Mishell Baker is highly readable. Yes, that is a small, simple sentence but it really encompasses what she does best. Her writing flows evenly, ends chapters wanting you to read more, and creates vulnerable dialogue that just sucks you into the scene. Where Borderline introduced us to a mentally and physically handicapped heroine that struggles, Phantom Pains introduces us to a Millie that is highly functioning, coping with her limitations. So many times in this story, we are shown Millie using techniques she has learned in therapy to overcome debilitating thoughts. In this way, we are shown a lot of character growth in Millie, and how the Arcadia Project and her Echo has really influenced her for the better.
Phantom Pains could have made the world-building elements a little more clear. There were times when it seemed everyone had their own truths and ideas of how things have come to be. There is still much about Arcadia that we really don’t know and if we can really believe what we were told in this book. Much of this series is probably hinged upon what happens in the third book. I personally would love to see more scenes take place in Arcadia.
Great characters, a fun but slightly murky plot, and great pacing makes this series by Mishell Baker the must-read urban fantasy series for readers that don’t usually read urban fantasy. I thought Borderline was slightly stronger but I think that is because of the new and refreshing protagonist in Millie. Great books that will definitely be easy rereads for many fans.
15/25 Possible Score
2 – Plot
4 – Characters
2 – World Building
4 – Writing Style
3 – Heart & Mind Aspect