Reveiw - Keeping It Real by Justina Robson

Keeping It Real - Justina Robson

I don't usually add a synopsis on my reviews here but I can't do the plot justice so I'll add this to do it for me.


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.


A bit of fantasy, a bit of sci-fi, a bit of mystery and a bit of romance. It's got it all.

It's maybe got a bit too much going on though, if I'm honest. I did really like it, but sometimes it felt like it wasn't sure what it wanted to be. It's got science and tech stuff which is good for the sci fi fan but is a minus for me because in truth I can do without knowing the 'why's' and 'how's'. Then it's got the fantasy stuff which I'm more comfortable with (elves, demons, fae...otherworldly types), but the parallel otherworld thing was a bit confusing because I never really worked out who belonged where and/or why. Then there was the mystery part which kept the story moving and I enjoyed that part but at times even that failed to deliver and I was left wondering the significance. More than all of that though, it was the romance which seemed out of place and incomplete. There was a bit of the 'will they, won't they?' going on and more could have been made of that to keep tying things together but every time it looked like it was going somewhere and had a fizzled out and went flat.

I think (expect) that side of things will take off in further books and I do plan on reading them, I'm looking forward to them actually, but I just wish there had been more of a connection for the two main characters in 'this' one.

I never really felt like I got to know the full story here, all the way through I kept thinking there was something I was missing or something I wasn't being told. It's quirky and unusual and you'll have to open your mind and just accept it for what it is but sometimes 'what it is' isn't that clear.

However, for all my misgivings I'd definitely recommend it. It's a good story which I'm hopeful will flesh out over the rest of the series.