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DMS

Saturdays in Books

Reviews of speculative fiction, YA, middle grade, and graphic novels, along with stray thoughts, links, and pictures.

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The SFWA European Hall of Fame: Sixteen Contemporary Masterpieces of Science Fiction from the Continent
Kathryn Morrow, James K. Morrow

Review: Borderline

Borderline (The Arcadia Project) - Mishell Baker

I'm not a big fan of fairies. Yeah, yeah, they can't lie but are super good at not being honest. They're oh so pretty. They have courts. They don't like iron. There are rules.

 

What the fuck ever. 

 

This book isn't so much an exception as that it doesn't matter. Because this book is all about the protagonist and her ongoing attempts to keep her shit together while navigating vague rules nobody seems to follow. And I love how dark her sense of humor is.

 

The first quarter feels a bit wonky. There are too many instances of her finding out about a rule because she broke it, or after the fact exposition where someone explains what she's seen. And at some point, I'm just like - isn't this supposed to be her job?

 

This book starts with an interview and moves into a probation period, but never bothers to put her through any sort of orientation. Or provides her with any sort of structure. In a home filled with people who all have mental illnesses? There's no structure? No support mechanisms? The after the fact explanation when things finally turn to shit is that the case she's working is so important that they skipped that stuff. Um, maybe don't put the most important case ever into the hands of the new employee who hasn't had any training? Maybe? And it's not like there is actually all that much for her to do the first few days, when they only have a few leads.

 

Whatever, soon she knows enough that I don't have to keep getting fairy info dumps. 

 

The thing that works much better is when she stops to explain borderline personality disorder. I expected that to be as tedious as the worldbuilding, but it actually feels in character for her to stop and mentally review what she's experiencing and how she's reacting to it. Like her rational mind has this as a coping mechanism - to stop and assess. And it's pretty great.

 

Very interested in reading the next one of these.