Title: Birthmarked (Birthmarked #1)
Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
Narrator: Carla Mercer-Meyer
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan) and Tantor Media
Acquired Via: Library
Release Date: March 30, 2010
In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the wall and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife, Gaia Stone, who live outside. Gaia has always believed it is her duty, with her mother, to hand over a small quota of babies to the Enclave. But when Gaia's mother and father are arrested by the very people they so dutifully serve, Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught to believe. Gaia's choice is now simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying.
Audiobooks are the best things ever because they give me the opportunity to read "Kayla books" while I'm drowning in a sea of reviews. Since I've been reading a lot of historical fiction lately, there's nothing like a good doom and gloom dystopian novel to offset it. The world of Birthmarked was one with a huge societal gap and that required the "advancement" of a quota of babies born each month outside the Enclave walls. However, only perfect, healthy babies are allowed to advance, with them being taken to the Enclave within 90 minutes of their births.
Gaia Stone was a character with faults, but one I enjoyed overall. She was closed off from other people because of the scar on her face and automatically assumed that everyone thought she was ugly because of their stares. Gaia was also very naïve. Her innocence blinded her to the situations she found herself in, and she wasn't always the brightest crayon in the box. No, she wasn't dumb, but sometimes she seemed to be willfully ignorant because it was the easiest thing to do. It didn't work out too well for her.
I loved the interaction Gaia and Captain Leon Grey. There was a lot of tension and mystery surrounding whether or not he was trying to help her or just trying to get information from her. Both of these characters were in the middle (of course) of plenty of twists, but I'm not sure about the relevance of one of them. Saying too much will spoil it, but one of Leon's twists seems a bit unimportant, but Birthmarked is only the first book in the trilogy.
Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien is one of my favorite dystopian novels that I've ever read, and I'm so glad that the series is finished so it can be enjoyed at my leisure. If you love dystopian novels but are burned out by the deluge of mediocre examples, give Birthmarked a try.
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