Lila Black faces her greatest challenge yet as she takes herself, her dead lover, and the AI
in her head into death’s realm …
Lila Black is now a shape-shifting machine plugged into the Signal—the total dataset of all events in the known universe and all potential events: Zal, the elf rock star with a demon soul, is now a shadow form animated and given material actualization by firelight; Teazle the demon has taken up the swords of Death and is on the way to becoming an angel. To say this puts some pressure on their three-way marriage is an understatement.
Meanwhile the human world is seeing an inexplicable influx of the returning dead, and they’re not the only ones. Many old evils are returning to haunt the living following three harbingers of destruction created in the ancient past.
What seems epic is revealed as personal to all concerned as events unfold and that which cannot be escaped must be faced. Heroic destinies unravel as greater powers reveal themselves the true masters of the game.
What a long, strange trip it has been… with flashes of humor, convulsing and convoluted mythology, treachery and loyalty twisting back on each other like snakes, and at long last, some measure of peace for a world that has lost none of its strangeness but just a bit of its peril. Robson does a good job bringing readers up to speed at the start of DOWN TO THE BONE (with prophetic, faerie beer, of all things), but even with the bare bones of the conflict laid out, I can’t say if new readers would be able to catch up to the complex emotional lives of these characters without starting at the beginning.
So much of what brings Lila, Teazle and Zal and their support crew to this end of days is as slippery and inevitable as a maelstrom, sucking everyone down and together into a cataclysmic confrontation. As changeable as these characters are, there are intimate moments of humor and pathos that completely won me over. Robson does a wonderful job interweaving the trickery of her paranormal creatures into the story without tipping over into “arbitrary”. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book with so much complexity and forgiveness worked in to the plot, in the most interesting and believable way. DOWN TO THE BONE brings all of the surface stories together, creating a satisfying resolution to the adventure portion of the story, even as I know I will still be piecing together the mythology of these worlds in the future.
KEEPING IT REAL and DOWN TO THE BONE have the benefit of bracketing this almost overwhelming series, and I think they would remain my favorites for the clear introduction and resolution each has to offer. Upon finishing the Quantum Gravity series I feel a little dazed and completely wrung out, but definitely glad I followed this roller coaster from start to finish.