#AltRead 2017 Book Reviews 2017 NetGalley Challenge 2017 Reviews

#Review: Borne by Jeff VanderMeer @HarperCollins @4thEstateBooks ‏

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 and broke free. Driven insane by his torture at the Company, Mord terrorizes the city even as he provides sustenance for scavengers like Rachel.

At first, Borne looks like nothing at all—just a green lump that might be a Company discard. The Company, although severely damaged, is rumoured to still make creatures and send them to distant places that have not yet suffered Collapse.

Borne somehow reminds Rachel of the island nation of her birth, now long lost to rising seas. She feels an attachment she resents; attachments are traps, and in this world any weakness can kill you. Yet when she takes Borne to her subterranean sanctuary, the Balcony Cliffs, Rachel convinces her lover, Wick, not to render Borne down to raw genetic material for the drugs he sells—she cannot break that bond.

Wick is a special kind of supplier, because the drug dealers in the city don’t sell the usual things. They sell tiny creatures that can be swallowed or stuck in the ear, and that release powerful memories of other people’s happier times or pull out forgotten memories from the user’s own mind—or just produce beautiful visions that provide escape from the barren, craterous landscapes of the city.

Against his better judgment, out of affection for Rachel or perhaps some other impulse, Wick respects her decision. Rachel, meanwhile, despite her loyalty to Wick, knows he has kept secrets from her. Searching his apartment, she finds a burnt, unreadable journal titled “Mord,” a cryptic reference to the Magician (a rival drug dealer) and evidence that Wick has planned the layout of the Balcony Cliffs to match the blueprint of the Company building. What is he hiding? Why won’t he tell her about what happened when he worked for the Company?

I just LOVE this cover! (Better than the others…)

Borne by Jeff VanderMeerBorne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am reviewing Borne by Jeff VanderMeer. Here are my thoughts:

^^ Rachel’s a scavenger trying to survive in a destroyed world that is littered with biotech experiments the Company have discarded and nothing is ever what it seems. She meets Wick who makes his own way, by dealing with all sorts of things he finds, breaking them down and making the best use out of what he can. Then Rachel finds Borne, but instead of breaking him up and using him for parts, she keeps him. Not only does he start to talk, become a person and grow on her, he starts to grow – into something quite huge and alien. Yet despite his quirkiness Rachel and Borne become attached; like mother and child. What can become of such a relationship in a world where survival is everyone’s priority?

^^ Borne. How to explain Borne? He waffles between childlike and adult states as he finds his way around Rachel’s world. He can morph into objects and people, but without these disguises he forms a six-foot hybrid of a squid and a sea anemone with a ring of circling eyes. In short, he’s a fascinating, shape-shifting character, and one Rachel takes it upon herself to teach the ways of the world. One he is clearly not used to living in.

^^ Then there’s the giant grizzly God-Bear called Mord, the Magician, the poison rains, memory beetles, and the odd discarded biotech that could cause death or discomfort.

^^ I quite liked how this book is split into three parts, and each part/chapter has a sub title relating to the next part of the story.

^^ Underneath the surface of this post-apocalyptic tale of survival, there is something more. Something deeper. You’ll see it as you read through. Maybe the author is writing of a world not so alien after all. If you read in between the lines, is our society so different? Do we teach our children what is best, only to have them go their own way as soon as they have a mind of their own? If you look closer, there are so many similarities to modern life as we know it today.  It’s a kind of charming, yet terrifying read all rolled into one.

^^ This is a great book for any fan of fantasy and science fiction set in a dystopian world, where technology and the supernatural intertwine.

Overall: VanderMeer’s dystopian world is a weird and wonderful mix creative strange characters, a fascinating mind and world-building skills. I’ve never read anything quite like it!

Thank you to NetGalley for my ARC copy.
View all my reviews on Goodreads | Read my reviews on Amazon:


The other cover…  I don’t like it as much, do you? What are your thoughts?

It certainly provides a better impression of what Borne looks like. Maybe, like Borne, it will grow on me…




What do you think?

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