Science Fiction

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

I will be honest here: I chose to read the novel because of its cover. It looked so interesting and beautiful and I just had to give it a shot. Now, I know I didn’t like Annihilation by this same author… but when has that ever stopped me from giving a book a shot? So here is my review:

In a city destroyed by drought and conflict, a young woman named Rachel tries to survive, scavenging through the ruins. The city is dangerous, littered with remnants of experiments gone wrong by the Company, a biotech firm now derelict. There is also a giant bear lurking around, attacking whomsoever it pleases. Rachel tries to make ends meet in a run-down sanctuary she shares with her partner, Wick. One day, Rachel finds Borne and take him home. Borne is a mysterious green lump but there is something about Borne that grabs Rachel’s attention. Against her instincts – and against Wick’s wishes – Rachel keeps Borne and helps Borne grow. As Borne learns to speak and learns about the world, Rachel find herself feeling motherly feelings. She wants to protect Borne – even though she knows she can’t. But as Borne grows, he begins to threaten the balance of power in the city and to put the security of her sanctuary with Wick at risk. What Borne will lay bare to Rachel as he changes is how precarious her existence has been, and how dependent on subterfuge and secrets. In the aftermath, nothing may ever be the same.

The writing style may have been the same between Borne and Annihilation, but it worked for me here. This is a difficult novel to read because it is not only complex in its ideology, but also in the way it is written. It took me quite a bit of time to read and process this novel … but it was well worth the effort. Something that I found very unique about this book is that the author leaves the bigger picture vague; we don’t know all of the details that led to the ruined city. However, it is the emotions and the little things that the author expands upon. By doing this, he keeps the reader focused on the characters, as they grow, develop, and come upon their truths. The reader isn’t bogged down by useless details; everything that happens and everything that is described is relevant in painting this beautiful story. I loved the relationship that develops between Borne and Rachel, and I love how it affects various aspects of Rachel’s life, including her relationship with Wick. I wish I could say more but I don’t want to ruin the experience for others. Suffice to say, this novel is incredibly written and extremely deep. It is not something that you can read in a rushed manner; you have to take your time in order to go beyond the surface. This isn’t just a tale of survival; this is a story about identity and relationships. It is definitely a worthwhile read. 5/5 stars from me!


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