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

by Caragh M. O'Brien

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2871146,086 (3.86)61
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

  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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Showing 1-5 of 114 (next | show all)
Set in a future earth, where water is scarce and supplies limited, Gaia lives on the outside of the Enclave. As a midwife, she is bound to take a quota of the babies she delivers and give them as tribute to the people inside. But it isn’t until her parents disappear and she goes searching for them, that she learns why.
I won’t spoil the story here, but I will say, this was a decent read, neither bad nor good. The world-building is an intriguing blend of science fiction, with some living in primitive style and some living in high tech wonder. The idea of women forced to surrender their children gives the story an emotional edge. But the characters lacked depth, often one-dimensional, and the plot seemed contrived and forced at points.
I finished the book and it end feeds directly into the next in the trilogy. But I wasn’t hooked enough to read the next of the series.
Readers of Young Adult fiction will enjoy this, as it has a similar premise (strong female protagonist fighting evil to save family) as many of the most popular YA books. ( )
  empress8411 | Jun 19, 2017 |
When I saw this was book #1, I knew I was in trouble because now I want to know what happens to Gaia, Maya and Leon. This dystopian novel is very believable and sort of scary in a Brave New World sort of way. The Great Lakes have dried up and water is a commodoty for those living outside the Enclave. People inside desire healthy babies so those outside are forced to give up their offspring which the Protectorant calls advancing babies. There were times in the book, I could not move my eyes fast enough to find what was going to happen. ( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
In my opinion, writing a good dystopian novel can be tricky. First you’re building a world on something that already exists - our world. Next, you have to take a part of our world, skew it, then write about it, but in a way that makes the reader think that this could happen, especially given the current state of the world. This is usually what I look for in my dystopian novels and I found it in Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien.

Birthmarked opens up with a birthing scene - a very gutsy move. Gaia, a young midwife, delivers her first baby; significant because it’s the first time she’s doing it on her own and because it lays the path for the reader to learn about the Enclave, the baby quota and the world that will be explored in Birthmarked.

After delivering the baby to the Enclave, Gaia heads home to find her parents have been taken to the Enclave for questioning. The mystery builds as Gaia questions why her parents were taken, what record the guards were interrogating her about and why her mother hid a ribbon with strange symbols on them.

Caragh does a great job at describing Gaia’s world and situation. Gaia’s home and all the places she travels to are carefully described, giving the reader a three dimensional view of the world. Once Gaia makes it into the walls of the Enclave the action is almost non-stop, like a wild ride with just enough pause for you to catch your breath and the right amount of twists and turns to keep you intrigued.

There is a splattering of biology in the narrative, but it is so well-weaved into the plot that it does not read like a science book. For the shipping enthusiasts there is a bit of romance which, while not necessary to the plot advancement, does a good job at adding layer of charm.

What I liked best about this book was the questions that it raised. It’s a great book to open discussions on prejudices in society, hierarchy and class. It also opens questions about the way we use our limited resources and what might happen if we aren’t careful to care for the world we have. While these are great questions, I appreciated the way that they were subtly intertwined in the narrative. There was no blaring agenda, the questions rose organically from the story and I appreciated this greatly. ( )
  iShanella | Dec 2, 2016 |
It was good. ( )
  RoseyEm | Jul 14, 2016 |
I'm literally an hour and a half away from the end of this 13 hour book and I just can't do it.

The characters stink.
The love interests have zero chemistry.
The story is just boring.


I can't waste more time on this. There are books to be read. ( )
  imahorcrux | Jun 22, 2016 |
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In memory of my father, Thomond R. O'Brien, Sr.
First words
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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Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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