Book Review: Borderline by Mishell Baker

Posted June 24, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Book Review: Borderline by Mishell Baker

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mishell Baker by Mishell Baker
Published by Saga Press on March 1, 2016
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Phantom Pains

First in The Arcadia Project paranormal thriller series set in L.A. and revolving around Millie Roper, a real pain.

My Take

Now this is different! It did take a while before I could dredge up sympathy for Millie, but she slowly grows on you despite that mouth of hers. It starts with the slightly surreal realism of Rainbow Rowell, and then blends into Mercedes Lackey’s gritty Bedlam’s Bard series. It’s a gritty urban take on the fey — not to mention the nutjobs in the Project — and it pulled me right in.

It’s a mean, irritating bunch in this house. They’re blunt, they’re nuts, and they talk right over each other. Millie will fit right in, as she’s verbally abusive, physically violent, and prone to impulsive anything. And they all have to live together for all sorts of reasons. Wards. Free rent. Stringent rules that must be followed.

They keep ripping on Millie for breaking rules, but they don’t tell her what the rules are! The fey cannot be hurt, or at least, you can’t spill their blood. And we can’t tell you why, just obey the rules. The fey are also half the reason why humanity has done as well as they have. Of course, humanity is the reason the fey want to be on this side anyway.

“‘It benefits me,’ I snapped. ‘I can find Claybriar without helping the people who threw an unemployed cripple out on the street.'”

I have my particular issues, but I do thank god that I don’t have Millie’s. As a borderline, she’s impatient, takes no as a personal insult, does vicious things and blames it on others, does anything to avoid guilt, becomes angry over truth, and is amazingly vulnerable.

…they can’t be trusted…

If Brian Clay is a detective, why does Millie later refer to him as Officer Clay?

Manipulations, set-ups, betrayals, lies, and there are no coincidences — what a fey believes becomes true. As for that professor, I want something really bad to happen to that guy. What a jerk!!! I’m suspecting date rape.

Huh? Turns out Spielberg is a wizard. Sure explains all his movies, *grin*…

Then there’s that last paragraph at the end. I know I’m not seeing the world the same anymore in this mash of movie production, mysteries, and world betrayal in those greedy hands.

The Story

Listless and reluctant to emerge into the world again from her safe haven in the nuthouse, the abrasive Millicent Roper has a chance to reopen a door into the filmmaking world she is missing.

It’s a terrifying offer and a chance.

If only she knew what was truly involved.

The Characters

“Lady” Millicent Roper, a.k.a., Cold Iron or Ironbones, is a borderline who has been making a name for herself as a filmmaker and is now the fairy boogeyman. The Stone Guest is Millie’s attention-grabbing film about growing up all wrong and too fast. Her neglectful father is dead. Her grandfather lives in Graston, Mississippi.

The Arcadia Project is…

…a nonprofit organization that uses the mentally ill. “Marchioness” Caryl Vallo, a warlock, is the gloved one in charge. Elliot is her familiar, a small dragon you can’t see. Martin, a wizard, had been Caryl’s predecessor.

Residence Four is…
…managed by Song and is where Millie will live. Sterling is Song’s baby; his father is fey. The bipolar “Baron” Mateo “Teo” Salazar loves to cook and cut and will be Millie’s partner. His first two partners, Amir and Lisa, came to bad ends. Stevie is Phil’s partner. The nasty, bitchy “Viscountess” Gloria Day, a script supervisor, is a little person from Georgia. Phil is the bearded white guy dating Gloria. Monty is the cat. “Viscount” Tjuan Miller is a screenwriter with massive trust issues. Abigail manages Residence One where Luis, another agent for the Project, lives.

Arcadia is…

…a parallel world where the fey live, and yeah, the Department of Homeland Security knows about them. Viscount Rivenholt, a sidhe, has ignored the expiration of his visa. One of his earliest aliases was as Forrest Cloven. Baroness Foxfeather is a bartender searching for her Echo. Craghorn.

Duke Skyhollow is an emissary from Queen Dawnrowan of the Seelie Court. Claybriar, a faun, is a commoner agent but special; he was sent by the queen. Trillhazel is Claybriar’s sister.

Vivian Chandler, an exiled Unseelie noble, has a reputation as a shark of an actor’s agent. At the Unseelie Court, she was Countess Feverwax until she was exiled. On this side of the portal she invests in the macabre.

Valiant Studios is…
…a new start-up partially funded by Inaya West, an actress who hired Ellis, a private detective. John Riven is an actor whose magic is fading. David Berenbaum is a famous producer whom Millie worships. He also funds half the Project; Rivenholt is his Echo. Berenbaum’s wife, Linda, knows all about it. Stefan is their housekeeper. Rick and Ilsa are David’s dogs.

Leishman Center is…
…a loony bin in Los Angeles. Dr. Amanda Davis is humorless, caring, and has managed to pound into Millicent the concept of her Reason Mind, her Wise Mind, and her Emotion Mind.

Hedrick Hall, UCLA, is…
…the building Millie walked off. The predatory, sadistic Professor John Scott teaches screenwriting.

Brian Clay is an LAPD detective, the one who was too late to save Millie. Aaron Susman is a rival producer. Jeff works at the sushi restaurant.

An Echo is a muse, a soulmate partner whom a fey needs. All artists, inventors, creative types have one. They simply have not found each other yet. Norium is something in fey blood that prevents fey from staying on Earth for too long. Fading is when a human stays in Arcadia too long. The Accord is a treaty that keeps the Unseelie from invading. The Gates are portals between and can only be built by a pair of Echoes who have bonded with each other over a long period.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a range of oranges and browns from the pale, pale peach of the background to the flesh of Millie’s face with the orange spheres overlapping her profile to the rusty scratching delineating the horizon and a darker rusty brown forming the skeleton of a butterfly’s wing, all of it emerging from the dark silhouette of an evergreen.

The title is where and who Millie is, on the Borderline.

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