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Borne (Borne)

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3.91  ·  Rating details ·  11,857 Ratings  ·  1,853 Reviews
In a ruined, nameless city of the future, a woman named Rachel, who makes her living as a scavenger, finds a creature she names “Borne” entangled in the fur of Mord, a gigantic, despotic bear. Mord once prowled the corridors of the biotech organization known as the Company, which lies at the outskirts of the city, until he was experimented on, grew large, learned to fly an ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by MCD / Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Jess Disclaimer: I'm only halfway through Borne. But in terms of writing style and the book's characteristics so far, I think you will. I loved all three…moreDisclaimer: I'm only halfway through Borne. But in terms of writing style and the book's characteristics so far, I think you will. I loved all three Southern Reach books, but Annihilation is my favorite. Borne is written from a first person perspective and VanderMeer has a good grasp of writing in the female voice, which I felt was evident in annihilation. Borne's a complex character, but VanderMeer does a good job of describing him, and he also develops the human relationships as much as he does the action and drama of the science. I also feel that Borne holds a clarity in writing style that the Southern Reach books lacked. I read a chunk of the ending, and there seems to also be resolution, which is a trait that the Southern Reach trilogy definitely lacked. Hope you'll give it a shot!(less)
Naomi Not much similarity between Borne and Perdido Street Station except they are both dystopias with biological hazard themes and populations struggling…moreNot much similarity between Borne and Perdido Street Station except they are both dystopias with biological hazard themes and populations struggling for survival. Mieville's fantasies are rife with senseless cruelty (the remade) and have stock characters that are difficult to empathize with. Borne is set in a very grim , destroyed civilization, but the characters are more sympathetic. (less)

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karen
Mar 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pagehabit
We all just want to be people, and none of us know what that really means.

oh, jeff vandermeer…. to my shame, i have yet to read the southern reach trilogy, although i own all three, and have owned them for a good long time now. and while we’re on the subject of my many personal failings, i actually own a TON of his books, including three copies of city of saints and madmen, in at least two different versions. many of these are in storage right now, after bedbug-overreaction 2015 sent so many boo
...more
Kevin Kelsey
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
Posted at Heradas Review

VanderMeer’s writing is engaging, difficult, and worth the effort required to read. It takes me a little longer to finish his novels than I feel like it should. It’s the kind of writing that makes me a better reader. It’s challenging and uncomfortable. Something about his prose makes me have to go back and reread sentences to make sure I understood what was being said. It reminds me of William Gibson’s writing in that way. Of course, VanderMeer and Gibson write in entirel
...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, sci-fi
Holy crap on a cracker!! Mind blown!!



Mel 🖤🐺❤
...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
”The closer I approached, the more Borne rose up through Mord’s fur, became more like a hybrid sea anemone and squid: a sleep vase with rippling colors that strayed from purple toward deep blues and sea greens. Four vertical ridges slid up the sides of its warm and pulsating skin. The texture was as smooth as waterworn stone, if a bit rubbery. It smelled of beach reeds on lazy summer afternoons and, beneath the sea salt, of passionflowers. Much later, I realized it would have smelled different t ...more
Hannah
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pros:
Prose
Imagery
Imagination
World building
Backstory

Cons:
Pacing.

I absolutely adored many things about this book but I think ultimately I admire Jeff VanderMeer's craft more than I enjoyed reading it.

He has a brilliant way with words and the pictures he paints are vivid, frightening, sad, and scary. I enjoy the fact that he is not only clever but ultimately trusts the reader to be clever, too. He lets you fill in the blanks yourself, he doesn't dumb down the story and he knows you will follow
...more
Samantha
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites-2018
4.5 stars!
Bradley
This is probably going to be one of those times where I rail against the universe and popularity norms because this novel is an exemplary piece of imaginative fiction that goes well above and beyond the call of any duty to amaze, wonder, and offer up a meal of monstrously epic proportions.

First, I should say that no matter how much I loved the weirdness and the atmosphere of VanderMeer's previous trilogy, nothing quite prepared me for just how good this was going to be. In fact, if I didn't alre
...more
Adina
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve wanted to read VanderMeer for some time and my plan was to start with the Southern Reach trilogy, his most known work up to date. Then Borne came along and, after consulting with GR friends, I decided that the most recent novel would be the better place to start my incursion in the author’s oeuvre as it is a standalone story.

Borne has many of the usual dystopian elements: a post-apocalyptic world, characters fighting for survival, raw behavior feelings and, a nostalgia for the former times
...more
Nnedi
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gloriously bizarre. The world building is incredible. Within the first night I started reading this, I had nightmares. There's an icky flying bear that is sort of a GMO cautionary tale. The biotech is wicked (heehee, there's a pun in there, but you have to read the book to get it). This novel grows as you read it, just like it's titular character Borne.
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.
Philip
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5ish stars.

Post-apocalypse but instead of zombies or raiders or corrupt governments, this is full-on wackiness. Gigantic flying bear, Mord, is Lord of the city and has a brood of regular terrifying bears that act as proxies for carrying out his royal bearship's horrific rule. Little kids with bee eyes and wings and all sorts of other gruesome "modifications" run around maiming and killing for fun. The city has been wasted of its natural resources and survival is only possible by scavenging th
...more
William
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ask not for whom the bell tolls.
It tolls for thee.


Exquisite and extraordinary prose... A poignant and terrible vision, an astounding dystopia, so plausible, so actually probable. This is a book you LIVE, not just read.

Note: I do not recommend this book to those without a strong emotional constitution.

All through this extraordinary and wonderful book, I found myself nearly in tears as I watched Rachel (my "grand-daughter" in this story) suffer and struggle in the wreck of a world we are creatin
...more
Jessica Woodbury
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, sci-fi-fantasy
I really enjoyed ANNIHILATION, the first of the Southern Reach books, but found my interest waned after that for reasons I could never quite put my finger on. VanderMeer is great at mood but I felt like there was something I needed that was missing, particularly in the later books. So I was very interested to read BORNE while also approaching it with a little trepidation.

BORNE was a really satisfying read and also helped me pinpoint the thing that I'd been missing in the Southern Reach novels: a
...more
Lata
3.5 stars. Dreamy, weird, curious, slow, meditative, amusing, beautiful, violent....Borne is all this, and a lot of tentacles. Definitely reminiscent of the author's Southern Reach trilogy in terms of the dystopia, environmental concerns, strange creatures, and the brutality coupled with the quiet, wistful, and almost remote and distanced feel of the narration.
Matthew Quann
Five Forms of Jeff Vandermeer’s Borne

1. The Imaginative Dystopia

Borne is set in a dystopian world unlike anything else I’ve read (except, perhaps, other Vandermeer). Rachel, our lead, is a scavenger who hunts for food and supplies in a surreal landscape in order to keep her and her romantic partner alive. There are feral children with wasps that allow them to see flying about in their eye sockets. In a world where biologically engineered organisms (biotech) have been allowed to run wild, every e
...more
Maryam
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Since Annihilation I became a fan of Vandermeer. His writing is not easy, to me it really requires effort to read but I think it really worth it. I found myself reading a paragraph two or three times so I can absorb the meaning. It’s for sure an above-average reading experience.

Borne happens in a post-apocalyptic world. The world as we know is ruined, rivers are poisoned, genetically engineered creatures roam the cities, even govern them and people are just trying to survive every day. Same as S
...more
J.L.   Sutton
May 02, 2018 rated it liked it
There's something very fantastical about the dystopian world Jeff VanderMeer creates in Borne; this is especially evident in the novel's title character. It's interesting to see Borne develop through the protagonist's eyes. However, for all the discussion and questioning about how the world came to be filled with biological mutations, like Borne, I feel there is a lack of depth to this exploration. I may be overly critical here because I kept being reminded of Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake (w ...more
Book Riot Community
Trust me: you are going to be hearing about this book for the rest of the year. It’s one of the best Sci-Fi/Dystopian hybrids to come out in years. Fans of VanderMeer’s The Southern Reach trilogy are going to eat this up. The book follows a scavenger named Rachel during the recent apocalypse. She and her fellow survivor Wick are threatened by Mord: an impossibly large (flying) bear who destroys everything in his wake. One day, Rachel finds a strange creature embedded in Mord’s fur. She becomes o ...more
Gary
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
The dystopian reality of Jeff Vandermeer’s Borne is occupied by an enraged, giant flying bear named Mord that hunts and slaughters feral, sociopathic children in a post-apocalyptic urban wasteland. Imagine what it would take under those circumstances to come across something truly bewildering. When Rachel, the novel’s protagonist and narrator, discovers the being she names Borne while salvaging through the forest of fur on Mord’s sleeping body, she is unsure if it is a plant or animal or anythin ...more
Lark Benobi
Sep 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
Little dollops of pleasure from the writing and small flashes of imagination and imagery now and then kept me hoping, and kept me reading, but for the most part this was a flaccid tease of a book that went nowhere and that meant nothing, and that even made me think back in doubt about my love of the Southern Reach trilogy, like, maybe he was pulling a fast one on me there too.

The plot felt so very familiar--and then I realized I was reading a retread of Old Yeller, complete with death-match bet
...more
Kaitlin
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
You know what? Sometimes I start a book and I'm sure it's not for me, this is one of those times, but yet there was some niggling feeling that I should give this a fair chance, and keep reading, and I am really glad I did. Although this book falls into the New Weird category very aptly - it's completely a weird read - I found it grew much better as it went, and I ended up really quite enjoying the characters and their story. I will say, this is never going to be a book that works for everyone, i ...more
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book has a godzilla-sized flying bear and a gigantic shapeshifting inverted squid being and a lot of heartbreak and love.
Andreas
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“There comes a moment when you witness events so epic you don’t know how to place them in the cosmos or in relation to the normal workings of a day. Worse, when these events recur, at an ever greater magnitude, in a cascade of what you have never seen before and do not know how to classify. Troubling because each time you acclimate, you move on, and, if this continues, there is a mundane grandeur to the scale that renders certain events beyond rebuke or judgment, horror or wonder, or even the g
...more
Dannii Elle
Two beautiful book editions, a renowned author, and a unique sounding plot all culminated in my anticipating great things from this. Unfortunately, I think this may have been a case of expectations too highly placed.

Whilst not at all a horrible book, there was something about the writing quality that perpetually kept me at a distance from feeling anything about this book or for its characters. The actual bones of the plot were individual enough to keep me intrigued but I can't say that I was eve
...more
Ace
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally a Vandermeer novel that I not only enjoyed reading, but understood. It has a start, middle and an end. It’s not a part of a trilogy pretending to be a complete book. It’s a full story, a great yarn and a scary look at a possible future for us.

For the first time, I am gripped by a JV novel, glued to the pages and the spine chilling story. Those in the know will know what I mean when [she] walks into the pool room and Wick is talking to Rachel. Even though I knew it was coming, it still se
...more
Melanie
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5. This one is hard for me to rate. I am certainly an outlier here. The average rating is pretty high at 3.93. It took me quite a while to feel like I knew what the hell was going on in this (I think) post apocolyptic world. This is the 2nd book by VanDerMeer that's made me feel this way so I'm not sure if I'm just a dip or it's his writing style. I would have liked more back story as to why the world was in the state it was. I never felt very connected with the characters either. Maybe VanDer ...more
Yodamom
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Audiobook:
I don't even know how to explain this story. It is a fantasy, futuristic. It is a love-ish story but not like you'd expect. It is dystopian, dark and deadly. It is a physiological horror. It is a mind game. It was a hallucinogenic trip . I don't know if I liked it, I wanted to quit it but couldn't stop myself from listening. It was crazy and yet it all fit. Brilliantly weird.
Note: I heard "Borne" so many times I almost lost my mind.
Lindsey
2 and a half stars. Maybe 3.

I'm not sure how to express my feelings on this book.

On the one hand, it's fascinating and well written with interesting characters, creatures and world.

On the other hand, I wish that more had been revealed sooner (and just... more). There are still too many secrets built into pretty language. Just tell me something. Answer a question or two. It's almost plot-less as well in a weird way. The reveals aren't really built up, and if the main character doesn't much car
...more
Jason Lundberg
I was up last night until 1 a.m. reading the last 90 pages of this novel, and this morning its images and events still haunt me. The strange family of Rachel, Wick and Borne, the murderous rage of Mord and his proxies, the machinations of the Magician, and the blasted surreal landscape they all inhabit. There are similarities to Area X here, in the weirdness of the biologically altered creatures and the resilience of the natural world, but I prefer to see them as separate works that examine the ...more
David Katzman
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'll always have a soft spot for Jeff VanderMeer since he read and praised my novel A Greater Monster. So admittedly, it's not easy to be objective when reading him, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was quite interesting as well because both Borne and A Greater Monster deal with apocalyptic futures where genetic hybridization and genetic engineering have gone mad. Despite that basic similarity, the books are utterly different in tone, style and thematic explorations. Borne begins at a rati ...more
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NYT bestselling writer Jeff VanderMeer has been called “the weird Thoreau” by the New Yorker for his engagement with ecological issues. His most recent novel, the national bestseller Borne, received wide-spread critical acclaim and his prior novels include the Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance). Annihilation won the Nebula and Shirley Jackson Awards, has been translat ...more
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“We all just want to be people, and none of us know what that really means.” 18 likes
“That's the problem with people who are not human. You can't tell how badly they're hurt, or how much they need your help, and until you ask, they don't always know how to tell you.” 12 likes
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