Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

Birthmarked
(Birthmarked #1)

Author: Caragh M. O'Brien

Publication Date: March 30th 2010

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Genre: Dystopia

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Synopsis:

In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the walled Enclave and those, like sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone, who live outside. Following in her mother’s footsteps Gaia has become a midwife, delivering babies in the world outside the wall and handing a quota over to be "advanced" into the privileged society of the Enclave. Gaia has always believed this is her duty, until the night her mother and father are arrested by the very people they so loyally serve.

Now Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught, but her choice is simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying.


My Thoughts: I know, I  read entirely too much dystopia sometimes, but it's been awhile at least!! I was a bit skeptical going into this one, but I ended up really enjoying it! I guess I just enjoy dystopias too much. My husband doesn't understand at all, every time I'm reading a book and say that it's a dystopia he tells me that I should stop reading them because they are probably causing my depression. Nope, sorry but no good book will cause depression for me! It actually takes it away because I have something to look forward to!

Birthmarked is a really good dystopia. I'm always interested in seeing how the author has decided to shape the world. In this one, people are separated by a wall. There is the Enclave inside of the wall, this is where the wealthy and well off live. There are still some servants, but the quality of life is much better than on the outside of the wall. Outside of the wall is where Gaia lives. She has a somewhat happy life. Her parents love her and she loves helping bring new babies into the world. She is only 16 but there is a lot of promise for her future. Her family is a bit better off than most of the families outside of the wall. There's not enough food or water and there is no medicine or doctors, so people do suffer. But everyone loyally serves the Enclave and Gaia does what she thinks is right.

I've decided that Gaia has the WORST job in the world. Yes, she's a midwife, which would be an excellent job, IF she didn't have to advance babies. Which is essentially taking them away from their mothers to be adopted by the wealthier families inside of the wall. These children are never told who their birth parents are, and the never come back. This also causes trouble in the Enclave because they don't bother to track the babies birth parents, so they have to do genetic screening to make sure they're not related to other advanced babies. This way they won't say, marry their brother or sister and have children because there is a problem from inbreeding in the Enclave. They are struggling with hemophilia, a disorder that causes your blood not to clot, so children are dying from small cuts and getting sick easily. Clearly, the Enclave wants to eradicate the hemophilia, so they decide they need more children from outside of the wall to increase the gene pool. They also need to find out if any of the midwives from the outside kept any sort of record, so they can figure out who's related since the outside doesn't have the same problems with hemophilia. Gaia's mother is rumored to have a record, so they arrest Gaia's parents. Gaia thinks her parents will just be questioned and returned, but after a few weeks, she hears they are to be executed and she decides that she has to save them. 

I really liked Gaia as a character. considering everything she's  had to go through, she is extremely strong. She's had to be. Everyone looks at her like she's a freak because her face is scarred from a burn she got when learning how to walk. It's this disfigurement that kept her from being chosen to be an advanced baby. If  she was advanced though, she wouldn't know her parents, so I think she was better off. She is a bit naive, but that is mostly because she has a fairly sheltered life. But she is an extremely strong willed character and makes the decision to rescue her parents and go against the Enclave, the only authority she knows. I think that took a lot of guts. Of course, she gets arrested, so it didn't work out to well for her. So she has to figure out a way to escape and save her parent. 

There is a bit of romance in Birthmarked as well. Gaia feels like she is ugly because of her scar, and most of the boys/men treat her like she is. So she begins crushing on one of the soldiers, and she can't help it. Leon is the son of the leader of the Enclave, but he was adopted and is from outside of the wall. He treats Gaia nicely and he's pretty good looking, so she can't help but to fall for him. I definitely liked him as a character! He is so swoon worthy!

Overall, Birthmarked is a great dystopia and I'm really looking forward to reading Prized the second book. I've actually just started it, so look out for a review for that one soon! If you are at all a dystopia fan, I definitely recommend that you check out these books by Caragh M. O'Brien, she creates an amazing story!

4 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you like this one! I have it sitting on my shelf and haven't been able to pick it up. I'm glad you said there's a "bit" of romance and not a lot because sometimes it overpowers the whole storyline and then it becomes a cheese fest :P

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I enjoyed it more than I had thought I was going too! It's a great book!

      And yes, too much romance is a bad thing!

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  2. Sounds awesome! And yes, she has the worst job ever...

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    Replies
    1. She does, and it is an awesome book and series!

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