Customer Reviews for

Birthmarked (Birthmarked Trilogy Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
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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 1 people found this review helpful.

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.

posted by 12432569 on July 23, 2012

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • 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 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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  • 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 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 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 November 11, 2013

    The only one of the "Birthmarked" Trilogy that I enjoyed

    I thought this was enjoyable, characters were believable, plot, though scattered, kept me wanting pick up the book.

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  • Posted June 17, 2013

    In this dystopian wowrld, we have a society split into people wh

    In this dystopian wowrld, we have a society split into people who live inside "the wall" and those who live outside "the wall."  Those who live inside of the wall are the haves and those who live outside the wall are the have nots.  Sixteen year-old Gaia Stone lives outside the wall and is trained to be a mid-wife, a calling she's been looking forward to her all life.  Until one day she experiences having to fulfill her quota, a requirement that a number of babies be give to those inside the wall each month.  She never questioned the quota until she witnesses first-hand one mother's loss.  She returns to find her parents have been taken away and she is alone.

    On the story...
    I've been reading a lot of dystopia lately and I've been starting to feel they've lost their charm for me.  Birthmarked rekindled my excitement for the genre by providing an exciting premise that intrigued me but minimized the glorified killing present in many of others int he genre.  The world building could have been much better as the reader knows little about how this society came to be or why the wall was ever necessary.  But the characters were likeable and resilient.  I see the potential in this series.  The romance was nice.  I liked the ousider with an insider thing (with a twist) and I'm usually picky about my YA romances.

    On the narrator...
    Ms. Mercer-Meyer did a good job though the performance didn't stand out in any distinct way.  I plan to continue this series on audio.

    Overall, a refreshing, though not completely unique read that renewed my interest in the genre.

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  • Posted February 22, 2013

    Sixteen year old mid-wife, Gaia Stone, helps deliver babies to t

    Sixteen year old mid-wife, Gaia Stone, helps deliver babies to the Enclave.  She does what needed to be done, however everything changes when her parents are arrested and she is left all alone.  She decides to break in to the Enclave and free her parents, but she gets arrested along the way.  Now Gaia must saver her parents, but first she must save herself.  

    This is a very good dystopian novel, I like the way the author of this book lets the reader understand the character, by their actions rather than their physical or emotional characteristics written out for us.  The book has the right amount of suspense, and difference from other dystopian novels to be looked at as fresh rather than something that doesn't hold anyone's interest.
    There are not many negative things for this novel.  If anything, it would be nice if she had further explained the relationship between Leon and his father.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2013

    Birthmarked

    Really good story. Could not put it down. Love the main character and her determination to do the right thing. She is young and inexperienced in life, except when it comes to her calling. Her determination against insemountible odds is inspiring.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2012

    Grows on u

    This book begans slow, bur if u continue to read the series u will fall in luv with the story and the characters..*hint* the second book is much better and action packed

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  • Posted April 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    While Birthmarked is a great read for a young adult dystopian no

    While Birthmarked is a great read for a young adult dystopian novel it also raises some controversial issues concerning life and death, giving an appeal for older audiences. Right now I’m finishing an A-Level course in Religion & Ethics and it was interesting to observe how the theories we’re studying link to the story.

    It’s important to note that while people may begin with the best of intentions, the ethicacy of their actions sooner or later deteriorates in the face of achieving the greater good. This is quite worrying especially if someone in a position of power find themselves in this situation, which is what happens in Birthmarked.

    The leaders of the Enclave start out with a vision to improve the broken world they live in, and in the beginning the methods they use to achieve this are morally sound—but gradually they go down the slippery slope into gray areas, inflicting atrocities on the people both outside and within the Enclave—all in the name of achieving the best outcome for their people. Is this the right thing to do? Do the means justify the ends?

    There is no right answer. Birthmarked is written in such a way that we as readers will come to reject the methods used by the Enclave, and consequently the leaders themselves. But at the same time we have to remember that these leaders also have—or more accurately, did have ideals and principles and wished the best for their people.

    Now for the actual review. xD On a scale of 1-10 of originality Birthmarked scores a 6.5 for me. It isn’t the most brilliant story of the century, though in terms of pacing it gets credit where it’s due—I stayed up all night to finish this and I felt it was worth it.

    The only thing I didn’t like was the way the characters were developed, and for this reason I knocked off a star. I finished the book feeling as if I didn’t know Gaia and Leon all that well, nevermind the side characters. Gaia’s constant inner turmoil gets tiring after a while, because she shows time and time again that she’ll make the right choice. There’s no need to hear her internal monologue if we know what she’s going to do anyway.

    The only exception is Sephie. Her morals and loyalty to the Enclave might be questionable, but I found her pragmatism to be the most realistic and believable character trait in the whole book. Here’s hoping she makes a reappearance in the sequels.

    Birthmarked is, at first glance, a good enough read that you might think is easily forgettable. All you need to do is think about the ethics cleverly interwoven throughout the story and realize that the ethics it deals with are very relevant to what is happening today. Kudos to Caragh M. O’Brien for tackling these difficult subjects successfully.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2011

    An exciting new book

    I really liked the post-apocalyptic setting where the society is nowhere near what we are familiar with. At first it reminds you of the medieval times but then you are also exposed to modern day technology like computers,touch screens, and surveillance cameras. The story was was really good and I loved the characters. There is mystery, action, and romance. But the romance is not over done and is not obvious in the beginning. The main character, Gaia, is a brave young girl with a burn scar one side of her face. Some people look at her and act like she is a freak. But because of this, Leon's attraction to her anyway is what makes it so sweet and honest. The setting is unique and the story and mystery is interesting enough. Overall, I thought this was a great read with great character's and an awesome setting! I look forward to reading the second book.

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  • Posted December 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great read

    I enjoyed both this book and the one that followed. Good writing and interesting story.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2011

    A very interesting story.

    Very good read. And very interesting concept of what the future could be like.

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  • Posted December 3, 2011

    Pretty good read

    Birthmarked takes place in the future where earth's resources are mostly used up. This city has a wall where all the privileged society members live, and is surrounded by poor towns. Each month there is a quota of babies that a midwife must advance into the Enclave walls to be adopted and raised by a rich family. Many of the families inside the walls are either infertile or their children are born with defects and die young. The leaders inside the Enclave walls believe the infants from outside the walls carry genes that suppress the birth defects and so the monthly quotas are raised. Gaia was trained by her mother to also be a midwife and when Gaia's parents are arrested, she must take over the job of helping birth children and advance them into the Enclave. When she learns her family has been keeping illegal secret records, she realizes everything the Enclave does and says is not right, she decides to sneak in to the Enclave try to rescue her parents. Inside she learns just what the Enclave is capable of.

    This is a dark dystopian story and is a set up of a very good trilogy. The main character Gaia stands up for what she believes is right and does not let fear stand in her way. The plot development is good and there are things that happen that are unexpected. I do kinda wish there was a little more explanation of the situation. Why do they call each other Masister and Mabrother for example? And how did the Enclave come to be?

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  • Posted June 16, 2011

    Cliffhanger? Or start to a series?

    So I just finished this book moments ago, and I have to say, I did enjoy it. There is A LOT of dystopian fiction out there at the moment. Despite the fact that I hate how depressing these novels tend to be, I find myself picking them up anyways. Like doughnuts, I can't resist a good dystopian book. This one was indeed good. I was always discovering new depths in the characters, and there was an abundance of thrilling plot twists. I liked how the main character, Gaia, was determined and strong through the whole novel, and not a little baby like many female characters in YA fiction these days. One thing I hated? The CLIFFHANGER ending. I don't think I know anyone who really likes a cliffhanger. I mean, I appreciate its contribution to suspense. But it's still very frustrating for any reader. This particular one was not just frustrating, but totally sad! Still, I'm sure even the most sensitive reader could handle it. I think there is a hint of a sequel... if so, I'm excited and hoping for the best!

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    Posted August 3, 2011

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    Posted December 13, 2011

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    Posted October 27, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2014

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