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Birthmarked (Birthmarked Trilogy Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
( 200 )
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(118)

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(41)

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(30)

2 Star

(7)

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(4)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

A great start to a new dystopian series!

Set on the shores of Unlake Michigan, this dystopian world has me hooked. Following some kind of environmental fallout that resulted in not nearly enough water to go around, the difference between the haves and the have-nots grows much more pronounced. What used to be t...
Set on the shores of Unlake Michigan, this dystopian world has me hooked. Following some kind of environmental fallout that resulted in not nearly enough water to go around, the difference between the haves and the have-nots grows much more pronounced. What used to be the northern United States becomes something resembling a feudal city-state. The have-nots in Wharfton, where Gaia lives, depend on the "good people" of the Enclave for water to survive. And a bleak survival it is. Gaia and her parents do alright; there are only three of them and both her parents work, her mother as a midwife and her father as a tailor. Gaia's new status as a full midwife should have brought her family the Wharfton version of luxury: plenty of water and extra passes to the local entertainment center, Tvaltar. The Enclave also could not exist without those in Wharfton. Though there are bakers, tailors, and other services available right inside the wall, the people of Wharfton provide much of the labor and services the Enclave requires.

And the babies. The people of Wharfton also provide Enclave families with babies.

At first I thought this was going to be a situation like that in The Handmaid's Tale where most women become sterile and those who still can are pressed into service as babymakers. That is not the case here, though why the Enclave needs Wharfton babies remains a mystery for most of the book. Many people on both sides of the wall believe, like Gaia herself, that the children sent to the Enclave are simply lucky, even while their parents are left heart-broken; they have a chance at a much easier life. The Protectorat, the ruling class of the Enclave, have a much more complicated need for children born in Wharfton. Luckily (not really) Gaia is caught pretty early on on her attempt to rescue her parents and so gets to meet the key people behind the "advancement" program.

After Gaia is captured in the Enclave, where she has no right to be, she learns so much more about the history of her society and world than she could have imagined. She learns just how the Enclave uses those in Wharfton and the vital part she and her mother play in that relationship as midwives. She learns that her parents, who she trusted implicitly and thought she knew inside and out, hid very important things about themselves and their family from her. She learns what they hid about her own past. And during all of this acquisition of knowledge, she makes some unlikely allies inside the wall and, of course, falls in love with an especially broody, high-ranking member of the military who seems to hate her and yet find her interesting.

It's a lot for one girl to go through. And it's all a set-up. It was an emotional thrill ride the whole way through with an ending just barely satisfying enough to not make me want to tear my hair out.

I can't wait for Book 2.


Book source: Philly Free Library

posted by Lawral on August 23, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Not the best or the worst.

I probably wont finish the series. The story wasnt really what i expected. Maybe I just couldn't relate to the characters in any way. Borrow from a library if you can.

posted by 7074105 on January 3, 2012

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  • Posted August 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A great start to a new dystopian series!

    Set on the shores of Unlake Michigan, this dystopian world has me hooked. Following some kind of environmental fallout that resulted in not nearly enough water to go around, the difference between the haves and the have-nots grows much more pronounced. What used to be the northern United States becomes something resembling a feudal city-state. The have-nots in Wharfton, where Gaia lives, depend on the "good people" of the Enclave for water to survive. And a bleak survival it is. Gaia and her parents do alright; there are only three of them and both her parents work, her mother as a midwife and her father as a tailor. Gaia's new status as a full midwife should have brought her family the Wharfton version of luxury: plenty of water and extra passes to the local entertainment center, Tvaltar. The Enclave also could not exist without those in Wharfton. Though there are bakers, tailors, and other services available right inside the wall, the people of Wharfton provide much of the labor and services the Enclave requires.

    And the babies. The people of Wharfton also provide Enclave families with babies.

    At first I thought this was going to be a situation like that in The Handmaid's Tale where most women become sterile and those who still can are pressed into service as babymakers. That is not the case here, though why the Enclave needs Wharfton babies remains a mystery for most of the book. Many people on both sides of the wall believe, like Gaia herself, that the children sent to the Enclave are simply lucky, even while their parents are left heart-broken; they have a chance at a much easier life. The Protectorat, the ruling class of the Enclave, have a much more complicated need for children born in Wharfton. Luckily (not really) Gaia is caught pretty early on on her attempt to rescue her parents and so gets to meet the key people behind the "advancement" program.

    After Gaia is captured in the Enclave, where she has no right to be, she learns so much more about the history of her society and world than she could have imagined. She learns just how the Enclave uses those in Wharfton and the vital part she and her mother play in that relationship as midwives. She learns that her parents, who she trusted implicitly and thought she knew inside and out, hid very important things about themselves and their family from her. She learns what they hid about her own past. And during all of this acquisition of knowledge, she makes some unlikely allies inside the wall and, of course, falls in love with an especially broody, high-ranking member of the military who seems to hate her and yet find her interesting.

    It's a lot for one girl to go through. And it's all a set-up. It was an emotional thrill ride the whole way through with an ending just barely satisfying enough to not make me want to tear my hair out.

    I can't wait for Book 2.


    Book source: Philly Free Library

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 28, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    I really enjoyed this book after a few chapters. I was slowly dr

    I really enjoyed this book after a few chapters. I was slowly drawn in by the story of Gaia and her determination to fight for what is right, not just what is popular. I loved how the little pieces of her past start to fall together. I have the second book on it's way, should be here tomorrow, and have already pre-ordered Promised. I look forward to reading Prized! I think it was a great book to follow The Hunger Games Trilogy. If you liked this book you'll LOVE the Divergent series!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2011

    Awesome book!

    Loved this book. Couldn't put it down. A total must read!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Birthmarked

    I fell in love with cover of this book, its amazing and matched the story perfectly. The only problem I had with it was that it was very interesting and captivating, then it wasn't, then it was again. Other than being a little jumbled, it was great. Gaia is a very well created character, she's real and fights for whats right and lets nothing stop her.The story's ending hints a sequel, so I'll be looking out for it.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    Soooo awsome

    It is so good they will make a horible movie about it ;)

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    Endri

    REALLY good. Its another great dystopian novel. It starts out slow, but then exceeds to a point full of suspense and anticipation. I recommend this to fellow teenagers as myself. Hope you enjoy it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A thrilling beginning

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Book!

    I just finished the book and it was amazing! If you like books like Hunger Games and even Maze Runner, this book is for you! It keeps you guessing the entire time. I finished the book in two days!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2010

    An Enthralling Debut Read About a Society on the Brink and a Courageous Girl That Can Either Save or Destroy Them.

    Caragh O'Brien explores the bonds of kinship in a deteriorating dystopian society that brings to a head many provocative themes, and forces us to ponder some difficult questions and even more troublesome answers. In Birthmarked, three hundred years into the future, humanity's survival depends on diversity. But the citizens of Western Sector Three don't know that. For countless years they have been sacrificing their select newborns to the Enclave for basic necessities, never to see them again. One girl will unravel the mystery and thrust these two societies into chaos.

    Birthmarked was such a compelling read because it's chock full of substance. O'Brien's world is one of obedience. Where the technology, the advancements of a bygone era, hydroelectricity, computers, and the means to grow food are all controlled by the Enclave. Their rules are harsh and unforgiving to those that disobey them. Those outside the walls live a simple life, largely uneducated and supply.babies to the Enclave unknowing that genetic defects are so prevalent within the upper castes.

    O'Brien does not purposely soften the tone of her story merely because it is young adults who are her audience. Rather the adversities that Gaia Stone goes through in Birthmarked, bonds the readers to her plight. When Gaia starts to unravel the mysteries that are left to her after her parents are jailed, she must confront the consequences of her actions. What ultimately happened to the babies that she and her mother "advanced"? What became of her two older brothers? What does Leon want with her? What is the significance of the tattooed "freckles" and worse, how will the Enclave use that knowledge especially as their situation worsens? She has the power to destroy or join together both societies.will she do it?

    There is harsh death as well as the balm of new life within O'Brien's world, which makes it realistic and meaningful. I have read plenty of YA dystopian novels but none of them can come close to the subtly expressive and thought-provoking themes that Birthmarked contained. I was enthralled from the first page, contemplative, and reveling throughout the entire story. It was simply an amazing debut read. Every reader will want to accompany this courageous heroine on the journey to discover exactly what she is capable of, unravel the mystery of the coded ribbon, and whether she can step unfettered into the future. I definitely want more and am anxious to find out what happens in the next book!
    A Fiendishly Bookish Review

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2013

    To Depressing

    I have read the whole birthmarked triology. Though the books have interesting characters, a good back story, and a solid plot line, the books are just to sad.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    Good read

    Fast read. Enjoyed it. If you liked The Hunger Games and Divergent series, you'll like this. Not as good as those series but good.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2012

    Amazing!!! Must read!!!!

    This boo k was amazing i love the how ou see Gaia perspctive of th Enclave change from one thing to another. And qwhen she meets Leon i melted. You could tell from the start that he would.... not gonna spoil it. What Gaia does for her family is truely amazing she did everything she could. Once i started his book i wouldnt put it down for food or homework. Ieven read it while in science class once. If you like Hunger Games hen you will try love this. Same themes love rebellion it is truely spectacular.

    Elyse 13

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2012

    Recommended, well written

    Wasn't sure I was going to like this one until I got past the first few pages and it left me wanting more. the book keep you looking for more. the next book is just as good if not better. the only Con I have is having to wait for the 3ed book to come out. if you liked Divergent you'll like this one also.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Not the best or the worst.

    I probably wont finish the series. The story wasnt really what i expected. Maybe I just couldn't relate to the characters in any way. Borrow from a library if you can.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    Recommended by me!

    I really liked this book. I immediately bought the second book in the trilogy and loved it too! I can't wait for the third book. It has an interesting story line and is a good example of dystopian literature. If you like the City of Ember series or the Hunger Games series - it is the same type of literature. My sons and I are enjoying these books and I would recommend them to others. I think this series would be good for a book club - lots of interesting discussion points.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2014

    Birthmarked

    I thought this book was amazing!!!!! Althoigh it was a little boring at first in the middle it was hard to put down:) my fav characters were leon and gaia such a cute couple in my eyes. If you want a book with love hard desicions heartbrake loss and adventure i recommend this book!!!!!!! BUY IT TOTALLY WORTH IT

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Saaad

    Why does Leon have to die??

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    Great book

    I really enjoyed this book. The plot was well set up and there was great character development especially with gaia. I really liked her character and the storyline was very captivating. I must say that i liked prized and promised a little bit better because i thought they were a little more interesting.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2014

    Amazing read!

    I couldn't put this book down! I absolutely loved it and will be buying the next immediately!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2014

    Awesome Book!

    This was an AMAZING book that started an equally AMAZING trilogy. If you are in to the Dystopian fiction genre, like so many people are I would definitely check this trilogy out!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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