Birthmarked (Birthmarked Trilogy Series #1)

Birthmarked (Birthmarked Trilogy Series #1)

by Caragh M. O'Brien
4.3 203

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Birthmarked 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 203 reviews.
Lawral More than 1 year ago
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
Rascal_93638 More than 1 year ago
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!
143EC More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Couldn't put it down. A total must read!
Sarah7498 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is so good they will make a horible movie about it ;)
Shanella More than 1 year ago
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.
Bashel More than 1 year ago
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!!!
fiendishlybookish More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
yokota85 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this novel. Not too dark, and the characters were nicely rounded. I am looking forward to the next book.
badkat17us More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. It is set in the future where we are left with an earth that is barely habitable. Gaia Stone is a midwife just like her mother and is stuff starting to deliver babies all by herself instead of being an assistant to her mother. Gaia and her family live outside the wall. Those that live inside the wall have a better chance at life than those that live outside the wall or at least that is what they are made to believe. Those that live inside the wall have a better chance. Gaia’s life is soon to change and she will learn that everything she has ever been told is a lie. Nothing is as it seems. Nothing could have prepared her for what she is about to learn and go through. Who to trust and what to believe? This book took a bit to get into and understand how they lived. But, once I got into it, it was fantastic. There are lots of twists and turns. For me it was comparable to Hunger Games in some ways but still different enough that I didn’t feel like it was the same. No fighting for their life but still those in charge are not telling everything and more worried about the upper class than the group as a whole. I felt for Gaia so much. Her whole life changed in one night and things went downhill from there. The story was wonderfully written. The characters have depth to them and pull you in. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.
lovemNOOKTN More than 1 year ago
I agree with what one of the other reviewers said, that the book kept wavering between parts that were very interesting and parts that weren't.  I found my self skipping over all the parts that described the surroundings to get to a part where something actually happened.       It was okay, not great. 
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
In a future where the world has been baked dry and the Great Lakes are empty craters, sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone's world is divided by the walls of the Enclave. The privileged few living inside the walls want for nothing; their lives the stuff of legend with decadence and comfort documented for all to admire at the Tvaltar. Gaia Stone has always known that her place is outside the walls. The Enclave does not welcome people with scars or burns especially not when they are as visible as the one on Gaia's face. Like her mother before her, Gaia works as a midwife helping the women in Western Sector 3 deliver their babies. Like her mother, Gaia also fills the baby quota each month by "advancing" a handful of newborns to live inside the Enclave walls. It is only after her parents are arrested that Gaia begins to wonder about the true purpose of the baby quote and what else the Enclave might be hiding. Gaia knows she has to try to infiltrate the Enclave and rescue her parents no matter the risk in Birthmarked (2010) by Caragh M. O'Brien. Birthmarked is O'Brien's first novel and the start of her Birthmarked trilogy which continues with Prized and Promised. Birthmarked is utterly engrossing and atmospheric. Readers are immediately drawn into Gaia's world and the complex politics surrounding the Enclave. Third person narration and flashbacks to Gaia's past lend an introspective quality to this otherwise taut narrative. Gaia's arc throughout the story is handled extremely well as she begins to learn more about the Enclave and the politics surrounding it. O'Brien expertly demonstrates Gaia's growth as well as her changing attitudes throughout the novel. Every detail in Birthmarked is thoughtfully placed within a complex world and intricate prose where even the vocabulary is often unique and the dialog simmers with unspoken chemistry. Although this novel starts a trilogy, it also offers a self-contained story that leaves room to ponder and to savor. Birthmarked is a fast-paced, vibrant book that is absolutely brilliant. Highly recommended. Possible Pairings: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken, Eve by Anna Carey, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Wither by Lauren DeStefano, Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch, The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Legend by Marie Lu, For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund, Vicious by V. E. Schwab, Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down! I absolutely loved it and will be buying the next immediately!