The Strange Bird

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 27 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

For devotees primarily. By the author of Annihilation, almost like fan fiction in that it takes up ideas from his other works
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The Strange Bird by VanderMeer is beautifully written and flows with a combination of simplicity, lightness and grace. Unfortunately, this book lacked the emotional and poignant impact of its predecessor, Borne. It was still a fantastic read, but the disconnected feeling of being a mere observer watching this story unfold, pervaded the narrative and never lifted. That space between effectively kept any emotional connection to The Strange Bird at bay. 

Taking place in the same universe, we are confronted with the creators and their aspects and, of course, their creations, populating this world gone awry. We ask ourselves, what is a body, really? And how do we stay strong when who and what we identify with is then systematically destroyed, dismantled, abused and then discarded by invasive examinations? Operations? Curiosity? Codependency?

Arising at this story's completion are a bevy of introspective questions that provide a bit of fodder for some self reflecting and conversations about identity. But because I had to finish entirely before being provoked in this way, I think The Strange Bird came across as less substantial than Borne.

All in all a decent read.

My sincere thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux and NetGalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.
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I thought it added a nice element to the Borne story, but it was a bit too short.  It almost felt like it was added because the Annihilation movie was being released, so the author/publishers felt like they needed to put something out in a hurry.  I still like the world he's built, however.
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When I finished Borne, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It’s the sort of book that clings to you days, even weeks after you put it down.
I wanted more of it. I wasn’t ready to be done. And The Strange Bird was everything I hoped it would be. It was more of Borne, the world of Borne, the story of Borne. I felt like I was back in the first novel, and it was like being somewhere comfortable and familiar that I’d been missing.
The Strange Bird manages to be something new at the same time it’s covering old territory. It shines a spotlight into some of the shadows of the previous book. It was a story I didn’t know I’d needed to be told until after I’d read it, and then it felt like it had been there all along. It answered a question I’d forgotten I had. 
Honestly, I have little to no criticism. Maybe I was so excited to read it, I overlooked any flaws. But it gave me exactly what I wanted. I wanted more Borne, and that’s what I got.
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The Strange Bird is a companion story to VanderMeer's Borne, and the novella adds even more depth to the world in which VanderMeer has created in Borne. The Strange Bird is part human, part bird, and she is rejected from the world in which she lives, because she is not wholly human nor wholly animal. The timeline of this novella occurs before, during, and after the events of Borne and offers an outside view of those events. While Borne explored in its complexity what it means to be a person, The Strange Bird explores what it means to be free and know oneself when the world seems to "naturally" conspire against your very existence. It's a highly recommended follow-up if you've read Borne and wanted more.
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VanderMeer's novella, Strange Bird, is told from the perspective of a lab created bird-human, technology-enhanced creature, the strange bird. The story is a perspective of VanderMeer's  novel Borne. An extraordinary tale.  The writing is clear and pulls the reader into the story.  Curiosity, concern about the strange bird keeps the reader interested.
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"She sang for joy. Not because she had not suffered or been reduced. But because she was finally free and the world could not be saved, but nor would it be destroyed." 

I mean, DAMN! 

I had to actually stop and read this aloud last night as I was finishing the book. VanderMeer's writing conjures up the most powerful imagery; at times throughout the book, it was almost as if I was standing there with the Strange Bird. Observing this crazy world that, try as it might, cannot truly destroy us. 

The Strange Bird was nothing that I expected going into this experience, but everything that I needed. While it is a novella meant to accompany Borne, I think this book could act as a stand alone novella. However, if you have intentions of reading Borne I would wait and read this last, because there are a few things that could *potentially* be spoilers.

My favorite part of this novella, is the humanity that VanderMeer brings to this bird, who as a piece of biotechnology, is so far from what we would believe to be human. 

There is a sadness and despair to the bird, that one can only relate to as a human, and something about that is very sobering. 

Five stars, Jeff VanderMeer. 
FIVE. STARS. 

*I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
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A very dark tale set in the Bourne universe about a very strange bird. I loved this short story as it expands the very weird world of Bourne. I hope there are more stories like this one in the future.
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Wow.
I am blown away by how beautiful and atmospheric this was. I truly felt the despair and it makes you venture into the madness with this bird-seriously had left me feeling anxious multiple times throughout the book.

This is a little side story to Jeff VanderMeer's story Borne.  We follow The Strange Bird in this novella; however, past characters like The Magician and Wick show up as well.  I will say, I truly despise the Magician even more than before, and absolutely love Wick. When you read this, you will understand fully.

While I personally didn't love Borne, I adored this novella.  I liked how VanderMeer concentrated on one main character in this story, not like in Borne, that had several main characters, and I just really didn't connect with any one in particular. 

Overall, I would recommend this to everyone.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest opinion. My thanks to Jeff VanderMeer and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the opportunity to read and review this book.

(Will post on Amazon when book is released).
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I loved Vandermeer's novel Borne, which this is in addition to, so I knew I'd love this novella before I started. This novella gives the reader a lot of backstory to various characters in Borne and it answers a lot of questions about the plot points of Borne that the reader isn't privy to. I just love Vandermeer's writing style and I always get lost in the dream worlds he seems to create in his books.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It adds an extra layer of depth to the story in Borne, and I like that it runs parallel to the events that occur there, while still remaining its own separate story arc. You do not need to have read either story in order to read the other.

It is wonderfully written, and while it provides a glimpse into the darker side of humanity and what it means to survive, it also had a bittersweet ending that I thoroughly enjoyed. I will definitely be recommending this one.
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In this novella's expansion of VanderMeer's Borne, the reader again is witness to his unparalleled imagination. The Strange Bird inhabits a desperate world where again we meet the mutant flying bear, Mord, the cruel Magician, Rachel the survivor and her lover Wick. "...the situation was extreme and the world was dying. So they had gone on doing the same things that had destroyed the world, to save it." The Strange Bird is a mutant creature comprised of human and avian genes, and technology. "What did she hope for? To find purpose, and for kindness which had not yet been shown to her. Where did she wish to rest? A place she could call home, a place that was safe." The Strange Bird bestows an arial view of Borne's world laid waste by human inhabitants; devastated by mad scientists and uncontrolled technology. Impressive, unforgettable, The Strange Bird is highly recommended for all science fiction aficionados.
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This is an exquisitely written novella that acts as an addition to Jeff VanderMeer’s novel Borne. The writing is beautiful, however the world is harsh and bizarre but grounded with emotion as you follow the strange bird and its journey across this extraordinary land. I love the imagination of VanderMeer and the unique stories he creates, this book is another brilliant example of this. It's a surprisingly touching story and I’d very much recommend it!
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