A FINANCIAL TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR
The dark, dangerous, funny and uplifting new novel from the author of Annihilation, the inspiration for the major motion picture directed by Alex Garland.
‘Neither of us had control of our monsters anymore’
In a ruined city of the future, Rachel scavenges a strange creature from the fur of a despotic bear.
She names him Borne.
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
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
It never ceases to astound me how much one day's blow-me-over imaginative fiction can suddenly be a warm and cozy blanket to carry me through a chilly night. Or, I should say, an enormous bear-hug to destroy whatever is left of a dystopian-ravaged city to give my belly a good belly laugh.
But it does, and strange is the new comfort food. :)
It may not be as great the second time because I knew what the reveals were going to be, but I still enjoyed the sheer beauty of the imaginatio ...more
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
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
Ask not for whom the bell tolls.
It tolls for thee.
Exquisite and extraordinary... A poignant and terrible vision, an astounding dystopia, so plausible, so actually probable now. This is a book you LIVE, not just read. This is a life you anticipate.
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 creating for her now. I find Rachel’s terrible futu ...more
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
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
We are in a nameless city. The city once housed a company (also just called "the Company") that created biotech. We learn that wars and global warming must have laid waste to this world, aided by the Company's experiments. Mord, a massive flying bear that was also created by the Company and that is more than five storeys high, is terrorising the survivors in the city.
Only three of th ...more
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
A dystopian novel featuring a giant flying bear named Mord and a plant/person(?) named Borne shouldn’t have been so soporific that it literally put me to sleep nightly for two weeks. But hey, at least I’m now feeling well rested!
The best part was the reveal of the letter. But I don’t think it was worth the effort/time to get to that point. Pass.
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
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
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
“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...more
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
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The star ...more