Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

“Since Borne never displayed any kind of threatening behavior, I never thought to take him as a threat.”

This is a book that took me a long time to read, but only because my work/life balance was tipped over.

I enjoyed the story of Rachel and how she found and ‘brought up’, Borne. Also of Rachel’s relationship with Wick, both of them have secrets, both of them are stealing access to each others private space in search of answers.

They live in a world of scavengers, in a world of destruction and wreckage. Rachel makes her ‘living’ scavenging what she can, to enable her and Wick to continue living in their sanctuary apartment block. Wick contributes by manufacturing biotechnology goods to sell – basically the equivalent of a modern day drug dealer (a it of a weird choice of expression I know!).

“I believe in Borne.” I truly do. It struck me as I was reading that I do believe in Borne.

Obviously life is not easy in this post-catastrophic world and things change for Rachel, Wick and Borne – sometimes exponentially. Ultimately things change and life is never the same again. But don’t be despondent life goes on.

This book is extremely well written, with great character construction without being overly descriptive. And did I mention how Borne captivated me. I’d love a Borne to communicate with, as long as it treated me the same as Borne treated Rachel, of course.

I’m sure that a number of my friends will be reading this book very soon (once I tell them about it of course).

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
A novel that is simultaneously harrowing, dark, dangerous, funny and uplifting from the author of the Southern Reach trilogy
“Am I a person?” Borne asks Rachel, in extremis.
“Yes, you are a person,” Rachel tells him. “But like a person, you can be a weapon, too.”
In a ruined, nameless city of the future, Rachel makes her living as a scavenger. She finds a creature she names Borne entangled in the fur of Mord, a gigantic despotic bear that once prowled the corridors of a biotech firm, the Company, until he was experimented on, grew large, learned to fly, and broke free. Made insane by the company’s torture of him, Mord terrorizes the city even as he provides sustenance for scavengers.
At first, Borne looks like nothing at all―just a green lump that might be a discard from the Company, which, although severely damaged, is rumored to still make creatures and send them to far-distant places that have not yet suffered collapse.
Borne reminds Rachel of the island nation of her birth, now long lost to rising seas. She feels an attachment that she resents: attachments are traps, and in this world any weakness can kill you. Yet when she takes Borne to her subterranean sanctuary, Rachel convinces her lover, Wick―a special kind of dealer―not to render down Borne as raw genetic material for the drugs he sells.
But nothing is quite the way it seems: not the past, not the present, not the future. If Wick is hiding secrets, so is Rachel―and Borne most of all. What Rachel finds hidden deep within the Company will change everything and everyone. There, lost and forgotten things have lingered and grown. What they have grown into is mighty indeed.

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