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The Liminal People

(Liminal #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  560 ratings  ·  123 reviews
Taggert can heal and hurt with just a touch. When an ex calls for help, he risks the wrath of his enigmatic master to try and save her daughter.
But when Taggert realizes the daughter has more power than even he can imagine, he has to wrestle with the very nature of his skills, not to mention unmanned and uncreated gods, in order keep the girl safe. In the end, Taggert will
Paperback, 190 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by Small Beer Press (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  560 ratings  ·  123 reviews

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Ayize Jama-Everett
Sep 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
It's the best book ever! One of them at least. Reads quick like a beast and leaves you wanting more. I wish I wrote it... waitaminute!!!
May 21, 2019 added it
Shelves: science-fiction
Abandoned, at least for now, at page 52.

Not a terrible book by any means, just not what I was expecting or in the mood for. The use of "liminal" in the title had me expecting something much more speculative and intellectually engaging. This is more in the action-oriented region of sf/f -- although to be honest there hasn't been that much thrilling action so far, either. But I'm guessing that's just because the author was getting all the powers and characters set up and it will become more activ
Interesting ideas about superpowered people and the kinds of powers they could have. The text was a bit dry, the story took a while to get going, and the author's female characters are on the thinly drawn side (and why the heck is the main character so focused on the love of his life's chest?)
That said, I liked the uncomfortable relationship between Taggart and menacing Nordeen.
K.J. Charles
A dark superhero story of the X Men type. The hero has healing powers he's learned to use for hurting, which works really well in a highly gory way, and it was galloping along, but the back end went *massively* problematic and I can't recommend.

Spoiler tags to cover ableism and racial slurs so as not to ruin anyone's day by accident: (view spoiler)
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was raised on comic books. I read them and reread them dozens of times. I remember the look my parents gave me when I told them that I wanted to be an X-Men once I grow up. I guess they wanted a different career for me. And yet all I wanted to do was to go to X-Mansion and hang out with all the mutants and go to adventures. Sure, I had some backup plans but this was my dream.

Sadly, things didn’t go as planned. As I’m not gifted with omega level mutant power I finished as an HR Consultant and p
I really hesitated in ordering this book. This was partly because it's a debut novel, and I wasn't sure I had the patience for one of those right now; but it was mostly because I'm getting a little burned out on the noir style, and I didn't know if I could give another noir-influenced SF/F novel a fair shot as a result.

The first half of the book went better than I expected. It was a very typical noir set-up, full of disconnected people carving out an existence on the fringes of society through t
Liviu Szoke
Superior fantasy in Neil Gaiman's old fashioned style (American Gods, not the latter crap we had to deal with recently), delivered through a very original voice of a tough african smart-ass healer, who has to fight with a powerful entity for the love of his life. Can't wait for the sequel, due to appear this year, as well as his next novel, due for august 2015.
Rachel Brown
Jul 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, england
This novel was apparently self-published, then picked up by the illustrious Small Beer Press. Good pick. It’s not perfect, but it deserves much better than to languish in self-pubbed obscurity. I also applaud Small Beer for accurately representing the black protagonist on the cover.

Taggert has the power to control and transform his own body and the bodies of others: he can heal or kill, distract opponents with sudden physical urges or create the world’s best disguise for himself. Jama-Everett ta
Mar 25, 2015 marked it as dnf-not-my-cup-of-coffee  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
It's not a bad story, on the contrary, the idea is very interesting - a (some) guy(s) with special powers, who can sense the heartbeats of people even if they are not in close range and who have the ability to heal and hurt with his (their) mind at distance.

It's just that the setup is not for me: the main character is the pawn of a drug dealer and terrified by him and his right-hand, which is supposed to be his friend also. Actually, the relationship between them is the one I have a problem with
May 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Read this book. It's one of the best character-driven, emotionally gripping novels I've ever read.

The Liminal People are those with powers beyond the human possible. The Liminal People are those whose existence is a secret best kept from others like them.

The Liminal People is a book about what it means to be human, what it is worth to be human. It's a gritty, unforgiving look at the world--and a brutally honest portrayal of love and hope.
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
It's a cool concept and it's not bad, just not my cup of tea.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Compelling. How many times have you seen that tired old word used in a blurb? It was not used in any of the blurbs on the book cover.

Dissuasive or Repellent. How many times have you seen those words used in a blurb?

I bought the book based on the deserved & stellar reputation of Small Beer Press fort finding the odd, the quirky, the literate and the fun works rarely published by major publishers. It helped a lot that both Nalo Hopkinson and Maureen F. McHugh blurbed the book. Fine writers both
It feels overly facile to call this the action/adventure version of Wild Seed, but . . . it basically is. It's not just the African setting and heavily black cast that calls Butler's classic to mind, but the push-pull dynamic between the healer protagonist and his ominous mentor/master, who wants to control the protagonist as part of a plan to bring together more of "his" people: the psychics and other powers of the world. But while Butler writes about the delicate balance between collaboration ...more
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A unique and refreshing take on superpowers and post humanism that is as relevant and as important to science fiction and or urban fantasy as Otomo Katsuhiro's Akria and Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons' Watchmen.

Told thought the eyes of an African-American anti-hero named Taggett who's on a mission of rescue, then later, revenge, we see Africa, then London though the eyes of a man, who reads peoples bodily functions like a book and can manipulate them at will. We watch as he slowly begins to question hi
James Warner
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Cyberpunk-ish only more streetwise. The author takes the wounded healer archetype through its paces. The character of Nordeen is seriously scary -- "All the royalty of Malaysia send him birthday cards, all at different times of the year." Somehow one knows not to mess with that guy...

"Healers are poison to the warrior soul," says a Dogon chief. A thriller that leaves you thinking many thoughts about the use and abuse of power.
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I stayed up until 3am reading this because once I started, I just couldn't put it down.

I chose to read this just because I liked the name and didn't really have any expectations and so was super pleased to find such an enthralling read. The characters are all fantastic, the world very engaging and I was just totally hooked. I'd definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading the next book!
Vytautas Malesh
Jul 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
A quick and engaging read - refreshing to see People of Color in leading roles, likewise for superheroic action set outside of good ol' 'murica. Present-tense keeps the pacing fast, but also limits chances for exploring language and pacing. Excellently suggests a larger, scarier world beyond that of the narrative without spoiling it.
Take into consideration my personality and the kinds of books I like and don't like. I like books that are creative. I tend toward science fiction and fantasy. This book looked interesting at the start. However, I wish there were a rating system in books. This one had a lot of foul language and violence. Sometimes, I don't mind that if the language and violence if the story is interesting enough. An example I would use is Jade City. In that story, there is most certainly violence and bad languag ...more
Raven Belasco
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Liminal People is a novel unlike any I’ve ever read. It’s this perfect combination of really well-written action (from street fighting to big-badda-booms to psychic warfare) with deep psychological examinations of the most vital pieces of the human condition: abuse/violence, love and loss, the meaning of family, the search for one’s place in the world, etc.
All of that jammed fast-paced into 190 pages of rollercoaster exploration of this dangerous alternate universe full of powerful beings wh
Ryan Wolf
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this setting. The open-ended hierarchy of vague yet menacing Powers always just down the street in every corner of the world reminds me of the best parts of John Wick. I never got close to getting bored of descriptions of how the characters used their abilities, they were always evolving and finding clever new approaches.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: slim-volumes
Loved this and looking forward to the second book. Text is riddled with typos though!
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Taggert, the main character of Ayize Jama-Everett’s debut novel The Liminal People, is one of a growing number of people with supernatural powers, called the liminal people. Taggert’s power is his ability to heal, which also gives him the abilitiy to read body functions, change and stop them. The Liminal People reads like a superhero comic told in a noir prose style. Now, there are a lot of superhero stories in lots of mediums available at the moment, and I’m usually hesitant when it comes to th ...more
Liminal People is a super-powered mystery story featuring an unlikely detective. Taggart is a healer, with the power to control human bodies on a cellular level for good or ill. He's also a secret weapon for a drugs-and-other-things cartel based out of Morocco, headed by Nordeen, a boss with powers of his own and a predisposition to usefully complex plans. The self-reflection in Taggart, the part of him that is able to tell someone he wants to respect him that the best healers are the ones who k ...more
Apr 16, 2012 rated it liked it
not bad for a first novelistic effort. i had higher hopes for it at the beginning than proved out, but there was still a lot to like.

one: it starts in africa. wishing deeply for more sf not from the US or britain, so i was happyhappyhappy. even if the main character is american, at least he's not your standard white guy, and fortunately he's not even white. and he lives in morocco.

i do wish the narrative had stayed there, but alas, we had to go to london.

and our protag himself... he starts out
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Tried this one on the strength of a good review. I thought it was decently well done, but not enough for me to recommend for book club.

a non-white, non-American main character. Most of the book features characters of color, and it begins in Morocco. I would liked to have seen more of the book take place in Africa, actually.

the powers were interesting and slightly different. We never get an explanation for them- are they magic, psychic, mutants? also slightly unusual- the main characte
I was engrossed in the world where magical superpowers are superimposed on the world that we know and love, and yet is intertwined with it. The narrative is more technical than comic books and more occult than the sprawl trilogy, although it is reminiscent of both. Each character is strategically navigating a web of power by way of super-human abilities that are dialed in like some quantum-computer although their motivations retain recognizably human sentiments. The powers of each character coun ...more
Shana DuBois
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing and refreshing take on superpowers.

Be forewarned, this book will suck you in. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect going in but several people had recommended it so I went in knowing very little. By chapter four I couldn't put it down, I had to keep reading. The characters, Taggert and Tamara in particular, are incredibly developed. Even smaller (as in time on 'screen') characters, like Samantha, are written such that the reader gets a true connection and feeling for the character.

Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Richard by:
Excellent. A very well-written paranormal-scifi-fantasy. No vampires.

The blurb is an adequate overview; what it cannot convey is the author's engrossing prose and lifelike characters. There is a well thought-out conflict for the protagonist to navigate, with a mix of cliched and innovative twists. Bonus points for a black protagonist and several strong female characters.

Read it.

Oh: Also recommended by ("We come from the future") with a lengthy review at The Liminal People is the twist
Stephen Dorneman
Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This slender novel, told in the first person, does what the best superhero-base entertainment only very rarely achieves -- for the duration of reading, of experiencing, it, you believe that this world of telepaths, firestarters, telekinetics, and many more living alongside normal humans (norms) is real. In that world, older powers warp the younger ones and war against each other, and a healer must (rather graphically) kill and kill again, before chossing whether or not to suffer the repercussion ...more
Nick Fagerlund
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
This ultra-violent superhero crime/revenge story was a functional page-turner, but was not precisely my cuppa. The protag was supposed to read as a dark, conflicted antihero, but he was kind of just a piece of garbage. (Cruel, ragey, crappy towards women, blames most of his flaws on his mentor/crime boss, etc.) And even ignoring him there were plenty of problems, what with the love interest killed off for motivation and the evil psychic disabled person and all.

Well-staged action, mildly intrigui
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