Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

Title/Author: Birthmarked (Birthmarked #1) by Caragh M. O'Brien
Publisher/Date published: Roaring Book Press, March 30th 2010
How I got this book: own it

Goodreads summary: "In the Enclave, your scars set you apart, and the newly born will change the future.
Sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone and her mother faithfully deliver their quota of three infants every month. But when Gaia's mother is brutally taken away by the very people she serves, Gaia must question whether the Enclave deserves such loyalty. A stunning adventure brought to life by a memorable heroine, this dystopian debut will have readers racing all the way to the dramatic finish."

When I started reading this book, I sure hadn't expected it to turn out the way it did and it was different in a very good way!

I mean, I've read plenty of dystopians before and some basic things are the same in most of them: lots have a girl protoganist, oppressive society, girl at first adhering to the rules, discovering life-changing things about evil-doing society and then trying to bring it down/getting arrested etcera. And there's usually a cute boy somewhere mixed in the plot. And while I love this theme, there has to be something extra for the book to stand out. And fortunately, this book did.

I loved Gaia! She's such a strong character and I love that she doesn't always make the right decision and isn't always on her very best behavior. She learns not to take everything at face value and learns the shock of betrayal. At first I was a bit surprised at her skill as a midwive, until I realised she'd been training for 5 years under her mother and well, you're bound to pick up stuff. I loved how much Gaia cared about her family and her friends.

I really enjoyed the writing and how easy everything flowed. There's a real build-up of tension and I was really glad I had the sequel lined up at that ending, cause seriously, CLIFFHANGER!

And yes, there was also the cute boy. And he WAS a cute boy! I mean, he's got the whole rebel thing down in the end and he's all troubled boyness *sigh*. He didn't always get it right, but I really liked him.
I also thought it was interesting that Gaia is very obviously scarred and doesn't have a whole following of drooling boys and I'd already guessed at the truth behind her scar, cause the events didn't really add up.

I would have liked to know more about how the dystopian society got to be that way. I mean, what happened to the world to cause it? Maybe we'll find out as the series continues.

My rating: 4 stars


  1. I loved BIRTHMARKED, too, although I have to say that I pretty much hated its sequel, PRIZED. I'm hoping the last book will be as good as the first one.

    Glad to have found you via the Hop :)

  2. I'm glad the book did stand out for you, Daisy.
    I agree that a lot of dystopians are starting to sound the same - and I say sound because I actually read very few of them, partially because it's not my thing and partially because they don't often sound unique - and I'm glad this was a winner.

    They seem pretty human, these characters.

    Thanks for the review.

  3. I've seen this book out and about -- and after reading your review, I really want to read it too! :D

  4. As of late, I've seen you DNF or lowly rate lots. So I'm glad you finally found something that deserved a more-than-good rating! : )

    It's refreshing to see that there's a book out there with a fresh take on dystopia because I, like so many others, agree that it's somewhat monotonous across the genre. I have to stop reading dystopians myself because I'm afraid I'll get too tired of the same old same.

    At any rate, before I ramble, great review. As a side note, I love the name Gaia. Just a little tidbit of information I bet you didn't know about me. ; )