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Borderline (The Arcadia Project) Paperback – March 1, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Millie Roper has been at the Leishman Psychiatric Center in Los Angeles for more than six months, having checked herself in after a failed suicide attempt that resulted in the loss of her right leg. She's visited by a woman who wants to recruit her for something called the Arcadia Project, which she describes as a nonprofit employment project partially funded by the L.A. County Department of Mental Health, but refuses to provide any more details unless Millie meets her the following day. Intrigued, Millie packs up her belongings (wheelchair, crutches, cane, prosthetic limb, and suitcase) and takes a cab to the designated location. Thus begins a roller-coaster ride through Los Angeles and environs, as Millie is tasked with locating a missing actor. What she doesn't realize until she's well into the case is that fairies and other magical creatures live among the residents of her reality and that one needs only a special pair of sunglasses to be able to see them. Millie is a delight—outspoken to the point of rudeness, with a wry wit and (despite her history) a healthy sense of self-preservation. The supporting characters are a motley crew, all with physical or mental issues of some kind and of varying ethnic backgrounds, and the story is an entertaining mix of fantasy and mystery noir. VERDICT Most comparable to Jim Butcher's "Dresden Files," this should appeal to his fans as well as followers of Charles de Lint and MaryJanice Davidson.—Marlyn K. Beebe, Los Alamitos, CA --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Borderline is worldbuilding at its most original...I loved this book." (Charlaine Harris, New York Times bestselling author of DEAD UNTIL DARK)
"Smart, snappy, fast, fantastic. You will not be sorry you read this." (Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of the October Daye series)
"A fast-paced story of high costs laced with humor that goes from light-hearted to scathing with the flip of a coin...navigates the borderlands of friendship and enmity, trust and betrayal, with shrewd and unrelenting grace." (NPR)
* "Fully articulated, flawed, and fascinating characters combine with masterly urban fantasy storytelling in Baker’s debut novel... [a] beautifully written story that is one part mystery, one part fantasy, and wholly engrossing." (Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW)
* "Baker’s debut takes gritty urban fantasy in a new direction with flawed characters, painful life lessons, and not a small amount of humor." (Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW)
"An enjoyable fantasy mystery that tackles physical disability and mental illness without sacrificing diverting, fast-paced storytelling." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Baker’s consistent, caring integration of the realities of disability into the narrative, makes Borderline one of the most purely respectful portrayals of people with disabilities that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, and that in turn makes it an excellent launch to a very promising urban fantasy series." (Publishers Weekly STAFF PICK)
"Baker has crafted a swift, delightful, and complex beginning to your next favorite urban fantasy series, very nearly redefining the genre along the way...an unabashed pleasure cruise, filled to the brim with snappy dialogue, smart character choices, behind-the-scenes Hollywood shenanigans, and delightful fish-out-of-water moments." (B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy blog)
"Mishell Baker’s new Arcadia Project series is off to a thrilling and glamorous start with Borderline...Baker has given her audience urban fantasy at its finest—visceral and real in its sense of space, and dancing on the uncanny edges of our vision...Borderline is dark and creeping and smart as a whip." (Tor.com)
"Borderline [is] a strange, fast-paced, and surprisingly dark tale about magic, madness and mystique...Despite the engaging plot, Millie’s character, and the complexities in the characters around her made the book a real page-turner for me...Immensely riveting, with unexpected influxes of depth." (MuggleNet.com)
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Page by page, I found "Borderline" a quick, engaging, intelligent read. Yet, when I paused, I found it slightly less than the sum of its parts. Between reading sessions, I wasn't drawn back to the book and its characters. Millie, the protagonist, wasn't deeply attached to other people. Perhaps as a result, I wasn't deeply attached to her. (The character who intrigued me most was Teo, not Millie.)
It is a mark of the book's quality that it kept me happily entertained even though I am not the target audience. I usually prefer secondary-world high fantasy to contemporary urban fantasy. And I very rarely enjoy fairies/fey in books. Elves yes, fairies no. This book managed to overcome my prejudices.
I got legit mad at Mishell a number of times because of the twists and turns in the plot, because the book is so good, and because the next one isn't out yet, and that's the best way to be mad at an author. (Mishell is also a Class Act, let me tell you.)
Borderline has a very different feel from my other favorite urban-fantasy-set-in-LA, Sandman Slim, but it's no less compelling, no less amazing.
This book is great, or not.
It's fun, or not.
Great characters, or not.
It's about the Fey being on the borderline, or is it about Humans on the borderline?
Not sure, as I'm on the borderline too.
Yes, I have a Personality Disorder just like the protagonist of this novel.
What's my disorder? Well, I'm one of those people who tend to blurt out the God's honest truth about anything and everything. A particular trait that has gotten me into more trouble than anything you can ever imagine.
Imagine you're meeting someone rich and famous, and that they're made to look drop dead gorgeous through the artistic application of colored mineral powders and tinted petroleum products. To everyone, everywhere, they're the epitome of beauty. But to me, what do I see?
I can't see the beauty, all I see are puffy powders hiding pock marked skin and glossy dabs of wax covering wrinkled lips. And that's what I blurt out "Ewww, what happened to your face? You're UGLY!"
That breaks the spell, that breaks the illusion of beauty, forcing everyone hearing my proclamation to question why they ever thought that person was beautiful. Now who do those people get angry at? Do they get mad at the person who's lied to them all these years, or do they get mad at moi, the person who broke the illusion, the one who broke the spell?
Yeah, that's the story of my life.
That's what we borderlines get for living on the border, that's what we experience day in, day out living on that edge of humanity.
And that's what this book is all about; living on the border. And it's great.
A great storyline, great well developed characters, and a great mix of what it's like living in an urban fantasy world that teeters on the borderline.
It's epic, reminding me of those epic origins of Spencer and his Fairy Queen. Yes, epic., reminiscent of fairy charms.
"Honey, did you place a saucer of milk on the front porch for the fairies?" And when it's gone the next morning, you ask of yourself, "Did sidhe, or didn't sidhe?"
Oh, and stories of Changelings. The one's where Mommy wakes up one morning and looks at her young infant, she really looks at it, and then says it's not her baby, no, it's really not; the Fairy Queen must have changed out her baby for a construct, for a Golem. She abandons her baby as its life slowly fades from the world. But did her abandonment cause it to wither away, or was it really a changeling; fading as fairy dust fades in the sunlight?
Oh...and the novel is a love story too. Just like La La Land, we get mesmerized by the sights of LA, as we see the Motion Picture Industry from an insider's view, and we're taught which expressway is quicker to get from point A to point B at such and such a time of day. Does it matter?
No. Not at all. What matters is that this is a good, no not good, what matters is that this is a great and wonderful Wizard of...oops wrong book. Now where was I? Oh, honesty right?
Buy this book.
It won't bore you.
It will entertain you.
It will make you believe.
Do you believe in Fairies?
Clap your hands if you believe.
Clap-clap. Clap-clap. Clap on, Clap off.
Oh I do believe in Fairies, I do...I do...I really, really do.
And here's the thing, this book surprised me. It features the movie industry and L.A. life as integral to the plot, and usually movie-industry-Hollywood ANYTHING as a backdrop is a serious strike-out for me (just a personal thing, can't really account for it), so the fact that I really really really liked this in spite of that verges on amazing.
Anyhoo. Good book. Can't wait for the next one. If you're looking for a cool, entertaining, original story -- and why wouldn't you be? -- then BORDERLINE should be on your reading list!
Most recent customer reviews
Millie moved to L.A., directed a film, got into UCLA then she jumped off a building and lost everything except her life.Read more