Common Review: Borderline by Mishell Baker was just a really refreshing urban fantasy book that I really liked. If you like outspoken female leads, real genuine characters with mental health and physical complications, and private investigator like stories, you’ll enjoy this. Bump it up on your TBR, it is a quick read. One of the best of 2016.
Few urban fantasy books work for me but Borderline was one that I ended up loving because the character of Millie is so flawed that I loved to read about her. At the beginning of the story, Millie is in a mental hospital, uses prosthetic legs to get around, has borderline personality disorder, tried to commit suicide, but she is approached by a woman with a job offer. Millie is going to work with the Arcadia Project, a secret organization that polices the coming and goings of magical creatures from a parallel reality. Millie goes to Los Angeles and learns that this Arcadia Project has a lot to do with Hollywood and that her new co-workers/housemates are a lot like her. They must find a missing fey, one of the people from the magical parallel world, and Millie is introduced to this strange new existence she never knew about.
Millie is just a great character because she is super interesting. I wanted to read more of this book to just learn more about Millie. I thought her borderline personality disorder was written really well by Baker without making it overpower the narrative and honestly. Millie always says what is on her mind at all times and reading about those type of characters is just fun. She has some serious problems but that is what makes her feel so genuine. So often we get perfect characters in books, especially females(mainly due to lack of characterization), so it is nice to have a female character that is disabled, and not trying to hide who she is.
If you know me, I love when science fiction mixes with mystery, especially noir and detective stories, so this was right up my alley. I thought the plot was engaging and complicated enough to keep my interest while not being overly superfluous. Baker could have really cut lose with the fey magical creatures but she held back enough to let her main character shine, which I really appreciated. A lot of times in these type of urban fantasy books, there is this huge dump of magic stuff onto the reader that makes the story seem a bit too fantasy, and not enough urban, but I thought Borderline walked the perfect balance between the two.
I read this in less than 8 hours during 2 days because it was such a readable and engaging book. The font is nice and big with a lot of dialogue that flows naturally. It is just an easy, enjoyable book that isn’t a huge time commitment. So far this is my favorite book of 2016.
18/25 Possible Score
4 – Plot
5 – Characters
3 – World Building
3 – Writing Style
3 – Heart & Mind Style
7hrs and 45minutes to read at a rate of 50 pages per hour.