Birthmarked (ARC) by Caragh M. O'Brien
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Pub. Date: March 30th, 2010
Age Level: 14+
Synopsis from GoodReads
After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents are arrested.
Badly scarred since childhood, Gaia is a strong, resourceful loner who begins to question her society. As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she herself is arrested and imprisoned.
Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, BIRTHMARKED explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where one girl can make all the difference, and a real hero makes her own moral code.
Birthmarked is the utterly gripping, brilliant debut YA novel from very talented author, Caragh M. O'Brien. I can't wait to see what O'Brien has in store for me next; more specifically, the sequel.
In Gaia, O'Brien has created the perfect heroine; she is strong, brave, smart, and even a bit sassy. Gaia is also a very complex and realistic character with raw emotions, a heart full of hope, and a slight touch of innocence. She was so very easy to connect with; when Gaia was heart broken, relieved, happy, or angry, I felt the same way. She is probably my favorite lead character of all time. As for the other main character, Leon aka Sgt. Grey, well I can honestly say I didn't like him at first. He was cold, distant, and straight up confusing. However, as the book goes on, he steadily develops into so much more and by the end, I was positively in love with him. Here again, O'Brien has created such a wonderfully written and dynamic character. None of the changes in his personality were sudden but instead gradual and I slowly found myself liking Leon more and more making him my favorite male romantic interest ever.
There was a nice array of minor characters throughout Birthmarked that really added to and helped make this story so great. I particularly liked Mace Jackson's, the baker inside the Enclave, family. They really allowed me to get a different perspective on the situations occurring inside the Enclave, causing me to think and wonder.
Birthmarked was skillfully crafted with every passing moment pulling me further into the story. This book was seriously thought-provoking, just like any dystopian novel should be. I could see and understand the Enclave's point of view on things even if I didn't agree with their solutions to the problems. However, getting to know Mace Jackson's family really made me think, "If I were them and had experienced the grief that they had, would I still feel the same way?" This question really nagged me and I still don't have an answer for it and probably never will as I have never been in such a situation. My dear readers, this is one of the things that really helped make this book so amazing.
The writing was very well done with a terrific use of imagery that made everything so clear and vivid in my mind. The world that O'Brien has created is so impressively imagined and depicted through each and every fine detail from the language to the setting and more.
The ending was very jaw-dropping and a total cliffhanger. A certain thing happens that really made me want to cry, stomp my feet, and then throw the book at the wall. Since I know there is going to be a sequel, I still liked the ending and think it is perfect to leave me ready to go all ninja-style and sneak into O'Brien's house after a manuscript, draft, etc of the next book.
Honestly I could probably still go on about the greatness that is Birthmarked but instead I'll leave you with this: If you don't read Birthmarked I'll shun you for all eternity. Ok well maybe not but I can truly say you'd really be missing out on the awesometastic journey into the world and life of Gaia Stone. In other words, get it and read it as soon as you can. This is now a favorite book of mine and I can't wait to re-read it and for the sequel to come out. Two-thumbs way, way up to Caragh M. O'Brien for writing this masterpiece.
#1 in Trilogy: A+
Overall: A+ (The first and one of only 2 A+'s)
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Monday, May 31, 2010
Birthmarked (ARC) by Caragh M. O'Brien
Posted by ~The Book Pixie at 5/31/2010 08:00:00 AM