Review: Borderline by Mishell Baker

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Genre: Urban Fantasy, Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 400
Series: The Arcadia Project #1
Release Date: March 1, 2016

3 Stars

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It’s funny how sometimes, if I put off writing the review for 2-3 days, I then have to sit and think about what I wanted to write in the review, for 20 minutes. But with this one, it’s been 10 days and I still remember all I planned to mention.

Maybe it’s because this is such a different and interesting book. It features Millie, a former movie director who, in a suicide attempt from the 7th floor of a building, lost half of both her legs. She was then diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and spent half a year in rehabilitation facility. Then she was approached by a strange woman who offered her a job that involved hollywood, her first job being to tracking down a missing movie star who also happens to be a nobleman of the Seelie Court.

A very strange twist in what seemed like a normal story, right? And that’s the way that the book is told. The world is surprisingly normal, with some supernatural elements that are explained in a way that would even make sense to someone whose never read a fantasy before. I loved the way the fae were incorporated into the story instead of them being the story.

The protagonist was one of the most interesting characters I’ve ever read about. She’s a complete mess thanks to the consequences of her suicide attempt and her BPD, but she knows she’s a mess. And her self-awareness makes for some brilliant narrative. Seriously, this book is so freaking quotable. There are so many lines I’ve got marked. A couple of examples:

Next to its neighbours, the house looked like a cat lady at a PTA meeting.

Just because you don’t feel something, it doesn’t mean the other person is faking it. You know who thinks like that? Sociopaths.

Combine that with a really good plot and great side characters, and it makes absolutely zero sense that this book is completely and utterly uninteresting. Shocker, right? All those nice words and now I’m shitting on the book? I wish I wasn’t, I really do.

But the truth is, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get into it. I would check how far along I was, or how much of the book was left, constantly. And even if I did manage to build some sort of flow, the moment I put the book down, it would take nothing short of an internal pep talk to get me to pick it back up. I didn’t even care to see how it was going to end. How is it possible for such a promising read to be like this? I’ve been trying to figure it out for almost two weeks. Still don’t know for sure.

I did come up with one theory. It’s that the plot is so separate from the characters that you can’t seem to care about it. But that’s not right. There were personal connections formed. I guess it’s that I didn’t feel them because the book is more clinical than emotional. And lack of emotional connection to the characters can be a problem. That’s probably it, right? Maybe. Maybe not.

Overall, I know a lot of people who loved this novel and a few who felt similar to how I did. It could go either way, and I think it’s worth a chance to find out.

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