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Keeping It Real (Quantium Gravity Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted February 20, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    A Fervently Hip Sci-Fi/Fantasy Unlike Anything You Have Ever Read Before.

    Lila Amanda Black is no more. In her place is a half-human half cyborg hybrid body. Meshed with her own psyche and an onboard Ai, Lila is no ordinary girl anymore, but she still bleeds, and still feels within that drop dead exterior-even if she can bench-press a small auto.


    Now working for Incon, Lila is test-driving her new body on a routine bodyguard assignment for one of the most popular bands to hit the realms. An unorthodox mix of faery and elven witchery, The No Shows have recently seen some press action since their lead, mysterious Zal Ahriman and Rolling Stone darling has been seriously threatened-with death. Lila has to get to the bottom of the conspiracy before she loses control of the situation and before she loses control of Zal. Little does she know that the death threats are of a political nature, that not only threaten her realm but others, and that Zal is not who he seems. Everything eventually comes full circle-including her life.


    Magic and science collide in Robson's worlds, the casualty of a super collider incident that split realities and opened the 'verse up to multiple realms: Demonia, Alfheim, Zoomenon, Thanatopia and Faery, the aetheric magic wielding realms versus the non-aetheric technology driven Otopia (formerly Earth). Not everybody in the realms are happy about their worlds being revealed, and xenophobia as well as burgeoning terrorism is running rampant. There are also threads of real world scenarios that add a certain depth to Robson's writing: racism, technology saturation, and ethnocentrism to name a few. It's fairly coherent with the exception of some terminology and theorizing about interstitial space between the realms. I'd recommend a legend to accompany the reading.


    Aside from that criticism Keeping it Real was like nothing I had ever read before and I loved every minute of it especially the intense attraction between Zal and Lila which only grows as she traverses the realms to rescue him. From the wilds of Zathanor to the clutches of the Jayon Daga and Arie, to the gig circuit where Zal and his band rock on, Robson doesn't relent until she is sure that she has taken us for an incredibly lavish ride. Readers will detect a slight Isaac Adamson-Jamie Hewlett-Lester Bangs feel to the story. It's a rock n' roll tale merged with slick technology, magic, and futuristic popular culture. I've heard others remark that it reminds them of the Bionic Woman, but come on.the Bionic Woman only wishes she were as cool as Lila! I've already finished Selling Out, Book #2 and have started on Book #3 Going Under, that's how much I have been sold on this series.

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  • Posted July 19, 2009

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    Exciting Read for a "Cyber Punk-Lord of the Rings" Mood

    I had a great time reading this book, so much so that I went out and bought the 2nd (good) and 3rd (disjointed and weird) in the series as soon as I finished. I was looking for an adventure story that was fresh and exciting, that took me someplace new - and Keeping It Real delivered. It's one part cyberpunk, three parts Lord of the Rings with hot elves. It went particularly well with the soundtrack from Last of the Mohicans.

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  • Posted February 6, 2009

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    So Original Its Hard To Describe

    This book was so startling, so different and amazing that every time I finish reading it I just want to start all over again. The problem with recommending it or reviewing it is that it is unlike anything else I've ever read.<BR/>It takes place in our world but after a very well thought out and explained bomb goes off that changes everything. The countries aren't the same, the continents aren't even the same, but at the same time no one can really remember exactly what the world was like before it went off. As if that wasn't enough, there are other worlds out there connected to our own now. One is populated by a race of people who look like everyone's idea of elves and even go by the title. They're magical, aloof, and mysterious. Another is populated by demons. Not the evil demons of hell kind, but ones who look like those descriptions. THey're playful, dangerous and have a highly intricate society based on their own mafias and laws. (Assasination and duels are social events.) <BR/>Those are just two of the major worlds, but there are others. Fairies and all sorts of creatures who're never as nice as they appear, nor as helpful but always surprising. <BR/>Throw into this world of magic and magical creatures one spy, half woman and half machine, and you get a chaotic mix of magic and technology. Of intricate politics, plots and subplots like nothing I've ever read before. Not to mention there's also love, battles and rock n roll. I can't recommend this highly enough to anyone. I just have a real problem trying to explain them to anyone who asks.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2008

    A Page-Turner Even for Us Non-SF/Fantasy Readers

    Although I rarely read science fiction or fantasy, I had heard great things about Pyr and chose this as my first book by the publisher. I was not disappointed. For those readers who, like me, have no clue what the other reviewers are referring to when they write of 'urban fantasy', 'military SF' and 'cyberpunk', it doesn't matter. The book is for us too. Although I have kids and a job, I managed to read the book in three days. Because I couldn't put it down. (Of course, this meant much late-night reading, so I'm suffering a major book hangover right now.) I will definitely be ordering the sequel. I found 'Keeping It Real' highly entertaining, and recommend it as a really fun read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2007

    Clever, fast-paced, sexy, and 'real'

    Although the title is a bit of a misnomer (it doesn't really fit in with the themes), the blend of scifi, fantasy, and dark traumatic themes are blended well enough to seem real. Publisher's Weekly comments that in other hands, this story would be absurd - and it's right. The humor and fast pace keep it from falling into that realm, using friendly self-deprecation and punchy sarcasm. Sometimes scenes are rushed - something that should be extremely traumatic is conveniently bypassed, a complicated scientific description hurries on by without making much sense. We find ourselves using a cinematic eye to forgive on paper as we would forgive in a movie theater, watching special effects used to carry us through a scene with FEELING. That feeling is what is the driving force in the book - a heroine who doesn't know herself or what she wants any more, who chooses stubborness over common sense, walking among other races trying to both prove and find herself. A strong theme of the book is blending - your own identity, racially, sexually, as a friend, as a foe - no one thing is fixed, all is fluid, and in so doing the book reads like a fine cocktail, heady, sometimes overpowering and not perfectly smooth, but complex, rich, and thoroughly entertaining nonetheless. Sometimes the dark themes are toyed with too lightly (losing some believability) so hopefully in future installments she'll develop those more believably and deeply.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book is a helluva lot of fun. And by fun, I don't mean in a light and fluffy kind of way, though one might expect that from a book focusing on an elf rock star and his cyborg bodyguard chick. And given the various descriptions of this book, I didn't know what to expect out of it, other than it'd be fun (which it was), weird (which it was), and rather unpredictable (which it was). Robson has a wonderful talent for humor and for revealing the zaniness of pop culture. Not only is this book littered with pop culture references (LOTR and Toy Story being just two of them), they're funny and not cliche. The characters, too, are exceedingly well-crafted, and no one gets out of this book unchanged. I'm still puzzling over a few characters' allegiances, but it's nothing I'm too upset over, because I'm content with my own interpretations. I think my only real qualms with this book were certain action scenes that I couldn't visualize at all what was happening or why. I'd name the scenes, but they take place towards climatic moments of the novel, and I don't want to give anything away. So I won't. And because this book is first in a series, I suspect some of my questions will be answered later, so I don't have a problem with the ending. Would I recommend this title? Most definitely. But you should probably have an affinity for elves, and you should also appreciate all the snark that goes along with the elf stereotype, because Robson mercilessly makes fun of her elf characters (the LOTR references are constant, and funny). But I think anyone who enjoys modern fantasy/ pop fantasy will enjoy this. There's sex, love, and SF, but the SF shouldn't scare non-SF readers much. It's really icing on the cake, and Robson's characters make the story worth the rough patches.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A strong blending of science fiction and fantasy

    No one anticipated what the reactor meltdown of the Texas Superconducting Supercollider would do but it led to a Quantum Bomb explosion that ripped open portals to other realms where magic instead of science was predominant. Five years have passed since the Quantum Bomb Lost Year of 2015, earth is no more at least as we knew it in fact the name is now Otopia with five other realms while the former earth resides in the fourth area of I-space. Relations with the other realms remain top secret, but between us it is not so good so the Odonian Security Agency was created to combine espionage, antiterrorism, and criminal investigation especially with the third real Demonia sending agents into the neighboring fourth realm to cause mischief and to control magic leaking into Otopia.----------------- OSA Special Agent Lila Black, a bomb survivor who has become more than human due to all the technology imbued in her to keep her alive, provides protective services to an elf Zal, who is lead singer of the No Shows band. Zal¿s manager fears someone wants to kill his star attraction as the elf has received threatening notes. The undercover bodyguard and the obstinate lead vocalist argue over her protecting him because he wants no babysitter. One thing both hide is their desire for the other.-------------------- The first Quantum Gravity KEEPING IT Real is a strong blending of science fiction and fantasy that fans of both genres will enjoy. The story line is action-packed with the heroine trying to keep the singer safe as attempts on his life occur. Though for someone born in the twenty-first century, Lila has quite history that at times overwhelms the prime plot, fans will root for her as she battles Otopian enemies who want to use Zal as an expendable pawn in a unique cold war that traverses the realms. Hopefully future books will provide fans with more insight into the other realms of elementals, elves, demons, death and fairy.---------------- Harriet Klausner

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    Posted October 24, 2009

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