Confusing at it’s finest

Student reviews Jeff Vandermeer's novel, 'Borne'

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Set in a world riddled with dead, decaying astronauts, ruled by a ginormous floating bear who likes to give out free meat packages, and terrorized by winged-lizard-babies, Borne is even weirder than it sounds. Borne is an interesting book that gets significantly more entertaining as Borne, a character in the book, who starts out as just a purple blob, grows into new things and even begins to speak. Borne is the standout of the book named after him, and it’s really no surprise.

The book starts off seeming pretty melodramatic and almost Divergent-like, but when more is revealed about Borne and the world he lives in, the novel is elevated to (literally) cosmic

heights. The main character (Rachel), her companions and her unique relationships with them are interesting enough, but Borne is infinitely interesting. It’s amazing to see how the novel’s writer Jeff Vandermeer turned each and every very basic ideas into something insanely complex. Some may say confusing, but I say complex.

Vandermeer’s world for this book is very different from recent ones like his Jungle-like Southern Reach Trilogy, and goes for a more suburban, although apocalyptic and terrorized, paradise. His world is very weird though, as his writing is known to be, and most of the things he describes are difficult to imagine because they’re all so new and unfamiliar. He builds this weird world to match his odd characters and does so masterfully.

The plot is very hard to talk about without revealing too much because this book gains momentum pretty quickly, but it’s your basic hero(es) vs. villain plot with big not-so-basic twists that elevate it to something better. This book is filled with science, magic, mutants, and indescribable environments. That stuff is partnered with sometimes unbearable horror and tension and supported by super bearable action.

Borne by Jeff Vandermeer isn’t the first book in a series, but has some companion novels and novellas that grow the world he built so well even more. This book can be read completely alone though, with all of the satisfying thrills, heartbreak and the fantastic ending you’d expect from a novel. This is a sci-fi thriller that some won’t understand, but should give it a thorough attempt. It’s a book that confused me some, but sated me most. It is a book that will blow minds, fill hearts and everything in between. I highly recommend it with 4.5/5 stars.

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