Review: Borne

What a strange and wild ride. This was a really great read and anyone looking for a more “biotech” sort of dystopia, this has to be your first pick. Anyone willing to tolerate a bit of weird in the mix of their fiction, then you will be in good hands here, then again has Vandermeer ever left any room for doubt?

Borne takes place in a city, both an ancient and new place that seems to writhe with conflict and change. We follow Rachel a scavenger, who with her partner Wick, attempt to survive in a city, where just about everything from the water to the plants will kill you.

The world unfurls around the characters and at times it quietly teases your attention such as the dead astronauts Rachel stumbles upon. At other times, the world comes crashing down like Mord, the titanic flying grizzly bear, who rules the city.

Yet, something changes when Rachel stumbles upon Borne, or rather biotech that eventually transforms, evolves, morphs into Borne. It is not long before Rachel and Wick realize that they have more on their plates with this new creature in their midst, the only real question for them to answer is what purpose was Borne made for?

Vandermeer’s prose is as haunting and yearnful as it ever was in the Area X trilogy. And in some ways, Borne is all the richer for such a strange and dangerous world. Everything feels like it has meaning, yet none at all. Rachel wanders through the city seeing ghosts or feeling like a ghost herself and it brings us in deeper to feel the kind of loss and sense of self that she searches for throughout this story.

This book plays with not only the weird but plenty of sci-fi and fantasy here. A truly wonderful book and certainly not one to sleep on.

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