Welcome to Bordertown: Book Review!

So, you all disappoint me (but only a little bit). I know you are reading my blog, but it makes me sad that you all don’t comment. Not really. But, I can’t be too sad, at least your reading 🙂

Okay, moving on to the read point of the post.

I finally finished the Welcome to Bordertown Anthology.

Why did it take me so long to read it? Because when I was in the middle of reading it I went to school, got married, and then went on my honeymoon. So, I have no had time to finish it and think about it.

To comment on my previous post, what do I think about anthologies, I still don’t know. I think I might approach anthologies in a way that just doesn’t suit my reading style. They are not like regular novels, reading them from cover to cover isn’t the same experience.

Having said all that let me launch into the review, but keep all of that in mind.

I think this anthology might have a bit of something for every fantasy lover: faeries (but really they are elves, and really they prefer to be called Truebloods), vampires (kinda), a werewolf (well, not really, he’s just cursed to look like a wolf), and humans.

So, what’s the concept of the book? Well see, Bordertown was this idea that Terri Windling was asked to come up with in the 80s. Back then fantasy was pretty much just epic stuff (like Lord of the Rings) and there wasn’t much else. (Terri does a much better job of explaining the birth of Bordertown in her introduction to the book — this is just the watered down version). What Terri did was invent a place where the World and the Realm (“fairyland” meet up together) and it’s a place where magic and electricity don’t always work, where there are Trueblood gangs, and where the city is just as hard and as nitty gritty as any city in the World. But still, there’s magic to it. So, it’s been 13 years since anything on Bordertown came out — and now, original Bordertown writers, and those writers who grew up reading Bordertown books, have teamed up and brought you this awesome anthology. For people like me, who totally missed Bordertown when it first came out (I wasn’t really at the right maturity level), this book is more than awesome. It’s like a doorway that’s been opened. It’s as if we have been finally let in.

The stories that bookend the anthology are probably my two favorite. They’re the ones that stand out the most in my memory. The frist story, by Ellen Kushner and Terri Windling (two of the orginial Bordertown writers), really sets the stage for the rest of the stories. See, the Way to Bordertown has been blocked for thirteen years (this correlates to the last time something about Bordertown was published) but to the people in Bordertown, it’s only been thirteen days. So, in the first story “Welcome to Bordertown” Jim decides to go and find his sister Tish who has been missing for 13 years, but a postcard that she had sent when she fist arrived to Bordertown shows up and sets things in motion for Jim. (I don’t want to summarize the story because if you read it that’ll take the fun away — I think the most important aspects to this story is that it sets up the rest of the anthology beautifully and draws the reader in).

The last story, “A Tangle of Green Men”, by Charles de Lint, is perfect as a final story. By the time I got to it, I was a bit bored with the same format of the other stories. They all seemed to focus on the same thing: I just got to Bordertown, I just met someone that got to Bordertown and should help them, etc… This story (like the first one) starts with a main character out in the World, looking to go to Bordertown, not for themselves really, but to find someone else.

The poems in the anthology are all so different, and I’m not really a poetry person… but my favorite was Jane Yolen’s “Night Song for a Halfie” it’s written to the same pattern/beat as “Mis Marry Mack”. Awesome. And, there’s even a short graphic novel/short story “Fair Trade.”

Okay, so this might not have been an in-depth, ground-shaking, earth-moving review. But it’s what I thought about it — Like I said, I think that I might have been able to do more if I had read it by just picking random stories in a random order instead of doing it cover to cover.

So, should you read this book? Yes. If you have ANY intrest in urban fantasy I think that this is a must read. And then, go to the library and check out all the other books and read them too. I know that’s my plan.    

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