Finder: A Novel of the Borderlands
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Finder: A Novel of the Borderlands (Borderland)

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  1,532 ratings  ·  69 reviews
An explosive urban fantasy thriller from the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-nominated author of Bone Dance and War for the Oaks. Bull returns to fantasy for her hardcover debut--a tale of magic and murder in the streets and back alleys of a human city on the edge of Fairie.
Mass Market Paperback
Published April 15th 1995 by Tor Fantasy (first published 1994)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,535)
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This book breaks my heart in the best possible way every time I read it. I'm still trying to find the words to talk about it after this re-read. Please wait while I find them.

I was 14 when I read Emma Bull's Finder for the first time. I'd already read and re-read her War for the Oaks, and was deeply invested in the Borderlands because of Terri Windling's shared world anthologies (and Bull's husband's [Will Shetterly] novels set there).

I remember walking into the library in Sandpoint, Idaho (the...more
Beautiful throughout, heartbreaking in parts, Finder is an action/adventure mystery set in the Borderlands, where the Elflands have bled through to the modern world. The juxtaposition is uncomfortable at best. And though elves can come through to the human world, humans can't cross the Border. Orient is the Finder, a human born with the elven gift of finding objects. He teams with Ticker, an elf born with the ability to fix any mechanical device. A Bordertown cop yanks Orient's chain, blackmaili...more
I was reasonably impressed with this book from new-to-me author Emma Bull. The action takes place in the "Borderlands," a neighborhood / city occupying the area in between Faery-land and ordinary every day earth, and in which both technology and magic are present, but neither can be counted upon to work, at least not consistently. Interesting as this premise is, it's not really as central to the plot as you would guess. Little of the backstory is ever revealed, nor is much detail wasted on the i...more
Elf punk at its finest. Bordertown is a funky, magic-blasted city that looks and smells a lot like San Francisco, and it may have been before the magic came. Once the magic came, it became Bordertown, where the magic from the elf world leaks in to the mundane world, and all kinds of people live there.

Finder has two things that make a really great book. It has excellent characters - TickTick and Orient are deep, fully realized characters that you care about, and you want them to do well. It hurts...more
Laurie Rich
This is one of those books I buy over and over as I wear out copies. The story hangs together so well, everything follows one after another, and the beauty of this universe is, I can play in it.

Bordertown is a troubling place, and Finder is a troubled character, but this book is a beautiful piece of work that only leaves me wanting more, wanting to answer questions, wanting to meet most of the people, walk where they walk. It isn't just the magic that's magical.
Nov 06, 2013 Clare rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like elves
I really like Emma Bull's books. That said, this one was not as awesome as War for the Oaks, in my estimation.

This read a little like fanfic to me, so I was unsurprised to learn that it is technically set in someone else's universe. The world building is complete, but definitely feels like fanfic in that the reader is supposed to supply some of the background. With that missing, it makes a it more of a nice charcoal sketch instead of an oil painting. Which, interestingly enough, made the two ini...more
Tamora Pierce
Absolutely gripping, beautiful, heartbreaking, and fun. I wish the publisher, Tor Books, would bring this out again--I found this in a used bookstore after I fell in love with Bull's TERRITORY. Orient is a finder--if he has a relationship to a thing, he can find it. This time the thing is a drug that the lost and unhappy humans of the Borderlands believe can turn them into immortal, beautiful elves. The problem with the drug is that it doesn't turn them into elves; it kills them--and it's turned...more
Nora Peevy
Emma Bull's Finder is a wonderful YA novel set in Bordertown, the land originally created by Terri Windling. (Bordertown is the town between Fairy and our world where humans, elves, and half-bloods exist.) Orient is a finder with a secret. He came to Bordertown after committing a terrible crime in our world. Now he's been commissioned with his friend, Tinker, to find the person who is selling a dangerous drug to humans. The drug "supposedly" will turn a human into a TrueBlood so they can cross t...more
Nov 13, 2013 Lynne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: urban fantasy fans, people who appreciate excellent prose
Recommended to Lynne by: my daughter
I read this last year and didn't post a review. I think I was trying to process all the amazing and never got around to writing it down.

There are several Borderlands books, none of which I've read, yet I understood this world, these characters, and the backstories on both the characters and the world they inhabit. Bull does it all without infodump.

And she's not afraid to kill beloved characters.

I've been reading some mediocre stuff lately; need a palate-cleanser. I have several of Bull's books;...more
I'm a fan of the Borderlands books in general. The basic premise is that one day, our connection to the old world of Elves and the like just sort of came back, after being away. The connection popped up in a city, which was never the same afterwards. Now in and around that city, various forms of magic and technology interact very strangely, and the place tends to accumulate those drifting away from the other world as well as the "real" one. The lost and the lonely, the driven and the drifters al...more
Lovely book set in the Borderlands series with a cool cover by Richard Bober.

Made me cry.

latest re-read 8/17/2011
Kelsea Elizabeth
Elves and punks and urban fantasy landscapes just speaks to me tbh so I was probably going to love this book from the get-go. I would have finished this immediately except I was a terrible person and snuck a peek ahead and then put off reading it because I'm a huge freakin' wimp.

Spoiler-free warning: this book is sad. Like sad-to-the-core sad. In a mostly good way.

I love Emma Bull's ability to create a fully-realized world, and how accessible it was. Despite the very supernatural situation, a...more
Masha Toit
I enjoyed this one immensely.
Emma Bull's writing comes across in the way some graphic novels do: a lot of attention to setting and atmosphere. The characters are all a bit larger than life - more vivid - but still very believable.

The premise: the world of the elves recently appeared and super imposed itself on parts of our world. Elvish influence leaks out and changes the human world, creating humans with strange talents - and vice versa, with Elves developing human traits.

For example the main...more
A who-dun-it cop mystery isn't generally my cup of tea. But when you throw a writer like Emma Bull into the mix, it really doesn't matter. Anyone who enjoys urban fantasy would thoroughly enjoy this.

Bull does an amazing job creating a world that's half faerie, half human, and then blended until smooth. As a writer, she clearly knows it inside and out. The streets, the inhabitants, the culture and stories. My only critique is perhaps that she knows it too well, leaving readers with the vague, tan...more
The aesthetic of this book is so eighties. Or, more precisely, the part of the early nineties that still hadn't realised how much it would look back on the previous decade and cringe. It actually took me a while to get past this! I didn't even know it was possible for a book to do this!

I'm having a hard time figuring out what I was meant to get from this story. The writing was competent — smart, even — the characters were likeable enough, the mystery was engaging. But it was strangely episodic i...more
It's hard to pin down why I like this book so much. Maybe the sense that I've walked into the 3rd or 4th book of a series, because the backstory and history of the Borderlands setting is so deftly, unobtrusively suggested at. (Though this is the only one IN the series, as far as I know.) I'm not a big fantasy fan, but the magic in this book is woven in matter-of-factly, even the elves are so recognizably human, and the sexual tension between our hero Orient (he has an odd talent for finding thin...more
I really love Borderland/Bordertown. I can't do it justice at the moment, but put simply, it's a setting which combines elements from North American life (upper-middle-lower class, of various cultures/melting pot of cultural diversity), twisted by the influence of magic and elves. You can't purposely set out to live there -- it has to find you. But once there, you're free to push down your past, and try to start a new life.

This change is one of the central plot points of the book -- how much of...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leah R
As other reviewers have put it, this book is both beautiful and heartbreaking. Also inventive, clever, endearing, dramatic, moving, suspenseful, I could go on. The worldbuilding is excellent, Bordertown feels like a place you could find if you only searched hard enough. I love a good urban fantasy, and I like worlds set on the edge of our real one- this is both, and more than that (Faerie fits in too). I'd put this in several genres- fantasy, urban fantasy, friendship, mystery, adventure, charac...more
Oct 27, 2009 Sbuchler rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sbuchler by: Crystal
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I've enjoyed this author a great deal since really discovering her with Shadow Unit (awesome stuff), and liked Finder - both the story and that it was another Bordertown (Borderlands) tale. The idea of Bordertown is fascinating - a world with certain rules that authors get to create stories in. Like fairy tales - the structure is already in place, and perhaps frees the author to be more creative. Bordertown reminds me so much of other lands next to lands of magic (the lands of Abhorsen, Robin Mc...more
I've found I generally enjoy Emma Bull's style, although a word of warning: she drops you in with minimal exposition. This sometimes means it takes a bit to figure out the world rules, but as she often uses first person, obviously someone living in the world wouldn't be thinking about the rules consciously. So points for verisimilitude, but expect to be a little confused at the get go. Beyond that, she's got a great flair for place; her novels seem to all be firmly rooted in someplace real (even...more
Emma Bull is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. I will definitely be looking for her work at libraries and used book stores in the future. I started Finder once before and had a bit of a hard time getting into it. I felt like I had been dropped into an already established world - and it turns out that's exactly what was going on. I read Elsewhere, by Will Shetterly, and then came back to Finder and felt like I had more of a background on Bordertown and little things made more sense.

Brian Palmer
In a bordertown between Fairy and Earth, the hero, Orient, is a runaway getting by. He has a scrap of magical talent -- the ability to find things -- and with his partner, an elven mechanic, makes a living in the dynamics of a town eternally between two worlds. But then a local police officer comes to Orient for help in solving a crime, and the stakes raise dramatically.... This is a very good read. It has some of the same feel of a town where nobody's rooted, and everybody is running away from...more
This is a novel set in the shared universe of the Borderlands, where Fairy and our world mix and mingle in a strange fashion. I've read Will Shetterly's books set here, and now Finder (Emma Bull is his wife) and I understand there are other books set in this shared universe.

This book is very well written, which it ought to be given Emma Bull wrote it. I like the fact that it can be a stand alone book, too. I'm tired of everything being part of an endless series.

Anyhow, this was an early urban fa...more
Having just finished reading 'Elsewhere' & 'Nevernever', two other books set in Bodertown, I had a background of the setting and characters when I started this book. That made it enjoyable. This book was not quite as engrossing as the other two, but it was still a fun Borderland read. The story was very emotionally charged and that is what kept me reading. I do feel like I may have missed some of Tink & Orient's story in earlier Borderland books, that may have made this one even more int...more
Kristi Cramer
Finder is set in Bordertown, and follows a detective and a guy who just happens to be able to find lost things as they investigate a new drug that's appeared on the scene. A drug that is killing the kids who use it.
I have read this a few times, and thoroughly enjoy the author's tone and treatment of a fairly heavy topic. There is enough humor to keep it light, and smart action to move the story forward.
Even a little bit of sexual tension between the protagonists.
Read Finder. And read any of the...more
Bull's editor, Terri Windling, created a world called "Bordertown" and has let all her friends write stories set in it. Most of them are shorts, but this is a novel. Common themes include youths with troubled pasts and the clash between magic and technology, and more generally, the larger concept of "borders" in every sense of the word. Bull takes all of this and works her usual brand of character-driven goodness.
Donna Jo Atwood
Orient is a young man living in Bordertown, the area between the World and Faerie. If asked to locate an item or a person he has the ability to take you to it. So he is asked to assist the police in finding the person dealing with a deadly new drug on the market.
I really liked the personalities in this book, both human and elven (elfish? elf?). The book reads like Gaiman, only a little more sociable.
May 17, 2010 Sueij rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jen F-A, for sure
Interesting and well written, though not my usual kind of story. It's a fantasy detective novel, set in the Borderlands world (a space between where humans and elves live) that I gather the author has written other stories about. If they're novels, I'll definitely be checking them out. There were interesting premises, smart detective work, realistic characters, and unexpected occurrences.
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Emma Bull is a science fiction and fantasy author whose best-known novel is War for the Oaks, one of the pioneering works of urban fantasy. She has participated in Terri Windling's Borderland shared universe, which is the setting of her 1994 novel Finder. She sang in the rock-funk band Cats Laughing, and both sang and played guitar in the folk duo The Flash Girls while living in Minneapolis, Minne...more
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War for the Oaks Territory Bone Dance Shadow Unit 1 Falcon

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“She lifted her head. "It's easier," she said, slowly, "to be angry on someone else's behalf than on my own. And yet I find I have a well of anger in me, that I have been filling for years from my own hurts. If I spill it out in defense of another, I can deny it's mine.” 15 likes
“You have to break an omelette to make eggs.” 5 likes
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