Title: Borne (2017)
Author: Jeff VanderMeer
Rachel is a young woman scavenging the ruins of a dilapidated city. She comes across Borne, a sea anemone-like creature affixed to the side of monstrous bear that patrols her territory. Rachel must contend with Borne’s growing sentience (and size) as her world crumbles around her.
Borne shares a lot of stylistic DNA with Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation, one of my favorite books of all time. This novel did not jibe with me in the same way, unfortunately. While Annihilation dealt with the slow creep of the unfamiliar into our known world, Borne shows a world already gone — a world filled with biotechnological monstrosities and a destroyed civilization. It’s a full embrace of the New Weird genre that VanderMeer has helped popularize, but it ultimately lost me along the way.
There are nuggets of really interesting ideas found within the pages of this novel, but I found the writing style to be ultimately inaccessible. Borne lacked a cohesive narrative and a compelling mystery, which made it difficult to stay invested. In the end, all the discordant sequences coalesced into something coherent, but it wasn’t enough to rectify the disinterest and confusion that came before it.
★★¼ out of 5