Review: Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

Author Jeff VanderMeer is known for his surreal sci-fi Southern Reach trilogy (the first book was Annihilation, which was made into a movie).

With Borne, VanderMeer gets even weirder, but more literary as well. It’s a creepy, fascinating post-apocalyptic story set in a world overrun with bizarre biotechnology.

A scavenger in a ruined city finds a small, talking plant-like creature while ruffling through the fur of a bear the size of an apartment building. Things get stranger from there as the plant thing becomes both much more human and much less human.

The characters are fully-realized, full of doubts and vulnerabilities and strengths. While I was a little let down by the ending, Borne is still an impressive, inventive book.

Recommendation: Read it, especially if you’ve already read the Southern Reach trilogy. If you haven’t, you might want to start with Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance before hitting Borne.

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