Baker, Mishell. 2016. Borderline. New York, NY: Saga Press, a division of Simon & Schuster.
ISBN 978-1481453066. $25.99 USD
Mille Roper is a paraplegic film director with Borderline Personality Disorder. Did you ever imagine reading that description for a heroine/protagonist in an Urban Fantasy novel?? Well, you will be surprised how well this works in Mishell Bakers debut, Borderline.
Millie is in a psychiatric unit after a failed suicide attempt that has left her missing parts of both legs and struggling to learn to deal with her BPD diagnosis, when she is visited by an aloof stranger offering her an unusual job with a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from a parallel reality, filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales. Millie knows her chances of working any other type of job are slim, so she takes the offer, despite the severe reservations of her therapist, with whom she has made quite a bit of progress.
This author has done her homework on BPD, and we are educated in the coping skills used by people suffering from this disorder. I actually read some articles just to educate myself (information junkie that I am), and was pleasantly surprised at the accuracy written into the book’s main character.
Millie joins a group of rag-tag mental patients who are tasked with keeping track of (and keeping out of trouble) a number of fey who are masquerading as celebrities in Hollywood. Millie’s first assignment is tracking down a missing movie star who also happens to be a nobleman of the Seelie Court. In order to find him, she’ll have to interact with some of Hollywood’s power players and immerse herself in what lies beneath the glamour of Tinseltown. Millie’s own inner demons are giving her enough trouble, but if she fails to locate the missing nobleman, she’ll be out of a job and possibly contribute to the shattering of a centuries-old peace which could spark an all-out war between worlds. No pressure.
With the unusual set-up of this fresh Urban Fantasy novel, you wouldn’t think it would work. But, somehow, it does and we are treated to a unique new world where protagonists with real disabilities co-exist with a secret world, unseen by most of society. Luckily, this is book one of the Arcadia Project series, and hopefully we can look forward to more of Millie and her co-workers’ adventures in the next novel to come. As with most novels these days, expect some language and graphic descriptions interspersed with a surprising amount of humor. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this unconventional novel and the curmudgeonly heroine, who, in spite of her circumstances, still manages to convey hope for her future.