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(Borderland #6)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  2,261 ratings  ·  102 reviews
American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults
VOYA Best Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror

Welcome to Bordertown. A hybrid community of misfits, oddballs and runaways. Where humans, elves and halflings coexist. Where magic and the brutal realities of survival clash and mix. For Orient and Tick-Tick, it's just home.

Death and dark magic hang over the city. A seducti
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 13th 2003 by Tor Teen (first published 1994)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,261 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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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
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another great read by Bull! Excellent writing and immersive world building. This turned into a crime/mystery quickly that was a lot of fun. I liked the characters, even though Ticker at times had stilted dialogue. I look forward to reading more exceptional urban fantasy by Bull!
Jun 30, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  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
Tamora Pierce
Jun 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Laurie Rich
Jan 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 26, 2018 added it
How to rate, what to do...
Emma Bull is an excellent writer, and that's why I own a paper copy of this. For years I've been distracted by others and let this collect dust, but since I'm now culling my paper books with full intent, I picked this up. Unfortunately, I did so on a trip, and was so busy I could only read little bits at a time in between other books. (The story could be much longer, never mind.)

This is a book that is better read immersively. Go to Borderlands and spend time there,
Nov 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 11, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
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
Oct 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
I can imagine that for those who read the Borderlands books growing up, this might've been a vivid exploration of a beloved terrain, but as a newcomer, I found it mostly boring. The worldbuilding is more quirky-small-town-with-elves than richly textured urban fantasy. The protagonist reads like a middle-aged woman instead of a man in his early twenties. And once I realized Sunny Rico looked rather strikingly like the author, it was impossible to ignore the potential self-insertion.

But while all
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: faerie, fantasy
Review to come :)
Sep 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Sbuchler by: Crystal
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, reviewed, fantasy
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
I'm more of an Emma Bull fan than a Borderlands fan, and, to the best of my knowledge, this is the only book I own set in this particular universe. Decent urban fantasy, not unduly gritty, but not flowers-and-pixie dust either. The interpretation of the Fae owes a lot of the traditional folk tales, but they are presented as real people, and not as idealized fantasy figures or as child-stealing monsters. Pretty much everyone in the Borderlands is a misfit to one extent or another, so you get the ...more
Nora Peevy
Oct 08, 2011 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 rated it it was amazing
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;
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Books which make me cry tend to get five stars unless they have some really annoying flaws. Suffice to say, there are minimal to none flaws here.
Ronald McCutchan
Back in the early, early days of urban fantasy, there were Terri Windling's Borderland anthologies . . . which begat a few amazing full-length novels by contributors Emma Bull and Will Shetterly. (Emma had already broken ground for the new genre with War for the Oaks. In the early 90s, I was reading a lot of fantasy--even attended Boskone for a couple of years (one of which when Emma and Will were GoHs). And I bought and devoured Finder. A quarter century later, in a fit of nostalgia and lack of ...more
Jun 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the Bordertown stories... several authors have explored the urban fantasy land on the border of "the world" and the land of Fae. I really enjoyed Emma Bulls War of the Oak, and have had this book on my list for years. Somehow I didn't realize it was a "borderlands" book. It was kinda fun to revisit the place, but this was not the strongest story. I found myself sorta lost or disengaged through much of it. The basic premise is that Finder also know as Orient has the ability to Find things ...more
Abby Jones
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was the perfect afternoon read. It was fun, engaging, moving, and creative. This is the second Emma Bull book I've read and I'm begining to see some of the nuances of her writing. Her dialogue can be very "realistic" in such a way that I get a bit lost about what the characters are talking about and have to go re-read the conversation. Sometimes her main character will understand something, like them entering a morgue, but I'm not tracking, and it takes me a few minutes to figure out someth ...more
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was another random pull-off-the-shelves book from my library. Usually urban fantasy isn't really my thing, but this was pretty great. I didn't realize it was part of a series until I looked it up on Goodreads, but it isn't the kind of story that requires prior knowledge. Having said that, I'll probably look up some of the other books, because it was an enjoyable read. ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bordertown revisted

So I finally got around to reading "Finder" & was not disappointed. Once again the title character sets out to serve his community in his small way & ends up involved in a mystery that means life or death, not just for himself but possibly all of Bordertown.
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is Really great.
Emotional resonance: 4 / 5
Social awareness: 5 / 5
Craft (structure/style): 4 / 5
Novelty (plot/ideas): 4 / 5
Accessibility: 5 / 5
Rita	 Marie
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-sff
Not quite as appealing as "War For the Oaks," but still a great story. The ending was particularly well done. ...more
Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
JJ DeBenedictis
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
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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

Other books in the series

Borderland (8 books)
  • Borderland (Borderland, #1)
  • Bordertown (Borderland, #2)
  • Life on the Border  (Borderland, #3)
  • Elsewhere (Borderlands, #4)
  • Nevernever (Borderland, #5)
  • The Essential Bordertown (Borderland, #7)
  • Welcome to Bordertown (Borderland, #8)

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