Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien

Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien
2010, Roaring Brook Press
Series: Book 1 of Birthmarked

Synopsis: 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.

The Good: Those who lived in the Enclave and the inner workings of the society itself was fascinating, but we didn't get to see all that much of it. When the "enemy" is more interesting than the "heroine," something is wrong.

The Bad: I found Birthmarked to be rather dull and sort of confusing. While I grasped the world built here, I failed to understand why those who lived outside the Enclave would allow their babies to be taken, especially since the required number of children continues to increase with no visible tradeoff. I wanted to like Gaia, but she was so very naive. She just never questioned anything, which is strange for a dystopian protagonist. And her plan, the basis of the whole novel, was no plan at all. Just sort of go after her parents and hope for the best.

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