Loosely connected to the Terri Windling-Emma Bull-Will Shetterly-etc. "Borderland" shared-universe books (in that two central characters from there play a small part in this book), this is a "borders of Elfland" story set in an altered version of Chicago. The plot (about a young paramedic who is drawn in to working for an underworld boss, falls in love, and discovers his own abilities) is slight, but the characters, the background and the sheer writing are wonderful.
Great book. Engaging, interesting and unique.
Amusing blend of 1930s-style gangster drama and urban fantasy. The boundary between our world and Elfland, closed for many years, has been reopened, bringing destruction, magic, gangland warfare and thrilling elvish power struggles to the streets of Chicago. The focus of the story is Danny, renamed Doc, a young paramedic from provincial Iowa who joins a human-elven gang led by the mysterious Mr. Patrise. Full of action and tongue-in-cheek humor, though the writing is a bit too dense at times.
More great urban fantasy. Medic picked up in the dead of night to work for faerie community that lives in an apartment building. Very enjoyable.
Has a remainder mark on the bottom.
Learning that this novel is set in the the Terri Windling-Emma Bull-Will Shetterly-etc. "Borderland" shared-universe explained a lot: I felt that there was a fascinating world to be explored here, but the author was coasting, letting the knowledge he assumed the reader would have do the work for him. As someone who hasn't read any other Borderland stories, I found the descriptions of the world -- the magic of the areas affected by elven magic, and the hints about the dystopian world the central character is escaping from -- either ploddingly encyclopedic, or frustratingly offhand.
I finally gave up on it because, in a narrative in which a lot happens, I couldn't see anything like a plot developing. Page after page goes by in which Doc, our innocent young protagonist, is introduced to one exotic and slightly shady denizens of this magic-infested realm after another. We learn what they're wearing, what they're eating, and drinking, what they're singing. (Central to the action is a 40s-style nightclub, complete with top-hatted doorman and tuxedo'd waitresses.) Each one patiently explains his or her backstory, and "powers," someone fires a tommygun, Doc patches someone up ... and then he meets someone else. It's like the first day at a very puzzling internship, when you've been told everything about the switchboard and the coffee machine, but nothing about what the business actually does.
Perhaps they all come together, and something happens. I just didn't find it interesting enough to wait and find out.