when she is recalled to her own world for a new mission. A type of faerie called Mothkin are infesting Otopia (what Earth became after the Quantum Bomb broke the barriers between realities) and the Agency is sending her to Faery to try and find a solution.

There’s a lot to this book but I found the first half somewhat hard going, mainly due to Lila. In previous books, Lila has been a sassy, fun and kick-ass character, in this one she seems to mope a lot. The last third of the book, when she and her gang eventually get to Faery, the pace picks up. This isn’t the Faery of fairy tales or even of courts and intrigues, but a deeper, scarier place which Robson describes wonderfully.

By the end, Lila has been stripped of almost everything she had, her friends, her lovers, her place in the world, even her sense of self, as her magically charged machine components slowly start encroaching on her organic parts.

The final twist is a bit harsh, considering everything else that’s gone on and I’m not entirely sure if it’s a good decision on Robson’s part, but that won’t stop me from getting the fourth book anyway.

Book details

ISBN: 9780575078673
Publisher: Gollancz
Year of publication: 2008

Selling Out (Quantum Gravity, #2)

By Justina Robson

Rating: 4 stars

The second in the Quantum Gravity sequence, six years after the Quantum Bomb has broken down the walls between realities, special agent Lila Black has returned from her first assignment to the Elven lands and is immediately sent to Hell, in more ways than one.

What I loved about the first book in this series, Keeping It Real, was the heroine. Lila is a wonderful character, and not just because she’s a one-woman nuclear-powered army. She’s a fully rounded person, trying to come to terms with the accident that almost killed her, with the fact that the people who rebuilt her aren’t perhaps as trustworthy as she thought and that she’s just started a civil war amongst the Elves. The title of this book refers to selling yourself out – not being true to yourself is what the demons here consider as “being in Hell” and Lila is certainly there, with no immediate way out. The fact that she’s also starting to question her AI and whether her body is actually under her control also does nothing to ease her state of mind.

In some ways, this book felt quite confused – there was a lot going on in it, and it was expanding the mythology of the series rapidly, but it has a strong heart. Even if Lila does seems sort of emo at times, she’s coping with what’s happening to her a hell of a lot better than I could. The growing cast is fun, and the Elven necromancer who ended up sharing her body at the tail end of the first book counterbalances Lila and helps ground her.

Because there are so many different plot strands in this one, I found it harder to keep track of what’s going on than in Keeping It Real, but I still enjoyed it immensely.

Book details

ISBN: 9780575078659
Year of publication: 2007

Keeping It Real (Quantum Gravity, #1)

By Justina Robson

Rating: 4 stars

I decided to get this after seeing Ms Robson at EasterCon in Glasgow a couple of years ago and deciding that she sounded cool. It’s 2021, 6 years after an accident in a particle accelerator broke down walls between dimensions (the “quantum bomb”), letting elves, demons and magic into our world. Our heroine, Lila Black, is a young special agent who was almost killed on a diplomatic mission to the Elf lands and has been rebuilt better, stronger, faster than before. She now works for the National Security Agency and her current assignment is to protect the world’s first Elven rock star.

I think I probably fell in love with this book when we were told that Agent Black has a mini nuclear fusion reactor powering her :-D. This lady has enough weaponry in her rebuilt body to take on a small army, an AI backing her up and rockets in her legs to let her fly! In saying that, although we are told fairly often how much weaponry that Lila packs, thinking back over the book, I don’t think that she fired a single shot in anger, which is a nice way of indicating how resourceful that Lila is.

A great fun book with some intriguing politics between Elves, Demons and humans, although I’d love to find out more about how human society has changed since the quantum bomb. Despite hearing that future books in the series aren’t as good, I’ll probably still pick them up.

Book details

ISBN: 9780575079076
Publisher: Gollancz
Year of publication: 2006

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