Monday, May 27, 2013

Birthmarked {by Caragh M. O'Brien}

Title: Birthmarked
Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
Series: Birthmarked #1
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

IN THE ENCLAVE, YOUR SCARS SET YOU APART, and the newly born will change the future.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.A stunning adventure brought to life by a memorable heroine, this dystopian debut will have readers racing all the way to the dramatic finish

This was an interesting book. Gaia, sixteen and with one side of her face burned, is in training to be a midwife like her mother. The first three babies born from each midwife are "advanced" inside the wall, to the Enclave, where they become the children of the elite society. The people outside the wall live in poverty. But everything is not as it seems with the Enclave. When Gaia's parents are arrested for seemingly no reason, Gaia bravely sneaks inside the wall to find out what is real and what is not with the Enclave.

Gaia was a likeable character for me. She wasn't like other heroines in dystopian novels. I've read a lot of dystopian, being so popular right now, and I don't often like the girls. But Gaia was realistic. She was scared, she just wanted her parents back, she followed her heart, albeit impulsively. She saw something wrong and wanted to fix it. 

Another thing I liked was the fact that there wasn't an actual romance until the second book. Now, the rest of you may be asking "what is wrong with you? That's what makes a book worth reading!" But often in dystopian novels, I find that the heroine isn't trying to change society because it's wrong. She is trying to change it because she realizes it's wrong because society won't let her be with the one she "loves". (Matched, and Delirium are examples. No offense to the books, I liked them enough.) But Gaia is trying to change the Enclave because she legitimately finds it wrong. True, I suppose she didn't think so until her parents were arrested, but she was having thoughts before then. 

I also find, in some instances, that a romance takes away from the point. A dystopian novel should be more than a love story. Ever read a book, and the main characters are running from something or someone and then they decide that this is the perfect time to confess their love and make out and you're just screaming at them because they're like, 3 second away from dying or being captured? (And then that something happens and you're just like I told you so) There was a scene like that in this book. I was convinced that at any moment they were going to do the same thing, and everything would be for naught because they would just be caught and did. But it didn't happen. They kept running because they kept their priorities straight. And as strange as I may be, that made me happy. 

I think all that was just to say that these characters had common sense. Which is something I find lacking in characters nowadays. I enjoyed the series a lot more than I thought I would. I read all three within a few days, and would definitely recommend it. I only read the three books, and not the in-between novellas.

Caragh M O'Brien:

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