Friday, March 2, 2012

Book Review: "Birthmarked" by Caragh M. O'Brien

So, my buddy, Kat, brilliant and knowledgable about all things, recommended that I pick up Birthmarked straightaway. Well, it would be unreasonably foolish of me to ignore her sage advice. So, I hopped on the computer and put Birthmarked on my library hold list ASAP. Kat has never steered me wrong before and Birthmarked was no exception. Here's to my amazing friend who knows me so well!!

The Scoop: (Goodreads)

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.

My Take:

The Setup:

Wow, this book was great! So, the deal is: Gaia is training with her mother as a midwife is a village in a dystopian future. Her parents are taken away for questioning (in the first page - so no spoiler here) and Gaia must decide if she can trust the Enclave that has always protected the village or look for answers on her own. Two points for you if you can guess what she decides to do.

Hey, little nugget! You're going to the Enclave. I'm sure this is a system that will continue to work indefinitely, right?

The Peeps:

I just loved Gaia, she is clever, wary, resourceful and passionate about doing the right thing. Her parents are three-dimensional and a strong influence on her character. I loved the flashbacks to her childhood. Leon is a great character and I enjoyed their back and forth. Even the side characters are interesting and I can see some of their roles expanded in future novels. I also liked that the villains weren't cartoonish and I could understand their motives if not their tactics.

I feel like I've been seeing this guy pop up more and more lately. "Meh, I'm gonna get ya, see? Now, I just need me some rope and some train tracks..."

Last Thoughts:

Birthmarked has all of the elements of a page-turning story that I just can't get enough of: a KAH, a great male protagonist/love interest, interesting world building, mysterious secrets, well-paced plot and although the sequel is teased about at the end (already released and I can't wait to get it), I'm not on suicide watch until I have it in my hot little hands.

Me, after reading Demonglass (Hex Hall #2). Come on, Hawkins! You've gotta gimme something!
Overall, an amazing story that I would highly recommend to anyone, especially if you think your burned out on dystopian tales.

"Too much dystopian...sooo depressed...can't go on...must take blue pill/med patch/poison arrow to eye now..."

Also, O'Brien has released Tortured, a Birthmarked #1.5 small bridge story that tells Leon's side of the tale after the end of Birthmarked. Tortured is available for e-readers only.

Final Verdict:

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