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Justina Robson – Down to the BoneJustina Robson is a British SF Author, with, as this is written, 9 novels to her name. Down to the Bone is the (so far?) final installment in her popular venture into Urban Fantasy territory with the Quantum Gravity series – most of her other books are more in the classical SF/Space Opera mould.

And a word of warning – the below deals with the final book in a series, so will, per default, contain spoilers for the 4 books that went before. If you feel that this might/will spoil your enjoyment of these previous books then stop now, and go enjoy those first - they are worth your time!

The story picks up shortly after the point where Chasing The Dragon left off – we're back in Otopia, Xaviendra is held prisoner in a special cell (created originally by Sarasilient who she claims to be her father), and reality, including the walls between the different worlds, is breaking up at an ever increasing rate. Lila still wears Tatterdemalion, Teazle is definitely the Angel of Death now, Max is still back from the dead, and now Sarasilien is back, with a clone of Sandra Lane in tow – and, to top things off, Arie is now in Otopia   (after apparently being spat out by the Dragon who ate her), and Alfheim has gone dark. Incommunicando. Off the map. And so Sarasilient wants our heroes to go and investigate...
I won't spill more of the story (inasmuch as there is in this book – see below), but let's just say that, of course, there have to be bigger/older/more premival forces to come into play yet again to top the last round. And no-one seems to know much about them except myths, whispered scare stories, and re-written history.

The book is, suprisingly, slow to get going, there are pages and pages with long, verbatim discussions on the nature of things providing exposition and (in my opinion not essential) info-dumps. There is sex, too much sex IMHO, yet again at the beginning of a book, and again it does not add to the book or the story being told. All the faffing about, setting the final scene, and the quasi-info-dumps hidden in discussions feel all the more so out of place as this is to be the final book in the series.

There are some interesting bits, for example the contrast between how Lila used to behave (by neccessity) in Demonia, and a scene where she tries to keep a mob of vigilantes from trying to kill 2 girls who had returned from the dead (and everybody else in the restaurant); and tries hard not to kill anyone herself – in Demonia she would have wiped the floor with the assailants (and the floor would have needed wiping after!).
There also are some breaks in the internal logic of the story, especially around Lilas abilities etc, but these are only slightly jarring, and not of the kind that spoiled the story for me.

I rather felt that this book has no real action, and a severely limited story arc/thread, but, on the upshot, manages to bring together most of the open thread from the previous 4 books; and brings them to an ending which contains some surprises in its set-up.
And, despite this being the official end of the series, there are enough players and threads left open and in place that, should Justina feel that more stories in this universe need to be written (and yes, I'd read them!) then she could easily pick this up again.

Overall this is not really the fireworks that the series would have deserved as its finale in my opinion, but, on the upshot, all the combinations and configurations required for the resolution didn't feel overly forced, which could easily have happened given – but that would be telling. Go read for yourself!

I don't think this can stand on its own at all, but as the culmination to this rather entertaining series it's a must-read; and thus recommended as part of the overall series.

Now, what's Justina going to provide us with next? Apparently the next book contains Erotomania... sounds like the adult content is not about to abate... I'll let you know once I had a look!

More Justina Robson


Title: Down to the Bone
Series: Quantum Gravity
Series Number: 5/5 (?)
Author: Justina Robson
Reviewer: Markus
Reviewer URL: http://thierstein.net
Publisher:  Gollancz/Orion
Publisher URL: http://www.orionbooks.co.uk
Publication Date: 2011
Review Date: 120319
ISBN: 9780575085664
Price: UKP 7.99
Pages: 344
Format: Trade Paperback
Topic: SF
Topic: Urban Fantasy

 

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