I love those classic novels that stick with you for years, that may even change your perspective on life–especially if you read them when you’re younger. I saw that Finder (1994) by Emma Bull was recommended as unforgettable, and I thought it might just be one of those books.
Finder is a novel of the Borderlands. Bull has set up her story where there is the world we know as well as an Elvish land full of magic and fairies. Inbetween these two places is the Borderland, a land of misfits and those who simply do not fit into either the human or elven world. This world has few rules, and has enough magic for all kinds of crazy things to happen.
Orient, our narrator and protagonist, is a young man in the Borderlands with a special ability to find…anything that’s lost. He just has to think about it and a pull in his gut will lead him in the right direction. He is best friends with Tick Tick, an elf, who has also found something of a home in the Borderlands. She has a beloved motorcycle and is a magically talented. The two are very close friends and seem to have worked together for awhile.
Things change when Sonny Rico, a local cop, gets in touch with Orient. She wants Orient to help her with a new case. It seems that someone’s selling drugs throughout the Borderlands that are supposed to turn humans into elves. As desperately as some people want to escape their lives and become elves, it appears to only make them very sick. It is also disrupting the balance of the world, with some of this magic having unknown and very negative consequences. In addition, the racial tensions between elves and humans increase exponentially as some effects of this drug become known.
It took me a little while to get into this book as I was figuring out the world and how it worked, as well as who all the characters were. The relationship between Orient and Tick Tick is a beautiful friendship, and their story line is probably the most moving part of the book. In addition, the relationship between Orient and Sonny Rico felt very real. The mystery part of the book was also well done. At times it was straight up creepy. I was reading this book while I was camping and had to move to something lighter because I was getting scared out in the woods. In addition, the idea that young humans were taking dangerous drugs because they wanted to become something better than they are is reminiscent of addicts today.
My impression of the Borderlands is that it’s a dark, confusing place filled with a lot of lost souls. But it gives people the space they need when they don’t fit into the worlds they were born into. I can see how this book would be relatable for young adults, and I wonder what I would have thought of it if I’d read it as a teenager.
You can find all of my reviews on my blog.