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Publisher's Summary

In 2015 the Quantum Bomb exploded. An accident at an atom-smasher has fractured reality and opened Earth - now called Otopia - to waves of immigration from other dimensions, home to demons, fairies, elves and elementals. It is now 2021 and Lila Black, a special operative condemned to live as a cyborg after losing her limbs on a dangerous mission, has been assigned as bodyguard to Zal, a charismatic elven rock star.

Zal's decision to live among humans and do unelven things such as eat meat and exist as a celebrity has made him many enemies among his own people in Alfheim, some of whom have made threats against him. Black has to protect Zal from death or capture whilst uncovering secrets that threaten the relationships between the realms

©2007 Justina Robson (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Keeping It Real

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    61
  • 4 Stars
    45
  • 3 Stars
    34
  • 2 Stars
    24
  • 1 Stars
    16
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    50
  • 4 Stars
    27
  • 3 Stars
    17
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    4
Story
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    40
  • 4 Stars
    22
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    14

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Very Enjoyable...for the most part.

My husband and I read this to each other on a road trip, and although we both loved it, he took it and finished it himself and I never got around to it. I downloaded it as my first free credit, and although the fourth and fifth hours were pretty monotonous, I loved the premise, the plot, and her word choice. Sometimes I thought that Khristine Hvam gave Lyla a very immature and silly voice, and certain sentences or phrases I'd reread to myself in the temper I thought they deserved. Hvam wasn't great. But it's not stopping me from downloading the next two in the series.

Yes, there was constant talk of Lyla's AI self (AI self, AI self...she must have said that a billion times) but to me it was very interesting because it's what Lyla would be considering as she made every calculated move on her journey. I loved the idea of the Quantum bomb splitting Earth's reality into five realms that already existed and Otopia rebuilding history with the new elves and faeries. I was totally into Zal's silly band, the No-Shows. And I would have played that game with him, yes, and probably failed.

I give it four stars. If you love campy scifi and elves and faeries and mech ladies with a billion weapons and "Battle Standard," give it a shot.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Clever and realistic

I really liked this book, I found the matter of fact treatment of elves, faries in the "real" world really interesting, and rewarding reading. I guess I am a techno geek, but I found the AI and human interaction made for good listening, though of course as always the AI was far, far too advanced for something available in 10 years from this date. The one thing both good and annoying was the fact that the author had the world of humans unclear about its own past.

As for the main character's self loathing, that was absolutely vital for any believability. There is no chance that the first such person would not have self loathing. Just look into any study of people with artifical limbs and their feelings towards them,and then consider someone who is at least have man made.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

surprised

I got this book thinking I'd review it for a friend who likes this kind of thing. I didn't expect to like it myself. However, I found the characters interesting- and the leading man simaltaneously sexy, repellant, and pitiful- and the plot compelling. There is a sort of mixture of high fantasy and gritty contemporary culture that is a jarringly nice combination. Despite myself, I got the next book in the series. I'm not sure where this is going, but I find myself- sadly devoid of other book recommendations- interested to find out.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

I made to the end....barely

Some interesting ideas here, strange new worlds, okay not so new, but a fresh spin on them. But really unbelievable characters. Was only able to suspend my disbelief so far and then it crashed. Lila the main character, young, lovely (are they ever anything other than lovely...?!), robo-girl, suffering from what?...self-loathing or something rather shallow if you ask me. Is tricked out in the latest, greatest weaponry and computer gear ever seen or heard of. Supposedly her government has spent billions (yes, billions) of credits on her. You would think that they would pick someone who is a bit less self-centered, would train her enough so that she doesn't make incredibly stupid decisions, would have plumbed the depths of her psyche enough to know whether or not she had the emotional stability and mental toughness and just plain smarts to be a "super-spook". Descriptions of people, places, weapons, situations are done well. Character development is weak, one-dimensional, or illogical. Characters never behave in a manner that makes sense except maybe to a teenager in the throes of hormone imbalance. And dialog....what a joke! There are what sounds like whole pages of conversation that consist of give and take between characters of one to three words. Painfully simplistic questions and answers that are supposed to be deep and revealing and just sound juvenile and condesending.
I liked the reader mostly. She has a pleasant voice and most of her "voicings" were decent. I didn't care for her male voices though that may have also been a problem with the dialog.
I gave it one star...ok plot, gratuitous stupidity, gratuitous sex...ugh.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not a great story

story is creative, but I wish the characters were a little stronger. protagonist goes weak kneed when meeting her romantic match for the book. descriptions of science aren't very good and a little jarring. like the science and fantasy are thrown in after the fact

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent and somewhat underrated

There have been some negative reviews of books in this series. These reviews are not exactly incorrect, but in my view they are rather missing the point. For what it is, 'Keeping it Real' is quite good. You can look at it in a few different ways (of which I will mention 2). You can look at it as a novel version of something "Tomb Raider"- a fair bit of action and some chewy scifi and fantasy elements to round it out. If you like that sort of thing (and I do, from time to time) then this will suit just fine, although maybe I would stop at book 1 if that's all you want. If you want to look a little deeper the story is something that I personally find very enjoyable; a 'broken' character in the process of being fixed. This is something I haven't seen done much, and if you get hung up on the superficial aspects of the setting- love 'em or hate 'em- you might miss this underlying theme. It brings wonderful texture to the story and some of the most fascinating character development I've seen anywhere. You don't just get to watch interesting characters bounce off each other, you get to see them genuinely grow and change in a believable way while at the same time being upbeat. A lot of books tend to be either two dimensional in characterization or else fall into the trap of angst overdose. This does neither, and it does so charmingly.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

The setting's cool!

The story, is uhmm... The plot drifts from interesting, to angsty, to nonsensical and then to simply confusing.
I wanted to like this book, I don't like this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

DO NOT BUY THIS

This series is awesome. Problem is, audible doesn't have rights to all 5 so you can do like me and get 3 of the 5, then get stuck never finishing the story. Just don't start it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This story has everything!

I love this series! It a near perfect melding of fanatasy and sci fi!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Book is confusing

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I don't know - the reader is great, but the plot twists and story didn't do it for me.

Has Keeping It Real turned you off from other books in this genre?

No

Have you listened to any of Khristine Hvam’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes. The reading is great; I listened to about a third because of the reader.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment in general

Any additional comments?

no