8 member(s) found this review helpful.
Words fail to adequately describe how astonishingly completely Caragh O'Brien drew me into Gaia's dystopian world in this debut YA novel. Holy cow! BIRTHMARKED is a layered and action-packed dystopian treat that just might satisfy readers eagerly awaiting the third and final installment of The Hunger Games series.
I am absolutely bowled over by how well-written this book is. Caragh O'Brien presents us with interesting characters that we want to follow through all their suspenseful adventures and encounters. From Gaia, the determined "everywoman" protagonist, to the alluring and quietly troubled Captain Gray, to everyone who helps or harms Gaia along the way...all are engaging and three-dimensional to capture our attention from the start and hold on throughout.
A dystopian novel is nothing without a well executed and faithfully imagined world-gone-wrong. Luckily, Gaia's world is one of the best I've read about in a long time, high up there with Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games and Maria Snyder's Poison Study. BIRTHMARKED starts with a bang in the first chapter and never lets up. There's plenty of mystery, code-breaking, narrow escapes, and running to satisfy fans of action and adventure, and it's all wrapped within a fully realized dystopia.
I don't think my review was enough to express my admiration of and love for this book, but rest assured that if this sounds even mildly interesting to you, then you will NOT be able to put it down!
4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Reviewed by Karin Librarian for TeensReadToo.com
Gaia (Guy-ya) Stone is following in her mother's footsteps. She has been training to be a midwife for years and is ready to accept her role in the community. For as long as she can remember, life on the outside of the wall has been this way.
The first three babies of the month are advanced to the Enclave to be adopted and live their life inside the wall. While the pain of losing a child is great, the mothers know that their baby will be living in a community with conveniences not available to the people living in Wharfton, like electricity and running water.
Gaia doesn't know what to do when her parents are arrested and taken by the Guard of the Protectorat. She finds it hard to believe that her parents know anything the Enclave would want to know, but by the questions they ask her when she comes home to find them gone, they think her parents have important information. Gaia is completely in the dark. The only thing she has to go on is the long piece of ribbon with a strange code sewn in it that her mother's assistant gave her and told her to keep secret at all cost.
Gaia's life becomes a complicated game of cat and mouse as she attempts to get inside the wall, find her parents, and solve the mystery of the coded ribbon.
Caragh M. O'Brien has written a wonderful addition to the dystopian genre. Readers get a glimpse of life in the 2400's after a drastic weather change has dramatically reduced the human population. Even though the world is completely different than the one we live in, the problems Gaia encounters are very similar - she enjoys time with her family, likes socializing with friends, and is insecure when it comes to love.
BIRTHMARKED is fantastic. I loved it and stayed up much too late because I couldn't put it down. It definitely deserves the Gold Star Award. The author leaves the ending open for a sequel, and I for one can't wait to see what happens next.
3 member(s) found this review helpful.
I went into this book with a bad attitude. I seriously did not want to like it (yeah, I know why the heck did I have the book and why was I reading it if I had a bad attitude...long story). Anyways, I was ready and willing to compare every part of this book to The Hunger Games, which I did. I couldn't help it. I automatically assume that O'Brien wrote this book due to the success of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. Even if O'Brien wrote the book without thinking of The Hunger Games, in my narrow-minded brain, I believed that was the reason.
So, here I am ready to hate this book, comparing it to one of my all time favorite books (The Hunger Games) and to my utter shock, I find myself completely engrossed in Birthmarked. Ok, I still had issues with the beginning and the end but the "meat" of the book, the story, was wonderful.
My problems with the book-
In the beginning of the book Gaia is very ignorant of what is really going on around her. Not just ignorant, but painfully ignorant. There is trust, and then there is dumb blind trust and Gaia was ignorant and blindly trusting. She annoyed me because she didn't question what was around her. At some point she makes a switch but it almost was a case of too little too late for me.
At the end, we have stuff that isn't making sense. I can't really explain without spoiling the book and frankly, I don't want to do that. There just seemed to be missing pieces of information that either I missed or the author failed to put in.
Will I read the next book ?-
I will, I won't pre-order it but when it comes out, I'll try to get my hands on it. Overall, I found the story interesting, and entertaining.