Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* After the impeccable weirdness of the Southern Reach trilogy, VanderMeer offers another conceptual cautionary tale of corporate greed, scientific hubris, and precarious survival. Rachel is a battle-hardened scavenger in a near-future city plagued by experimental horrors from the Company, a now-derelict biotech firm. Most of the city is ruled by Mord, a titanic, intelligent, flying bear. His rival, the Magician, controls her territory with an army of mutated children. Rachel and her lover and business partner, Wick, operate beneath the notice of these larger forces until Rachel finds an amorphous blob that appears part plant, part sea anemone. She calls this oddly compelling creature Borne and becomes its teacher and protector as it begins to move, talk, and transform into new shapes. The question of Borne's origin and purpose looms ominously as its abilities and size expand, testing Rachel's loyalty and love, separating her from Wick, and fracturing Borne's fragile sense of self. VanderMeer marries bildungsroman, domestic drama, love story, and survival thriller into one compelling, intelligent story centered not around the gee-whiz novelty of a flying bear but around complex, vulnerable characters struggling with what it means to be a person. VanderMeer's talent for immersive world-building and stunning imagery is on display in this weird, challenging, but always heartfelt novel.--Hutley, Krista Copyright 2017 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
VanderMeer, author of the acclaimed Southern Reach trilogy, has made a career out of eluding genre classifications, and with Borne he essentially invents a new one. In a future strewn with the cast-off experiments of an industrial laboratory known only as the Company, a scavenger named Rachel survives alongside her lover, Wick, a dealer of memory-altering beetles, with whom she takes shelter from the periodic ravages of a giant mutant bear named Mord. One day, caught in Mord's fur, Rachel finds the bizarre, shape-shifting creature "like a hybrid of sea anemone and squid" she calls Borne. Rachel adopts Borne and takes on its education over Wick's objections. But Borne proves a precocious student, experiencing more and more complex transformations, testing Rachel's loyalty as it undertakes a personal mission that threatens Rachel and Wick's fragile existence even as it brings painful truths to the surface-truths like Wick's mysterious past with the Company, the identity of the mercurial rival he calls the Magician, the origin of the feral children who roam the wasteland, and even the circumstances of Rachel's own interrupted childhood. Reading like a dispatch from a world lodged somewhere between science fiction, myth, and a video game, the textures of Borne shift as freely as those of the titular whatsit. What's even more remarkable is the reservoirs of feeling that VanderMeer is able to tap into throughout Rachel and Wick's postapocalyptic journey into the Company's warped ruins, resulting in something more than just weird fiction: weird literature. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
In the blighted landscape of a nameless city, Rachel is a scavenger who roams the land looking for useful biotech scraps, remnants of experiments done by the Company. She brings back her finds to her lover Wick, who was once an employee of the Company, before everything fell apart. On one excursion, Rachel discovers a lump that she cannot at first identify as plant, animal, or machine. She brings it home, names it Borne, and quickly grows attached. As Borne evolves into a seemingly sentient creature, he becomes a bone of contention between Rachel and Wick, who have differing opinions on Borne's nature and possible threat. VERDICT VanderMeer ("Southern Reach" trilogy; Finch) delivers a work of dystopian ecofiction that will appeal to fans of Margaret Atwood's "MaddAddam" trilogy, albeit with a weirder sensibility. The language is lush and playful, with surreal touches, such as the building-sized bear that wanders a ruined landscape, attacking the sparse human population.-MM © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.