Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
Year Published: 2010
Series: Birthmarked #1
Okay, the reason I picked up this book was I knew the third book in the series was just published. Meaning I don’t have to pull my hair out waiting for the next book in the series (and since it seems like everything I read these days is in an unfinished trilogy, I have very little hair left). Overall though I thought Birthmarked was a decent first book in the series.
The SettingThe main character Gaia is a midwife living in a poor area of a futuristic city called Enclave. Basically the privileged live inside the walls of the Enclave and have electricity and other luxuries while the working class live outside the walls.
Every month a “quota” of babies must be given up from outside the wall and given to the richer families inside the wall. Gaia is fine advancing these babies until the enclave mysteriously arrests her father and mother. Desperate to see her family again, she breaks into the walls of the Enclave and along the way is arrested as well. It is there in prison she “befriends” a young, handsome guard named Leon and together they eventually plot to rescue Gaia’s parents and leave the Enclave for good.
It was a page-turner with both action and romance. I loved the world O’Brien created and could picture it vividly. The heroine was useful for some of the book (I hate weak female characters who constantly sulk or are just plain helpless).
What I DISLIKED about this book
This book is a classic example of an insta-romance. Gaia was portrayed as a sweet girl with a huge scar covering half of her face and therefore has been teased all her life. Leon on the other hand is the Enclave’s “prince” and of course is tall dark and handsome. And for some reason Leon is crazy for Gaia. I’d like to think he likes her personality more than her looks but he never comes out and says that. I’d just like a short conversation about how he was attracted to her, whether it’s her bravery, wits or personality. Also, some people might be confused with the genetic theories posed in this book. Coming from a scientific background, I can tell you recent biological testing involves searching family DNA for disease mutations. O’Brien did her homework!
Overall I think this book deserves 4 out of 5 stars. Dystopian and romance fans alike will love Birthmarked.