Keeping It Real Chapter 5

Another thing that’s always bothered me about technology and magic not getting along is that they’re never incompatible. Or rather, there’s never a good reason they’re in compatible. It’s always just because the author says so. See, authors who write urban fantasy, or some variation thereof, always seem to do write it like that. That magic and technology don’t get along because. Sometimes they run the other way and all magic is technology just really, really advanced.

Focusing on the former, which is applicable to this book, there’s never a reason they don’t work. Magic slows and eventually stops Lila’s electronic components. Why? Because Robson really likes magic and doesn’t want the characters to be able to just shoot the magical things that get in their way.

Speaking of which, Lila wakes up in a picturesque meadow and can’t move. Her cyborg parts are immobilized and she can only feel the organic bits of herself. I suppose that means she’s not like Iron Man and needs power to keep her alive. Although her eyes are cybernetic because she complains that they were set to wide and the sun is hurting them but it’s better than being at “the clinic”.

Wait, what? If her eyes are cybernetic then how can she see if her power is off? Did they just replace her irises? If so, why? Retinas are a bit more sensitive than irises so I’d think that anything that would require replacement of the irises would basically mean whole new eyes. And yet again, I’m still asking why the Otopian security council didn’t send a regular human or one with magic instead. Seems like a pretty big security loophole if their bodyguard can be disabled by a handshake from a fairy.

Using her infallible powers of deduction, Lila guesses that she’s lying next to the pool of the house and that she’s wearing only a robe and now people can see her cyborg parts. Apparently she’s not really all that bothered by being paralyzed, just that complete strangers can tell she’s part machine.

Then the fairy, who I guess I’ll have to type her name as she keeps showing up, Poppy comes over and puts a pair of sunglasses on her so that everyone will just think she’s trying to get a tan. Do I really need to point out how that shouldn’t work?

See, when it comes to security, you don’t just leave without ensuring that your relief is present and ready to work. Robson made a point to show Lila getting relieved before she decided to take a shower and do maintenance. So when the nightshift gets ready to go home, they’d need to make sure that Lila is on duty and ready to take over. They don’t get to just take off and assume that she’s got it. That’s bad security practice even by the standards of the nineteenth century.

Lila continues complaining about being stuck laying there. Apparently elves hate the idea of “inert technology” “invading” a body. They hate it almost as much as they hate the undead and there are splinter groups that want to sabotage nuclear reactors and research facilities. The reason she’s telling us is that Zal will loathe her once he sees that she’s part machine and that her cover is blown.

Right, because the meat eating elf who wants to be a rock star unlike any elf ever is totally going to recoil from a cyborg. It’s probably going to turn out that he loves technology and he actually has a cyborg fetish. Lila would know that if she’d looked at the Kusanagi wall scrolls hanging in Zal’s bedroom.

Poppy is off screen talking to Zal and she says the counter agent will take effect in about a day. This causes Lila to angst at us about being immobilized for a whole day for a long paragraph. Then Poppy asks Zal to talk to Lila as she likes him and will listen. Zal’s not eager to do it for her though and Poppy starts begging. Zal says as long as Poppy promises to avoid pixie dust until their tour is over—yes, really—oh and if she could avoid being part of anymore assassination attempts.

I like how the part with him getting stabbed, even if it was a knockout knife, is an after thought. Once Poppy has agreed, Zal comes over and has a friendly talk with the comatose Lila. ‘Look you probably saw some confusing things in there, things that made you feel funny and confused. I just want you to know that what your mother and I was doing was perfectly normal and healthy.’ ‘What about my dad?’ ‘He just likes to watch.’

Zal and Poppy move off towards the house and Lila wonders if they’re boning. Though she hears Poppy say something which sounds sleepy and wonders if something about fairies and elves puts them asleep or if Zal knocked her out.

Then Zal comes back and stands over her and starts running feathers over her. He tells her that what he’s about to do isn’t just feeling her up though he’s going to enjoy that part. So he runs a couple of feathers over her body in a facsimile of foreplay and I’m starting to wonder of Robson wasn’t dreaming of Orlando Bloom and an ostrich feather when she wrote this part. After he’s finished sexing her up like a sixteen year old who’s just discovered kink, he draws the charm out and Lila starts back up.

Lila describes her reactor as a second sun full of “vivid, raw energies”. Oh, and it’s called a tomahawk, by the by. Not that Robson wants to focus too heavily on details not relating to Zal as we quickly move past it.

He sighed. ‘Poppy wanted me to tell you that your secrets are all safe with her, so long as she’s not under arrest.

Huh, let me think. Poppy, who worked to arrange a pseudo-assassination attempt, can stay on and won’t tell anyone Lila’s a cyborg. I have a better idea, agree for now and then have Poppy arrested in secret and confined until the end of the mission. Then she can blab to all her new prison mates about how there’s a secret agent cyborg masquerading as a bodyguard who only arrested her because she tried to have Zal killed.

Zal also tells her that the day a twelve year old can get to him is the day he should be drowned. Right, because how dare your bodyguard do her job, moron.

And now we know that, whatever damage was done to Lila, they didn’t replace her spine. For all the alloys and carbon used to make the rest of her body, Lila’s backbone is as soft as a jellyfish. She agrees and then pushes Zal into the pool. This doesn’t’ bother him and he tells her not to thank him which she does.

Lila goes into her room, she gets dressed, she examines her equipment. She examines her life and then dives into the pool, electrocuting herself and killing Zal all at once. Or Zal stops by with a magical letter that was delivered. It’s a threat and it has magic all over it

The funniest part is when Lila refers to the letter as “faery vellum” and then Robson says that Lila takes the paper from Zal’s hands to examine it. Two things, Robson. One, vellum is not paper, no matter how thin or soft it is or what definition the dictionary tries to feed us. Two, that makes it sound like vellum made from fairy skin, which made me laugh. I guess these people sending the death threats are pretty serious if they’re sending notes on dead fairies.

Lila says she’ll have it analyzed and Zal says not to bother. It’s from the “elvish secret service” and the seal on it means it’s the last warning. Lila then suggests that they consider calling the tour off and says that it’s better than dying. Zal says “compared to what?” and then invites her into his room.

No, really. The book just kind of stops for a second so Lila can go into his room and Robson can describe it. There’s breaking the flow and then their Paolini flow breaking that’s like riding a roller coaster with square wheels.

After Robson is done telling us about all the art work and such that Zal owns he tells her no. He says that he’s never fit in and doesn’t care what they think and they planed to go on with it. Lila says that was before there was a concrete threat and now they actually have something because it says he only has so much time, sixteen hours, before they strike.

Zal says that’s not up to her and Lila says she can leave at anytime. Zal says he doesn’t think it’s up to her and, besides, he wants the several billion dollar woman. She says shes worth more than he can afford and Zal asks how she feels about charity. Lila tells him to ask her again in fifteen hours and fifty eight minutes.

I think that was supposed to be witty but it just comes across as forced. Such tension though, will Lila quit her assignment? As there wouldn’t be a book otherwise, I think it’s pretty safe to say no.

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3 Responses to Keeping It Real Chapter 5

  1. redclause says:

    When it comes to the magic vs Tech thing in fantasy, I’ve always seen it as more of a old vs new, stability vs Advancement. Like the unpowered (people who can’t use magic) suddenly being able to be equal to things that has been the dominating power for years. (elves and so on) I’ve never liked the whole technology doesn’t work around magic thing, it seems so contrived and kinda makes the unfair and frankly boring cliche that magic is just better then what science can make and we should all feel guilty for replying on it. coughdresdenfilescough *avoids stones*

    Think of it like this, magical creatures are said to be special and AMAZING, and in most stories human advancement is seen as bad because of the eco green foot stuff about killing the forests. But really, if the elves are SO amazing, why have humans managed to create flight, explore the ocean and go into space without the aid of magic? It’s the same little thing that makes me wonder why the wizarding world in harry potter weren’t more interested or respectful to muggles, save the odd balls like Arthur Wesley? Fantasic rascim? yeh I guess…

    also sorry tangant there x-x

    • Vanessa says:

      I do have to defend the whole magic v. technology since I think it’s been done very well in the “Kate Daniels Series” by Ilona Andrews. For their book, it comes in waves where for a few hours or days the tech crashes and then the magic’s up and then it returns to normal. But not everything disappears. The way it’s explained is that things like cars usually die because people understand how they work and expect them to die whereas phone lines will stay workable fairly often since people don’t really understand how they work and it’s almost magic to them anyway.

      It’s my favorite book series and I seriously think it should be read by more people. Also I don’t think there are any elves and all the vampires are mindless creatures controlled by necromancers so the pretty vamp thing isn’t in there. Overall, very original and well done. Maybe because it’s done by a husband/wife team.

      Basically, the whole point of this is that I want people to read this series.

      • redclause says:

        I’m not saying it can’t be good. Just that most of the time it’s bad and its easy to ride tech off as the weaker of the too. 8c tho that books world sounds awesome.

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