Elsewhere and NeverNever, by Will Shetterly (Harcourt Magic Carpet, 2004)

Somewhere beyond the World, past the ever-changing expanse of the Nevernever, there’s a city that used to be part of the real world, now just known as Bordertown. It’s a place where humans and the Fae live and interact between their respective worlds, where magic is real and sometimes works as planned, where music plays an important part and anything can happen. It’s a place where the disaffected youths of two worlds go when they’re searching for something they can’t find anywhere else. Into this world comes Ron, a young man trying to escape his mundane past and follow in his missing brother’s footsteps. And for Ron, it’s the start of a long, strange journey. In Elsewhere, we follow Ron’s progress from new arrival, to member of the mixed gang called the Strange Pupae, to dream-addled Wharf Rat, to magically-cursed teen werewolf. Friends come and go as he learns about life on the Border the hard way, but ultimately, he comes through stronger for it all. In NeverNever, he’s still a werewolf, though he has learned to cope. In fact, as Wolfboy, he has managed to gain a distinctive reputation, and he couldn’t be happier. Well, life’s not all roses. It’s hard to find a girlfriend who’s willing to stay with a werewolf (though plenty will try anything once, for the novelty value). Then there’s the murder mystery at the local club, Danceland, which leads into the kidnapping of an old friend, which ties into the years-old riddle of the Lost Heir of Faerie…. And just when things seem to quiet down, a chance meeting with a old enemy proves to be a pivotal moment for Wolfboy, who has a chance to be human again at long last.

Originally published over a decade ago as part of the brilliant Bordertown shared universe edited by Terri Windling and Mark Alan Arnold, Elsewhere and NeverNever tell the fascinating story of a young man searching for his true identity, no matter how many mistakes and hard choices he has to make along the way. Combining magic, music, murder, mystery, and urban fantasy at its best, these books are a welcome reissue. Be sure to also check out Finder, by Emma Bull, as it features the same setting and some of the same characters.

Originally posted on SF Site, 2004

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