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September 13, 2017

Review of Borne by Jeff Vandermeer #SciFi

by Alison DeLuca

We're about to go on a family vacation, and as usual, my first travel purchase is books. I need novels for the plane, for hotel room time, wait in line time...

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front cover of Borne by Jeff VandermeerI recently purchased Borne by Jeff Vandermeer. Part science fiction, part post-apocalyptic, the book sucked me until the very end.

It's the story of Rachael, a scavenger who lives in the Balcony Cliffs. Overhead, an immense bear calls Mord flies over the city. When he lands, Rachael climbs his fur and steals the biotech MOrd has picked up.

Borne is one of these, a piece of biotech stolen from a giant bear's fur.

If this sounds too strange, I have to tell you Rachael and Borne fascinated me. I had to keep reading to find out what would happen between them. Borne, who looks like a vase with tentacles, grows rapidly and starts to try to be human. Rachael sees him as child, perhaps - an oddly-shaped animal with immense powers.

As Borne grows, Rachael's relationship with him changes. There was one moment when I grew teary - positively teary over what was about to happen. Throughout, Borne and Rachael both butt heads with Wick, Rachael's lover.

Honestly, I never thought I'd be so invested in a tentacled creature with lots of eyes. But Vandermeer makes Borne come alive, speaking in childlike yet intelligent cadence. In the end, I cared desperately what would happen to the funny little piece of biotech.

Vandermeer breaks his novel into sections with simple yet provocative titles: Where I Lived, And Why, Why I Called Him Borne and How He Changed. Each heading sucked me in, making me gobble the book so I could find out what happened.

Furthermore, a second reading made me realize the entire story has complicated layers AND a possible alternate view suggested by Wick's job - and that's the only hint I'll give.

After reading Borne, I now want to get everything Jeff Vandermeer ever wrote. Luckily, he's a prolific author with as series, the Southern Trilogy, already published.

So now I know what I'm going to read on the plane.

Buy Borne at Amazon

Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.
Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.

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  1. The Southern Reach trilogy is amazing so its great to know that Vandermeer continues with more amazing work for readers.