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Going Under (Quantum Gravity, Book 3) Paperback – September 23, 2008
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Uneven pacing and an overcrowded cast try the reader's patience in Robson's third Quantum Gravity novel (after 2007's Selling Out). Though the part Goth, part rock-and-roll tone is consistent throughout, the template shifts halfway through. Series protagonist Lila Black mopes through the book's first half with occasional interruptions from would-be assassins, pausing at intervals to puzzle over her built-in robotic weaponry's new self-upgrading abilities or to bicker with her two husbands—elf-lord Zal and demon Teazle—and with Tath, the dead necromancer whose consciousness she's hosting. Little of note happens until Lila and her entourage journey deep into faery realms, where a seemingly simple mission quickly turns into a surprisingly traditional fairy-tale quest with potentially world-altering consequences. The novel belatedly sparkles in this final section, suddenly sprouting a cleverly nuanced plot. Newcomers should look up prior volumes first, but series fans will be reasonably satisfied. (Sept.)
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In the third Quantum Gravity novel, Lila is in Demonia, dealing with husbands Zal and Teazle, the challenges her presence among the demons brings, and the results of a healing received in Alfheim, the elves’ world, which has caused her cyborg parts to do some very interesting things. Her Otopian bosses call to send her to the fey lands to stop the infestation of Moths rampaging across the human world. She accidentally ends up in the depths of faerie, with her only allies the motley crew she has acquired so far. The series remains an immensely entertaining mixture of rock and roll, introspection, and action. --Regina Schroeder
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The book start with Lila Black in Demonia. Right away we find out she has married both Zal and the demon Teazle and they are honeymooning in Demonia. The honeymoon consists primarily of fighting off various demon assassins to prove herself worthy of her husbands. Then Malichi shows up and tells Lila that her and the boys are needed in Otopia to deal with the Moth Crisis that is going on. Lila and Zal end up being pushed into fairy before they are ready and then the whole gang is suddenly dealing with events in the realm of fairy that are way bigger than they are. Lila is also continuing to change as her machine and natural body parts become less and less separate.
This was an interesting book. If the first book in the series was about the elven world and the second was about Demonia, then this book is about the fairy realm. As has been the case with these books there is a lot going on and it seems like Lila (Or maybe Robson) looses site of what the main story plot is. The book is a bit slow to start as we get to watch Lila, Zal, and Teazle "relax" in Demonia. Once they get pulled into the Fairy Realm then things really pick up pace and get very interesting. This book is more linear than the last book was and doesn't switch viewpoint as much.
The biggest strength in this series is the world building. The characters are also very interesting. The biggest thing I have a problem is with the plot; it kind of skitters around everywhere. There are so many things that are mentioned but never really addressed. For example the worlds cracking apart is talked about but never really dealt with, getting rid of the Moths appears to be a major goal of the stories but is dealt with in passing, Lila and Zal's Game is brought up once but never really dealt with, etc. etc. I am still unsure about how I feel about Robson's writing style. It takes me a bit to get used to, but after I get used to it I am okay with it.
The usual cast of characters is brought into the book and sometimes I found them overwhelming. Now we are not just dealing with Lila and Zal, but Lila, Zal, Teazle, the imp, Malichi, and Tath...not to mention all the side characters. I guess I just feel like this book could have been tighter and a bit better planned. I won't include any spoilers but the end of the book left me kind of confused and dissatisfied, not to mention it didn't really sum up anything.
Overall, I am still fascinated by Robson's world and her characters. I am disappointed in the plot and how it goes all over the place bringing up a million new issues but resolving none of them. Will I read the fourth book? Probably. This is a very creative and intriguing series and that draws me to it, but I may not read any more after that it the plot is still scattered.
As in KEEPING IT REAL, the central dilemma of GOING UNDER does not emerge until the middle of the novel, when Lila and Zal find themselves cast deep into coldest, most dangerous Faery. To survive they must either avoid or thwart Lost Jack, a faery of immense power, and it doesn't look likely they will be able to do either. It's here that GOING UNDER connects most clearly to conventional high fantasy, as Lila and Zal and friends bump into the Lord of the Hunt, someone who may or may not be Queen Mab, etc. Nevertheless, GOING UNDER maintains the cyberpunkish edge of the earlier books and continues to develop the sci-fi cosmology of the Otopian universe.
Beyond the action and the sci-fi sheen of the series, one of its strengths is the ongoing dialog within Lila and between she and her companions about who she is. Is she somebody extraordinary, or simply a regular person thrown into extraordinary situations? Are her self-doubts justified, or just self-delusion, denial, and useless self-indulgence? Is she a doer of good, an agent of the Light (and we see clearly what apparently-cynical Robson thinks of such people late in the novel), a disloyal selfish child, as some in the agency think, or is she just herself? In many novels, these kinds of ruminations are often tedious and forced and consist mainly of babbling. Robson is wise and kind enough, I guess, to pull this off without awkwardness or (too much) sentimentality.
While according to one review, the "real" action doesn't start going until halfway through the book, I found all of it engaging and worthwhile. There were certainly elements that didn't quite make sense -- explain to me again why Teazle led them on that wild goose chase that got a close friend killed? -- and bits that could have been left out, but nevertheless I thought this was the most solid entry in the series so far.