A series by Justina Robson.After the Quantum Bomb of 2015, there are six worlds. In no particular order, they are: Alfheim, Faery, Demonia, Thanotopia, Zoomenon, and Otopia.Skip ahead a couple generations and meet Liles. Lila Black is a cyborg, with a functioning AI, which is slowly meshing with her. She's magic-scarred from an earlier job gone wrong in Alfheim. She comes from Otopia, and is a member of the Agency, a national security service focusing on inter-world interactions. It's her job to spy on an Elvish rock star named Zal, while hidden as a bodyguard. On their first meeting, they get into Game, a type of wild magic that binds them until one of them loses or dies. Games create strong impulses enough to turn murder charges to manslaughter, so losing isn't really a pertinent option, and both Lila and Zal are shaping up to live a good, long time.Lila has to go to various worlds, and... things get weird. There is more mystery than she can imagine, and the only way to figure it all out is to dive right in herself.Well. It is with Lila, anyway.Later books show a good deal more focus on other characters, and the amount of focus on other characters seems directly proportionate to how much Lila is getting over herself.Books: Keeping It Real, Selling Out, Going Under, Chasing the Dragon, Down to the BoneNeeds a Better DescriptionOh, and despite having a character named Glinda, it has nothing to do with the Wicked song "Defying Gravity".
Contains Examples Of:
Aborted Arc: That whole seventh world thing which was made to look like a really big deal just got sort of quietly dropped after its inhabitants appeared without much fanfare.
Blue and Orange Morality: We're dealing with The Fair Folk, Elves, Demons and several things which may or may not have what we would traditionally call a consciousness. This happens. The demons, who apparently see self doubt or self-imposed limits as worse than murder, are a relatively normal case.
Bodyguard Crush: Zal/Lila get the Love Match Game, which sort of forces this. Then they marry.
Conflicting Loyalty: This is going to happen in standard elf culture. An elf will probably be working for multiple factions, and even if one is trying to undermine the other, will not necessarily have one that overrules the other. Yeah.
Mundane Utility: Lila tends to use her cyborg appendages this way after the second book. Using a flamethrower to light a cigarette is the most obvious example.
Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Zal is an elvish, demonic rock star. Oh, and he's half and half of both types of elves. Lila is a cyborg secret agent with what just might be latent magic talent and then she gets an Elvish necromancer in her chest. A dead one.
Not So Stoic: Zal manages to get one, despite being...not so stoic.
Our Demons Are Different: Essentially hedonists. No, really. The essential part of being a demon is experiencing as many things as possible, as much as possible. Fighting, cooking, painting, it is an art to them. And color is a huge part of their communication. Their language sounds like song to those who aren't being spoken to.
Our Dragons Are Different: And incredibly mysterious. They can communicate, and are supposed to be marks of good luck...at a distance. They're supposedly attracted by innocence and/or powerful sorcery.
Our Elves Are Better: Tall, ears reaching the top of their heads. Their eyes are usually light-colored, and elves may change color, depending.
The Rock Star: Zal is an elf rock star, though one of the points he likes to make is that he does not limit himself to rock music, because every genre can be good. Incidentally, becoming a rock star is all part of his plan to make "a lot of people free," as Malachi puts it. It's weird, but it works.