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Finder (Borderland #8)

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,927 Ratings  ·  83 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.
Hardcover, 317 pages
Published 1994 by Tor Books
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American Gods by Neil GaimanNeverwhere by Neil GaimanThe Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanSunshine by Robin McKinleyWar for the Oaks by Emma Bull
Best Urban Fantasy STAND-ALONE Novels
28th out of 65 books — 131 voters
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218th out of 275 books — 27 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Posted at Shelf Inflicted

Bordertown is a city between the Human and Fae worlds. While elven magic does not work in the human world and technology does not work in the Elflands, both work in Bordertown inconsistently and with interesting effects. Humans, elves, and halflings, troubled folks who are running away from their pasts, or have trouble fitting in anywhere else, inhabit the city of Bordertown.

Orient is a human with the special ability to find missing things and people. His best friend i
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
Aug 28, 2007 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Laurie Rich
Jan 03, 2008 Laurie Rich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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.
Jun 11, 2009 Annette rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fantasy
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
Apr 15, 2011 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 25, 2016 Clare rated it liked it
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
Feb 28, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing
Lovely book set in the Borderlands series with a cool cover by Richard Bober.

Made me cry.

re-read 4/17/2006
latest re-read 8/17/2011
Oct 02, 2015 Kaion rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mystery, reviewed
The story of Orient, a human who has the ability to locate the missing, Finder begins with the title character being tasked to find the source of a new drug hitting the Borderlands streets. Emma Bull returns to the urban fae genre of her debut War for the Oaks, to lesser results.

The most refreshing aspect of War for the Oaks was its sincerity, and lived-in quality. Bull's familiarity with the 80's struggling rock musician lifestyle came through, lending real charm and authenticity to what otherw
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
Tamora Pierce
Jun 04, 2009 Tamora Pierce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-ya-yr
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
Nov 06, 2011 Nora Peevy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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 it was amazing  ·  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;
JJ DeBenedictis
Mar 06, 2016 JJ DeBenedictis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Emma Bull's characters always give you the impression that these people had lives before you showed up to read their story. You walk in the door, i.e. read the first page, and they already have jobs, hobbies, financial realities, favourite restaurants, neuroses, and friends and neighbours they've formed a real support structure with.

In the case of this book, that impression might be because this book is written in a shared universe other writers have written in. I didn't know that fact when I re
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
Dec 19, 2015 melydia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah, Bordertown, how I've missed you. I love the tales of this strange place on the border between Faerie and The World, and this was no exception. This one is about Orient, a man with a gift for finding things who gets tangled up in the search for the creators of a drug that turns humans into elves - then kills them. I really liked the characters, even if I didn't entirely buy the chemistry between the two leads, and I did cry a bit at the end. This book takes place after the events of Elsewhere ...more
May 06, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Borderlands series is mostly about belonging and how strays and misfits come from all over the world to the city on the edge of Faerie to find a new home. Finder is about how you can make a new home, but homes are fragile things.

Orient (the verb, not the noun) has the gift of finding anything as long as he knows what he's looking for. Or maybe the curse, since it manifests as an uncomfortable urge that never gets better than an itch he can't scratch. A police officer he knows comes to him w
Иван Величков
Приятно изненадан останах. Прилична криминална история в света на Граничните земи. Героите са познати от разказа Денсланд във втория сборник разкази за Бордъртаун. Прекалено описателният стил на Ема Бул ме издразни на моменти, но смятам че за криминале е ОК.
В града се е появила нова дрога, или мутаген по-точно. Взимат го човешките хлапета с надеждата да се преобразят в елфи и да минат през Границата. Лошото е, че умират в процеса. Детектив Рико успява да изнуди Ориент да и помогне да открият кой
A fun little interlude in urban fantasy, with a fantastic premise: what if there were a border between our world and Fae? What if elves ran away from home into the mundane world? What if the border was only semi-permeable, so that humans couldn't go through the other way? What if the border sort of leaked out, making the mundane world not so mundane?

It's the worldbuilding that really shines, here. Like most shorter books like this, the character don't really get to breathe and move as much as I'
Kelsea Elisabeth
Aug 09, 2015 Kelsea Elisabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Masha Toit
Mar 10, 2014 Masha Toit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 06, 2012 Lindsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 13, 2012 Nan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 16, 2012 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
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
Jul 16, 2011 Sherri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leah G
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 liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sbuchler by: Crystal
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 05, 2013 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mark Alger
Jan 03, 2015 Mark Alger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eemma Bull has been one of my most favorite authors since Liavek. Her War for the Oaks, rightly called a foundational work in urban fantasy, is a gripping, most-affecting story. Finder, set in the Bordertown shared universe (tip, guys: get your rights back and bring the older books out in eback binding -- they seem to be out of print), is another work from the same mind and pen. Excellent storytelling, relatable and sympathetic characters, gripping plot, ripping good yarn.
I really liked the characters and the world building but the plot itself fell a bit short for me, It just felt like a standard detective story. I also found Sunny Rico about the dullest character in the whole story, I don't really see what Orient sees in her and I wish that we could have had more of the elves rather than a thoroughly predictable 'good cop in a bad town' character. The end was an anticlimax and it all just felt a bit pointless.
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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
More about Emma Bull...

Other Books in the Series

Borderland (8 books)
  • Borderland (Borderland, #1)
  • Bordertown (Borderland, #2)
  • Life on the Border  (Borderland, #3)
  • The Essential Bordertown (Borderland, #4)
  • Welcome to Bordertown (Borderland, #5)
  • Elsewhere (Borderlands, #1)
  • Nevernever

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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.” 18 likes
“You have to break an omelette to make eggs.” 7 likes
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