I was introduced to Vandermeer's writing through his Southern Reach Trilogy. To this day if someone asks me for a Sci Fi recommendation, my immediate question will be- "Did you read the Southern Reach Trilogy?" That is how much I loved those books. So, when I saw that a new Vandermeer book, called Borne, was coming out, I salivated until the day it was released. The day I got it, I pushed my entire TBR pile aside and sat down to read this book. I am glad to say the wait was worth it.
The difficulty is trying to describe this book as it is an original sci fi story in every single way. Rachel is the main character. She is a scavenger in a world where a giant corporation run by a giant flying killer bear, yes you read that right. The big bear has minion bears that poison and kill everything. Standing in opposition is a woman named The Magician, who has demonic drug possessed children running around. The two are at war constantly.
Rachel is protected by a drug dealer, who deals drugs which are administered through bugs especially beetles. These bugs are both drugs and healers. Still with me? Good.
Rachel finds a blob that looks like a plant, but is alive. She takes it home and names it Borne. Borne begins by moving only at night and seems to eat when no one is looking. When Borne eats, Borne grows.
One day, Rachel is viciously attacked by a group of demonic children who break into her home and torture her for hours. When they leave, Borne is also gone. The next morning Borne is back, is now larger, and can now speak. It is now up to Rachel to find out what is happening, teach Borne about himself, and survive the battle between The Magician and the Giant Killer Bear.
I know the above description seems like a giant acid trip or something, but trust me when I state- This book works well. Once you get used to the world it takes place in, the story just falls into place and moves pretty quickly. I tore through this book.
VanderMeer seems to like to play with environmental issues in such a way where they are true, but teach about what happens when something goes a step too far. In the Southern Reach Trilogy, the environment has grown out of hand. In this, a corporation has grown too large and a nebulous blob that seems like a plant, but can transform shape might be the key to a normal life, even if this blob's whole way of life is consumption. Says a little something doesn't it?
This is what I enjoy about VanderMeer's books and Borne is no different. On one layer is this odd sci fi story that doesn't seem to make much sense when trying to explain it. On another level, there is deep meaning to what he is writing and subtly stating about life. When corporations get too out of hand, nature may be the answer. I love layered books.
I went into this one with high hopes and it didn't disappoint. This was truly the first book this year that I loved and would recommend to anyone. I gave this one 5 stars.
Here is your Amazon link- Borne by Jeff VanderMeer