Friday, January 7, 2011

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

Book Summery:
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.

Book Review:
I had read a few mixed reviews of Birthmarked, but I honestly didn't know what I was in store for. O'Brien creates a solemn future, in which most of our natural resources are gone. People must work hard for small rations of protein and water, if you live outside of the Enclave, that is. The Enclave is a utopian society gone wrong. Within the first chapter, Gaia's life is turned upside down and she embarks on a journey to save her parents. Along the way, Gaia is transformed from a naive teenager to a strong young woman who quickly learns reality's harsh lessons and in turn, finds her inner strength. As most dystopian reads, the story can be depressing at times. O'Brien did a good job of keeping Gaia hopeful through countless hopeless situations. I enjoyed as a whole Birthmarked. A few things kept this novel from reaching a five star rating, at least through my eyes. I think the overall plot could have been a little fuller. There was a lot of action, which was enjoyable, but once something was discovered, I felt the characters were onto the next task at hand, instead of exploring the present situation fully. Also, I felt like ending was a bit anticlimactic. I would have liked to see the story go a bit future before its conclusion. However, these are minor issues and did not subtract from the story. Readers who enjoyed Margaret Atwood's The Handmaids Tale and Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games will be sure to enjoy Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien. For more info, check out the author's website.

Favorite Quote:
"'Once I'm gone, be careful who you trust. Use your wits, Gaia,' the woman said. 'Remember we're all vulnerable. Especially if we love someone.'" (p. 13)

Cover Art Commentary:
The best feature of this cover, are the colors. I like the somber blue and gray background with a hint of color. It resembles a chance for hope against all odds.

Overall Rating:


  1. I had that happen to me recently. I craved more volume. Great review :)

  2. I do like a story with action in it. And Í really want to read more books in this genre. I feel like I haven't explore this genre enough. :) It sounds like a nice read!

  3. I loved this book...glad you liked it too. I agree, I felt the end was very rushed and I wanted more before the fence scene. I cant wait for the second one this year.

  4. Great review! I’ve read mixed reviews for this one so I’ve held off on purchasing a copy. I still might give it a read at some point.