Sunday, May 29, 2016

{Book Review} Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien
Published: March 30, 2010 by Roaring Brook Press
Series: Birthmarked #1
Source: Bought
Genre: YA, Dystopia, Romance
Pages: 361

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.

This book was always on my radar, but when I saw the whole series on Book Outlet, I knew it was the time to pick it up.  I am really glad that I picked up this book.  I thought it was a unique plot with great characters and a budding romance.  Although I really enjoyed reading it, it was easily forgettable.  I think this book would be great for teens and adults alike.

This is the first book that I have ever read from O’Brien and I really want to pick up some of her other books.  I thought the writing was good and the pacing was steady, although the start was pretty slow.  I liked how intricate and detailed the world building and plot was.  This dystopian world was one of the most devastating and sad worlds that I have read about so far.  As a mother, I could not imagine having to give up my child to some stranger on the other side of a wall.  I felt like this was a darker, deeper YA dystopian story.

The characters where great in this book.  I really like Gaia and how her character began innocent, but had to grow to adapt to her changing environment.  Gaia’s growth was some of the best character development that I have ever read.  It took awhile for Leon to grow on me…he was the strong and silent type, which was refreshing from the typical love interests I read.

I thought the romance in this book was good.  I liked how it was a slow progression and was not insta-love, but I do wish that there would have been a little bit more.  I found it annoying that Leon would be willing to risk everything for her when it didn’t feel like their relationship was that evolved.  There were some other factors that might have triggered his actions, but they were not flushed out enough.

Overall, I enjoyed this book while I was reading it and it almost felt like it was playing out as a movie in my mind.  However, this book was forgettable.  After finishing it, I had a hard time recalling details and some of the plot.  I still would recommend this to readers who think it sounds interesting, but I would suggest buying the first book and reading it before jumping into this series with both feet.


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