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Publisher's Summary

In Borne, a young woman named Rachel survives as a scavenger in a ruined city half destroyed by drought and conflict. The city is dangerous, littered with discarded experiments from the Company - a biotech firm now derelict - and punished by the unpredictable predations of a giant bear. Rachel ekes out an existence in the shelter of a run-down sanctuary she shares with her partner, Wick, who deals his own homegrown psychoactive biotech.

One day, Rachel finds Borne during a scavenging mission and takes him home. Borne as salvage is little more than a green lump - plant or animal? - but exudes a strange charisma. Borne reminds Rachel of the marine life from the island nation of her birth, now lost to rising seas. There is an attachment she resents: in this world any weakness can kill you. Yet, against her instincts - and definitely against Wick's wishes - Rachel keeps Borne. She cannot help herself. Borne, learning to speak, learning about the world, is fun to be with, and in a world so broken that innocence is a precious thing. For Borne makes Rachel see beauty in the desolation around her. She begins to feel a protectiveness she can ill afford.

"He was born, but I had borne him."

But as Borne grows, he begins to threaten the balance of power in the city and to put the security of her sanctuary with Wick at risk. For the Company, it seems, may not be truly dead, and new enemies are creeping in. What Borne will lay bare to Rachel as he changes is how precarious her existence has been, and how dependent on subterfuge and secrets. In the aftermath, nothing may ever be the same.

©2017 Jeff VanderMeer (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Story

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Borne

This book was a joy to listen to. As a SciFi & fantasy fan who particularly likes books about human connection, this book hit all of my marks. A fantastic book with post apocalyptic relationships & science fiction. Easily listened to & enjoyed.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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Rough Narrator

I loved the weirdness and concept, but parts of the third act stumbled. The narrator is bland and monotone, I wish someone more lively had read something so whimsical.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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So bizarre, so good.

I usually struggle to get through longer audio books, but this one flew by. At first, I was unsure of the narrator, but as I listened more, I realized how brilliant her portrayals of Rachel and Borne were. The story is typical Vandermeer, meaning it's not typical at all. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for an off-kilter post apocalyptic novel with a lot of heart.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic fantasy

Lush language, moral hazard​, bizarre characters, and an absorbing story set in a weirdly beautiful landscape.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • J Gupta
  • San Francisco, CA USA
  • 06-04-17

Decent book, awful narration

Definitely play the sample before spending credits in this. The narrator sounds like the machine-voice of a GPS guidance system, which is a surprising choice for a novel about a scrappy female scavenger in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

As for the rest of the novel it is interesting, but Vandermeer keeps the pace a bit too brisk at times. I would have welcomed more time spent on Rachel exploring the city, with or without Borne, but instead we get told a lot more about the city than we are shown, which is limiting. Suspicions that this was written ultimately for the screen are confirmed in the Acknowledgements when the author thanks Hollywood producer Scott Rudin for his input and creativity. Why sell people just a movie when you can sell them a pseudo-novel and a movie ticket down the line?

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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over all good sf

the world and story created were very well thought out. the few characters in the book were fleshed out. I enjoyed learning about Rachel, although in the end it did just lead the reader by the hand. I would have rather have figured things out on my own.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Mediocre story with inadequate narration

I was very excited for this, after loving his other books, but although the beginning has a lot of promise (who doesn't want to read about a giant levitating bear??) the story doesn't really go anywhere interesting. To top that off, VanderMeer's signature weird/creepy tone is completely lost due to the narrator. She reads it in the way one might read a children's book, and it simply does not work. Maybe if i'd read this one in text I would have enjoyed it for the atmosphere, but the story alone didn't do it for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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good but not great

its a really interesting premise but i feel like it would have been better if George saunders wrote it

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  • TB
  • 11-13-17

fantastic story and superlative narration

As a fan of Jeff VanderMeer's Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy, I was thrilled to see that he had a new novel out. But I was absolutely floored by the narration by Bahni Turpin, who makes an already riveting SF story even more moving with her nuanced tone, shifting with meaning and emotion at all the right moments. You'll have to listen for yourself to hear what I mean. AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY.

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Very imaginative and perfectly read

This book was such a fun listen. A story about love, and survival, and parenthood, and ptsd, and all kinds of weighty emotions but then set in a delightfully colorful post apocalyptic world of strange beasts and wild beauty and deadly danger. The reader was exactly right for the narration I felt, I’ve rarely heard a better match.