Sunday, March 7, 2010
Review: Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien
Rating: 5 out of 5
16-year-old Gaia Stone follows in her mother’s footsteps as midwife for her section of town. Every month they advance the first three babies they deliver into the Enclave, the unknown life behind the stone wall. When Gaia’s parents are taken by Enclave soldiers without explanation, however, Gaia sets off on a journey into the Enclave to rescue her parents. What she learns beyond the wall about the advanced babies, the Enclave, and all of their futures is more shocking than anything she could’ve imagined.
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!
Catherine Fisher (Incarceron)
Maria V. Snyder (Poison Study)
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
Cover discussion: 3 out of 5 - It's not...bad, I guess. But it's also not the best that I think it could've been. My favorite part is the colorful twisties in the center that kind of echo DNA.
Roaring Book Press / Mar. 30, 2010 / Hardcover / 368pp. / $16.99
ARC picked up at NCTE conference.