Edited By: Holly Black and Ellen Kushner; Introduction By: Terri Windling
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Adults
Publication Date: May 2011
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: June 2011
In 1986, Terri Windling introduced to the literary world a fantastical place called The Borderlands. Here, in the Borderlands – outcasts, runaways – they all ended up in an old abandoned part of the city that was a Mecca for them called Bordertown.
In this place, humans, elves, and half-breeds lived together and tried to work together through various “issues” in order to find a way to live in peace. Now, in 2011, a slew of urban fantasy authors have come together to each write a story or poem that reopens Bordertown after thirteen years of being closed to humans – and enable a completely new generation to experience the amazing world of the Borderlands.
So many fantastic authors are a part of this book, that no reader will leave these pages unsatisfied. In the very first story the “Mom,” Terri Windling (along with Ellen Kushner) is back, and puts together a tale titled, Welcome to Bordertown. A postcard has arrived in a small town to a family who has missed their daughter, Trish, for thirteen years. She ran away and they’ve always feared the worst. This correspondence has come from Bordertown and offers a message that Trish is fine and having a great time. Unfortunately, the postmark is from thirteen years ago. Trish’s brother Jimmy knows in his heart that Trish is alive, and begins a journey that will, hopefully, retrieve his sister. Readers are shown the Borderlands and the amazing characters from Terri Windling’s imagination that include Thelma Louise Mankiller, as well as locations like the hard Luck Café and Try Elsewhere Books. And the twist at the end, the decision that Trish and Jimmy come to for their futures, is a true surprise.
There is a fabulous story about a young woman named Shannon who wants to bring new “law” to Bordertown and organize the humans and elves so that they can finally live and work together in peace; and some of this work is done from the internet café on Hell Street. Stories move all over the realm introducing wild characters at each and every turn. There is also a fantastic “graphic” story in the middle of this collection called, Fair Trade, which offers unforgettable dialogue and drawings to the reader.
From poems about warring sisters to a poem about The Wall which truly brings together the theme of the Borderlands – that mortals need mysteries to survive, whereas elves are just as dependent on having mortals in their lives for survival – is pure art. In the end, each and every one of these truly artistic, creative, and talented writers have done immense justice to the Borderlands, and introduced new characters, new mysteries, and new ways to taste life.
Quill Says: A mesmerizing work that will, most definitely, inspire the imaginations of this, and future generations. Well done!