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Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

Birthmarked (edition 2010)

by Caragh M. O'Brien

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0341018,169 (3.91)60
Authors:Caragh M. O'Brien
Info:Simon and Schuster (2011), Paperback, 362 pages
Collections:Library Loans, Read but unowned
Tags:fiction, library, read, 2013, pa, ya, sf, post-apocalypse, january, babies, midwife

Work details

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

  1. 81
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (PamFamilyLibrary, kathleen.morrow)
    PamFamilyLibrary: Intelligent, quickly paced YA dystopia.
    kathleen.morrow: Both have strong heroines in a dystopian society. Additionally, both have an interesting, but not overpowering romantic subplot.
  2. 20
    Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (PamFamilyLibrary)
    PamFamilyLibrary: An intelligent, quickly paced YA dystopia.
  3. 21
    Wither by Lauren DeStefano (FutureMrsJoshGroban)
    FutureMrsJoshGroban: Another fantastic YA novel, set in a dystopic/post-apocalyptic universe where women are used for breeding and genetic engineering.

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» See also 60 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
A great YA read. Thoroughly enjoyed it. ( )
  DonnaCallea | Nov 29, 2014 |
I thought the story was interesting enough to pull me in and keep reading. I could still put it down between chapters until about the last third of the book, then I had to finish it out. I am glad I had the serving book waiting for me because I started that one immediately.

As far as characters, while there is your typical heroine hates brooding hero set up, there is still enough originality to them that you don't just roll your eyes and write them off. The humility that the heroine displays also refreshing as opposed to the self loathing that many girl characters seem to have in YA books. ( )
  shannanwithana | Oct 26, 2014 |
Sixteen-year-old Gaia is an assistant to her midwife mother. She assists with births and makes sure their quota of Advancing three babies per month to The Enclave is met. The poor citizens on her side of The Wall are supposed to be glad their perfect children have been Advanced to serve The Enclave, to be raised with the rich citizens on the other side of The Wall. Read the rest of my review on my blog: http://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/birth-marked-caragh-m-obrien/ ( )
  ShouldIReadIt | Sep 26, 2014 |
I clearly watch too many sci-fi TV shows. Reading Birthmarked was like watching an amalgamation of specific episodes of those shows play out on paper. In black and white, not full and vivid HD colour because very little of it felt new and fresh, shocking and memorable. One scene and one scene only when Gaia rescues and revives the unborn baby of an executed couple (for mostly unintentional incest), is a time where I could say this book made an impression on me.

Don't get me wrong, the world described within these pages is very detailed, I liked the reproductive rights theme vs. the incest dilemma, and I know the codes would've required time and research to create, I appreciate that but it didn't inspire strong and lasting emotions in me or give me something wholly captivating and original to hold up and say to others "You must read this. It's brilliant because..."

I couldn't connect to Gaia. She was a brave, motherly figure much like her mythological namesake but it was difficult to feel her pain when her parents were taken away because we didn't know them or the state of their relationship. Later on, we saw them in her memories but by then it was too little, too late. The characters in general didn't appear to have distinctive personalities, instead they were classified by two characteristics: the brave and the submissive sheep. They could be in either camp, switch between the two or somehow straddle the fence. That's it, that's all there is to them. One exception is Myrna -my favourite character, an imprisoned doctor, locked up for doing her job but unfortunately we don't spend too much time with her.

Supposedly uneducated in almost every way bar midwifery, Gaia was surprisingly intelligent enough to solve a code in hours that top scholars couldn't crack in weeks. I'm not buying that. Neither am I convinced of her developing romance with her jailer. It's very thin and I'm surprised Leon took to her so easily, risking his life for her when they've only had less than a handful of conversations.

Also, all that running for their lives with a newborn baby in her arms -tricky. I kept expecting it to either cry non-stop or for Gaia to look down and find it dead from suffocation because she was clutching it too tightly in the rush.

I didn't hate Birthmarked, the world-building is good and the lesson "the grass is not always greener on the other side" is a classic but I do question the 'baby quota'. It's tough for me to imagine many women, or men for that matter, would give up their children without a fight no matter what the cost. The bond is too strong. I'm also surprised so many are willing to bear children knowing the risk of losing them. There should be good trade in birth control methods.

Perhaps if the characters were more developed and the book was written in first person I would feel more involved and connected to the action. I'm curious about what life has in store for Gaia next but having read the synopsis and a couple of reviews of [b:Prized|9424367|Prized (Birthmarked #2)|Caragh M. O'Brien|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1316739570s/9424367.jpg|14308787] I'm not overly enthusiastic about finding out. ( )
  Cynical_Ames | Sep 23, 2014 |
What lengths will a parent go to protect their child? How important is physical beauty? What if those with a defect were deemed unfit for the upper class? What a powerful message! ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
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In memory of my father, Thomond R. O'Brien, Sr.
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In the dim hovel, the mother clenched her body into one final, straining push, and the baby slithered out into Gaia's ready hands.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In a future world baked dry by the sun and divided into those who live inside the wall and those who live outside it, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone is forced into a difficult choice when her parents are arrested and taken into the city.

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Caragh O'Brien is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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