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Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien
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Birthmarked (edition 2010)

by Caragh M. O'Brien

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
940None9,247 (3.93)60
Member:wyvernfriend
Title:Birthmarked
Authors:Caragh M. O'Brien
Info:Simon and Schuster (2011), Paperback, 362 pages
Collections:Library Loans, Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, library, read, 2013, pa, ya, sf, post-apocalypse, january, babies, midwife

Work details

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

2010 (11) 2012 (9) adoption (9) adventure (7) ARC (7) baby (9) coming of age (7) dystopia (87) dystopian (39) ebook (9) family (12) fantasy (20) fiction (44) future (7) genetic engineering (11) genetics (18) library (10) midwife (42) post-apocalyptic (24) pregnancy (15) read (11) romance (14) science fiction (61) series (14) survival (8) teen (13) to-read (74) YA (58) young adult (57) young adult fiction (8)
  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 93 (next | show all)
I have a feeling this is the month of not so great books for me that catch my interest. This is the second book of Apirl I have read and I just wasn't a fan. I will admit about a hundred pages away from finishing it I started skimming, because it just wasn't interesting to me. The plot, and world created seemed so amazing, but something in the book just fell flat for me. A decent read, but nothing amazing to me. A book you will either love or dislike. ( )
  Nick1967 | Apr 4, 2014 |
I didn't like that it ended with a cliffhanger but otherwise this was an excellent dystopian! Full review to come.
( )
  a.happy.booker | Mar 14, 2014 |
Birthmarked is a thrilling, action-packed dystopian by 2010 YA debut author Caragh O’Brien. I was in the mood to read a good, satisfying dystopian and Birthmarked really fit the bill. This book should satisfy those looking for something similar to the Hunger Games with its intrigue, mystery and suspense.

The dystopian world is set up very well, with a plausible concept, and the characters are compelling. The protagonist, midwife Gaia Stone, is brave and faces danger at every turn. Her parents kept some secrets from her to keep her safe. However, now that they have been captured Gaia must use her wits and code-solving skills to help save them. I have not read a book with codes before and thought that was an interesting element.

The plot is thought provoking regarding the midwives and ethical dilemmas. The midwives have a monthly baby quota to fulfill for the Enclave. I was not sure of the Enclave’s intentions regarding the birth records. It seemed sometimes that their intentions were good in that they wanted to look for a suppressor gene to combat the health concerns plaguing the Enclave. However, their methods were suspect and their jump to imprison the midwives and doctors made them even more suspicious.

In addition to the code solving mystery and action, there is a little romance thrown into the mix. Gaia has great chemistry with Captain Leon Grey. Their relationship begins slowly and believably as they learn to trust each other. It is nice to see someone who can look past Gaia’s scars and believe in her.

The book is paced very well, and held my interest from beginning to end. The suspense ramps up toward the end and I couldn’t put the book down. There are some surprising twists along the way. The ending is sudden and intense, and sets up a whole new story for Gaia. I can’t wait to read what happens next. Those looking for a satisfying dystopian after finishing the Hunger Games should enjoy this series. Recommended also for fans of YA, dystopian, and sci-fi.

Birthmarked is the first book in a trilogy. The sequel, Prized, comes out in November 2011, which is entirely too far away. ( )
  readingdate | Jan 7, 2014 |
The basis of this story is an interesting concept that is just realistic enough to be scary. The 'haves' are living lives of luxury inside the city walls, while the 'have-nots' struggle to make ends meet outside. But all is not as it seems inside the city. Despite a monthly tribute of newborn babies from outside the wall, genetic diversity has shrunk, causing an epidemic of haemophilia.

Birthmarked is a decent read, but not a brilliant one. It was interesting enough to read all the way through, but not so great that I will be looking to finish the series. ( )
  seldombites | Jan 2, 2014 |
I wrote out a whole review for this and then lost it.

I loved this book. I read it one sitting (one very long sitting that took all day). The story is well paced, with zero lagging for me. I sometimes find YA novels to be a bit sappy, and driven mostly by romance, but that definitely was not the case here. O'Brien's world is set in a distant future, but it relates to situations that we can very much identify with, and readers won't need any priming to understand or adjust to this new world.

O'Brien's characters are a joy to behold. She just doesn't write great, believable female characters, but her male characters are a joy to behold as well. No over the top, Prince Charming types here, and yet; they are more endearing than any knight in shining armor. They're real. O'Brien's characters are disabled, include POC, and have mental illnesses, while still being able to be the heroes of the story. O'Brien's main leads have plenty "wrong" with them judged by society's standards, but readers will see that they are human, dealing with making difficult decisions constantly.

The story itself is craftily written. The pace was perfect. It didn't give everything away at once, but it was never boring, and had me at the edge of my seat plenty of times.

My most favorite thing however, is how this story examines the role of women in a highly patriarchal society. Female doctors, midwives, and barren women. How are they viewed when the men in power see them as a threat? What is the value of a woman when she is infertile? How do the leaders of patriarchal societies really view children? And what lengths will they go to keep their society going? It also asks the question of how patriarchal society views the disabled, and it's obsession with perfection and breeding.

It may not have been the writer's intent to write a story that was strongly feminist, but I'm glad she did. I highly recommend this, and can't wait to get my hands on the next two in the series. ( )
  Nazgullie | Dec 18, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
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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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