Top Notch Diversity in Borderline || BOOK REVIEW

Borderline by Mishell Baker

4.5/5 STARS

Genre: Fantasy
Author: Mishell Baker
Published: March 2016
Publisher: Saga Press
Pages: 400 {paperback}

Review on Goodreads

this review is spoiler-free until I state otherwise


Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing

This was such an excellent read. I was thoroughly impressed by how well it was pulled off and at the sheer quantity of disability representation within the story. If you’re wanting a dose-up of own voices stories – READ THIS. I enjoyed it from page one to last and Millie was a fantastic narrator. With all her different struggles going on she was both relatable and educational and I’m so, so, so keen to continue on with the series.


Borderline

Borderline is one of the most unique books that I’ve read this year, hands down. It follows the story of a young woman named Millie who is recovering from a failed suicide attempt. About a year ago, she jumped off a building and lost her legs. Now disabled and struggling with mental health, she’s being recruited in for the Arcadia Project.

The book is set in modern day L.A. and follows a really interesting mix of characters. We meet all these people through the Arcadia Project which is basically a special unit of people set up to help control the fae in the human world. Because fae exist in this book.

The story intermingles Millie’s mental state, her collision of pre- verses post-suicide attempt life and the urban fantasy elements of faeries. It’s really well done and the oddest mash of plot lines that I would never have anticipated working together.

Previously, Millie worked in the film industry. Her career came to a complete stop and she has yet to re-enter the workforce post-recovery. But in this world, humans often have fae counterparts – a shadow or soulmate, if you will – and it’s the Arcadia Project’s job to make sure everyone is playing nice. Millie is tasked with a case of bringing a fae, who is the counterpart to a very famous film director, back into the Seelie court, except the task turns out to be far more complicated than you would have thought.

The book is a great laugh and ticks so many boxes. So if you like the sound of that then I highly recommend picking this one up. But now, let’s break it down.


Diversity

It was the sheer level of diversity in this book that blew me off my feet. Almost all the characters in the book have something that will tick the diversity box for you. Millie is the character we explore the most on this scale and I think Baker has done a marvellous job writing her — if you’re sick of 2D characters who are practically gasping for character development, well, Millie is your remedy.

We spend a lot of time focussing on the actual plot line, despite this, and that was again an incredibly talented way of angling the book. I feel like it’s difficult to develop a character in the way Millie is done without spending endless chapters just psychoanalysing her. So well done Baker, well done indeed.

But other characters such as Caryl were equally fascinating. I’m going to quickly bring up the facts about Caryl so if you want it to be a surprise then skip down to the summary.

Caryl’s emotional problems were awesome — not for her, but the way that they mesh with the magic of this story. I’ve never read about a character who has stunted emotional growth like her but the fact that she offloads these in a magical way BY CREATING AN INVISIBLE FREAKING MINI DRAGON was too much for me. I imploded with glee. It’s like the gods finally listened to me, and found a way to wriggle a dragon into a story you wouldn’t expect it in.


Spoiler Discussion

skip to summary to avoid!!

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There’s not much I want to discuss in regards to spoilers. I mostly wanted to look at Teo’s character and take a moment to say wow his death was out of the blue. I did not see anyone really being killed off but nope — Baker let fly with a machete in that final scene.

I also wanted to say that I don’t know how I feel about Millie-Caryl. Seeing as I read this for my book club I had a read of a lot of other people getting excited for that relationship. I have to say I didn’t feel the chemistry between them that much simply because of Caryl’s emotions being so childish — it felt more like a big-little sister relationship to me. But nonetheless, I’m interested to see that develop.


Summary

An amazing read! I can’t recommend this one enough to everyone. It’s got just about everything in it and is beautifully written. I’m really excited to continue on with the series and hope that more people start reading this too!


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Join the Squabbling Dragons Book Club!

Come join Casey and myself over at our book club, the Squabbling Dragons! Borderline was the October pick of the month for 2017 and currently we’re reading Updraft by Fran Wilde. Make sure you head over and check us out on Goodreads – and grab a copy of our December book, Stitching Snow, whilst you’re at it!

Squabbling Dragons


Have you read Borderline?

Share your thoughts below!


Happy Reading

~~ Kirstie ~~

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