Review: Borderline by Mishell Baker
Series: The Arcadia Project #1
Also by this author: Phantom Pains
Published by Saga Press on March 1st 2016
Also in this series: Phantom Pains
A year ago, Millie lost her legs and her filmmaking career in a failed suicide attempt. Just when she's sure the credits have rolled on her life story, she gets a second chance with the Arcadia Project: a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from a parallel reality filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales.
For her first assignment, Millie is tasked with tracking down a missing movie star who also happens to be a nobleman of the Seelie Court. To find him, she'll have to smooth-talk Hollywood power players and uncover the surreal and sometimes terrifying truth behind the glamour of Tinseltown. But stronger forces than just her inner demons are sabotaging her progress, and if she fails to unravel the conspiracy behind the noble's disappearance, not only will she be out on the streets, but the shattering of a centuries-old peace could spark an all-out war between worlds.
I was thought Borderline sounded really interesting, but I have to confess to putting it off at times because I was afraid it might be depressing, and I just wasn’t in the mood for a depressing book. When you read the synopsis, you learn the protagonist, Millie, is a double amputee survivor of a suicide attempt who also battles mental illness. That definitely is a subject that has serious potential to be emotionally draining, and, well, depressing.
But the thing is, this book is not about her suicide attempt, it is not even about her initial recovery. We are not with her during her darkest moments. It is about her rejoining the world, and it’s definitely lighter than expected. Millie is a great character. I am not going to paint the book as light and fluffy by any means, but Millie’s disability is just something she deals with, it is not presented as a sob story, nor is it something that somehow grants her extraordinary powers. She struggles with mental illness, but never once did I feel like she was in such a dark place that it brought down the tone of the book. Honestly, her disabilities and outlook on everything were very well done. It felt real, without sugar coating, but also with out any feelings of despair. Millie also has an incredibly wonderful dark sense of humor about it all that keeps the tone lighter. I have to stress how much I enjoy Millie’s character, she is doing an amazing job gaining independence and recovering from such a dark place. For me, she is what really made the book special.
Millie has been living in a rehab center as she learns to navigate through life with her new disabilities, as well as getting in an emotionally better place. She has come a long way, but when she is invited to take part in a secret project, Millie’s caretaker at the center warns her away from the opportunity. But for Millie, it is a chance she can’t turn down. She sees it at an opportunity to get out of the center, and back to living life. So, rebel that she is, she disregards the warning and signs on. From here, she learns about much in this world that she had been blind to before. The Arcadia Project she has joined deals with fae and mythical creatures, it tracks how many have crossed into our world, and also polices them when needed. In her first assignment, she is tasked with tracking down a missing movie star who is also a nobleman amongst the fae. Her success in this is critical for her personally as well for the relations between the fae world and ours.
Borderline presents an interesting and fun world with the Arcadia Project bringing the fae to light. The pacing was very good and the story was intriguing. I mentioned before, I love Millie’s character, so needless to say, I am really looking forward to the next book in the series.